Worst Foods to Eat Before a Workout and Why

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If you are getting ready for a workout, you want to make sure you are eating the right set of foods to power your workout and help you maximize performance with stamina, endurance and energy. That means you will want a good set of carbs for immediate and long-lasting fuel, as well as a bit of protein. Fat should be minimal, as it takes longer to digest and it can sit in your belly, leading to lethargy.

What types of foods in particular should you cross off your “pre-workout snacks” shopping list? These should be saved for after that workout to replenish electrolytes and refuel, rather than eaten prior to working out. If you do, they might lead to gas, stomach pain, fatigue, cramping and more.

Beans and Legumes

Say no to beans and legumes, like black beans, chickpeas and lentils, unless you want to fart all along your run or have gas and bloating when doing squats in the weight room! These foods are high in fiber, which takes longer to digest, so they can lead to these gastric disasters if eaten too close to a workout. Save for later and enjoy as a grain and bean bowl or use in a salad, burrito, or stir-fry.

High Fat Foods

While you can spread a little bit of nut butter or guacamole (or slices of avocado) on toast or a piece of fruit, like a banana, pre-workout, you must make sure it’s super small since fat takes a while to digest. You don’t want to dip into the nut butter jar and start scooping out spoonfuls! And you also don’t want to eat high-fat foods that are loaded with grease too—think fries, breaded foods, pizza, and burgers.

Dried Fruit

While one or two apricots in a trail mix won’t do much damage before a workout, dried fruit is high in fiber and sugar, both of which are not good pre-workout. So, ditch the prunes and other dried fruits and go for a trail mix that has granola, a few nuts, and seeds, instead or grab a granola or snack bar that has fast acting carbs and a little bit of protein for that boost.


While not the case for everyone, cheese can be irritating to those with sensitive stomachs as well as those with IBS or other autoimmune or digestive disorders. So, if you do find cheese and dairy to be reactive sometimes, ditch the Parmesan and enjoy a dairy-free alternative instead.

Or go for a Greek yogurt, which shouldn’t be too problematic and offers good probiotics to improve gut health. Then add in carbs from fruit and granola to provide that fuel. Or chop up a protein bar or a snack bar and put it in the yogurt!


Yes candy is not ever really good for you—but it definitely is not pre-workout. It will cause a sugar rush and then drop, so you might crash mid run and not be able to finish that workout. Plus it can give you a headache and make you grouchy.. So, instead of candy, have something naturally sweet, like an apple or banana.