Why You Should Never Eat Spicy Food Before Exercising

While spicy food may be delicious, and possibly even metabolism-boosting according to some studies, eating a meal drenched in hot sauce or jalapenos before a workout is potentially a recipe for disaster. Like foods high in fiber, fat, or certain sugars, spicy food can be a gut-based nightmare when you eat it too close to exercising.

"While spicy foods may satisfy your taste buds, they should be avoided before exercise for a couple of reasons. Firstly, spicy food can result in indigestion or heartburn, which can leave you in pain and having to abandon a workout," training and nutrition specialist David Wiener told Cosmopolitan UK. Spicy food can also leave your guts feeling cramped, Wiener added.

Timing matters: Especially if you eat spicy snacks right before working out, the splash-back effect in the esophagus that produces heartburn can be extremely uncomfortable (via the Active Times). And if you're not used to spicy foods, the effects can be even worse.

What else is bad about spicy food?

Unfortunately, spicy foods can also exacerbate the all-too-common issue of needing to poop mid-workout, especially if you're running or doing other high-intensity activities. This is because spicy foods can disturb and disrupt your gut and intestinal lining, which can lead to a need to sprint for the nearest restroom if you're not typically a spicy food eater (via Gael Force Events). Spicy foods also can be tough for workouts for other reasons: a plate of extra-hot wings with blue cheese is also deep fried and has plenty of fat and dairy, making it even rougher on your gut heading into a workout (via Aapativ).

Lastly, if you used the ghost pepper hot sauce on your lunch, there's a good chance that you subsequently drank either a lot of water or a glass of milk to help dull the fire in your mouth. Starting a workout with a belly full of dairy can be as indigestion- and gas-producing as spicy foods, and that liter of water sloshing in your stomach can lead to an urgent need to pee or an uncomfortable full or bloated feeling for your workout.