Have you noticed that some of your workouts feel more comfortable than others? Perhaps you notice feeling bloated or fatigued only in half of your workouts? Feeling ineffective during a workout can relate to the foods you choose before you get to the gym. Here are seven foods to avoid before your workout.
- High Fiber: Foods like flaxseed, fruit, veggies, whole grains, and chia seeds are great additions to your diet but not to your pre-workout meal. Since these foods are so effective in helping your digestive track, it may have a negative reaction while you're performing exercises like cardio.
- Protein bars: Some protein bars can be misleading in their health benefits. While it is best to choose pre-workout foods high in protein, don't let advertising fool you into thinking all protein bars are created equal. The best way to choose a protein bar to assist your workout, instead of cripple it, is to check the nutritional facts and make sure it is low in sugar and high in protein.
- Dairy: Milk, yogurt, and cheese can make a lot of people bloated and uncomfortable during a workout. Many researchers recommend avoiding dairy products three to four hours before your workout. Your goal in your pre-workout meal is to eat foods that are easy to digest, not foods that make your body uncomfortable.
- Sugary foods: This one may seem obvious to the average dieter, but sugar can be in many "healthy" pre-workout snacks. Foods or drinks like flavored water, some protein shakes, juice, store-bought smoothies, and of course, known sugary goodies can cause the antithesis to your workout goals. Foods that are high in sugar cause fatigue and weight gain. The American Heart Association recommends limiting your sugar intake a day to six teaspoons for women and nine teaspoons for men.
- Caffeine: Drinks like coffee, soft drinks, energy drinks or energy gels can be an effective addition to the start of your day, but can slow you down in a pre-workout meal. Some caffeinated drinks are high in sugar and carbonated, which can cause bloating and fatigue during your workout. However, some caffeinated products can be an effective boost for your workout. Instead of your normal Starbucks order, opt for a warm green tea if you're looking for a little pep in your step.
- Spicy Foods: Great for calorie burning, terrible for workouts. Spicy foods can cause heartburn and indigestion. Make sure to avoid these before your workouts to ensure you won't have to stop to take an antacid. If you just can't put down the spicy foods, here are heartburn prevention tips for the spicy food lover.
- Avocados: If you love avocados this may be disappointing to hear, but they are high in fat. While good fats, like avocados, can be effective in your diet, they are not helpful during a workout. Fats are harder to digest and cause the blood in your body to prioritize your digestive track. During a workout, this can cause cramping and fatigue. It' best to avoid fats at least an hour before your workout and save the guacamole or avocado omelet for your post-workout snack.