You might have read about the tons of recommendations for the right food to eat prior to your workout regimen but tend to forget the foods that might be hurting your fitness goals. Don’t freak out, though, we got you covered. National Wrestling Champion Keith McNiven and some health experts give us some insight into the kind of foods you should avoid munching on before every workout as well as the best foods to consume after.
Worst Foods You Should Never Eat Prior to Your Workout
1. Fried and Fatty Foods
I know you’ve already heard it, fried and fatty foods aren’t good for your health because of its saturated fat contents. But from time to time, indulging on these foods seem not to hurt. Unless you’re on your way to your training. Foods like burgers, fries, and pizzas are hard to digest, which means they prevent your body from preparing itself for your workout. They may even increase the likelihood of bloating or cramping during your workout. Surely, you don’t want that to happen.
2. Spicy Foods
Another type of food that is harder to digest are the spicy ones. Because they take enough time to digest, you will run the risk of heartburn and cramps when eating them pre-workout.
3. Nutty foods
Though nuts are considered to contain good fats, they still take time to digest. Meaning, your body wouldn’t be prepared enough to aid you in pushing yourself to your limits because it’s busy digesting the nuts that you’ve consumed earlier.
4. Fiber-rich foods
Foods high in fiber are great for your health goals. But when it comes to your pre-workout, it’s best to avoid them. Whole grains, vegetables, and some fruits are difficult to digest and make you feel full. Cruciferous veggies like bok choy, cabbage, and cauliflower contain sulfur compounds that can cause gas. Avoid them altogether to prevent feelings of discomfort during your workout.
5. Dairy foods
People who are especially intolerant to certain foods like lactose should not include dairy products in their meals before a workout to avoid the likelihood of intestinal cramping. Lactose-free milk, kefir, hard cheese, and yogurt are your best options because they are safer than soft cheese and milk.
6. Sugary foods
Desserts like pastries, doughnuts, and ice cream are loaded with hard to digest sugar. They also have high-fat contents that will prevent your body from performing at its best.
Beans are good for the body but not when you’re prepping yourself for your workout. Beans are a rich source of the carbohydrate raffinose, which is hard to digest.
Worst Drinks to Avoid Before a Workout
1. Fruit juices
While pure fruit juices are hydrating, still they’re not recommended to be consumed before your workout. It’s because of its sugar contents that are hard to digest. They can also cause discomfort to people who have intolerance with fructose. However, orange juice or tart cherry can give you the needed vitamins and minerals for recovery. Just make sure to consume them an hour before your workout. They can also be best taken after your exercise to refuel your body.
2. Alcoholic drinks
Keeping your body hydrated should be your main concern before a workout. This means avoiding drinks that are prone to dehydrate your body like alcohol, which has diuretic properties that suppress fat oxidation.
3. Sports drinks
Energy drinks might contain vitamins and electrolytes that can give your body a boost but because of its high sugar content, it makes it a less ideal drink when you’re about to go to the gym. The high sugar might cause you an energy crash after your workout. You can opt instead for a glass of additive-free tomato juice. It contains potassium and sugars that can refresh your body and even lower your blood pressure.
4. Carbonated drinks
Don’t give in to the temptation of these drinks when you’re planning a workout, and never buy the idea that these drinks can increase your alertness and improve your performance. The truth is they contain sodium that draws water out of the cells of your body. Instead of hydrating, you are actually dehydrating yourself when consuming these fizzy drinks, which is very crucial in your workout. Aside from that, its gassy bubbles might cause you abdominal pains while exercising.
Best Foods for Recovery After a Workout
1. Whole eggs
Research has found that eating whole eggs after a workout can aid your body in muscle recovery. The nutrients in the yolk, like healthy fats, vitamins, phosphorous, and iron provide your worn muscles with high-quality protein.
2. Ricotta cheese
A one-half cup serving of ricotta provides your body about 14 grams of milk protein and whey protein, which contains the essential amino acid needed for the growth of new muscle. On the other hand, a combination of whey protein and carb can strengthen your bones.
3. Smoked salmon
Salmon, like sardines and mackerel, is rich in omega 3 fatty acids, which can help you delay the onset of muscle soreness. Omega 3 fats are also found to increase muscle protein synthesis. A three-ounce sliced salmon will definitely do it.
4. Cottage cheese
While Greek yogurt has been proven to build and maintain muscles after a workout, cottage cheese also works the same. Cottage cheese is even found to have more protein gram for gram.
5. Sweet potato
Carbs are your best friends when it comes to post-workout recovery. Potatoes, grains, and fruits help maintain the levels of your immune system after hard training. Besides, your body will utilize these carbs as energy without storing them as fats.
6. Whole grain bread
As we have mentioned earlier, carbs help your muscles to refuel itself. Those that are found in whole grain bread are great in replenishing your worn-out muscles. You can munch on an egg salad sandwich, which contains the fiber and protein that your body badly needs.
7. Herbal tea
Herbal tea works much better than water in recovering from an intense workout. Yerba mate tea, for example, contains phenol antioxidants and other naturally occurring stimulants that not only aid in your recovery but also boost your energy.