5 Foods That Are Ruining Your Workout, Even If They Seem Healthy
When your food options are getting busted by health magazines left and right for secretly having too much salt or not enough nutritional value, it's hard to find the best foods for your exercise regime. Of course combining mindful eating with a regular workout regime is the recipe for a healthy lifestyle — but it's really just the start. Making one bad snack choice is never going to be the end of the world, obviously, but if you're obsessed with exercise, then you probably want to avoid the bloating, stomach pains, or a major energy crash that can accompany some foods. We all know not to scarf a pizza topped with deep fried oreos before a serious cardio session (although, let's face it, that does sound pretty awesome), but some foods that are typically "healthy" don't go so well with a trip to the gym or a Zumba class.
So while these snacks may regularly be your favorite food or go-to thing to graze on, it's important to take note of what makes your body perform its best and what doesn't. Because, let's be real here, if we're going to drag our butts to the gym, we want to get the most out of that hour-long sweat session, am I right? Of course. So whether you're a hummus addict or someone who eats a banana every day for breakfast (or maybe that's just me), take note of these foods if you want your work out to be the very best it can be.
Hearing negative things about hummus is like hearing someone say Beyonce is tone deaf. Frankly, it’s painful, uncomfortable, and almost too much to bare. But unlike the Beyonce thing, there’s some truth to hummus not being the most complimentary post or pre-workout snack. That tub of goodness is mostly made up of starch and fats, which can take up to four hours to digest, making you feel sluggish during your cardio session. Plus, any food that is as tasty as it is high in calories makes it pretty dangerous if you ask me.
Listen, I’m not one of those health nuts who refuses to eat fruit because it has “too much sugar." In my opinion, fruit is awesome and much better to snack on than a whole bowl of brownie batter. What you do need to watch out for is how your body reacts to that sugar. When reaching for a pick me up before the gym, avoid bananas that aren’t ripe yet. The less green they are, the easier your body breaks down the sugar content, and ultimately the less bloated and gassy you’ll feel. A true victory for fruit-lovers.
3. Coconut Water
In recent years, coconut water has been having a seriously fashionable momentb—bremember when Rihanna was the (short-lived) face of Vita Coco? But slowly the mystique around the drink “more hydrating than water” has been lifted, and it turns out that good, long work out requires more than hydration. Coconut water offers almost nothing in terms of carbohydrates, which are a must-have before a workout, so although you might feel a boost from the high sugar content, it will be a short lived one. Keep the coconut water to a post-workout drink and focus on complex carbs before you get your sweat on.
4. Premade Smoothies
Do you ever look at ingredients of your prepackaged smoothie and think, “Wow, this contains 6 bananas, 9 radishes, and a field of strawberries?! Amazing, I’m so health conscious!” Well, that’s just not normal. No human being should be consuming that many fruits at one time. With all the sugar (plus sometimes added sugars and syrups) in smoothies, you’re going to have to up that spinning session to approximately 600 million hours to burn it off. OK, that is a bit dramatic, but why not just make your own smoothie just to be safe? Stick to one or two servings of fruit, some veggies, maybe a little honey or peanut butter, and plain almond milk or water for a smoothie low in sugar and high in, well, deliciousness.
Of course salads (minus a ton of always-tempting dressing) are a healthy meal, but before a workout your priorities should be carbs, carbs, carbs. Loading up on veggies, which are mostly fiber, can lead to gastrointestinal discomfort in the midst of your sweat session. Nobody wants stomach pains (or some serious gas) just when they’re ready to amp their workout. Wait until after to dig into the greens.
Images: Getty Images (6)