It’s important to fuel your body properly before an intense workout — after all, it takes a lot of good nutrition to see you through a grueling circuit of burpees and pull-ups. But just because a food is healthy and packed with vitamins and minerals doesn’t mean you should indulge in it 30 minutes before you hit your HIIT class. Dani Muckley, director of fitness and co-director of Peloton Cycling at Studio Three, lets us in on the 4 absolute worst foods and drinks you can consume before working out. And some may shock you.
1. High fiber greens
“If I’m getting in an afternoon or evening workout, I’ll skip the salad at lunch,” Muckley says, “The fiber in the greens can cause uncomfortable bloating and gas, which is not cute when you’re in third position in cycling class!”
2. Raw nuts and pure protein bars
“For a similar reason as greens, I avoid raw nuts (almonds, cashews, etc.) and strictly protein bars because the protein alone could cause stomachache and bloating,” Muckley says. “I once made the mistake of a few spoonfuls of almond butter at my desk prior to an evening track workout… never again! We also have the tendency to overeat raw nuts because they are a healthy snack when consumed in moderation, which is tough once you start noshing. Instead, if I’m limited to a bar, I grab something with a combination of natural protein, fats and sugar such as an RX Bar or Larabar.”
3. Anything spicy, greasy or otherwise inherently unhealthy
“Unless you have a titanium stomach, loading up your Chipotle burrito bowl with Frank’s Red Hot is not a good call if you’re planning on crushing weights after work,” Muckley says. “Any prepared foods or takeout high in additives and sodium can leave you feeling unhappily full and fatigued.”
4. Energy drinks
They may seem like a good idea (hey, you need energy to keep moving, right?), but energy drinks are the last thing you should think about putting in your body before a workout. “While a Red Bull may seem like a life saver at the time, it’s never really a good idea,” Buckley says. “You’ll be dehydrated and likely to crash. Instead, hydrate throughout the day and if you need caffeine, try a Nuun Energy mixed in your water bottle.”
For more health tips, check out The one thing you should eat first thing in the morning if you feel nauseous and This is the biggest rip-off at the grocery store.
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