Eating before a workout is just as important as eating after a workout. In fact, the right pre workout meal can help you have a better workout and help prevent problems such as low energy, dehydration or general ill feelings after a good workout. The following guide will help you understand why it’s important to get a good pre workout meal in before you exercise, as well as what foods to avoid and what foods make for the very best pre workout meal possible.
Why You Should Eat Before a Workout?
Eating before a workout is essential in order to have the proper amount of energy to complete a healthy exercise session. If you don’t eat before a workout, your blood sugar levels might become too low or fluctuate too much, resulting in dizziness and general weakness that will make it hard to keep up the workout pace.
Another reason why you need to eat before you workout is to improve your overall exercise and athletic performance. The right foods can actually help you improve your workout results in the long run, depending on what type of exercise you are doing.
Foods to Avoid Before a Workout
There are some foods you should generally avoid before a workout, no matter what type of exercise you’ll be doing or your general fitness level. These foods can make you feel sluggish or cause spikes or drops in your blood pressure that will make exercise more difficult.
As a general rule of thumb, you’ll want to avoid these foods in the 1-3 hours leading up to your workout:
Foods high in fiber or sulfur compounds on their own. Foods that are particularly high in fiber (such as beans) or high in sulfur compounds (such as broccoli and cabbage) should not be eaten on their own before a workout. This is because these foods–while healthy and an essential part of a nutritious diet–will cause your stomach to work overtime, which is something you’ll want to avoid when your blood is pumping hard during exercise. Eating them with other foods to help combat the potential digestive problems (such as eating broccoli with chicken or mixing spinach into a protein smoothie) is the best way to get the benefits of these healthy options without the digestive drawbacks.
Dairy. Even if you aren’t lactose intolerant, you should avoid heavy dairy before a workout (such as cream, cream cheese, soft cheese and ice cream) as this may cause an upset stomach during your workout. Stick to dairy milk or almond milk, especially if you’ll be consuming them as part of a protein packed smoothie.
Fried and/or fatty foods. Heavy, fried and fatty food will mess with your blood sugar levels while causing problems with your digestive tract, which is definitely something you want to avoid right before a workout. While it can be tempting to load up on a burger or something heavy before a workout, you’ll want to avoid anything that’s high in fats and oils