What Are the Best Pre-Workout Meals?

It’s important to fuel your body before a workout. Check out our top 7 pre-workout meals to help you get the most out of your workout routine!


Eating before a workout is an important factor for athletes, bodybuilders, and gym-goers alike. Pre-workout meals are designed to provide your body with the energy and nutrients it needs to withstand intense physical activity. Having a pre-workout meal can help optimize performance and post-exercise recovery.

When it comes to choosing the best pre-workout meals, there are several things to consider. It is important to take into account your individual needs based on body type, nutritional goals, dietary preferences, and workout intensity. To help you get started here are some general guidelines for constructing the best pre-workout meals:

Benefits of Pre-Workout Meals

A good pre-workout meal is essential in providing fuel to optimize training and maximize the results achieved. Eating ahead of a workout has numerous benefits, ranging from cognitive gains to reduce muscle soreness and a better overall energy level. A key point to remember when planning snacks or meals before exercise is that it should be consumed at least one hour before the start of physical activity in order to give time for digestion.

Eating prior to exercise also helps with manaing cortisol levels, as well as providing a source of glucose which is used to fuel the body during physical exertion. Pre-workout meals should include some combination of fat, carbohydrates and protein in order to provide an optimal amount of energy for exercise. Additionally, including whole grain carbohydrates such as brown rice, oats and quinoa can slow down the release of glucose so that athletes get an extended source of energy during workouts without experiencing any peaks or valleys in their performance due to lack or excess energy intake respectively.

In addition, adding healthy fats such as avocado and nuts can help enhance nutrient absorption while providing sustained energy pre-workout. Protein is equally important since it helps rebuild muscle tissue that may be damaged during strenuous physical activity while additionally promoting repair throughout the day following exercises. To summarize, while pre-workout meals do provide more immediate benefits such as increased strength/endurance and improved focus during workouts, there are also long term benefits such as increased metabolism rate that make consuming something prior to physical activity highly recommended for achieving optimal performance results both physically and mentally!

What to Eat Before a Workout

Eating the right kind of food before a workout can help you get the most out of your exercise routine. Whether you’re looking for a quick meal or something more substantial, there are a few key things you should look for when choosing a pre-workout meal. Here, we will discuss the different types of foods that are ideal for pre-workout meals, as well as provide some examples that you can use to fuel your body.


Carbohydrates are an important part of a pre-workout meal for several reasons. First, they provide your body with the energy you need to fuel your workout. Your body breaks down carbohydrates into a sugar called glucose and stores it in your muscles and liver as glycogen – which serves as the primary source of energy during your workouts. Eating carbs prior to exercise helps ensure you have enough energy to perform at your best.

In addition, carbohydrates have been shown to delay fatigue and promote more fat burning during exercise than when diets are low in them. It’s important to choose the right kinds of carbohydrates though – some are better than others pre-workout because they digest slower, providing a steady stream of energy throughout your session. Good sources include rolled oats, quinoa, sweet potatoes, brown rice and whole grain breads or cereals. To maximize benefits from these healthy carbs, be sure to also pair them with a source of protein like Greek yogurt or eggs for added muscle building power!


Protein is an important part of any pre-workout meal. It helps build and repair muscle, giving your body the nutrients it needs to complete a successful workout. Protein can also help maintain your energy levels during a strenuous workout.

The best sources of protein to include in your meal are lean meats, fish, eggs, dairy products, legumes, nuts and seeds. You should aim to consume between 20-30 grams of protein prior to exercising as this is enough to provide you with energy while avoiding excessive calorie intake. Your meal should also contain a low glycemic carbohydrate source such as sweet potatoes or quinoa which can help fuel you up with slow digestible energy for the duration of your workout session. Encourage yourself to try out different combinations of healthful proteins and carbs that together make up your pre-workout meal!

Healthy Fats

Eating fatty foods before a workout may seem counterintuitive, but healthy fats can actually be beneficial for exercise performance. Fat is the body’s preferred source of energy during low-intensity activity, and fatty acids provide energy to fuel the muscles and brain. Avocados are an excellent source of good fats that promote energy production, meaning you’ll feel energized and less likely to fatigue during your workout. Nuts or nut butters are also great sources of healthy fats, and they provide a good balance with some higher-carbohydrate options like oatmeal or whole grain toast. Another great snack is hummus with vegetables — this offers complex carbs and healthy fats in one!


It’s important to keep yourself hydrated before you exercise. Staying hydrated helps with muscle and heart function and keeps your body temperature regulated. Focus on drinking enough fluids and electrolytes to stay well hydrated. Good choices include low-sugar sports drinks, water, or coconut water. If you are doing a longer workout, sip on a beverage during the activity, as well. It is especially important to stay hydrated in hot environments as you can easily become dehydrated when sweating more than usual. Be sure to pay attention to your body and take breaks as needed if you are feeling thirsty or overheated.

Pre-Workout Meal Ideas

Having the right pre-workout meal can make a big difference when it comes to the effectiveness of your workout. Eating the right type of food before a workout can give you the energy and nutrients you need to make the most out of your exercise routine. Let’s take a look at some great pre-workout meal ideas that you can try.


Oatmeal is an excellent pre-workout meal option that provides important carbohydrates to fuel your muscles before a workout. Oats contain both soluble and insoluble fibers, which vary in their digestion speeds. Soluble fiber is found in oats and dissolves easily in water, while insoluble fiber tends to keep its shape during digestion. It passes through the body intact, acting as roughage that cleans out the digestive system. This means oatmeal will give you both quick and long-lasting energy before your workout session.

If you’re looking for simple pre-workout meal ideas, a bowl of oatmeal with some honey and some fresh fruit can make a quick and easy breakfast or afternoon snack if you want something light. For those who are vegan or gluten-free, there are several alternative versions such as quinoa porridge or buckwheat porridge that taste just as delicious. Additionally, adding nuts, seeds or nut butters can provide extra protein to help power you through an intense workout session. With all these variations available, you can customize your dish to get the perfect balance of carbs and protein for whatever activity you’re planning on doing that day!


Smoothies are an excellent pre-workout meal choice as they provide a fast dose of energy and they use ingredients that can easily be found at home or in most supermarkets. When making a smoothie before exercise, try including ingredients such as fruits (fresh or frozen), leafy greens, herbs, nuts and nut butter for protein and healthy fats. For added sweetness, try adding natural sweeteners such as honey, agave nectar or dates. For an added boost of flavor and health benefits, you can also throw in your favorite spices like cinnamon, ginger or turmeric.

Adding some liquid to your smoothie such as milk or milk alternative is another great way to give your body what it needs after a workout. Milk provides carbohydrates for sustained energy and proteins for muscle recovery and growth; while milk alternatives contain the same vitamins and minerals but without the dairy proteins and lactose that some people may be sensitive to.

Smoothies can consist of just one ingredient or multiple ingredients combined together – simply blend the ingredients until desired consistency is reached. With so many different types of smoothies to choose from, you’re sure to find one that works best for your pre-workout plan!


Eggs are a great source of protein, fat and other essential macro-nutrients to fuel your body with energy before exercising. Generally, a serving of eggs should consist of two or three large eggs for the optimum amount of protein and calories. Depending on weight goals, you can create a range of pre-workout meals by adding either healthy fats (e.g., olive or coconut oil) or carbohydrates (e.g., bread or sweet potato) to your egg dish.

For additional protein, lean meats such as grilled chicken, turkey bacon, lean beef, steak and fish are all excellent sources of protein if you have more time on hand for preparation. To add in carbohydrates for sustained energy during workouts choose from brown rice, whole wheat pasta/breads, steel cut oats/quinoa or sweet potatoes. Accompany these main ingredients with vegetables such as spinach leaves, mushrooms and bell peppers to add in antioxidants and fiber which are essential nutrients throughout the day.

Finally topping off the pre-workout meal with healthy fats will ensure that energy is sustained all throughout the workout session due to slow digestion and absorption rate of these fats into the body (e.g., avocado slices, chia/flax seeds). Having at least an hour before exercising is recommended when having a meal based pre-workout since whole meals take longer time to digest in comparison to quick snacks prior working out such as yogurt mixed with fresh fruits or nut butters on banana slices etc. This gives your body sufficient time to absorb nutrition from whole foods effectively!

Protein Shakes

Protein shakes are a popular pre-workout choice because they provide your body with the necessary nutrients to fuel your activity as well as help with muscle building and recovery. They also require minimal preparation and are a quick, convenient option for busy people.

When preparing a pre-workout shake, use a fast-digesting protein source such as whey isolate or concentrate, which should be combined with carbohydrates for extra energy. Adding an amino acid supplement can also help prevent muscle damage and soreness after your workout. Additionally, you may want to consider adding some healthy fats in the form of fatty acids like omega 3’s or monounsaturated fats like avocado or olive oil.

To maximize effectiveness, it is important to drink your pre-workout shake at least 30 minutes before exercising; drinking it any sooner could result in digestive issues while drinking too late could mean that the effects don’t kick in until later on during your workout. Be sure to experiment with different combinations until you find what works best for you!

Fruit and Nut Butter

Fruit and nut butter can make an excellent pre-workout meal. Fruits contain healthy carbohydrates that can provide energy for your workout, while nut butters contain healthy fats and proteins that can help you feel satisfied during your exercise session.

One way to make a pre-workout meal with fruit and nut butter is to have a banana or an apple alongside some unsalted almond, cashew or peanut butter. If you do not like bananas or apples, you can substitute in whatever type of fruit you prefer. Pears, berries, grapefruit and grapes all work well as part of a pre-workout snack. When selecting nut butters, try to opt for kinds that are made with just one type of nut, as they are often lower in sugar than those made with added sweeteners or multiple ingredients.

In addition to adding nut butters to fruit as a pre-workout meal option, some popular mixes include sliced carrots and hummus; celery sticks with almond butter; oatmeal topped with sliced almonds; and fruit slices topped with coconut flakes. You may also want to consider having some hard boiled eggs before your workout – they will provide both protein and healthy fat while also boosting your energy levels before exercising. Finally, if it were possible you should always aim to have this type of snack about 1-2 hours before beginning any physical activity so that it has time for proper digestion without feeling heavy in the stomach during exercise.


The best pre-workout meals will depend on the individual; what works for one person may not work for another. In general, pre-workout meals should include complex carbohydrates, lean proteins and healthy fats to provide sustained energy and prevent fatigue. Furthermore, it is important to hydrate adequately throughout the day as well as consume electrolytes such as sodium and magnesium to maintain proper bodily functions during and after exercise.

Ultimately, everyone should experiment with different pre-workout meals (and their timing within a few hours of their workout) until they find the combination that works best for them. Eating a balanced diet rich in nutrient dense foods will ensure that you have plenty of energy to fuel an intense endurance or weight training session.

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