The Worst Foods to Eat Before a Workout

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The Worst Foods to Eat Before a Workout

The Worst Foods to Eat Before a Workout

The Worst Foods to Eat Before a Workout

Eating the right foods before you exercise can make all the difference in how well you work out, how long you last and even how you feel when you’re done. Choosing the wrong pre-workout food can leave you feeling like your workout was a waste of time, or even leave you feeling nauseous or with painful stomach cramps that keep you from finishing your workout at all. This list of foods to avoid before working out will help you build a diet that gives your body the energy it needs to finish strong and burn off fat faster.

 High-Fiber foods

Although fiber-rich foods are known to aid digestion, sports nutritionists don't recommend them before exercise. Fiber slows the emptying of food from your stomach, which can prevent you from feeling hungry and energized after your workout. Plus, if you're planning on having a post-workout meal, the fiber will slow down digestion even more. You want to make sure that everything is digested by the time you have your first bite. Avoid any high-fiber foods before or during your workout, including legumes (beans), lentils, nuts and seeds, vegetables (except cucumbers), fruit (except watermelon).

High-Fat foods

High-fat meals take longer to digest, which can delay energy release. Plus, the fat in high-fat meals can make you feel heavy and sluggish during your workout, making it more difficult to stick with your routine.

 Not only that, but fat is harder for your body to digest than protein and carbohydrates. Digestion takes extra energy—energy that could be used for exercise if you eat enough protein and carbs. In addition, research shows that people who eat low-fat meals report higher physical activity levels than those who consume high-fat meals.

Spicy Foods

It’s best to avoid spicy foods for up to 24 hours before your workout. Spicy foods are known to be more difficult for the stomach to digest and may cause gastrointestinal distress, making it difficult for you to give your all in the gym. Plus, spicy foods can also upset your stomach and make you feel bloated.

Consuming too much of any type of food in general is bad before working out, but particularly so when it comes to eating spicy foods. Spicy foods are known for causing gastrointestinal distress and may make you feel nauseous or lightheaded. It’s best if you give your stomach time to adjust so that any problems won’t be as intense.

Dairy Products

Many people have the misconception that high-protein dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt are healthy to consume before working out.Nutritionists advise people (especially those with lactose intolerance) to avoid dairy products before working out. 

This is because the protein content in milk can lead to bloating and discomfort for some people, making it difficult to work out effectively. If you do want to eat dairy before working out, opt for yogurt as it has less lactose than other dairy products. In addition, high-fat foods before exercise are not recommended because they may cause stomach pain and cramps.

Carbonated Beverages

Sports experts discourage soft drinks, as they increase carbon dioxide in gut, cause upset stomach. Plus, carbonated beverages are full of sugar and artificial sweeteners that will leave you feeling lethargic.

 Sports experts suggest you should avoid carbonated beverages like colas and sports drinks like Gatorade for several reasons. First of all, these drinks are full of sugar, sodium, phosphates and other chemicals that can be hard on your stomach. While they may seem appetizing before your workout, sipping soda can upset your stomach or give you indigestion while you're trying to burn off calories. Secondly, even though they are filled with electrolytes and water, soft drinks aren’t good substitutes for water or nutritious foods while exercising because they do not hydrate you or help build strong muscles.


Pastries, cakes, cookies and ice cream are all on the no list. They're high in sugar and fat, which can make you feel sluggish and tired during your workout. The other thing to be aware of is that these foods don't leave you feeling full, which means you'll have less energy after eating them. There are plenty of healthier alternatives like fruits, nuts, plain yogurt or even whole-grain bread.

 When you work out, your body uses carbs as an energy source. If you eat refined carbs like pastries, cakes and cookies (which is easy to do because they are delicious) right before working out, your blood sugar levels will spike.

Energy Drinks

Most experts advise against drinking energy drinks due to their high sugar content. Energy drinks are usually loaded with caffeine, sugar, and other ingredients that make it easy to overdo it. Plus, the sugar leads to an energy crash that leaves you feeling more sluggish than energized. The high amount of caffeine can also cause an uncomfortable jittery feeling that makes it difficult to focus on your workout.

 Yes, some energy drinks have additional ingredients that may make them useful during exercise (e.g., taurine), but they don’t take away from their high sugar content.

Alcoholic Drinks

Alcoholic beverages have diuretic properties and even cause dehydration, which reduces body composition. In addition, alcohol decreases muscle strength and power output and impairs coordination, which can affect the quality of your workout.

 The vitamins and minerals found in fruit juice contain calories, which can also reduce your body composition. The best approach is to eat fruits or vegetables directly instead of drinking them as juices. Water is much better than either juice or alcohol beverages before you start working out, as it helps you hydrate and also curbs hunger. Opt for water over any other beverage before hitting the gym or going for a jog.


There are many potential health benefits to avoiding certain foods. Avoiding these foods before a workout can make your muscles feel less sore, which means you'll be able to exercise more often and for longer periods of time.

  The worst foods to eat before exercise include protein, milk, sugar and certain carbohydrates. A healthy diet will help you avoid feeling overly sore after a workout. As such, try eating lots of fruits and vegetables along with lean meat so that your body can recover quickly.


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