Avoid Cheese Before Working Out. Here's Why

What you eat before a workout will make a world of difference in your performance and endurance. The right combination of protein, carbs, and energy can power you through any sweat session. However, eating the wrong foods can make you feel sluggish and uncomfortable while working out. According to Eat This, Not That!, many dairy products, including cheese, can make you feel bloated and lethargic.

Feeling like this won't do you any favors when you're trying to crush it at the gym. "Serious athletes and weekend warriors should avoid milk and milk-based foods; they contain lactose, [which is] the sugar found in milk," said Robert Zembroski, MD, functional medicine specialist. "For many people, lactose intolerance will cause bloating, gas, and often diarrhea from bacterial fermentation of lactose." You might be able to get away with some cheese if you aren't sensitive to lactose, but this food still isn't the ideal option to eat before exercise.

The best foods to eat before working out

The ideal pre-workout snack will be different for everyone, but there are some basics you can use as guidance if you're still figuring out what to eat. According to Self, you'll want to munch on plenty of carbohydrates before hitting the gym. "When we eat [carbs], they break down into glucose, enter our muscle cells, and give us fuel to exercise at our maximum capacity," said Jessica Jones, MS, RD, CDE. Some examples of these foods include granola, fruit, oatmeal, and toast.

Some protein will also help your muscles push through intense exercise, especially if you're lifting weights at the gym. Protein helps repair the small tears in your muscles that are made during strength training. However, not all types of protein are good to take in before working out. Opt for foods that are easily digestible, like nuts, sliced turkey, and peanut butter. You should also be sure to drink plenty of water before, during, and after exercise.