Exercise isn’t always pretty. While it can make you look and feel like a million bucks, healthy eating and intense exercise can bring about side effects that are less than comfortable and less than glamorous. If you are an avid runner, you may be familiar with digestional cramping brought on by exercise. Gas, bloating and cramping can be made worse by what you eat before you set out for your workout. What you eat can also effect your energy, the effectiveness of your workout and the, ahem, air quality for fellow gym go-ers.
Here are 6 foods that, while mostly healthy, should not be eaten before exercise for a more comfortable workout.
Hummus– Beans and bean based foods like hummus can create a lot of gas and bloating in your system. While beans, beans, they’re good for the heart, avoid clearing out the cardio room 10 minutes into your treadmill session by saving them for later.
Green bananas and raw veggies– As long as you are ditching the healthy hummus dip, avoid the raw veggies you eat with it as the 1-2 gas punch to your gut will leave you doubled over in pain. Raw veggies and under ripe fruit, like green bananas, up the gas factor in your stomach. While cooked veggies can still make you a little gassy and should be saved for after exercise, ripe bananas make a great pre-workout snack. Green bananas are tough to digest, but ripe, soft bananas are perfect.
Hard boiled eggs– Eggs have a reputation for causing gas, but this isn’t the only reason they aren’t a good pre-workout snack. Hard boiled eggs have no carbohydrates, which is the fuel your body needs to perform at its best. They are packed with protein, however, which makes them a great muscle building post workout snack. Skip the yolk for less fat and cholesterol.
Spicy food– If you think you are going to burn off that spicy tuna roll you had at lunch with a stop at the gym on the way home, think again. While you can definitely scorch the calories, the spicy sushi may burn you back. Spicy foods that haven’t had a chance to digest can cause heartburn and stomach discomfort when jostled and churned up in your stomach, like during a workout. Save the spice for later in the day.
Flavored coffees– Coffee is a good boost of energy to have before your workout, as the caffeine has been found to improve performance, but if you think your froo-froo flavored coffee is going to do the trick, think again. Coffee flavored with syrups, even the sugar free kind, wreak havoc on digestion. All the artificial sweeteners will bloat you out and eventually be released. Stick with black coffee for your pre-workout boost.
Energy drinks– Energy drinks can keep you alert, but they are one of the worst things you can drink before exercise. Much like flavored coffee, these sweetened drinks will fill your intenstines up with gas causing bloating and fatigue. It is best to stay away from these drinks completely, as they do nothing but dehydrate your body and set you up for an energy crash later in the day.