Don’t Eat These 10 Foods Before a Workout, Eat These 10 Instead

Don’t Eat These 10 Foods Before a Workout, Eat These 10 Instead

Knowing how to fuel your body before a workout is crucial for a good gym session. The last thing you want is to chow down on something that leaves you bloated or fatigued, which is why we’ve put together a list of 10 foods to avoid before a workout and 10 that are beneficial to indulge in. 

1. Fast Food

Fast food comes with all kinds of stuff you don’t need before a workout: high fat, empty calories, loads of sugar, and plenty of grease. All of this can leave you bloated or tired, neither of which helps you pump iron. 

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2. Heavy Protein

While protein does boost a workout, too much beforehand can do the opposite. Heavier protein-rich meals can sit in your stomach, which means your body wastes energy trying to digest rather than fueling your workout. 

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3. Carbonated Drinks

It’s important to stay hydrated at the gym, but carbonated drinks aren’t the smartest choice. All those bubbles can lead to uncomfortable gas, bloating, or even stomach cramps. 

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4. Raw Vegetables

Just about any other time, vegetables are great for you—they’re loaded with vitamins and fiber and who doesn’t want that in their system? However, raw veggies are best avoided before a workout because the high fiber content leads to bloating and gas. Broccoli, cauliflower, and kale are all good examples of things to avoid.

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5. Energy Drinks

Energy drinks aren’t the worst thing before a workout, you just need to consume them properly. They often come packed with sugar, too much of which is a bad thing before the gym, so avoid them right before exercising—an energy drink about an hour before your workout is better than 10 minutes before. 

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6. Beans

Remember how we talked about the fiber in veggies? Well, beans and lentils have lots of it, too, so avoid them pre-workout. They can cause the same kind of digestive problems such as bloating and cramps, not to mention the potential for gas.

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7. Nuts

Nuts can be difficult to digest, especially before a strenuous gym session. Some people have an easier time with them, or even incorporate a handful into their pre-workout snack, but nuts are high in fat and should be consumed a few hours before exercise.

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8. Dairy Products

Dairy products like cheese and milk can lead to bloating and gas, especially for the lactose intolerant. The last thing you want on the treadmill is a stomach cramp, so veer away from dairy beforehand. 

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9. Granola Bars

Granola bars are hardly an ideal pre-workout snack. The reason mainly stems from the high sugar content—a lot of sugar before the gym leads to a significant crash down the line, so indulge in something else. 

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10. Spicy Foods

No one snacks on jalapenos before the gym (we hope), but a spicy lunch won’t go down any smoother. Indigestion and heartburn are just two major grievances to deal with, either of which makes for a less effective workout. 

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That said, there are plenty of beneficial pre-workout snacks that only up your game.


1. Bananas

Reach for a banana before your next workout for a snack that’s not only easy on your stomach, but also loaded with nutrients and potassium. They also provide just enough energy to get you through your session without causing a crash. 

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2. Fruit Smoothies

If you need something more filling, fruit smoothies provide the energy and nutrients you need to get in a good workout session. You can also include whatever you like and take it with you, making smoothies a highly convenient snack as well. 

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3. Candy

Believe it or not, a bit of candy can actually be a good thing. While you may not want to down an entire chocolate bar, a couple of gummy worms or some sour candy give a nice surge before more intensive workouts. 

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4. Apples

Reach for an apple to stay strong. They’re simple snacks full of water, fiber, and carbs that help you get the most out of your set. 

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5. Whole Grains

Whole grains provide longer-lasting energy that doesn’t wear off once your barbell hits the floor. They can also be eaten with a touch of jam or honey drizzle for a sweet addition, so feel free to dig in.

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6. Greek Yogurt

While you should keep away from some dairy, that doesn’t mean all of it is bad for you. A bit of Greek yogurt with fresh fruit is a well-rounded snack full of energy and protein. It’s not very filling either, making it an optimal pre-workout choice. 

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7. Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is a terrific blend of healthy fats and protein, both of which can help you squeeze in a good gym session. Not only that, but it keeps energy up and wards off hunger.

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8. Coffee

You may think coffee isn’t an ideal choice, especially because it has the potential to cause stomach upset or more bathroom breaks. However, depending on your relationship with it, coffee is actually encouraged pre-workout to keep you alert and boost metabolism.

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9. Dry Fruit

If you don’t have any fresh fruit, dried fruit is the next best thing. Dried apricots or raisins are a good source of natural sugars, meaning you get a healthy burst of energy. 

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10. Trail Mix

Trail mix brings the best of both worlds together—dried fruit and nuts offer all kinds of protein and healthy fats. Just remember that nuts can take longer to digest, so be sure you munch at least an hour or two before the gym.

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