When it comes to getting a workout in the morning or setting off for a run, it is important to get the right fuel. This, in turn, makes you feel energised and keeps you healthy through the day. Eating too close to the workout or run is a common beginner mistake, and results in that nauseous feeling when you are pumping iron or putting in the yards. Many beginners do not have a proper pre-workout diet plan, which throws a spanner in your workout. Not only does it cause discomfort, but you could suffer from cramps, bloatedness and therefore not be able to get the most efficient workout.
The snacks before and after a workout or run play a crucial role in your fitness goals. Working out on an empty stomach isn’t ideal either, as this means your body does not have enough gas in the tank. This also hinders your performance and the overall calories burned. An adequate amount of fuelling is important to maintain your blood and glucose levels.
But just because you need to grab a snack before the workout, doesn’t mean you reach out for just about anything. Unhealthy snacking before a workout can be just as disastrous to your fitness goals as working out on an empty stomach. This can do you more harm than good, and will often have you feeling fatigued, dizzy, bloated, and with a bad case of stomach cramps. To fuel up the right way for your workout or run, here are the foods you need to avoid.
Legumes and Beans
The high fibre content in beans has been known to cause gastric discomfort when consumed right before a workout. However many athletes on high-fibre vegetarian diets can easily load up on beans because they may have GI tracts that are adjusted to this type of diet. Beans also contain the indigestible carbohydrate raffinose, which is the main reason for stomach upsets. If you are looking at consuming beans or legumes, then there should be at least a two-hour gap between the snack and the workout. This will prevent any erratic blood sugar spikes and drops, helping you maintain your energy throughout the workout. However, it is best to avoid this as a pre-workout snack because the amount of fibre in legumes can cause uncomfortable bloating and indigestion during your workout.
Milk And Dairy Products
Though milk is a must for a healthy diet, it might be a good idea to skip the glass right away before you hit the gym. Especially if you are lactose intolerant or sensitive to dairy products, steer clear of lactose-heavy dairy products like milk and soft cheeses as they could lead to intestinal cramping. Fats can be extremely slow burning and can lower the muscle absorption rates of other nutrients during workouts. Instead, add a scoop of your favorite protein powder to a glass of milk for the perfect protein and carb combo before a workout
While fruit juice does contain carbs and fluid, which are essential to keep you going during a workout, downing a glass of plain fruit juice might not be such a good idea. Fruits are high in fructose, a sugar that doesn’t digest quickly. This could cause stomach cramps, especially for those with irritable bowel syndrome. Instead of drinking plain fruit juice before a workout, consume it as a part of a meal or smoothie an hour before a workout.
Protein bars are the go-to snack before or after a workout. But many of us fail to understand that by choosing low-carb bars you are actually hindering your muscles from getting the required amount of energy. Depending on how intense your workout is, you will need carbs to compensate for the energy lost. Just opting for protein instead of carbs will not give you an immediate jolt, as protein burns at a slower rate. Another fact that many of us tend to forget is that protein bars are heavily loaded with sugar. This can trigger blood sugar spikes or crashes in some which can lead to fatigue, dizziness, energy crashes, and poor performance. If you are looking at something on the go, make sure that it offers up at least a healthy 50-50 split of sugar and fat content.
While a diet rich in salads and veggies is normally considered healthy, raw greens like kale, spinach, and broccoli can cause serious discomfort when consumed before a workout. Again, like in the case of beans, the high-fibre content of leafy green vegetables is almost guaranteed to cause abdominal discomfort. If you are looking for something light before a workout, then swap a salad for a smoothie. The best way to do it is to mix up your favourite fruit with a half a cup of greens, water, and some dried oats or granola. This will go down easier and will not cause unnecessary gas or bloating.