5 Foods to avoid before exercise

Are you exercising to lose weight, improve your flexibility, boost your mood or get stronger muscles? If you are trying to achieve your goals with cross-training, yoga or pilates, what you eat before your class can either optimise or destruct your performance.

There are some foods that will leave you feeling heavy and lethargic for your workout. These could lead to stomach cramps, which is not fun at all.

Here are 5 foods to avoid before your workout.

1. Fried and Greasy Foods

Foods high in fat like fries, burgers and pizza take a long time to digest and can cause bloating, cramping and diarrhea. This high load on your digestive system will also have you feeling tired and lethargic. Choose low fat foods like wholegrain carbs, fruit and veggies.

2. Fizzy Drinks

Carbonated beverages are full of air which causes your stomach to expand with gas. This leads to bloating and discomfort, making your workout extremely uncomfortable so always opt for water instead.

3. Fruit Juice

Fruit juice is highly concentrated in fructose. Fructose digests slowly which means it can cause stomach cramps during your workout and make you feel very uncomfortable. Choose a whole piece of fruit like a banana with a few sips of water to energise you instead.

4. Dessert

Desserts like doughnuts, pastries, chocolate and ice cream are high in fats like butter, vegetable shortening and cream which take a long time to digest. Foods like these won’t assist you in getting the most out of your workout, even stretching could be uncomfortable. Try one of our yummy energy balls instead.

5. Spicy Foods

Spicy foods may upset the digestive system before a workout and cause heartburn. Try to avoid spicy bowls of curry and too much chilli before exercising. Keep it simple like a piece of toast with natural peanut butter or Vegemite.

Best foods to eat before a workout

Here are the best pre-workout foods to minimise stomach discomfort and enhance your performance.

  1. wholegrain toast or sandwich
  2. low sugar yoghurt and fruit
  3. banana
  4. nuts and seeds
  5. oats or wholegrain cereal
  6. smoothie
  7. crackers and hummus
  8. muesli bar
  9. pasta or rice

When to eat?

Try to eat a light meal or snack at least 90 – 30 mins before your workout.

If you have a main meal before your workout, give yourself at least 2 hours for it to digest.

And don’t forget…


Water is essential for a good workout. Just remember to take small sips. Chugging a whole bottle of water back right before a workout may also cause discomfort.

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