Foods to Avoid Before Working Out

What you eat before any physical activity can either make it or break it – however, eating is essential to be able to power through a workout. Depending on your body and your intolerances, there are certain foods that should generally be avoided before a workout. Whether they can cause abdominal/stomach discomfort, bloating, or slump your energy, be sure to stay clear from these following foods…at least before you workout.


Although beans and legumes are generally a healthy food due to their high fiber and protein content, they are notorious for causing gas. Foods like peas, pinto beans, or chickpeas contain a sugar called oligosaccharides, which is indigestible in the large intestines. Indigestible foods can lead to bloating and gas – which can make your workout uncomfortable and even painful.


Most bread, including whole grain breads, generally contains yeast, mold, and gluten. And according to Dr. Goglia, these ingredients can cause inflammation in the gut, which is lead by abdominal discomfort, gas, and water retention. Despite giving you some energy due to the sugar, the adverse effects of eating a slice of whole grain bread before a workout definitely outweighs the good.


Let’s be clear, nuts and seeds are a great food to include in your diet. They are loaded with nutrients and healthy fats that are ideal for weight loss. However, due to their high fat content, it is suggested to avoid snacking on a handful of nuts or seeds before a workout. On the other hand, if you pair a  handful of nuts with a piece of fruit or a high quality fruit preserve, this will provide you the energy you need for your workout. The combination of fat and carbohydrate is a key way to get you a filling and healthy snack.

Spicy Foods

Enjoying a spicy meal before a workout can lead to an irritated stomach or heartburn (or both!), which will undoubtedly bring your workout to a halt. This doesn’t mean you need to enjoy your pre-workout meal blandly, this just means to take it easy on the spice level. If you find yourself eating a spicy meal prior to exercise, be sure to give yourself enough time to digest your meal completely and keep that water handy.


Depending on a “sugar rush” to get you through a workout is probably not the best thing to do. Eating something with high sugar content before a workout may leave you with stomach cramps or worse, rushing to the bathroom. Not only will consuming sugar cause you distress, but it can cause a sugar crash – leaving your energy low mid workout. Ideally, avoiding added sugars is a great way to help boost your weight loss and jumpstart a healthier lifestyle.

When working out, we usually want to feel our best; we want to feel light on our feet, strong, comfortable, and energized. By avoiding these foods and as well as any other food that may cause you any discomfort, you are sure to have a great and energized workout. Try these recommendations the next time your find yourself stuck on what to each before a workout.

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