Where to Eat Before a Workout: The Best Pre-Workout Meals

It’s important to fuel your body before a workout. Check out our list of the best pre-workout meals to give you the energy you need to power through your workout.


Eating a healthy meal before a workout is essential for ensuring you get the most out of your exercise routine. Many of us find that our energy levels decrease halfway through a workout or that we simply cannot reach our peak performance. Eating the right foods and in the right quantities at least an hour before you work out can make all the difference to your performance and help you get better results.

Before diving into specific recommendations, it’s important to note that what you eat before a workout should never be an afterthought. Eating too much or too little – or eating at the wrong time can lead to stomach cramps, headaches, and loss of energy during a workout. Therefore, it’s important to be mindful when choosing your pre-workout meals so that you are as prepared as possible for your upcoming physical activity.

Benefits of Eating Before a Workout

Eating before a workout can be a great way to fuel your body with the right combination of nutrients that you need to not only perform at your best but also recover efficiently. Not only do pre-workout meals help increase endurance, strength, and power; they can also reduce fatigue, help maintain blood sugar levels, and reduce muscle breakdown.

The most important thing when it comes to having a successful pre-workout meal is selecting foods that provide the best fuel for your body and fueling properly for each unique activity. You’ll want to make sure you choose foods rich in protein and slow-digesting carbohydrates as well as healthy fats. These are the main types of nutrients necessary for sustaining energy levels and promoting recovery post-workout. To ensure optimal performance, the best pre-workout snacks will have an optimal balance of these three macro nutrients so that your body has something substantial to work with during exercise.

A good pre-workout meal should contain sources of carbohydrates like whole wheat bread, oatmeal porridge, quinoa or berries which offer slower digesting energy sources; proteins like eggs or yoghurt which support muscle growth and repair; and healthy fats from avocados or nuts which can reduce external stressors like cold temperatures during fitness activities such as running outdoors in cooler conditions.

Pre-Workout Meal Options

Eating a pre-workout meal is an essential part of preparing for a successful workout. Eating the right kinds of food before your workout can help provide you with the necessary energy and nutrients that you need for a good workout. This article will provide some great pre-workout meal options that you can easily prepare at home or purchase from a restaurant.

Protein-Rich Meals

For sustained energy, dietary protein is the way to go. When deciding which pre-workout meal option is right for you, start with high-quality proteins. Animal proteins contain more bioavailable nutrients than plant proteins, and the ideal combination is a combination of both sources. Eggs, beef, fish, chicken and turkey are all good sources of complete protein while lesser amounts are found in nuts, grains and legumes. A protein shake made from whey powder or other protein powder mixed with water or milk can also provide an easy burst of energy that won’t weigh you down before your workout.

Meal options for those looking for a robust pre-workout meal that will provide lasting energy might include steak or salmon with lightly cooked veggies such as spinach or asparagus; egg omelette with vegetables; yogurt smoothie made with fruit and vegetables; tuna on whole wheat crackers; oatmeal topped with nuts and nut butter; hard boiled eggs and banana slices; turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread.

Other options that don’t require much time to prepare include string cheese or yogurt mixed into oats, a handful of nuts balanced out by some nut butter or fresh fruit such as grapes and an apple slice dipped in almond butter. Another excellent source of lean protein for pre-workout meals is Greek yogurt — mix it up with some diced up strawberries for a nutritious breakfast bowl!

Carb-Rich Meals

For a workout that will require sustained energy, like cardio or light weight training, consider a carbohydrate-rich meal. Carbohydrates provide the body with glucose and act as quick, easy-burning fuel for your body during the workout. Eating a meal that is high in carbs at least an hour before you start exercising can help ensure you will have enough energy to get through your session.

Examples of carb-rich meals that are good for pre-workout consumption include:
– Whole grain toast with peanut butter and banana slices
– Lean protein (such as grilled chicken) with quinoa, sweet potato wedges, or brown rice
– Oatmeal topped with Greek yogurt, berries, and nuts
– Smoothies made from Greek yogurt, banana slices, frozen berries, nut butter and chia seeds
– Toast topped with mashed avocado and a poached egg

Fat-Rich Meals

Fat-rich meals are a great pre-workout meal choice because they are slower to digest, providing sustained energy over a longer period of time. Fat also helps deliver essential vitamins and minerals that help to aid in recovery and performance. Foods high in healthy fats include nuts and seeds, avocados, olive oil, coconut oil, olives, salmon, eggs and nut butters.

When viewing diet recommendations for athletes in regards to fat intake within their meals it may be recommended to consume 20-35% of your calories from dietary fat. Eating too many fats just before a workout can make you feel weighed down or sluggish so it is important to have the right combination of macronutrients so as to not affect performance. Some pre-workout meal options that are optimal for fat content include:

– Greek Yogurt Parfait with Berries & Nuts
– Egg Salad Wrap
– Avocado Toast with a Hard Boiled Egg
– Sprouted Grain Toast with Nut Butter & Banana Slices
– A Handful of Nuts & Fruit
– Smoothie made with Nut Milk & Avocado

By adding some complex carbohydrates such as whole grains, vegetables or fruit into any pre or post exercise meal will help delay fatigue during workouts and will also support recovery after long periods of exercise. It’s important that you listen to your body when selecting pre workout meals so you can maintain proper nutrition without sacrificing quality performance during workouts!

Tips for Eating Before a Workout

Eating the right kinds of food before a workout is important if you want to maximize your performance. Eating something before you exercise helps promote energy by providing glucose and electrolytes, so that your body can continue to function during an intense workout. Eating the wrong types of food at the wrong time however, can actually reduce your performance level.

Before you start an exercise regimen, it’s important to think about meal timing: when should you eat prior to workout, what type of foods should you eat, and how much should you eat? The following tips can help:

• Eat a small meal about two hours before working out – Foods that are high in carbohydrates with some protein work best for pre-workout meals. Try whole grain toast with almond butter or oatmeal with berries and almonds.
• Avoid high fat foods – Fat takes longer to digest so opt for lower fat foods like fruits and vegetables that do not take much time to digest.
• Keep it light – Large meals can cause discomfort while working out making your session less effective as compared to when a lighter meal is taken beforehand.
• Rehydrate – Make sure to keep yourself hydrated with plenty of water both during and before workouts so as not to reduce performance levels due to dehydration-related fatigue and loss of electrolytes.
• Utilize pre-workout snacks – If two hours is too long for a complete meal then snacks like energy bars or nuts mixed with dried fruit work well 45 minutes prior working out.


Now that you know the ins and outs of the best pre-workout meals, don’t forget to plan ahead and make sure you’re not missing out on any essential nutrients. Eating something before hitting the gym can help increase performance, energy, and even promote recovery after a workout. So whether it’s a protein shake or a full meal, make sure to properly fuel up to get the most out of your next workout.

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