What to eat before a workout

What to eat before a workout

No matter what type of exercise you’re doing, there are a number of things you need to keep your body going. One of which is: Fuel. Yep, food! Knowing what to eat before a workout can be the deal breaker in keeping your muscles training hard, helping you get the most out of every workout. There are plenty of pre workout food and pre workout meals around, although, with so many aimed at men, it can be tricky knowing what works for us women! But don’t worry, as we’ve got the right pre workout snacks to keep you full of fuel throughout your daily exercise.

What should I eat before a workout?

Before we hit the gym, head out for a run, or complete a bodyweight workout at home, our bodies need a certain amount of fuel. When you want to hit the ground running (quite literally!), you need to get some food in the tank to keep you going. There are many different pre workout foods that can help us prepare for the exercise ahead, getting the maximum results from our workouts. Although we all have different tastes, nutritional requirements and needs, we’ve got a great balance of pre workout food and pre workout meals to keep you feeling full and more importantly - fuelled. So, what are the best pre workout meals or pre workout snacks? Let's take a peek.

1. Oats

Since oats are packed with fiber, they have a slow release of carbohydrates - meaning you’ll receive consistent energy throughout your exercise. Rather than experiencing a rush of energy or adrenaline, oats are a great pre workout snack that’ll help you train for longer. With this pre workout food, you can also expect a daily dose of vitamin B, which helps convert carbs into energy. Opt for the least processed option of oats, which some consider Irish oats - but it’s totally your call! Easy to prepare and store, whack your oats in the fridge for safe keeping for your pre workout snack.

2. Bananas

When we talk about carbs as a pre workout food, bear in mind that it needs to be the right type of carbohydrate! Bananas are packed with carbs and potassium, supporting your body’s muscle function and nervous system - as well as fuelling your workout.
Also Read: 10 cocktails that you can drink while on a diet
Consider this simple pre workout snack as mighty fuel for the mind and body! Plus, there’s zero prep involved, so when you’re wondering what to eat before a workout, you can simply grab a banana on the go.

3. Whole grain bread

While we’d normally be telling you to step away from that beautiful bread, a slice of whole grain bread is a great source of carbohydrates as a pre workout snack. Add some hard boiled eggs for good measure to get an excellent dose of protein, or even some grilled chicken. This is one of the best pre workout meals around and super simple to prepare.

4. Nuts

Although nuts can be high in fat, they also act as a great pre workout snack due to their high protein. If you’re training hard and/or looking to gain muscle, the extra calories in a small trail mix will serve you well to fuel your workout! If your main aim is weight loss, you might want to skip this pre workout snack simply due to the calorie count. If you don’t have time to prepare your own, a trail mix is an easy pre workout snack to grab on the go. Just avoid those with chocolate or yogurt coverings!

5. Grilled chicken, sweet potato and broccoli

Now, I don’t know about you, but this is quite frankly the best pre workout meal around. This combinatio is an excellent source of energy and protein, especially if you’re hitting your training hard or practicing circuits! It comes as no surprise that professional athletes regularly add this pre workout meal into their routine. Delicious!

6. Dried berries and other fruits

Much like nuts, dried fruit is an easygoing pre workout food that’s quick and easy to grab on the go. While it may not be a full blown pre workout meal, this pre workout snack is one of the easiest and most nutritional snacks to fuel your workouts. Not only are they a great source of carbs, but they’re also easy to digest - so tuck in!

7. Greek yogurt and fruit

When it comes to the best pre workout meals, this is definitely up there in the top 3! Not only is fruit packed with (good!) carbs, but Greek yogurt will deliver a punch of protein to your diet. Don’t be tempted into switching to ordinary yogurt, however, as Greek yogurt has nearly double the protein, half the sodium and fewer carbs. But why do they make such a delicious and pre workout worthy combo?
Also Read: How to tone your arms without getting butch
Well, the carbohydrates in fruit break down fast, giving you quick exercise fuel, while the protein is saved for a little later - helping to prevent muscle damage. Bonus!

Get the most out of your pre workout food

How soon before exercising should you eat your pre workout snack or meal? Aim for around 30 to 90 minutes before your exercise, so you don’t feel bloated or cause yourself to feel sick. Small pre workout snack: You’re good with 30 minutes. Full pre workout meal: Aim for the full 90 minutes before exercising.

Best pre workout meals to hit your goals

We totally understand that not everyone has the same goals. For some, pure weight loss is the aim, while for others it could be to build muscle. Thankfully, we’ve curated the best pre workout meals for all circumstances!

1. Build muscle

While we know most women aren’t looking to get hench necessarily, we cannot totally ignore that some want to pack on some muscle! In this instance, you’ll be looking for pre workout meals that can help you stay lean and build muscle mass. This means eating the right pre workout foods that aren’t super heavy, so you can get on with your workout shortly (around 90 minutes) after. For the right balance in your pre workout meal, aim for equal parts carbs and lean protein. We’ve got just the right thing…
  • Oatmeal
  • Chicken or turkey
  • Whey protein isolate
  • Egg whites
  • Fruit, including strawberries, oranges and apples
  • Brown rice
  • Wheat pasta
When it comes to the best pre workout meals for building muscle, timing and portion control is everything! You need to aim for enough fuel to help your muscles grow and repair, while not eating too late and too much that your food will sit heavy in your stomach. Combine these lean proteins with quick digesting carbs for the ultimate pre workout meal before you workout.

2. Lose weight

In order to lose weight, you need to hit the sweet spot when it comes to the best pre workout meals and shedding a few extra pounds!
Also Read: Get toned, build muscle and lose fat with a body recomp
For this type of body goal, you need to eat enough during your pre workout meal to gain the fuel for the exercise ahead, but you don’t want to go piling on too many calories. The more you eat, the more you’re going to have to burn! Instead, opt for a light pre workout snack or meal prior to exercising, getting the maximum amount of energy into your body. The combination of complex carbs and lean protein will help you succeed in losing weight, as well as fueling your workout. Try the following:
  • Fruit
  • Banana with nut butter - almond butter is a great option
  • Hummus with multi grain crackers
  • ½ cup past of rice - opt for whole grain
  • ½ cup oatmeal with either berries or raisins
  • Apple with peanut butter or small amount of nuts

3. Gain energy

When you’re preparing your body for a workout, picking the best pre workout meal is crucial for gaining that much-needed energy! Get ready to push your body hard! To get the most from your workout and pre workout food, opt for complex carbs that’ll pack your body with extra energy ahead of your workout:
  • Fruit smoothies
  • Yogurt parfaits with granola/fruit
  • Bananas
  • Whole grain bread with a small amount of lean meat
  • Chicken with rice and ve
  • Apples with peanut butter and raisins
  • Greek yogurt
  • Oats

4. Women’s health

As women, we have unique health concerns we’re always looking to take care of. We don’t function in the exact same way as men, meaning we don’t typically burn as many calories each day. Plus, our workout goals often differ! We’re talking less Hulk Hogan strength and more about toning up our bodies and feeling our best. So, what are the best pre workout meals for that very job? We’ve got a few you’ll love:
  • ½ sweet potato
  • 1/2 cup oatmeal with honey
  • Greek yogurt
  • Whole fruit
  • Fruit smoothies - opt for almond milk and low cal options
  • Whole grain bread with lean meat

Ready to hit your body goals?

As we’ve already covered, we all have different needs when it comes to pre workout food and the fuel we require for our workouts! With this guide, you’ll be well on your way to hitting those body goals and enjoying your ideal self. But of course, if you need a helping hand, why not try Zotrim? Our carefully developed formula is 100% natural and safe, helping you to curb those cravings and stick to your body goals! So you can feel fuller for longer, burn more calories and enjoy your pre workout meals know you’re still on track for success!
Back to blog