If you’re getting ready to hit the gym, you want to be sure that you’re getting the best out of your workout. Not only does this mean wearing the right clothing and knowing what you’re doing with the equipment, you also need to eat the right food before you start pumping iron.
Eating the wrong foods before hitting the gym can mean that you’re left feeling tired, experience cramps or are just too full to perform at your best. However, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t eat before exercising, as this can cause the same issues.
Instead, it is all about knowing what foods you should avoid. Here are a few things that aren’t great for eating before working out:
Yes, they may help you feel more awake, alert and energised, but energy drinks can also leave you feeling a bit worse for wear if you consume them before going to the gym. While the caffeine they contain will get you raring to go, these drinks are also chock full of sugar, which will make your workout crash in no time.
You may think that sugar-free varieties are the way to go, but the amount of caffeine in these drinks can really affect your sleep pattern, especially if you’re consuming them in the afternoon or evening. Not sleeping properly will also wreck your workout, so avoid energy drinks if you can.
Eggs may be full of protein, which is key for repairing your muscles after exercising, however, they aren’t a suitable pre-workout diet due to the fact they don’t provide any carbohydrates for energy. Eating eggs before you head to the gym could also leave you feeling a bit sick, as they tend to sit in the stomach for a while after eating them, which really isn’t a great feeling.
If you want to get some fruit into your diet before you work out, you’re better off eating it rather than drinking it. Fruit juice has no fibre – even if you’ve just freshly squeezed it – and is really high in sugar, which will make you crash. Juice goes through your system a lot quicker than fruit so you won’t feel its benefits for long and could end up feeling a lot worse for wear.
The same goes for store-bought smoothies, which often have extra sugar and fat added in. If you want to drink fruit before you go to the gym, make your own smoothie with a good mix of fruit and vegetables for extra fibre and add a scoop of protein powder.
They may contain ‘good’ monounsaturated fat, but avocados are not great for eating right before a workout. While they will give you energy, they are slow to digest and will sit on your stomach, weighing you down. This can make you feel ill, cause cramps, result in indigestion and generally just make you feel uncomfortable.
Ideally, you should avoid eating avocados and other foods that are high in fat in the two hours before you go to the gym. This will give them time to digest.
A lot of pre-made protein shakes have added sugar and dairy products, which aren’t good for your workout. You should read the labels of any protein shakes before you buy them to ensure they don’t have sugar or milk fillers in them, which reduces the amount of protein they contain.
While sugar can make you crash before your exercise really begins, extra dairy intake can cause bloating and fatigue. This means that the protein shake you thought was doing you a favour could actually destroy your workout.