While it’s important to fuel your body before exercising, there are some foods that can play havoc with a person’s performance by making them feel tired, bloated, and even promoting stomach cramps. And experts at Barbend have revealed the unsuspecting healthy foods that should be avoided.
They explained: “Before exercise it’s important to fuel your body with the right foods in order to reap the benefits and power your work out.
“Many people don’t realise how the foods we eat directly before can affect our performance.
“Foods high in sugar alter your blood sugar levels, which could leave you feeling sluggish mid-workout.”
They added: “At the same time high-fat foods like avocado take longer to digest, meaning your body is working hard on that instead of providing power for your workout.”
Foods people should avoid eating before exercising – and what to eat instead:
Despite being high in protein, eating eggs just before a workout isn’t the best option.
This is because they don’t have enough carbs for balanced energy and the body digests them more slowly, which means people may feel heavier during their workout.
Other side effects include stomach cramps and even diarrhoea.
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Often sold in gyms, protein bars may sound like a good pre-workout snack but what people don’t know is that they can leave them feeling fatigued, instead of giving them that desired energy boost.
Barbend’s experts revealed a lot of protein bars are packed with “hidden calories, sugar, and artificial sweeteners”.
And they don’t contain as much protein as people might think.
“Before you pick one up, analyse the protein content,” the nutritional experts advised.
“If it contains less than nine grams of protein, it’s not going to benefit you before a workout.
“Instead, look for options with natural ingredients, that won’t cause your blood sugar to drop shortly after.”
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Similarly to protein bars, smoothies are full of sugar.
This can cause blood sugar levels to spike and dramatically drop, which isn’t ideal if a person is in the middle of a strenuous workout.
While veggies are full of fibre which is good for digestive health, fibre before a workout can cause an upset stomach.
The experts recommended: “Try to stay clear of high fibre veggies like broccoli and cauliflower before a workout.
“Instead, stick to those that go a little easier on your tummy like potatoes or asparagus.”
Considered a superfood, its high-fat content could have a huge impact on a person’s workout.
The experts warned that even if it is consumed three hours before a workout, it still “isn’t a great option”.
“Foods that are high in fat can take over four hours for the body to fully digest,” they said.
“[This] means if you’re tucking shortly before exercise, your body is still hard at work because the food sits in your stomach for a longer period of time and it can also cause stomach pain and tiredness.”
This is due to the body using its energy to support digestion instead of fuelling the workout.
Instead, people can monitor their intake of unsaturated fats instead – a small handful of almonds, or a tablespoon of peanut butter on wholegrain toast are great options before exercise.
Barbend’s experts revealed individuals should fuel their body with a combination of quality carbohydrates and a small amount of protein.
“An apple with peanut butter, or an unripe banana make great options,” they said.
“It’s also important to ensure, alongside your pre-workout snack that you’ve consumed a balanced meal two to three hours beforehand.”