We all know that to get the max performance during a workout, we need to put the right stuff into our bodies! Diet — meaning the way you eat, is every bit as essential to your fitness goals as your regular workout routine.
Chowing down on a pre-workout snack is an effective way to make sure your body has the fuel it needs to move. You can’t drive a car on an empty gas tank and your body isn’t really any different. You must eat right in order to achieve max performance on training. Trouble is, there are lots of foods that are ordinarily incredibly good for you that may actually work against you when you’re busting out a sweat session. And the thing is, we’re all different. So, what may work for your workout buddy, may leave you feeling sluggish and nauseated or worse!
Deciding what foods work best for you may require a little trial and error but we do know there are some foods that are best avoided before your workouts
Flaxseeds are incredibly high in fiber which makes them excellent for regular bowl movements and keeping your GI tract healthy. But, you likely don’t want your bowels to start moving during your workout. Besides, if you are eating too many flaxseeds and not drinking enough water, you can become bloated and constipated. If you are going to eat flaxseed, keeping your serving size under 2 tablespoons can prevent a potentially nasty accident.
Smoothies make a great recovery drink but they can be iffy before your workout. If you aren’t careful with your ingredients, you may drinking a sugar bomb, disguised as a smoothie. This means your blood sugar levels will rise and then crash right in the middle of your workout, making it difficult for you to find the energy to continue. If you want a smoothie before your workout, give yourself at least 2 hours between the smoothie and your activity.
3. Nut Butters/Healthy Fats
If you eat too much fat before your workout, you are likely to feel sluggish and heavy. It takes fats far longer to digest and they don’t create glycogen, the energy source you use while exercising. Stay below 15 grams of fat before your workout. That’s about 1 tablespoon of nut butter or 2 large eggs.
Coffee, and other warm liquids like tea and lemon water, have been known to get your system moving. That’s right, like flaxseeds, coffee can get your bowels moving. So if you drink too much, or drink a cup too close to your workout, you may find yourself in less than pleasant circumstances. BUT, it has been suggested that caffeine can help you boost performance in your workout, so if you’d like to reap those benefits, without any of the negative side effects, give yourself 20 minutes between your last cup of coffee and the start of your workout.
Once again, it’s fiber that may cause some troubles here. Apples, and other high-fiber foods like whole grains, can cause distress in your GI tract making your workouts potentially a little riskier than normal. You are much safer snacking on foods with a slightly lower fiber content like apple sauce or rice cakes.
6. Sports Drinks
Sports drinks use sugars like xylitol, sorbitol, and isomalt and these are not fully absorbed by our digestive system so they can, in some people, lead to gas, cramps, bloating and diarrhea. You know enough to avoid refined sugar in your pre-workout snacks but these refined sugar alternatives are common place in sports drinks and sports bars. Make sure you are reading labels to avoid added sugars and unless you are doing something like running a marathon that requires a significant replenishment of electrolytes, stick to plain water.
Have you run into problems with any of these foods? What are you doing in order to achieve max performance on your training?