Here’s a list of what to eat before a workout to get your energy levels up and body muscles pumped!
What To Eat Before a Workout | 11 Pre-Workout Foods
Egg omelets make a great pre-workout meal. For one, eggs themselves are a good source of high-quality protein which helps build and maintain your muscles.
Omelets are also quite versatile. You can add different kinds of vegetables to them for a more delicious and nutritious pre-workout meal.
When to eat: Eat a veggie omelet at least two to three hours before your actual workout starts.
Tip: You can make an egg white omelet by removing the yolk and whipping the egg whites as you would in a typical recipe.
2. Chicken Sandwich on Whole-Grain Bread
A lightly-grilled chicken sandwich is another pre-workout meal option to consider. Like eggs, chicken breast is also a great source of protein.
It’s also a lean meat so you can eat it without worrying too much about taking in excess fat right before you work out.
When you’re assembling your sandwich, resist the urge to smear on those fatty and heavy spreads like mayonnaise and cream cheese. Instead, layer your sandwich with healthier ingredients like tomatoes and lettuce leaves.
When to eat: This pre-workout sandwich is best eaten two to three hours before your scheduled workout regimen.
Tip: You can switch things up by substituting the chicken for slices of turkey breast.
3. Lean Meat, Carb, and Veggie Meal
For many gym rats, a plate complete with a protein, carb, and a veggie component is the go-to pre-workout meal to have. You’ll need a good balance of all three to keep you and your muscles energized throughout your workout.
Here’s a list of food items you can include in your pre-workout meal:
- Lean meats: chicken breast, turkey, and salmon
- Carbs: brown rice, quinoa, and sweet potatoes
- Veggies: roasted carrots, celery sticks, and cucumber slices
When to eat: Eat a complete pre-workout meal at least three hours before engaging in an intense workout program.
Tip: You can make your pre-workout meal in advance by following a few simple meal prep guidelines.
4. Fruit Shake
Fruit smoothies are great as a drinkable pre-workout snack. Fruits are sources of natural sugars that help fuel your body for a high-intensity workout.
When to eat: Consider fruit shakes as a kind of pre-workout snack, so it’s best to have them at least two hours before starting your workout regimen.
Tip: You can easily turn your whole-fruit smoothie into a protein shake. Do this by adding a few tablespoons of vanilla-flavored protein powder to the mix.
5. Protein-Packed Oatmeal
Try whipping up a bowl of oats the next time you’re looking for what to eat before a workout. Oats are high in protein which is an important component in muscle building.
Eating a single serving of oatmeal also fills you up so you don’t go into your workout with an empty stomach.
When to eat: If your planning to eat a bowl of oats for your pre-workout snack, have it at least two hours before you hit the gym for your workout.
Tip: Jazz up your oatmeal by adding fresh blueberries, sliced almonds, and a drizzle of honey.
6. PB&J Sandwich
A PB&J sandwich isn’t just something for the kids. You can snack on this American classic right before getting into a high-intensity workout regimen.
Nut butters contain protein and healthy fats that’ll help get your body go through a strenuous workout program.
When to eat: Give yourself at least two hours to digest your peanut butter and jelly sandwich before you start working out.
Tip: Make your PB&J out of all-natural and unsweetened nut butters and jellies. Substitute whole wheat bread for the usual white bread for added nutrition, too.
7. Hard-Boiled Eggs
If you don’t have time to make a pre-workout omelet in the morning, you can just hard-boil a couple of eggs instead. Eggs are a great pre-workout food because they’re low-calorie and nutritionally balanced.
They’re also filled with body-building proteins, heart-healthy fats, and essential nutrients that help your muscles recover from intense strain brought about by a workout regimen.
When to eat: Eat a hard-boiled egg at least two hours before you engage in an exercise regimen.
Tip: If you’re really pressed for time, you can hard-boil a dozen eggs over the weekend. Then you can keep them in your fridge throughout the week and just grab two or three before you hit the gym.
8. Low-Fat Cottage Cheese
Another great pre-workout snack to munch on is a small bowl of low-fat cottage cheese topped with dried fruits like apricots or raisins. In general, cheese contains tons of casein and whey proteins.
They fuel your muscles during an intense workout and even help your body recover right after.
When to eat: Snack on a bowl of low-fat cottage cheese and dried fruit at least one hour before starting your actual workout regimen.
Tip: If you’re not in the mood for dried fruit, you can eat your cottage cheese with a sprinkling of sliced nuts or berries.
9. Plain Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt is also packed with casein and whey proteins, making it a good pre-workout snack to have. Other than containing these two important proteins, Greek yogurt is also a good source of easily digestible carbohydrates.
This gives your body enough energy to sustain you throughout your workout.
When to eat: Eat a bowl of Greek yogurt at least one hour before your actual workout starts.
Tip: When buying Greek yogurt, make sure to get your hands on an all-natural and unsweetened variant. You can always flavor your yogurt with real fruits and natural sweeteners like honey and maple syrup.
Many fitness buffs reach for fruits as a pre-workout snack for a good reason. For one, they’re packed full with vitamins and nutrients which help your muscles function in and out of a workout.
They also contain natural sugars which your body uses as a source of energy.
We recommend you snack on these fruits before you head to the gym:
When to eat: Eat a bowl of mixed fruits at least one hour before engaging in a workout regimen.
Tip: You can also use fruits as flavorings for many different weight-loss detox drinks!
11. Granola Bar
Granola bars are great pre-workout snacks for three reasons. One, you get the benefits of eating fruits, oats, and nuts all by snacking on a single granola bar.
Two, they’re really handy so you can keep one to two bars in your gym bag at all times. Three, granola bars are low in calories yet high in protein and fiber.
This means a single bar can fuel your muscles and keep your stomach satisfied throughout your whole workout.
When to eat: It’s best to have a granola bar at least one hour before starting your workout regimen.
Tip: When looking for a pre-workout fruit and nut bar, choose the one with a maximum of 200 calories and at least 5 grams of both protein and fiber.
Watch the video below to know when should you have cheat days while dieting and why:
When it comes to achieving your fitness goals, always remember that diet and exercise go hand-in-hand. This makes knowing what to eat before a workout just as important as your actual workout regimen.
If done correctly and habitually, eating the right pre-workout meals or snacks can compliment your daily workout routine and get you much closer to your ideal body.
Do you have any questions on what to eat before a workout? Ask them in the comments section below!