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We often advise you on what to eat before a workout. Eat lightly, include some protein and complex carbs, and make sure to hydrate!
But it’s equally important to know what not to eat before a workout. Exercise requires increased blood flow to the muscles, and this actually reduces the flow of blood to the stomach. So you don’t want to overtax your gastrointestinal tract with foods that are more difficult to digest. Plus, there are sometimes other effects that can result from eating these foods before a workout.
High-fat foods. If you want to indulge in very fatty foods, such as fried foods or dessert, you might think that working out afterward will at least burn off some of the calories. That might be true, but because these foods sit longer in your stomach, you could suffer some discomfort.
Some types of dairy, if you’re lactose intolerant. It probably goes without saying, but those who are lactose intolerant do sometimes indulge anyway. Indulging in a bit of soft cheese, milk, or ice cream certainly won’t do any long term damage, but right before a workout is not the time. If you’ve suffered the intestinal discomfort of lactose intolerance, you already know why. However, yogurt, kefir, and hard cheeses are often acceptable choices for many people.
High-fiber foods. In particular, beans are a bad idea for a pre-workout meal. Fiber is a good thing, of course, but right before a workout isn’t the time. Plus, certain high-fiber foods like beans can carry flatulence as a side effect – probably not what you want during yoga class!
Cruciferous veggies. Cruciferous veggies like broccoli contain a carbohydrate called raffinose, plus plenty of sulfur. Bloating and gas can result, and make your workout unnecessarily uncomfortable.
Spicy food. If you can handle spicy food without heartburn or other complications, go ahead. Everyone else might be wise to skip the Thai or Mexican food right before a strenuous workout.
Fruit juice. Fruit juice is high in fructose, which doesn’t digest quickly and can cause stomach cramps. Save the juice for an after-workout, rehydrating snack instead.
For more advice on what foods you should be eating before a workout, give us a call to discuss your weight loss plan. We can help you support your body as you pursue your health goals.