5 Things NOT to Do Before A Workout

Don’t sabotage your own success! Finding an exercise regimen that works for you is one of the most important things you can do for your health. But there are some common pre-workout mistakes that can hold you back from achieving your full potential.

Doing these 5 things before your workout can cause:

    • Sluggishness and muscular weakness
    • Exhaustion
    • Pain and muscular damage
    • Lack of motivation
    • Nausea and stomach distress


If you feel tired, weak, or sick before and during your workout, you might be making one of these common pre-workout mistakes. Solving the problem could give your exercise regimen new life and help you feel energized, strong, and full of vitality.

But first you have to identify the problem.

In this post, we’ll share the most common pre-workout mistakes that people of all skill levels make. We’ll also let you know what to do instead, to make your workout super efficient, super energizing, and super successful!

DON’T: Eat a Large Meal Right Before

Eating too much or too soon before a workout can have some serious consequences. First, you’re likely to experience bloating and cramping. You might even get some stomach acid splashing up into your esophagus (acid reflux), causing painful heartburn, nausea, and belching.


Even if you don’t have these painful symptoms, there’s still a good reason not to be digesting while you’re exercising. When your stomach is full of food, your body sends most of its blood to the digestive tract to help you digest more quickly and to move nutrients around the body.

If all your blood goes to your stomach, it’s not in your muscles! This can make you feel weak and fatigued—both very discouraging when you’re exercising.

What to Do Instead:

Finish a meal at least an hour before starting your workout. This ensures that the energy and nutrients from the food are ready to be used in your workout. Leaving yourself time to digest is vital if you want to feel energized and strong in your workout.

DON'T: Eat Foods High in Fat

There are lots of great options for a pre-workout meal, but anything high in fat is not a good choice. Fats are the slowest type of nutrient to process. There’s a good chance that even if you wait an hour after a fatty meal, your body won’t be done breaking down those fats.

This can leave you feeling fatigued and sluggish during your workout. Especially if you have a sensitive stomach, you definitely want your food to be fully digested before you start exercising.

What to Do Instead:

The best pre-workout meal consists of complex carbohydrates with a little bit of low-fat protein. This gives you enough energy to feel strong and alert for your whole workout. Choosing complex carbohydrates gives you a sustained energy boost rather than a blood sugar spike.

Here are some ideas:

    • Baked sweet potato topped with low-fat cottage cheese
    • Hummus with cucumber and tomato slices on whole wheat pita
    • Oatmeal with fruit and low-fat yogurt

Try these combinations, and find your own formula for the perfect pre-workout meal.

DON’T: Go In Running on Empty

There’s a common misconception that people should exercise on a totally empty stomach because it forces the body to tap into fat storage. But your body isn’t made to power high-intensity exercise with stored fat! You actually burn more calories and fat if you have plenty of energy available to go at high intensity for longer.

What to Do Instead:

Eat a meal of complex carbohydrates and low-fat protein an hour before exercising for maximum energy to give it your all.

If you exercise immediately after waking, you might want to try a breakfast shooter or smoothie. Because the nutrients are in liquid form, your body will break them down quickly and make the energy available to you.

NOTE: Some people feel fatigued, exhausted, and groggy even if they eat a sensible meal an hour before their workout. This could be a sign of nutrient deficiency, hormonal imbalance, or a number of other solvable problems. Consult with a doctor that understands the impact of nutrition on the body, and consider taking a fulvic acid supplement to improve nutrient uptake.

DON’T: Chug Tons of Water

You know it’s important to stay hydrated when you’re exercising. But don’t give your body more than it can process.

Drinking too much water immediately before and during exercise can make you feel “sloshy” or even nauseated. In the hour before your workout, don’t drink more than about 3-4 cups of water.

What to Do Instead:

It’s much better to hydrate over the course of the day. By the time you’re working out, there’s plenty of water available in your system, rather than sloshing around in your stomach.

If you exercise in the morning, you don’t have a lot of time to rehydrate from your overnight fast. The best course of action is to drink a glass of water as soon as you wake up. Then sip water as you get ready, continue while you’re on your way to the gym, then as you exercise. This gives your body the chance to keep up with your water intake, rather than inundating your system all at once.

DON’T: Stretch Cold Muscles

The pre-workout stretch used to be standard, but we now know that stretching cold muscles can cause tearing, damage, and muscular weakness. Especially if you exercise at the start of the day, your muscles need to be warmed up before stretching.

What to Do Instead:

Instead, begin with dynamic movements to warm up, like gentle jogging, or a low-intensity version of what you’ll be doing for your workout.

After your muscles feel warm, you can stretch lightly if you like. But if you’re trying to build muscle, you will most likely find you have more power if you hold off. Definitely save deep stretching for after your workout.

DO: Experiment and Find What’s Right for You

Every human body is a little different. Everyone digests at different speeds, takes different amounts of time to warm up, needs different amounts of certain nutrients, and prefers different types of workouts. Experiment to find the pre-workout regimen that makes you feel strong, energized, and ready to go.