Nutrition for Pre-Workouts: What to Eat Before a Workout

By Vic
June 7, 2023

Are you ready for your next workout, but not sure what you should eat beforehand? Pre-workout nutrition is an essential part of any successful fitness routine because timing your pre-workout intake and getting it right can help maximize your performance in the gym. 

Making the right food choices before exercise helps to provide energy, fuel muscle growth & repair, improve recovery and even enhance fat burning during a workout. But with all the advice out there on what to eat before exercising, it’s easy to get overwhelmed! 

To simplify things, this blog post will focus on how you can ensure optimal pre-workout nutrition so that you can get the most out of every training session. We’ll cover why eating before a workout is important, guidelines for timing your meals or snacks correctly as well as some quick pre-workout snack ideas – so let’s jump into it!

Identify Your Goals

Determining your fitness goals is the first step to achieving them. Whether you’re looking to tone and lose weight, build muscle, develop abs, increase flexibility, or simply maintain your current level of fitness, it’s important to identify the type of workout that will best help you reach your goals. 

Once you’ve determined your objective, you can then tailor your workout routine to focus on the specific exercises that target those areas. For example, if you’re trying to build muscle, you might opt for strength training exercises like squats, deadlifts, and bench presses. 

On the other hand, if your goal is to improve cardiovascular health, you might incorporate cardio workouts like running or cycling into your fitness routine. Whatever your fitness goals may be, taking the time to map out your plan of attack can help you stay on track and achieve the results you desire.

Understand the importance of timing your meals 

Whether you’re a seasoned athlete or a beginner, the timing of your meals can play a significant role in your performance and overall health. It’s no secret that what you eat affects how you feel during a workout, but did you know that when you eat is just as important? 

Ideally, you should aim to eat a meal two hours before your workout to allow your body enough time to digest the food and convert it into energy. This way, you’ll have the energy you need to power through your exercise routine without feeling weighed down or sluggish. 

Proper timing of meals can help you reach your fitness goals and feel your best. So, next time you hit the gym, keep these timing tips in mind and see the difference it can make.

Consider your energy needs

In today’s fast-paced world, it’s important to keep our energy levels up for optimum performance. As we go through our daily routine, we often find ourselves hitting a wall mid-afternoon and struggling to make it through the rest of the day. This is where incorporating complex carbohydrates into our diet can help. 

Foods like oats and quinoa are great options, providing a slow and steady release of energy that helps us power through the day without feeling drained. These foods are also packed with nutrients and are a healthy alternative to sugar-laden snacks that leave us feeling even more exhausted. 

By making a conscious effort to fuel our bodies with the right nutrients, we can experience more energy, focus, and productivity in all areas of our lives.

Get the right balance of macronutrients 

Achieving peak performance during a workout involves much more than just physical exertion. The fuel we provide our bodies in the form of food is just as important. For a balanced pre-workout meal, it’s important to strike the right balance of macronutrients. 

Protein, carbs, and healthy fats all play a crucial role in providing the energy and nutrients our muscles need to perform at their best. Without this balance, we risk feeling sluggish and unable to push ourselves to our limits. 

So, next time you hit the gym or go for a run, be sure to fuel up with a nutritious pre-workout meal that includes a good mix of protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats. Your body will thank you!

Choose The Right Snacks

Snacking can be a double-edged sword – while it can offer a quick energy boost, it can also leave you feeling sluggish and unsatisfied. The key is to choose snacks that provide both immediate and sustained energy. Bananas, nuts, yogurt, and fruit smoothies are all great options that offer a mix of carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats. 

Bananas are a convenient and tasty choice, packed with natural sugars and fiber. Nuts are a nutrient-dense snack that will keep you feeling full and focused for hours, while also providing a healthy dose of good fats. Yogurt is a great source of protein and calcium, and can be easily customized with your favorite fruits and nuts. 

And nothing beats a refreshing fruit smoothie for a quick and delicious energy boost. So next time you reach for a snack, remember to choose wisely for both your immediate and long-term energy needs.

Hydrate Properly

Water is not only essential for our survival but also for optimizing our performance in physical activities. If you’re planning to hit the gym or go for a run, it’s important to keep yourself hydrated throughout the day to ensure you can perform at your best. 

Drinking plenty of water before your workout is essential to prevent dehydration and avoid exhaustion. As your body continuously loses water through sweat during these activities, consuming enough water helps maintain your stamina and endurance. So, make sure to drink up before hitting the gym or going for a jog to keep yourself at the top of your game.


Eating the right food before a workout is essential for overall health and performance results. Creating a nutrition plan that depends on the type of exercise you are doing is important. Pre-workout nutrition is key to providing the proper fuel in order to maximize your workouts and achieve quality results. 

Ideally, this should include balanced meals with complex carbohydrates consumed two hours prior to working out. Additionally, incorporating snacks that provide quick and sustained energy is a great way to get a necessary energy boost. 

Lastly, remember to stay hydrated throughout the day leading up to your workout in order to make sure your body can perform at its best. Now you have all the tools needed to create an optimized pre-workout nutrition plan that will ensure success.

Written by Vic

Melbourne-based Personal Trainer, Calisthenics Athlete and the Founder of Street Workout St Kilda. Super passionate about bodyweight training and the art of movement.

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