What To Eat Before A Workout

Whether you are new to exercise or an athlete you’ll be looking at ways in which you can improve performance. Nutrition is a key part of this, so ensuring you fuel your body correctly before a workout will give you additional strength and lead to you performing better and aid recovery

Everything we eat before exercise plays a role in how we perform during exercise, however, the ratio in which we consume food is different for each person and the type of exercise involved.


It’s been found that eating protein, either on its own or with carbs, before exercise increases lean muscle growth. Consuming 20 grams of protein before exercise could improve your anabolic response, muscle recovery, strength and lean body mass 


Your muscles use glucose from carbs for fuel. This is the main source of fuel for high-intensity, short workouts. For longer exercise sessions the impact of carbs depends on intensity, type of exercise and overall diet. Research has proven that carbs can increase glycogen stores which is why athletes ‘carb load’ prior to a big event.


‘Healthy’ fats play an important role before a workout. Unlike glucose, fat is the main source of fuel for longer and moderate-intensity workouts.

When to eat

The timing of your pre-workout meal is also an important part of maximising exercise nutrition. For the best results try to eat a complete meal containing carbs, protein and fat approx. 2–3 hours before you exercise. If this isn’t possible then still aim to eat a smaller snack containing carbs, protein and fat within 60 min prior to training however choose foods that digest easily.

Example Meals/Snacks

The meals/snacks and amount you eat is dependent on the type of workout and your individual intolerance and preferences.  

Here are a few examples of pre-workout meals to try:

Whole-grain bread sandwich with protein (eg. Chicken) and salad
Omelette topped with avocado
Lean protein (eg. chicken), rice and vegetables

Snacks if eating within 1 hour:

Protein smoothie with berries and bananas
Honey and peanut butter on whole-grain bread
Greek yogurt and fruit
Natural cereal/nut bar


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Disclaimer: The purpose of this blog is to share advise from personal experience and good practices on fitness, nutrition and lifestyle. Content is sourced from a host of contributors not all of whom are qualified professionals. This blog is not intended to diagnose, cure or prevent any injuries/illnesses. Always consult your personal physician for specific medical advice