What Are Some Foods You Can Eat Before a Workout?

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Exercise and workouts should be an important part of your daily routine. Whether for bodybuilding, weight loss, or general healthiness, it is important that we make it part of our itinerary. It is also important to eat the right foods before and after exercise. When you exercise, your body burns calories and as a result, you need to eat the right foods to boost the results of your workout session. It is also important to eat the right foods after exercise to maintain optimum energy levels, leave you refreshed, and move on to other daily tasks. 

Different studies have shown the many benefits of physical activity. It does not even necessarily have to be workouts alone, you can start by making every day more active. Small changes help too. Things like taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or parking further away from the parking lot can also go a long way to keep you fit.  

First of all, it should be noted that the timing of what to eat before exercise is key to any successful workout session. It is generally conventional to eat a full meal 2–3 hours before a workout session. The timing of your meal is an important aspect of pre-exercise nutrition. Where you cannot get a good meal 2-3 hours before working out, it is suggested to eat something light, yet filling. 

However, in some cases, you may not be able to get in a full meal 2–3 hours before working out. Choose foods that are simple to digest and contain mainly carbs to prevent stomach discomfort and muscle cramps during exercise. Fruit smoothies, especially a low-calorie option, can be very good before a workout. Some other light meal options include yogurts, lean meat, and bread, whole fruits, or sweet potatoes. 


Bananas are packed with carbohydrates and potassium, which support nerve and muscle function. Bananas are also packed with carbs. Dried berries, figs, and pineapples are a good source of easily digestible carbohydrates before a workout. Nuts also provide the protein and calories required if you are trying to gain muscle mass. 

Other meals

Oats are full of fiber, so they have a high concentration of carbs that create high energy levels throughout the workout. They also contain Vitamin B, which converts carbohydrates into energy. Irish oats are the best recommended because they are more natural and boast a lower glycemic load than other processed oats.  

Grain bread is another great source of carbs. Some eggs or low-fat turkey can be added for protein. Yogurts are full of protein and some concentration of carbs. This is especially true for Greek yogurts, which also have less sodium concentration. The protein in the yogurt is very helpful to prevent muscle damage and the wearing of the joints.


Proteins are very important, especially for fueling high-intensity exercises and improving anabolic response, muscle growth, muscle synthesis, and muscle recovery. They include yogurt, dairy, lean meat, chicken, turkey, and fish.

Recommended meals for specific workout goals

Depending on the reason you are working out, there may be a need for a specific diet. In this section, we will look at a couple of common workout goals and the foods you should eat for them.

Bodybuilding and muscle mass

If your main objective is to build muscle mass then there are some recommended things to take. As a bodybuilder, you should eat foods concentrated highly with protein and carbs, and it is best to consume a small meal before a workout, not a heavy one. 

You should take sweet potatoes, eggs, broccoli, fruits especially oranges and apples, long-grain white rice, pasta, and oatmeal. Others include meat, chicken, poultry, and fish. Dairy like low-fat milk and cheese, grains, and cereal.

Timing and portion control are critical. As a bodybuilder, you are trying to have low fat and more muscle. As such, you want to eat enough to give you energy and fuel your muscles throughout your workout, but you also want to lean protein with fast-digesting carbohydrates.

Weight Loss

This requires a tricky balance of adequate vs light. You want to eat enough to keep your body energized but you also don’t want to pack on extra calories, making weight loss even more difficult. Eating lightly around half an hour before your workout and combining carbs with lean protein is the best way to go.

Recommended foods include fruits like oranges, berries, and apples. Pasta or rice, preferable whole grain. 

Fruit smoothies are also good too. For protein, whole grain bread and some slices of meat, or rice and chicken with vegetables are good too.

Women typically cannot burn as many calories per day as men, so as a woman, make sure that you are keeping your calories low. You need to balance carbs and protein, but you also need to keep the calories low.

Supplements Can Also Be Useful Before Exercise

Supplement use can be very good for workout sessions. They enhance performance, improve strength, increase lean body mass and reduce fatigue. They include

Endurance Fuels

These are used to improve endurance and keep the body strong and active during the workout session. They improve calorie and hydration concentration while keeping you energetic throughout the workout. They also increase work output, strength, endurance, anaerobic power, reaction time, focus, and alertness. If you are going to do a particularly grueling and high-intensity session, then it is recommended to take this. Tailwind Nutrition Endurance Fuel (https://www.tailwindnutrition.com/endurance-fuel) is a good place to start if you need more information, or are interested in getting one. 


Caffeine can improve performance, increase strength, reduce fatigue and stimulate fat burning.

Caffeine’s peak effects are seen 90 minutes after consumption. 

How about foods you shouldn’t eat before a workout?

Whatever your workout goal is, it is important to know what not to also eat before a workout session. This is because exercise requires lots of blood to be pumped to the muscles doing the work. Your stomach is also receiving much less blood and if too much indigestible food is stored there during a workout, it may lead to an iron stomach. So, generally try to avoid

  • Soda, carbonated beverages, and alcohol
  • High fiber vegetables
  • Beans
  • High-fat foods
  • Fried foods and processed/canned foods
  • Fruit juice
  • Pastries, doughnuts, scones, and ice cream
  • Energy drinks
  • Smoothies
  • Fast food
  • Spicy foods


Reaching your body goals requires a ton of discipline, especially with the foods you eat when you’re about to exercise. Eating the right food can be the difference between a successful workout and a waste of time.  Always make sure you remember the basics of the kinds of food to avoid for your specific training regimen.

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