The key to the results you’re seeking is to be smart about your eating and drinking habits. Drink water to stay hydrated and balance out the foods you eat before and after your workout. Browse through our list of foods that typically derail your workout session and you could be that much closer to getting the results you want.
According to Torchia, “Protein is digested more slowly than carbs, so too much pre-workout can give you stomach cramps.” Instead, opt for a protein shake after your workout is over and skip the nasty stomachache.
Just like beginning your workout with too much food, not eating at all beforehand can lead to workout distress. Your body will be forced to break down muscle tissue and turn it into blood sugar. Eat a snack before working out and never work out on an empty stomach.
An energy bar is okay sometimes, but post-workout energy bar snacking may not be the smartest option. According to Torchia, “too many of these and you might eat back the calories you burned exercising. According to the American Council on Exercise, a study conducted by ConsumerLab showed that many manufacturers label their bars
There are two kinds of fat: good fat and bad fat. If you grab some of those good fats — think avocados or olive oil — your cells can heal and repair after a workout. Not getting enough of these after a workout can be damaging to any workouts focused on building muscle and stamina.
Think of all the delicious foods you can: creamy soups, milkshakes, fried chicken, greasy fries, and anything coated in butter or cheese. You have to take all of these off of your daily list, especially if you’re eating it before a workout. “If you eat a meal high in fat soon before your scheduled exercise session, you may feel slow and sluggish and develop an upset stomach.”
Sometimes the urge to grab something quick on your way to or from the gym is irresistible. Don’t fall for it! “Deep-fried, fatty snacks take longer to digest and can cause some serious stomach pains if eaten before a workout, not to mention slow you down. Stay away from fried, creamy, or decadent foods if you want to get the most out of your next sweat session.”
In the interest of being healthy, you might consider grabbing a handful of raw vegetables pre-workout to stay fit. However, these healthy foods are actually not great for making your workout effective. “Although these foods are healthy and will fill you up, they are high in fiber and can lead to gastrointestinal discomfort mid-workout. The last thing you want at the gym is an upset stomach, so avoid reaching for items like broccoli, cabbage, and other leafy greens before your workout.”
Water really is the only option when it comes to keeping your workout body hydrated. “Sports drinks and flavored juices might claim to give you energy and replenish your electrolytes, but there is something they're hiding — the truth. While these simple carbohydrates might give you a quick boost, guzzling the sugary stuff on a regular basis could leave you tired…”
Though many carbonated drinks contain caffeine, they are not a good source of energy for your workout. Torchia asks, “Did you know the excessive amounts of sugar commonly found in both [energy drinks and carbonated drinks] can wreak havoc on your digestive system? Both the carbonation and the high levels of caffeine deplete the body of important nutrients, making you more fatigued and in many cases causing upset stomachs and bowel problems.”