Foods That Are Ruining Your Workout from Foods That Are Ruining Your Workout

Foods That Are Ruining Your Workout

What people consume before a workout is often the difference between a successful training session and giving up after five minutes. How much protein, fats and carbs to eat is not rocket science and depends on many factors, one if which is the type of exercise. Many people think they are eating healthy by eating non-caloric sweetened beverages, consuming oatmeal with fruit for breakfast, skipping snacks between meals or eating high-sugar “health bars” as a snack prior to lunch, Meghan Doherty, BSN, and nutrition consultant for Madsweat, says. But all of these are hurting the body. Don’t doom your workout before you even start. Know the common and lesser-known diet mistakes so you can see results sooner.

Foods rich on fiber

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The body relies on glycogen to keep your blood sugar levels stable and maintain your energy. Thus, you don’t need much fiber. Foods that have a high carb/fiber ratio can irritate the digestive tract, which can become problematic prior to working out, Doherty says. A slow-digesting carbohydrate that contains 5-10 grams of fiber is necessary for pre-cardiovascular exercises. “I recommend eating the pre-workout meal containing fiber about 1-2 hours before workouts such as cardio and endurance training/sports,” Doherty adds. “It is also important to consume it with a healthy, unsaturated fat such as avocado with whole grain toast, oatmeal with nuts, or an apple with sunflower butter.”

Starchy or cruciferous veggies

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“Be warned that foods that contain starchy or cruciferous veggies – potatoes, squash, kale, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, and cauliflower – can cause problems if consumed before a long workout,” Doherty says. They are high in indigestible carbs and can cause bloating or gassiness. Also, they can interfere with the production of thyroid hormone. The thyroid can become enlarged and develop into a goiter.

Foods with prebiotic or corn fibers

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“It is also important to stay away from foods that contain prebiotic or corn fibers, as they too can cause inflammation of the gut,” Doherty says.

Energy bars and gel packs

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Energy bars and gel packs are not  necessary unless you are an endurance athlete or a marathon runner. “They contain aminos, carbs, sugar, and sodium and should be consumed right before or during a workout by such athletes,” Doherty says.  However, consuming that much sugar will spike your glucose and insulin levels, causing you to crash and crave carbs later. “If you are going to use a gel pack, I would not recommend eating any other carbohydrate in conjunction with it,” she adds.

Non-caloric sweetened beverages

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“Artificial sweeteners may not raise your glucose levels, but they disrupt your insulin levels and they also make your body crave more sugar,” Doherty says. Sucralose, for example, is  known to cause intestinal bloating and diarrhea.

Hummus and bean-based foods

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Bean-based foods are high in indigestible carbs that may cause uncomfortable gas and bloating. Chickpeas, the traditional main ingredient in hummus, can bloat the intestine because of the insoluble fibers that it contains. “The fiber content to carbohydrate content is equal in grams, so the body slowly digests it, leading to discomfort,” Doherty says. Hummus usually contains sodium as well, which makes you retain water, among other things

Milk and yogurt

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Low-fat, not skim, is a great source of calcium and protein, which is needed for muscle repair. That’s why milk is best to be consumed immediately following a workout, Doherty adds. It’s not a good idea right before a training session because it takes times to be digested. It can also cause cramps and discomfort. If the person exercising does not have any dairy or lactose intolerances, 16 ounces of milk or a whey isolate protein powder (which is a milk derivative) post-workout, helps to repair glycogen stores and reverses muscle catabolism, she says.

Hard-boiled eggs

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“I do not recommend hard-boiled eggs (which can help with wight loss) immediately prior to a workout, unless it is consumed about an hour before a strength training session,” Doherty says. “Since they do not contain any carbohydrates (and no fat without the yolk), hard-boiled eggs may weigh you down during a workout, rather than giving you a boost of energy,” she adds.

Protein bars

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If prior to working out you are going to consume a protein bar, it should include natural sugars, and not contain prebiotic fibers, to make up for their small amount of net carbs. For example, many “low net-carb” bars have 25 grams of carbs but 20 grams of fiber, so their net carbs equal 5 grams and can bloat the intestinal tract. Bars that are high in protein are good for post-workout but bars that contain all-natural ingredients such as nuts, dried berries and agave, are more beneficial before a workout than ones that have added sugars, protein and preservatives.

Unripe bananas

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Ripe bananas contain more sugars than unripe or green bananas, so they are beneficial for longer exercises. Brown spots on the skin indicate it’s in the ripe stage. “At this stage the sugar content will be absorbed easily. Otherwise, the unripe banana is in the starch stage and is more difficult to digest,” Doherty says.

Energy drinks

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While just a sip or two of caffeine can rev you up, an entire can of an energy drink will have you crashing after a few exercises. It has too much sugar. Your endothelial function is acutely worse after drinking energy beverage, according to a study. Cardiac blood vessels become sluggish and don’t open as well.

Soda

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Carbonated beverages cause gas and bloating. They also have either a lot of sugar or artificial sweeteners, which hurt your body in many different ways. The bubbles of extra air can lead to an upset stomach, and the sugar to energy highs and inevitable lows, causing a crash.

Green juices

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While drinking a green fresh juice may provide you with enough carbs for energy during your workout, you’ll also be getting all of the fiber that comes with it. This may lead to bloated stomach and indigestion as the stomach is still working on processing the fiber, which takes longer. This is especially true if you drink green juice that contains sulfur-rich vegetables like cruciferous veggies.

High-fat foods

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High-fat foods are a bad idea because they don’t provide you with energy. Converting fats into energy takes much longer than converting carbs into glucose which the muscles use. That’s why you may feel tired and sluggish during your training session. Don’t eat too much avocado, cheese, fish or nuts before exercising, even though they are healthy.

Spicy foods

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Some studies show that eating spicy foods can increase your metabolism, but don’t eat them before hitting the gym. The problem is that they can cause heartburn if they backwash into the esophagus and indigestion, leading to discomfort as you’re trying to move your body.

Foods That Are Ruining Your Workout