20 Foods that Will Ruin Your Workout

Maximizing Your Workout Energy

There’s a ton of great advice on this blog on what you should eat before your workout (such as my popular Morning Pre-Workout Meals). But what about the foods you should avoid?

One of the first things I try to get new clients to understand is just how important the right nutrition and food choices are for workout success. And it’s your pre-workout food choices that matter the most, because that’s the time you have to give your body exactly what it needs to work hard and recover quickly. Unfortunately a chocolate bar is not part of this list as much as we all wish it was!

So this is my quick and dirty list of foods to avoid before working out…

20 Foods to Avoid Eating Before Your Workout

Flaxseeds – They’re generally a healthy food choice, but with all that fiber, they can cause a lot of bloating that will slow down your workout.

Hummus – It’s one of my favorite snacks, but this is another food that’s likely to cause gas and bloating, which is a serious energy-killer.

Energy Gel Packs – They sound like a good idea, but unless you’re an athlete, you’re not going to burn off all that sugar, and it’s just going to disrupt your blood sugar levels later on.

Dairy Products – There’s a lot of evidence to suggest that dairy can drain your energy during a workout, whether by disrupting digestion or making you feel tired.

Flavored Water – Anything with artificial sweeteners should be avoided before a workout. They interfere with optimal digestion and can leave your body without the nutrients it needs.

Salty Foods – Too much salt can disrupt the fluid-balance of your body, and that’s important when it comes to maximizing results.

Unripe Bananas – Bananas are one of my favorite pre-workout snacks, but make sure you avoid the green ones. They’re going to be more difficult to digest during your workout and will have a low GI or sugar index whereas ripe bananas will have a higher GI and the sugar will feed you energy while you train.d

Raw Veggies – Veggies and dip can be a great snack on a healthy diet, but digesting broccoli and carrots can cause a lot of bloating and gas.

Hard-Boiled Eggs – On their own, they’re probably best saved for after your workout. You need more carbohydrates for energy than these guys can offer.

Over-Processed Protein Shakes – Protein supplements are often a critical ingredient in any workout diet, but the overly processed kind can just slow you down.

If you’re looking for a clean and totally effective protein supplement, try Optimum 100% Natural Whey. It’s natural and isn’t heavily processed like some of the ones on the market.

Protein Bars – Be careful on these bars as most don’t have the right ratio of protein to carbs to keep you going and if the fat content is too high it will take a long time to digest so you’ll need to time it closer to an hour before your workout.

Coffee Drinks – They’re okay in their most basic form, but most come packed with sugar that’s just going to mess up your energy levels  by giving you a spike and then an immediate crash half way through your workout.

Spicy Foods – A little spice can help boost metabolism, but during a workout it’s more likely to cause heart burn and divert important bodily resources.

Baked Goods – Anything with too much butter or oil is just going to sit in your stomach. And there’s really nothing nutritious to be offered.

Avocados – The fat in avocados is actually really healthy and can help you burn fat. But it’s not so great just before a workout, often causing cramping and indigestion since the high fat content prevents digestion from occurring in time for your workout. By all means though have avocados after your workouts, they are definitely a super food!

Energy Drinks – They’re bad before a workout because they’re often carbonated and packed full of sugar. But if I’m being honest, I think these things should be avoided all day long. There’s no health benefit whatsoever.  Don’t mix this with pre-workout drinks which are made with the exact right ingredients to help boost your workouts (my favorite is the new one called ENGN PreWorkout which is also getting the highest ratings)

Rice Cakes – They’re a low-calorie snack, but they really offer little nutrition and contain a lot of salt and sugar.

Fruit Juice – I generally recommend avoiding fruit juice in your diet, but all the sugar just before a workout is just going to leave you feeling drained.

Trail Mix – It’s not the worst thing you can eat, but the ingredients can be hard on your stomach and cause bloating and gas for some people.

Smoothies – The right smoothie can make the perfect pre-workout food, but you have to avoid the ones from restaurants and smoothie stores. The amount of sugar in them is just ridiculous!

For the right pre-workout smoothie, check out my recipe for the Best Pre Workout Shake here.

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