Cut these foods from your pre-workout meals

Cut these foods from your pre-workout meals

A lot of gym rats are concerned with, and rightfully so, which foods are best before a workout. Fruits? Whey protein powder? Nothing?

But what not to eat is an equally important consideration many gym-goers aren’t mindful of. Exercise requires large volumes of blood to energize working muscles, and coincidentally, blood flow through the stomach is impaired during exercise. Eating incorrectly will force your stomach to work harder, meaning less blood, and therefore less energy fueling your muscles.

Avoid these foods for a solid workout experience.

Cruciferous Veggies

What are cruciferous vegetables? Think bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage and cauliflower.

There’s no doubt these veggies have a place in your diet, seeing as they’re extremely healthy and contain anti-cancer properties. Having said that, they’re best enjoyed after a workout. Their sulfur-containing compounds are known to cause gas in people (see: rotten egg aroma).

They’re also high in the aforementioned raffinose, making cruciferous veggies a double whammy of digestive distress.


You know the saying: beans, beans, the magical fruit, the more you eat, the more you…well, you know.


Dropping pre-workout fiber bombs simply isn’t good practice for exercise (nor is it considerate to other people with noses). You’ll feel stomach aches, bloating, and uncomfortable when moving. Additionally, upset stomachs are generally the result of the indigestible carbohydrate raffinose, which beans are a rich source of.

Related: Fitness food: the right way to prepare for exercise

Spicy foods

Forget about stopping at your favourite pho or pad thai restaurant before the gym. Spicy foods can cause heartburn, the last thing you want in a workout. It’s actually best to avoid spicy stuff for up to 24 hours before exercise, giving your GI tract a breather. Opt for bland, easy-to-digest foods instead.

If spicy foods and everything else featured on this list is what you religiously eat before exercise, here are five quick meal ideas that’s ideal food fuel for the gym:

  • Oatmeal with fresh berries & nut butter
  • Turkey sandwich with whole-grain bread
  • Banana-and-peanut-butter bagel
  • Rice bowl with (non-cruciferous) vegetables & chicken or salmon
  • Yogurt/smoothie bowl

Photo Credit: Natalia Klenova/; Kerdkanno/

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