The Worst Ways to Fuel Your Body before a Workout Session
There’s nothing quite like psyching yourself up for an amazing and high-quality session at the gym. Any pro-trainer, athlete, or hobbyist will tell you that the best way to get started with an exercise session, is with the right attitude. No different than anything else right? You can become a Home Depot manager with a pitiful attitude, for instance.
A hefty dose of energy is always important, but packing in too much of the wrong food too close to your workout routine can have a seriously damaging impact on your regimen, ensuring that your exercise is ruined before it’s even started. If you think of your body like a car – putting the wrong fuel into your tank isn’t going to get you anywhere fast, and the wrong food and drinks can be enough to crash your system, leave you feeling lethargic – or even worse – dealing with serious cramps so you cannot complete your workout properly.
That doesn’t mean, however, that you should try and tackle your exercise routine head-on without any food at all. Here are some of the biggest pre-workout blunders you can make when it comes to fueling your system?as well as why you should be taking steps to avoid them.
1. The Dreaded Sugar High
We all know what it’s like to crave a huge dose of delicious sugar before starting a workout. Sometimes, you find yourself coming up to the midway of the afternoon and suffering from a serious energy crash, and you hope that a single chocolate donut will be enough to give you the high you need to get through until your last rep. The truth is though, the sugar isn’t going to get you as far as you might hope. Anything high in refined carbs and sugar is only going to serve to put a serious spike in your blood sugar, which means you’re more likely to dissipate energy remarkably in the middle of your workout. This is not ideal.
Sorry, you may be watching Marshawn Lynch pop Skittles in his mouth during a football game but he certainly ate right earlier in the day. Those Skittles are more a psychological boost for him, they do very little good for his body during the game.
2. Fast Food
Okay, so sugary treats are off the table, but how about a quick and convenient fast-food burger? Most of us don’t actually intended to jump straight into the gym after a high-value hamburger, but when the meat and bun seems to sticks in our stomach like a break of indigestible lead, the urge to work it off grows more and more demanding. For some people, this is a fantastic excuse to convince themselves to go to the gym more often, but fast food is never really the way to go.
Meals that are high in fat can take as long as four whole hours to digest, which seriously slows you down. In simple terms, if the blood in your body is all flowing towards your stomach to assist in digestion, it can’t be running from your muscles at the same time?which is where you need it the most in your workouts.
3. An Empty Stomach
Some people convince themselves that pushing their body into a workout routine when they’re just about to start suffering from a grumbling stomach is the best way to burn off tons of fat. Unfortunately, that’s not the case?the only thing all that exercising on an empty stomach is going to do for you is waste your time. Hard training on an empty stomach serves to starve your muscles of all-important glycogen, meaning that you’ll end up getting tired faster quicker. Even a small snack such as a yogurt or piece of fruit will give your body a better boost to sustain that workout.
4. Energy Drinks
Sometimes, a bit of caffeine before your workout can be exactly what you need to rev you up your internal engine. Unfortunately, energy drinks generally have a large amount of sugar that will serve to undermine your stamina in the middle of your mid-workout. What’s more, the significant caffeine in these drinks can place serious havoc with your sleeping habits?leading to a cycle of exhaustion and stress.
5. The Raw Egg Mix
We’ve all seen those movies where hardcore athletes down a glass full of raw eggs before starting their day (see Rocky!). Although a hit of protein can be wonderful for building your muscles, there are much better ways of getting that protein than risking salmonella and sickness. Try sticking to cottage cheese, Greek yoghurt, or a delicious piece of fruit before your workout instead. You’re sure to enjoy it far more than the runny yolks!
About Benjamin Roussey Benjamin is from Sacramento, CA. He has two master’s degrees and served four years in the US Navy. He enjoys sports, movies, reading, and current events when he is not working online.