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Foods to Avoid Before a Workout

By Sara Butler

Your body needs carbohydrates and other nutrients to function properly, especially when you exercise. A carbohydrate and protein-rich snack before a workout or after it is a great way to supply your muscles with the energy they need and to replace energy stores lost.

But not all pre-workout foods are created equal. In fact, there are some foods that can be problematic before a workout. Here are a few things you need to know in order to fuel your workout properly.


Beans are good for you most of the time and also an excellent source of protein and carbohydrates. The problem is that high-fiber foods before you exercise can cause stomach upset. That's because beans contain a carbohydrate that can't be digested, called raffinose, as well as fiber, which can cause you stomach issues during and after your workout. So, it's probably best to save the black bean burger until later.


Chocolate milk remains a great post-workout snack for endurance athletes, but you probably want to avoid dairy before you go to the gym. If you're even slightly lactose intolerant, then working out after eating dairy can cause intestinal cramping and make for one uncomfortable workout.

Fatty and Fried Food

It should go without saying, but fried foods, as well as foods high in fat, are not great to eat before a workout. They'll leave you feeling sluggish because they take longer to digest than other foods. They can also cause bloating and cramping, which no one wants to deal with while exercising.

Soda and Other Carbonated Beverages

Sodas as well as beer and fizzy water beverages will cause your stomach to expand due to the carbonation. This will cause indigestion and discomfort. This isn't what anyone wants to experience in the middle of their hot yoga class.

Fruit Juice

While fruit juice has both water and carbohydrates that are good for exercise, drinking it right before a workout is not a good idea. That's because it's high in fructose, a type of sugar that won't digest as fast as other types of sugar. This can result in stomach cramps, especially if someone is sensitive to fructose. Save your fruit juice for after your workout to help provide your body with what it needs to aid in recovery.

Make sure to eat right before your workout or you may regret it!

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Madison, Wis.

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