Even if you typically run on an empty stomach in the a.m., there are times — think: a big run or race — when fueling up is essential. The options on what to eat seem endless, but there are a few items that can result in running sabotage. Make sure you stay energized on your run by avoiding these foods before you hit the ground. And if you must eat any of these foods, give the body time to digest before heading out!
High-protein shakes and bars: Protein is an important fuel source, but oftentimes, high-protein bars and shakes can be hard to digest and don't contain a sufficient amount of carbs to keep energy levels consistent. For longer runs, aim for 25-40 grams of carbohydrates and 10 grams of protein.
Nuts, fruit, and veggies: While all of these items are nutrient-rich snacks, fiber-rich foods can result in a run that is painful and sometimes impossible, as your body works to digest these foods. The end result? Cramps and stomach discomfort midstride.
Dairy: Dairy isn't always the best choice before a big run. Cream cheese on your bagel, or even that stick of string cheese with your oatmeal, won't leave you with more energy, just an upset stomach. On top of that, dairy can actually deplete energy because it slows down the absorption of carbohydrates to the body.
Fatty foods: Donuts or a greasy breakfast of hash browns may be tasty, but they can cause havoc on your body if you plan a workout immediately after eating. Foods high in fat leave the body feeling bloated and sluggish since fat is not as easily turned into energy as protein and carbs.