Training your legs for a race or group hike? Then you cannot afford to throw away your health with a bad or unbalanced diet. We have already explained what you should eat, what you should wear, and even how you should breathe. But when there are certain things you should do, then that means that there’s an equally long list of things you should avoid doing. These things all include the same subjects. But one of the most important things is diet.
These are the foods and drinks that you should avoid when you’re trying to maintain good health or increase muscle performance before a run.
High-Fructose Corn Syrup. This is probably the most obvious on the list. Manufacturers use HFCS in place of sugar because it is a cheaper and more concentrated substance. Lots are ditching HFCS because of country-wide health activism, but not enough. HFCS can spur diabetes, which can make trying to train your body all that much harder. HFCS can also make it easier for your body to store fat when you’re trying to burn it. HFCS is also even more addictive than sugar, so it’s best to just stay away from it whenever possible!
Caffeine. Have you ever noticed that your cup of morning joe is quickly followed by a trip to the toilet? That’s because caffeine can lead to bowel movements, which is not something you want to risk in the middle of a race. Try to reduce caffeine intake the morning of the big event, or you might be having a “big event” you’ll never forget! By the way, the idea that caffeine has a net dehydrating effect is an old wives tale. Still, you’re better off with actual water if you’re looking for hydration.
White Bread. You want the whole wheat grains in your diet, especially before a race. Not only are they healthier than non-whole wheat grains, but white bread can lead to reduced energy and sugar cravings. Carbs can be a great form of energy just before a race, but make sure you’re getting the right ones or you’ll be sorry.
Alcohol. As with everything on this list, alcohol is best enjoyed in moderation. It can flatline your energy, massacre brain cells, or result in a variety of dangerous diseases. Of course, none of this should stop you from enjoying a drink at the end of a race.
Red Meat. Try lean meats like chicken or venison before a race, but stay away from red meats like bacon or ham or sausage, all of which are processed and are made with a lot of added nitrates that are bad for your health. Red meat can also increase cholesterol. You could end up with higher blood pressure or even heart disease, which could put you in bed for good when you’d rather be up and running.