Do you ever feel sick while working out after a meal? It’s a common occurrence that many fitness lovers face, and it all ties back to this one pre-workout mistake—eating the wrong types of foods. While many sports dietitians will say that eating a pre-workout meal is good for your body’s health, it’s important to eat the right kind of food. If you aren’t properly fueling your body, you will likely experience the worst side effect of eating before a workout—nausea and GI issues.
We spoke with Mandy Tyler, M.Ed., RD, CSSD, LD, LAT, a sports dietitian consultant for professional sports teams, about the specifics of why you may experience this side effect of eating before a workout. Then, get even more healthy tips straight to your inbox by signing up for our newsletter!
Regardless of what you eat, It’s important to keep your pre-workout snack light to avoid any nausea or stomach issues while working out.
“Eating too much food too close to the workout session can also result in GI issues,” says Tyler. “People vary greatly in their tolerance to food in their stomach during exercise.”
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“This makes it important for individuals to experiment and find out the best timing and amount of food that works best for their pre-workout meal,” says Tyler. For example, if an individual is consistently having GI issues during an afternoon workout, try eating lunch an hour earlier or having a smaller lunch before the workout and then a nutritious snack after the exercise session.”
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“If an individual is experiencing GI issues, such as nausea or diarrhea, during exercise it is possible this is due to eating the wrong types of food or too much food prior to the workout session,” says Tyler.
Tyler says individuals should “avoid fried or greasy foods, heavy cream or buttery sauces, high-fat meats, beans or legumes, and high fiber whole grains before exercise, especially if the individual is prone to having GI issues.”
Plus, these 20 Foods You Should Never Eat Before a Workout aren’t doing your stomach any favors.
Tyler still recommends eating before a workout—but keeping it light with foods that will give your body energy.
“Before exercise, it is best to choose foods that provide a good source of carbohydrates and that are low in both fiber and fat,” says Tyler. “For example, pretzels, granola bars, dried fruit, a bagel, or a banana would all be good choices to eat in the hour or two leading up to a workout session.”
Even if your workout is light, having a little something to give you that energy (a healthy carb with a healthy fat or a protein) is recommended by many nutritionists.