Motivating yourself to go to the gym can be tough but the benefits for your health can’t be denied! Whether you are in it for the cardio, the weight lifting or a great combination of the two, your body will thank you in so many ways as your training develops. Your diet plays a huge role in the success of your workout efforts and it is important not to sabotage yourself by making unhealthy food choices. A strenuous exercise session can make you feel like you need to go home and raid the fridge, so avoiding this 'one step forwards, two steps back' pitfall is essential. Adequately nourishing your body pre-exercise will help to keep your energy levels up as you train and will also make it less likely that you will over-eat afterwards.
There are obviously certain foods that you will need to avoid completely if you want to succeed when it comes to fitness but there are also some foods that are in a grey area. They are often touted as being health foods but can actually be detrimental to your overall fitness. Knowing how to recognise these foods will enable you to avoid them and make sensible choices instead!
A popular food for eating both pre and post workout is the banana. It is a fantastic source of potassium and also a healthy source of carbohydrates. If this is a snack that you use then you should always make sure you opt for the ripe version as opposed to a green banana. Green bananas might be delicious but they actually have quite a high starch content and this can be problematic for digestion. The last thing you want when you need all the energy you can get is for some of it to be zapped by your digestive system. On the other hand, ripe bananas have already converted most of this starch to simple sugars which are easily digestible.
Pasta is a fantastic source of carbohydrates and can be great fuel for a workout. However, be careful with the kind of pasta you buy and try to avoid loading it with calorie dense sauces and creams. If you do have to have yours with a sauce then opt for a basic tomato version. Tomato sauces will usually be low in fat and will settle well in your stomach. Choosing whole grain pasta, as opposed to the standard versions, will pack a more powerful nutrient punch as well as providing you with a higher quality energy boost.
Finally, steering clear of dairy could help you to avoid a workout slump. Many athletes tend to avoid dairy at least a few hours before they train and it is thought that this enables them to power through. Avoid drinks that contain dairy and choose to hydrate with water instead. Dairy has been linked to certain gastrointestinal issues, so it could be affecting your performance even if you don’t have an actual allergy to it.