Why You Should Never Eat Fast Food Before Exercising

If you're constantly on the go and barely making time for your workout, it might be tempting to grab a fast food meal while heading to the gym or as you're heading home from work for a daily run. But unfortunately, fast food is likely not going to sit well in your gut during your workout, thanks to its typically high fat content and heavy-feeling aftermath.

Fast foods contain pretty much every stomachache-inducing ingredient when consumed pre-workout. Because most fast foods are high in grease, fried, and fatty, they can cause serious stomach troubles, from cramping to diarrhea if consumed too close to your workout (via HuffPost). You'll also likely feel slow and sluggish after such a heavy fat- and sugar-based meal, which can lead to poor performance at the gym, especially when eaten within 90 minutes of your workout (via WebMD). The high sodium content often found in fast food can also mess with your body as you get moving (via Shape).

What should you eat instead?

Foods that won't help your workout can slip into your diet in sneaky ways: The carbonated beverages that often accompany a fast food meal—or the extra large coffee with cream and sugar—may also be hurting your tummy before you even start your warmup routine. Carbonated beverages might cause gas, while dairy from coffee creamers can cause stomach cramps or bloating, and the caffeine from soda or coffee can cause you to need to sprint for the restroom mid-workout (via Eat This Not That).

Instead of relying on fast food to fuel your workout, make sure that you stash easy-access snacks in your gym bag. Things like a simple peanut butter and jelly sandwich or a handful of pretzels are just as easy to eat, and you'll skip wasting precious minutes sitting in the drive through and save some cash in the process. If you do opt for the drive through, try to choose foods that are more carbohydrate and less fat-focused, like a bagel or oatmeal from Starbucks, or a six-inch chicken sub from Subway rather than a burger and fries (via BSL Nutrition).