When it comes to working out, it’s important to point out that everyone is different when it comes to food sensitivities. What doesn’t agree with some, works out just fine for others. Something that we all have in common, however, is that the food we decide to consume is used as fuel and energy for activity.
Here are 5 foods that are likely to cause some tummy troubles during exercise.
Why? The combination of spice, fiber, acid, and thickness. The acid from the peppers and spices might be a risk for acid reflux or gas. The thick texture might feel like a brick in the bottom of your stomach, and if you don’t like your chili Texas-style (without beans), it’s likely to contain high amounts of fiber. Depending on the amount and source of the fiber, it could influence the speed of your digestion.
Why? Grease and salt. Greasy food can cause an upset stomach, diarrhea, or can just make you feel slow and lethargic during a workout. When eating mozzarella sticks before a workout, you are more likely to retain water due to the high sodium level which will make you feel full and bloated. Not a good combination during a workout.
Why? Sugar, carbonation, and no nutritional value. Not a food, but still not a good idea to put in your body before exercise. Soda does not contain anything that will improve your workout and is loaded with sugar. The high sugar content can cause a sugar crash before your workout is complete and the carbonation in the soda can also cause stomach cramps and nausea.
Why? Feeling full, heavy, and lethargic. If you have overeaten before a workout, you might not make that mistake again. Overeating can cause cramping, feeling heavy, lethargic, tired, and can even change your mood. Be mindful of the amount of food or beverage you are consuming before exercise, especially when you are very hungry.
Why? No fuel and low blood sugar. Exercising on an empty stomach is called fasted cardio. It is a controversial practice and studies have shown mixed results. The idea is that if you exercise first thing in the morning before eating breakfast, it will help with weight loss by using fat as energy instead of the food you’ve recently eaten. It has also been shown to use protein as fuel which can hinder your body’s repair and recovery from exercise. When you exercise on an empty stomach, you run the risk of feeling lightheaded, nauseous, shaky and having low energy.
Ideally, you would have a full meal 2-3 hours before your workout, however if you are running short on time—what you eat should be light, easy to digest, and composed mostly of carbohydrates and protein.
Some good examples of a great pre-workout snack an hour before include
- Rice cake, peanut butter, and banana
- Greek yogurt and a piece of fruit
- A protein bar that is light in sugar, sodium, and minimally processed