Choosing right can make a huge difference in holding your planks and in not getting a side ache. But some snacks can ruin your reps, run or yoga session.
These are the worst foods to eat before working out.
1. Carbonated drinks
Soda water, seltzers, and other fizzy drinks are easy to consume, and with healthy-seeming flavors like citrus, might seem like good pre-workout hydration. Sugar-free drinks also seem right on track for health, but the artificial sweeteners as well as the carbonation give many people gas or bloating.
2. Granola or protein bars
Yep! That granola snack you like might be full of sugar, some more than packaged cookies, and others have fat and protein from nuts that take several hours to digest. Even protein bars are not meant to be a quick hit before working out, as it takes hours to digest. If these snacks do anything, it’s just adding more sugar for you to burn through during that HIIT or spin session.
High-fiber vegetables, such as broccoli or cauliflower or the super-healthy kale are hard to process. You might feel energy-depleted or bloated if you snack on these types of veggies before going on a run or other cardio activity. Hummus is also in this category. Avoid having these unless it’s several hours before working out, but feel free to eat lots after!
4. Chips and salsa
Spices, like curries, are often correlated with burning calories faster and even suppressing appetite. Simple black pepper is correlated with fighting obesity too, so they might seem like the perfect small snack. Spices also can cause heartburn, or a run to the restroom. Neither of these aspects are great for hitting the weights, so avoid altogether.
Refined sugar causes lethargy and adds to the number of miles or reps you’ll have to put in to burn it off. Eating something with highly refined, AKA: white sugar and dough will cause you to bloat. You’ll slow down.
If you’re a teen or an adult looking for some quick energy, avoid the sugar monsters like doughnuts from the vending machine. Go for glucose found in a banana and which will digest at a much faster rate, depending on your age and metabolism, and give you actual energy, not a dopamine hit like candy does.
Avoid any dairy products before working out. If you’re eating any yogurt or cheese prior, acid is increasing in your stomach, and this can actually lead some people to throw up. Just avoid the bloat monster that comes along with any milk product.
Fats, and lots of them, are popular in the dieting world right now. But eating fat is meant to slow down your need to eat again and those types of foods, even avocado, will not help maintain workout energy.
8. Burgers and fries
Saturated fats from burgers or fries or fried chicken should also be avoided at all since they actually deplete the body’s resources to do anything but try to process them, so you’ll be cramping and tired. Most of these meals at fast-food restaurants also pack a day’s worth of calories for the average adult, so should be avoided if working out is for weight loss or maintenance.
Each type of workout requires a different source of energy per person, but generally sweet potatoes, bananas, and other easy-to-digest natural foods are a great source for weight or long cardio sessions. Be sure to listen to your body to see what works best for you and consult a physician prior to starting a new workout or diet routine.