Avoid these Foods Before a Workout
Proper nutrition can make all the difference when it comes to optimizing workout performance, from fueling up prior to physical activity through recovery or discomfort, as digestion requires significant amounts of energy that diverts blood away from exercising muscles and towards digestion processes, leading to poor performance, slower recovery times and digestive discomfort.
Here are a few foods to avoid before exercising:
High-Fat Foods: Eating foods rich in fat such as fried food, fatty cuts of meat, and heavy sauces may take longer to digest and cause discomfort during your workout. Fat takes more time to be broken down than protein does and can leave a feeling of fullness in your stomach - hindering performance and impacting results.
High-Fiber Foods: Beans, lentils and certain vegetables that are high in fiber may take longer to digest and may result in gas or bloating during your workout, leading to discomfort that impedes performance at its best.
Spicy Foods: Eating spicy foods such as chili peppers or hot sauce can cause discomfort to the digestive system, such as heartburn and even indigestion, making exercising unpleasant. Therefore, it's wise to steer clear of spicy food prior to exercising in order to prevent any potential discomfort from this source.
Large Meals: Eating too many large meals directly before working out can leave you feeling lethargic and uncomfortable, which is why it is recommended that large meals should be consumed 1-2 hours before exercise for optimal digestion and avoid feeling overfull during physical activity.
Carbonated Beverages: Carbonated beverages like soda or sparkling water may lead to uncomfortable gas and bloat, which could hinder workout performance. Therefore, it's wise to limit carbonated drinks before exercising to prevent any discomfort or bloating that might arise during your session.
Sugary Foods: Candy, cookies and soda contain added sugars which can quickly spike blood sugar levels before quickly dropping back down again causing fatigue and energy drain during your workout session. Therefore it is wise to opt for healthier sources of carbohydrates before undertaking physical activities such as running.
Alcohol: Drinking too much alcohol dehydrates your body and impairs coordination, reaction time and cognitive function, which could diminish performance during exercise sessions. Therefore it's best to abstain from drinking alcohol prior to training so as to ensure optimal hydration levels during each workout session and maximize performance at its highest potential level.
As each digestive system differs in everyone, it's important to pay attention to what works for yours and experiment accordingly. Water should also be consumed prior, during, and post workout in order to maximize performance and support optimal performance. Should any specific dietary restrictions or concerns arise it would be best to speak with healthcare professional or registered dietitian who can offer tailored advice.
Written by: Dat Nguyen, PharmD
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