Hey Angels and Alphas,
By now we all already know that carbohydrates are an essential component of a great pre-workout meal or snack. We know this because we know foods that are rich in carbohydrates provide our muscles with energy that’s easy to access, meaning we can fly across the rounds of our treadmill sprint or reach a new squat PR that day if we just eat right.
But what you probably don’t know is that certain types of carbs may help your workouts better than others. Not only that but a totally unhealthy variation of carbs, also known as FODMAPs, can even backfire on a lot of exercisers if they consume them before their workout.
That’s why today, we’re here to talk about FODMAPs, as well as other types of carbohydrate you should be avoiding before hitting the gym.
What are FODMAPS?
A quick reminder of anyone who is not familiar, FODMAPs stand for:
Try saying that three times fast. Yes, that’s a lot of syllables right there, but the explanation in itself is pretty simple. FODMAPs are essentially a type of carbohydrate that ferment and then lead to gas production during the digestive process. Plus, they can draw extra water into the GI tract.
For most people, that’s just not a big deal. More often than not, you can consume FODMAPs without even knowing you are or that they have this negative effect.
But if you’re someone who has a more sensitive digestive system, as with people who have irritable bowel syndrome, eating FODMAPs can lead to pain, discomfort, even constipation.
Here’s where the struggle really lies: FODMAPs are often found in healthy foods such as fruits and veggies. They can actually be super healthy for your gut microbiome, but if you’re sensitive to them, sometimes the negatives will outweigh the positives.
Here’s exactly how FODMAPs mess up your workouts:
If you’re someone who doesn’t have a digestive care in the world, you are not someone who needs to care about how the whole “FODMAP” factor impacts your pre-workout meal or snack.
That being said, if you’re someone who does have a more sensitive digestive system, eating high amounts (or certain, more specific types) might cause you to leave your house and head to the gym with bloating, gas, and abdominal pain.
If this sounds like you, or if you’re someone who has experienced a lot of digestive troubles in the past and you’d like to keep yourself safe and healthy, you might want to reconsider FODMAPs and try to find suitable alternatives to your pre-workout fuel.
A lot of your pre-exercise snacks might already contain FODMAPs…
Many of the popular pre-workout foods contain FODMAPs, and that’s a sad fact for people with sensitive stomachs.
Here’s what you should be on the lookout for:
- Fructans and oligosaccharides: inulin, chicory root, dried fruits (extremely common in protein powders and bars), cashews, watermelon, wheat, rye, barley
- Disaccharides: the majority of dairy products, cottage cheese, yogurt, cow’s milk
- Monosaccharides: mangoes, figs, honey, pears, apples
- Polyols: blackberries, alcohol, apricots, blackberries, apples, “sugar-free” snacks, protein powders
And a ton more!
If you are seeing a lot of familiar food on this list, you’ll probably start to realize that many of the foods that exercisers routinely come back to whenever they want fuel or nutrition before hitting the gym… are actually doing you more harm than good if you’re someone with a sensitive digestive tract.
These are all options that people with sensitive GI tracts should stay away from – especially when they’re planning to use them as fuel for their workout. Even though there won’t be much difference in relation to the energy you’ll get, people who consume FODMAPs before working out are more likely to experience discomfort and gas that make workouts not only harder but less productive.
So… what are some examples of a FODMAP-free pre-workout snack or meal?
This is for the people who not only frequently experience digestive issues but also choose to consume snacks or meals to fuel them with energy for their workout. The key here is to realize you’ll probably need to switch to something FODMAP-free if you want to have no bloating or abdominal discomfort during your training.
Here are a few great, energy-boosting, FODMAP-free options:
- Oatmeal with pumpkin and pecans
- Coconut yogurt and granola (honey-free)
- An orange with a cup of macadamia nuts
- Bananas and peanut butter