Should I Take Fish Oil Before Or After Workout?

Fish oil pills are good for you because they have omega-3 fatty acids that can help with inflammation and heart health. Whether you should take fish oil before or after exercising depends on how well you digest it, your workout type, and what you like.

Let’s explore the potential benefits of fish oil, when to take it, and how to include it in your fitness routine.

Benefits of Fish Oil

Fish oil has a lot of omega-3 fats, like EPA and DHA, that are good for your health:

  1. Anti-inflammatory Properties: Omega-3s help reduce inflammation, alleviating muscle soreness and joint pain associated with intense workouts.
  2. Cardiovascular Health: Fish oil reduces triglycerides, lowers blood pressure, and raises cholesterol levels, contributing to heart health.
  3. Enhanced Muscle Recovery: Fish oil can help muscles heal faster by decreasing inflammation and stress caused by exercise.
  4. Improved Mental Health: Omega-3s support brain health, lessen depression symptoms, and improve overall cognitive function.
  5. Joint Health: Fish oil can improve joint mobility and reduce symptoms of arthritis, making it beneficial for those who regularly exercise.

Timing of Fish Oil Supplementation

Whether to take fish oil before or after a workout depends on various factors, including your schedule, digestion, and specific fitness goals. Here’s an in-depth look at the pros and cons of each timing strategy:

Taking Fish Oil Before a Workout


  1. Reduced Inflammation: Consuming fish oil before exercise may help reduce inflammation during the workout, potentially decreasing muscle soreness.
  2. Enhanced Blood Flow: Omega-3s can improve blood flow, which might enhance exercise performance by delivering more oxygen and nutrients to muscles.
  3. Joint Protection: Fish oil taken before a workout can cushion joints, reducing the risk of pain and injury.


  1. Problems with the Digestive System: Some people may experience gastrointestinal discomfort, such as burping or stomach upset when taking fish oil before exercise.
  2. Timing Challenges: Finding the perfect time to take fish oil before a workout can be tricky to avoid any potential digestive issues during exercise.

Taking Fish Oil After a Workout


  1. Muscle Recovery: Taking fish oil after exercise can help muscles recover by reducing the inflammation and oxidative stress caused by exercise.
  2. Convenience: Taking fish oil with a meal after a workout can be easier and less likely to cause stomach pain.
  3. Enhanced Absorption: Consuming fish oil with a meal that contains healthy fats can improve the absorption of omega-3 fatty acids.


  1. Delayed Benefits: The anti-inflammatory effects may be delayed compared to pre-workout consumption, potentially impacting immediate muscle soreness relief.

Practical Considerations

When deciding whether to take fish oil before or after your workout, consider the following practical tips:

  1. Personal Tolerance: Pay attention to how your body reacts to fish oil. If you experience any discomfort taking it before a workout, consider switching to post-workout consumption.
  2. Consistency: The most important factor is to take fish oil consistently. Make it a regular routine whether you choose before or after your workout.
  3. Dosage: Take the fish oil supplement in the amounts listed on the label or as prescribed by your doctor. Typical EPA and DHA intakes range from 1,000 to 3,000 mg per day.
  4. Quality: Choose a good fish oil pill that is clean and doesn’t contain any bad stuff, like PCBs or mercury. Make sure it has been checked by an outside company to ensure its safety and strength.
  5. Diet: To make your fish oil pills work better, eat more foods with omega-3 fats like fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines), flaxseeds, chia seeds, and walnuts.

Integrating Fish Oil into Your Routine

Here are some practical ways to incorporate fish oil into your fitness and dietary routine:

  1. Morning Routine: If you prefer to take supplements first thing in the morning, fish oil can be taken with breakfast. This can help prevent stomach-related issues during exercise.
  2. Pre-Workout Meal: If you exercise later in the day, take fish oil with your pre-workout meal, ensuring you allow enough time for digestion.
  3. Post-Workout Meal: Taking fish oil with your post-workout meal can enhance absorption and aid muscle recovery.
  4. Bedtime: Some people prefer taking fish oil before bed, which may help reduce muscle soreness overnight and promote recovery.

Scientific Evidence

Several studies have explored the effects of fish oil supplementation on exercise performance and recovery:

  1. Anti-inflammatory Effects: A Global Society of Sports Nutrition Journal study showed that omega-3 supplements can reduce muscle soreness and inflammation after tough workouts.
  2. Recovery of Muscles: A study in a nutrition journal found that taking omega-3 supplements can help muscles grow and recover faster by increasing protein production.
  3. Exercise Performance: A study found that omega-3s can help you exercise longer by giving your muscles more oxygen and making your heart work better.


Whether to take fish oil before or after a workout depends on your personal preferences, digestive tolerance, and specific fitness goals. Both timing strategies offer unique benefits:

  • Before Workout: Potentially reduces inflammation during exercise, improves blood flow, and protects joints.
  • After Workout: Enhances muscle recovery, is more convenient, and improves absorption with a post-workout meal.

To benefit from omega-3 fats, take fish oil regularly and as directed. Quality fish oil supplements and a diet rich in omega-3s can improve your health, exercise performance, and recovery. Before trying new supplements, speak with your doctor, especially if you have other health issues or take medications.


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