It is very important to pay attention to your diet before starting a workout because the exercises performed, no matter how intense, will require better blood flow to the working muscles. As a result, the blood flow to the stomach will be reduced compared to the supply at rest. To avoid possible gastric problems, there are therefore foods to avoid before playing sports, and others which are on the contrary recommended.
It is also advisable to take into account the time it takes for the stomach to digest food. There are therefore time slots in which to take meals or snacks before training to avoid working the stomach at the same time as the muscles. It all depends on the person's metabolism, but for most people it is recommended to have a snack 3 hours to 30 minutes before starting a workout. The more we want to eat, the more we will do in advance.
We can then ask ourselves if it is necessary to eat something before a session, and indeed it is not compulsory. However, exercising on an empty stomach may not allow the body to have enough energy to work the muscles optimally. Likewise, it is just as bad for the body to overeat before exercise, or to choose the wrong foods, since all the energy will be concentrated on digesting what you have just ingested.
So, first, here are the food categories to avoid before a workout.
WHAT FOODS TO AVOID?
FOODS WITH A HIGH FIBER CONTENT
The body needs fiber, but it's not ideal before a workout. Vegetables like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, or any other type of cabbage, can be difficult to digest and can cause stomach aches and bloating that will make exercise uncomfortable.
Beans, broad beans, flax seeds and the like should also be avoided for the same reasons. It is best to choose a snack containing less than four grams of fiber, and at least one hour before the workout to give the body time to digest. Choose vegetables that are easier to digest, such as asparagus or well-cooked potatoes for example.
Beware of products with a high lactose content such as milk, cheese, etc ... Indeed, they are among the foods to avoid before a workout, especially if you have a small intolerance, because they will tend to cause intestinal cramps. On the other hand you can Hard cheeses, Greek yogurts or even low lactose milk are alternatives if you need a diet low in lactose or if you want to consume it before playing sports, provided you do not not abuse it!
FOODS RICH IN FAT
All excessively fatty foods should also be avoided, for example fried food, hamburgers, desserts such as donuts or even pizzas. The saturated fats they contain will take longer to digest and you may therefore have bloating, cramps, diarrhea ... No one wants to be in this situation at the gym, so avoid fast food at all costs. !
It is true that not all fats are bad for the body, but foods like red meat for example make your body work harder to convert fat into energy. You will then feel a certain fatigue, which is the opposite of what you want to have a good session ...
While playing sports you will obviously burn calories, but a high dose of sugar will give you energy for a very short time and then you will feel like you are slowing down. Pastries, ice creams or too sweet granola bars should therefore be eliminated.
For the same reasons, smoothies or fruit juices with too much fructose content are also among the foods to avoid before a workout, especially for people with irritable bowel syndrome.
If you need a quick source of energy right before you work out, choose a healthier option like a banana, which also provides important nutrients for the body, or an orange juice, but preferably to consume. at least one hour before sport or just after the session for better absorption of minerals and vitamins by muscles.
Spicy foods significantly stimulate the digestive system and can cause heartburn in particular, which is not ideal when playing sports. Unless you have an unusual digestive system, it is better to avoid these dishes than to feel bad throughout the session. Spicy foods can cause severe indigestion that could very well end a workout prematurely.
Foods that are too salty are also not recommended if you do not want to have headaches or cramps, so if you eat them, remember to hydrate yourself well during the session!
Now that we've figured out what foods to avoid, here are what foods to eat before a workout!
WHAT ARE THE RECOMMENDED FOODS?
According to studies, the ideal would be a snack combining both carbohydrates, for an energy supply, and proteins, in particular to allow better muscle recovery. A good food can thus help the body to function better and recover faster after each workout.
Optimal intake of nutrients before exercising will maximize physical performance while minimizing the risk of muscle damage as a result of exercise. And as mentioned a little above, it will also depend on the time chosen before training to eat something.
If you have little time, stick to simple carbohydrates, which are going to be easy to digest. A toast, an apple or a banana, a small box of nuts and raisins or a few sips of a homemade fruit smoothie are good options.
If you have less than 2 hours, for example prefer a bowl of oatmeal with a banana and almonds, or a protein smoothie made from vegetable milk with berries, etc. Fruits such as blueberries, raspberries or even cherries contain antioxidants. It is a delicious and useful choice, also preventing cell damage.
With this type of food you will get fast digesting carbohydrates, as well as healthy fats and proteins.
Et if you have at least two or three hours before going to the gym, here are some other food options to eat before a workout:
- Sandwich on wholemeal bread, lean protein and side salad
- Scrambled Eggs and Whole Grain Toast with Avocado
- Lean protein, brown rice and grilled vegetables
Numerous studies have shown that pre-workout protein intake can improve athletic performance, strength and muscle growth while reducing recovery time.
A combination of carbohydrates and protein is ideal for pre-workout meals. Fat can also be beneficial, but be sure to eat these foods at least two hours before exercise.
If you can't figure out what is the best choice for you, your best bet is to experiment with different options and see how your body reacts during your workout ... There are a lot of options, so you are bound to find the one that suits you, whether in terms of nutritional intake, energy gain, or simply food taste!