What Not To Eat Before Workouts

What Not To Eat Before Workouts

Choosing the wrong types of foods before you workout can sabotage your efforts. The wrong foods can leave you tired within a few minutes or they can cause you to have an upset stomach.

Abdominal distress is one of the leading causes of an ineffective workout. During a workout, your body needs plenty of carbohydrates to give your muscles the energy they need to perform. Foods that you would typically consider to be healthy can actually cause cramping and discomfort. Salads that are rich in a wide variety of vegetables are a bad choice before strenuous exercise. Many raw vegetables, such as lettuce, cabbage, and broccoli, are extremely high in fiber and lack the carbohydrates needed for sufficient energy. Nuts and seeds that are commonly sprinkled on top of salads are also high in fiber, fat, and protein and can also cause intestinal discomfort because they are hard to digest. Most high-fiber foods should be avoided, which also includes beans and cereal. The discomfort felt after consuming these foods can make it difficult to move during a strenuous workout.

Avoid foods that have a high fat content. Potatoes may be a high carb food, which is the best energy source, but French fries are loaded with fat. Fats will slow you down and make you feel tired. Other high-fat foods to avoid include all fried foods such as hamburgers, along with cheese and baked deli meats. These food choices all take longer than normal to digest. You will end up feeling sluggish and bloated, which is definitely a feeling you want to avoid during exercise.

Protein shakes and protein bars may seem like a logical choice because they are a healthy food choice that provides your body with energy. The problem is that protein bars and drinks, like salads and legumes, are low in carbohydrates. Our bodies take longer to metabolize proteins, so you would need to eat the protein much earlier in the day for it to have a benefit on your workout. Protein should be avoided right before you workout, because you will only feel tired from the lack of energy.

Avoid the excessive sugar that is found in fruit juices, fruits, soft drinks, and other carbonated drinks. Soft drinks are especially damaging because not only do they contain a high amount of sugar, but they also contain caffeine, which can leave you dehydrated.  Caffeine can provide you with a burst of energy, but once you come down from the initial high, you will crash, which can be detrimental if it occurs in the middle of your workout. Fruit juices can help hydrate you initially due to their water content, but they actually act as a laxative in the long run and can cause diarrhea and abdominal discomfort.  If you prefer flavored drinks, it is best to choose an energy drink immediately before your workout.

Salt should always be avoided prior to your workout. Salty foods and snacks cause you to lose too much water. This will drive your potassium levels down and throw your electrolytes off. The result is a spike in blood pressure, which can also be dangerous. Along with avoiding salty foods, you should avoid salt tablets. Your salt levels will return to normal shortly after your workout without the use of tablets. Low levels of potassium can cause severe cramps in your muscles, muscle weakness, dizziness, frequent urination, diarrhea, and nausea.

While it is extremely important to give your body the fuel it needs before a workout, it is best to choose high-carbohydrate items such as boiled eggs, bagels with low-fat cream cheese, or a banana. You should always consult with your doctor before you begin any workout program, as he or she will be able to guide you in regards to proper pre-workout nutrition.


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