You want to be full of energy when you’re exercising, but eating the wrong foods before hitting the gym can drain you. We all need food to fuel our workouts, and this is always a great excuse to indulge in our favorite snacks just before hitting the gym, but it goes without saying that the choice of pre-workout fuel you take can play a big role in making or breaking your workout. Think about it this way; do you think Olympians are usually busy eating big macs just before their big events? Of course not!
However, believe it or not, it’s not just junk food that should be avoided before you get your sweat on. There are some otherwise healthy foods that can linger in your stomach for way too long. That can slow you down, send you to the restroom mid-workout or even cause you to have gas. How embarrassing would that be? If you are planning on attending your spin class and would love to spend every single minute on the bike, then you need to be careful about what you eat.
First things first, you shouldn’t drink or eat before you start, no matter how loud your stomach may growl. Experts advise you to have a handful of almonds or a hydrating drink such as a kale smoothie instead. This should, however, be done 30 minutes before you start working out.
What Food And Drinks To Avoid When Exercising
We’ve compiled a list of some of the seemingly harmless foods you should stay away from pre workout. These foods will suck energy from other parts of your body and make you feel sluggish. Just wait until after your workout to nosh on the following foods.
These are high in fats, and although they may seem harmless to curb your hunger, it’s advisable to avoid them before your work out. Foods with lots of fat usually take longer to digest, and they tend to remain in the stomach for long regardless of what source they are from. Eating foods such as this shall draw more blood into your stomach so as to aid in digestion. This can cause you to feel cramped and discomfort.
If however, this is the only thing available for you, experts advise that they should be eaten in small quantities. You can choose to take a tablespoon of healthy fats or foods that are rich in protein such as peanut butter and combine them with carbohydrates such as apples so as to ensure they do not overwhelm your body.
Okay, you may be thinking “what’s wrong with beans really?” We shall tell you. Although beans are protein-packed foods that have way too many health benefits, they are loaded with fiber. This is generally good because it helps on so many other levels, but it can cause distress to your digestive system when you are working out and sweating.
A small cup of beans with roughly 16 grams of fiber includes the indigestible carbohydrate known as raffinose. Eating this, and any other fiber-rich foods will cause you to feel bloated and gassy while you are working out. However, if this is the only available thing to you, take a very small portion of it, like two tablespoons and wait thirty minutes before your workout.
Well, this one seems like a no-brainer. Really you should never take alcohol before you work out. This is because it can quickly dehydrate you and suppress your fat oxidation. It shall also mess up with your fitness goals, even if you drink plenty of water afterward. Again, getting a little tipsy before working out is not good for your energy levels, your concentration, and overall form. All of this can even set you up for some serious injuries.
Dairy sounds safe. I mean what is wrong with yogurt or milk? They sound just perfect for fueling you pre-workout, but there’s a catch. Yes, you shall get the required carbs, protein and fats, all of which are necessary to keep you strong throughout the workout, but digesting the milk is usually a problem, and this can mess with your workout routine.
Keeping that in mind then, you should know that having a parfait or a latte is not the best thing before your exercise unless you are looking to risk having diarrhea, gas, stomach upset of lots of bloating. Even if you can tolerate milk well, it’s good to stay on the safe side and just skip it.
A nice cold cola, when you are seriously sweating must sound like heaven, but be warned that this is a complete NO-NO. Drinking carbonated drinks of any kind shall cause your stomach to bloat and have gas while in the middle of your workout. Always endeavor to keep your stomach air-free, and this will help prevent your burpees from feeling too excruciated. Use tap water if you are hungry and you can even add some cucumbers of strawberry slices to make it more interesting.
Foods To Avoid Before Exercising Conclusion
So, you may be wondering what is safe to eat since we’ve included a large group of not-so-great things above. Well, the best thing is to go for the opposite of what we have listed. Look for foods that are low in fat, low fiber, and non-alcoholic drinks. And of course veggies and fruits are always a safe bet anytime of the day.