When eaten before a workout session, certain food choices do more harm than good. It is not a secret that you need food to fuel your fitness, but what works best might vary by the exercise type and time. Certain food choices do more harm than good, and these include muscle cramps, stomach pain and lethargy.
Exercise requires a large volume of blood to be pumped into your working muscles. Also, blood flow to the stomach is reduced during exercise. Therefore, you do not want your stomach to work harder than it has to, as this may lead to tummy issues. While some perosn may have an “iron stomach” and can get away with eating some of these pre-workout foods, in general most people should avoid these 7 foods before exercise.
These foods might not only upset your stomach, but also hurt your performance. While many of the foods choices below are good to eat in general, you may want to consider removing them off the menu, if your workout is coming up.
Avoid These 7 Foods Before Your Workout:
1. Cruciferous Vegetables
These include broccoli, bok choy, cabbage, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower. While these vegetables are very nutritious, healthy and contain potent anti-cancer properties, their sulfur-containing compounds may cause gas in some individuals. Think of a rotten egg smell! Also, these vegetables are high in raffinose, which makes consuming a bowl of cruciferous vegetables before a workout, a digestive double problem.
2. Dairy Products
Are you intolerant or sensitive to a certain food? Then, it is important to avoid it before working out.
Lactose-intolerant individuals should avoid lactose-heavy dairy products such as soft cheeses and milk, as these could lead to intestinal cramping. Yogurt, hard cheeses, lactose-free milk and kefir are delicious dairy options for those who are in need of a low-lactose diet.
3. Fatty and Fried Foods
The saturated fats present in fried greasy and fattening foods such as fries and burgers are hard to digest and can make you uneasy while working out. These foods can also lead to cramps and bloating during your workout.
4. Legumes and Beans
Beans and legumes may be loaded with high quality protein, but the high concentration of fibres present in these foods right before your workout can cause bloating, gas and indigestion, while you sweat it out.
Both the sugar and bubbles in carbonated drinks, and also in flavored water and juices can lead to an upset stomach. Also, like candy bars, these contain sugar which can lead to an energy high, followed by a prompt, and not so pleasant crash.
6. Spicy Foods
Some people may be able to exercise after consuming an extra-hot bowl of pad Thai, but spicy foods stimulate the digestive system, and therefore cause heartburn, which is not what you want during a workout.
Prior to working out, most especially during pre-competition, it is better to avoid consuming spicy foods for at least 24 hours before, to give your GI tract a rest. Choose easy-to-digest and bland foods before a workout.
7. Sugary Desserts
Desserts that are filled with sugary frosting, fattening cream and carbohydrates are not one of the best options you would want to choose before your workout. The instant sugar spike will not only bring a barrage of calories, which gets even tougher to burn. But, these sugars are filled with simple carbs, which can damage your blood sugar levels, therefore causing it to first spike and drop right before your workout.
Even the High GI foods should be consume 1 hour or so, before a workout. Not doing so can trigger rebound hypoglycemia in some individuals, wherein their blood sugar spikes and crashes. This erratic dip and spike can lead to dizziness, fatigue and exhaustion.