If you’ve been involved in the health and fitness world for any length of time, you likely know that your diet has a huge impact on your progress. And so, you rigorously work to make sure that your body is getting all the nutrients it needs to be properly fueled. Which is great.
What many people do not realize, though, is that even healthy, useful foods – when handled improperly – can have powerful negative effects on your workouts. Here are 10 otherwise acceptable foods to keep away from your workouts.
Avocado – While this is one amazing fruit, avocados are far from an ideal pre-workout snack. Foods that are high in fat, even the healthy kinds found in avocados, have been shown to decrease exercise performance and cause digestive problems during the activity. Not an ideal way to start your workout.
Flax seeds – The high fiber content that usually makes flax seeds so desirable is exactly the reason to avoid them prior to your workout. That fiber can cause gas and bloating, as well as an overall reduction in energy.
Yogurt – Even if you normally down all sorts of dairy without a problem, you may experience issues when it comes time to workout. The high protein content of yogurt means that it will likely sit in your stomach for a little longer than normal, too, creating more issues.
Green juices – Despite their stellar reputation, these juices are very rarely useful nutritional tools. Of course, it all depends on what goes into the juicer. Typically, you’ll end up with one of two styles of juice. Either it will be extremely high in sugar and low in fiber (if several fruits were tossed in a juicer) or high in fiber and low in carbohydrates (by blending greens). Neither of these is a great option. As discussed, the high fiber content will cause digestive problems. Elevated levels of sugars will leave you with low blood sugar and low energy. Too few carbohydrates means that you simply won’t have enough fuel to get through the workout. Of course, both options typically contain little-to-no protein, which is also no good.
Candy bars – A spike of sugar might sound like a great idea right before heading to the gym but… it’s not. Once that sugar hits your blood stream, you body is going to release tons of insulin to get the fuel where it needs to go. And this will happen quickly, leaving you to deal with a blood sugar crash and the resulting low energy.
Protein bars – Ignore what the packaging says, most protein bars are really just candy bars.
Spicy foods – Any spicy or highly seasoned food can cause heartburn and other digestive issues if eaten too soon before your workout. Most athletes opt for fairly bland meals as their preworkout fuel for this very reason.
Eggs – Again, it comes down to timing with eggs. Sure, they are loaded with protein but they also contain tons of fat and virtually no carbohydrates – not a balanced meal. If you must have eggs, just use the white and combine it with a low-fiber carbohydrate like rice or white bread.
Energy drinks – Although the caffeine in energy drinks might do you some good, there’s plenty of bad in these products. Sugar and artificial ingredients mean that you’ll be taking in a lot of what you don’t want or need to get a very small benefit.
Cheap whey – A quick, convenient protein source like whey is perfect pre-workout snack. Or, at least, it should be. Most whey products are made from poorly sourced whey and artificial ingredients – a combination that can cause digestive upset and low energy. Instead, grab a high-quality whey like Gnarly Whey, that’s made from grass-fed dairy and contains all-natural ingredients.