When you head to the gym, you want to be able to work out at your peak performance levels. Eating a proper meal along with taking the appropriate supplements can give you this extra boost of power. There are also ways you can hinder your performance, and eating the wrong foods before working out is one of them.
What Pre-Workout Foods Should I Avoid Before Going to the Gym?
Whether the pre-workout foods you eat cause bloating, don't provide enough energy, physically hurt you, or just plain make you stink, you need to know what foods to avoid. Skip any of the foods on this list, and you will have one less thing to worry about the next time you head to the gym.
Foods That Will Make You Bloated
Whenever your stomach feels full due to gas, you are likely experiencing bloating. Bloating is usually caused by eating ingredients that easily ferment inside the intestine. Any of the ingredients containing sugary carbohydrates listed on the FODMAP diet are ones that you should avoid to prevent bloating. FODMAP stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols, which are the main causes of bloat.
- Oligosaccharides — Found in high quantities in beans, garlic, legumes, onions, and wheat.
- Disaccharides — These are in ingredients that contain lactose like ice cream, milk, and yogurt.
- Monosaccharides — You'll find these primarily in fruits that contain a lot of fructose, like apples and pears.
- Polyols — Polyols are sugar alcohols and are common in apricots, cauliflower, nectarines, plums, and a lot of candies.
Foods That Won't Give You Energy
While you can usually make it through a workout with some other symptoms, although uncomfortably, not having energy will end your workout before it even begins. Avoid these energy-sapping foods, and you'll have the energy to power through your next workout.
- Processed grains — The body performs its best when it gets foods in their natural form, not from overprocessed ingredients. When grains get stripped of their outer layer called the bran, your body digests them quickly and gets a quick sugar boost followed by a crash that will leave you tired. Avoid processed grains in foods like white bread, white pasta, and white rice, and stick to whole grains when you can.
- Added Sugars — Any foods with added sugars also cause a spike of energy followed by a quick crash. Added sugars are commonly found in breakfast foods like cereal, granola, muffins, yogurt, and even juice. If you are doing an early morning workout, try to avoid sugar beforehand.
- Fried Foods — Fried foods come loaded with fat and usually don't contain much fiber. The combination of these two things leads to much slower digestion times. Fried foods are commonly low in vitamins and nutrients as well. These factors make them something you should definitely skip before going to the gym.
- Alcohol — Whether you have a drink before going to the gym or just at night, alcohol will definitely decrease your energy levels. Having just one drink can make you drowsy, which is not what you want before working out. It also decreases your quality of sleep, which is bad for you in the long run.
Foods That Make You Stink
Whether an ingredient you eat makes your sweat smell or just gives you gas, no one will want to work out with you if you stink. Your fellow gym-goers will appreciate it if you pass on these foods beforehand and will be more likely to offer you a spot.
- Allium vegetables — These vegetables, like garlic, leeks, onions, and scallions, contain large amounts of sulfur-containing compounds. Once these compounds get digested, they can seep out of your pores when you sweat and also cause bad breath.
- Leafy greens — Leafy greens are high in sulfur as well, but instead of coming out through your pores like alliums, they mostly cause gas. If you eat greens like broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, or collards, cook them first to make them a little easier to digest.
- Beans and legumes — You've probably heard the song that starts with "Beans, beans the magical fruit" as a child, but this statement does hold true. Beans and legumes like peas and lentils are high in fiber and complex sugar, both of which can increase gassiness.
- Strong spices — If you eat food that contains strong-smelling spices like curry powder, cumin, or horseradish, they can leech out through your pores in your sweat and make you stink.
Foods That Can Hurt You
Each person's body is different. Some people have reactions to foods that can trigger painful conditions like acid reflux, vomiting, or even just an upset stomach.
- Spicy foods — If you suffer from acid reflux or GERD, any foods that contain spicy ingredients like hot sauce or hot peppers can trigger increased acid production.
- Beverages — Carbonated or contain caffeine-containing beverages can aggravate the stomach lining, making it uncomfortable to exercise.
- Citrus fruit — Fruits like grapefruits and oranges contain a ton of acid on their own, and this will make your acid reflux symptoms even worse.
- Tomatoes — Avoid any dishes that contain tomatoes or tomato sauce like pasta, pizza, or even just salsa before working out. They are very acidic and will cause you to suffer at the gym.
- Fast food — Unless you are ordering a salad when you go through the drive-thru, your meal is likely loaded with fat. Fat can easily cause an upset stomach and make you feel like you're weighed down.
Workout Better by Avoiding These Pre-Gym Foods
If you don't have the energy for your workout or just feel bloated, gaseous, or have painful symptoms, it's a sign that you should change your pre-workout foods. Once you adjust your diet, you can hit the gym without worries and see your energy levels rise and your symptoms go away. Another way to get a boost to your workout is by visiting TigerFitness.com. We can provide you with workout gear, supplements, and diet and training plans so you can get the most out of your workouts.