If you exercise on an empty stomach, the body won't have enough energy to perform at its best. But it's equally bad to eat too much — or the wrong kinds of food — before a workout because all of your energy will go toward digesting the meal. Here are some foods to avoid before a workout.
- Beans, and other belly-bloating foods: Foods like beans, raw broccoli, fruit, and dairy tend to give people gas. Although these foods are healthy, they'll fill you up in ways you'd rather not deal with when having to fold forward in a yoga class.
- Fiber: An enormous bowl of fiber-rich cereal can certainly get things moving, which is exactly the opposite of what you want when you're running at full speed ahead on the treadmill. Fuel up with a snack that contains fewer than four grams of fiber, and be sure to finish eating salads, stir-frys, and veggie soups at least one hour before your planned workout to give the body time to digest.
- Refined sugar: It seems like a great idea to eat a red velvet cupcake before a workout, since you burn off those sweet calories during your workout. A huge dose of sugar might offer a quick source of energy, but it will burn up quick, causing you to feel sluggish. If you need a quick source of energy right before working out, choose a healthier option such as a banana, which also offers important nutrients for the body.
- Spicy foods: Foods with a little kick may satisfy your taste buds, but you'll end up feeling uncomfortable once you start to move. Spicy food can result in a bad case of indigestion or heartburn, putting an immediate halt on a workout.
- Salty foods: Avoid super salty foods before exercising, or if you do eat them, just be sure they're paired with a tall glass of H20. Dehydration can cause headaches and cramps — both of which you don't want when working out.
- Heavy foods: Creamy, fried, or decadent foods take longer to digest, resulting in some serious digestive upset if you eat foods like these before a sweat session. If you're going to sit down to an enormous plate of fettuccine alfredo, be sure to finish it two hours before hitting the gym.
Now you know what you shouldn't eat, so here's a guide to help you figure out what to eat and when to eat before working out.