When I want to make sure I have the motivation and energy I need for my exercises, I often lean on pre-workout snacks. They can give me energy to want to move in the first place. They can also keep me going throughout the workout.
However, pre-workout snacks can’t consist of just anything. They need to be something that will work with what your body needs. If you choose the wrong options, you could actually end up working against your goals.
The Worst Pre-Workout Snacks Aren’t Always Obvious
Some foods that are great for you aren’t necessarily best to eat before you head to the gym or out for a run. Some will drain the energy out of you. Some will make you feel weighed down.
Consider the following foods that might surprise you as being terrible pre-workout snacks:
• Leafy greens – These are great for you. Most of us should certainly eat more of them. Just don’t eat them before you plan to have a sweat session. Kale, spinach and other dark leafy greens are high in fiber. As a result, they can lead to gas and bloating right before a workout.
• Sports drinks – You might see sports drinks advertised and used by your favorite athletes on TV. Yes, they may be drinking them in the game and, more often, in commercials. However, they are very high in sugar and quite low in nutrition. They might offer some electrolytes and vitamins, but the sugar is more likely to flush water through you. Moreover, it can also lead to an eventual energy crash. Drink lemon or lime water instead.
More Pre-Workout Snacks You Wouldn’t Suspect
• Whole grain foods – Whole grain carbohydrates are great for you, but not before you work out. Carbohydrates can hold water within your body and lead to bloating.
• Bean dip or hummus – Many people turn to these options as a meatless source of protein. That said, prepackaged dips are typically high in oils. According to Shape Magazine, they can lead to inflammation which can only be harmful to your workout. Most athletes prefer cottage cheese as a pre-workout snacks alternative.
• Raw seeds – A handful of seeds before a Zumba class or a yoga session can leave you with stomach discomforts, gas and bloating. It’s better to save this type of snack until after your workout is over.