What to Eat Before a Workout to Increase Your Energy

If you’re just getting into the realm of working out on a regular basis, you might assume that not eating before you head to the gym will help to keep your stomach settled. When in reality, it’s one of the worst things that you can do for your body because food is not only great for keeping you alive, but it also gives you the essential energy you need to get through a workout. With that being said, it doesn’t mean that you should be eating a full meal before you go out for a run or start pumping iron, but the right amount of nutrients can greatly benefit your body.

The Three Macronutrients


When you’re designing a pre-workout meal, there are three different macronutrients that you should be paying special attention to: protein, fats, and carbohydrates.

Protein: By far, one of the most known macros when it comes to working out is protein and eating enough of it can be quite beneficial. All of the amino acids that your body needs to prevent your muscles from breaking down will be coursing through your body, helping you to not only build more muscle, but to also prevent fatigue.

Fats: It’s always a good idea if you avoid as much fat as possible before you start working out, especially as they are slow to digest which means your body is going to use up all of its energy to make sure it’s easily digesting your food. It’s better to be filled on healthy macronutrients that are easy to digest and turn into energy, especially when working out.

Carbohydrates: The right type of carbs is all dependent on your workout goals, for example, if you’re hitting the gym for a little bit of time and need a burst of energy, you’re going to want to focus on eating simple carbs about 40 minutes before you workout. Whereas, if you intend on spending a couple of hours working out and focusing on your strength training, opting for complex carbs about 2.5 hours before working out will give you a slow releasing energy source that you can rely on.

The Best Pre-Workout Foods

To build a healthier breakfast or lunch before you’re slated to start working out, make sure that you use these great ingredients to your advantage as they can help to give you the ideal amount of energy needed to get through your time slimming down or bulking up.

1. Bananas

This is especially great for people who are fans of fruit as bananas have an ample amount of potassium, which can help to increase your levels of blood sugar for more energy to use to your advantage while at the gym. However, it’s important to remember that bananas are a source of simple carbs and so they should be eaten about 40 minutes before you get into the gym in order to take advantage of their energy boosting properties.

2. Chicken, Vegetables, and Rice

If you talk to the vast majority of people who enjoy eating a little more before they head to the gym, one of the most common meals they all enjoy is a simple mixture of chicken, rice, and vegetables. With the chicken, you have lean protein and the vegetables give you the ideal amount of complex carbs for long-lasting energy to help you through the day. Your body will also be ingesting a reasonable level of amino acids to promote the healthy growth of muscles.

chicken vegetables nad rice

With that being said, chicken, rice, and vegetables is a substantially larger meal than simply eating a banana before you go to the gym. Ideally, you’re going to want to consume this meal at least 2 hours before you start working out.

3. Oatmeal

As an unfortunate thing for people who aren’t big fans of porridge, oatmeal is by far one of the best breakfasts that you can have pre-workout. Not only does it contain complex carbs for the slow release of energy over a longer period of time, but it also has a lot of fiber and beta-glucan. Plus, you have the option of adding fruits to the oatmeal in order to amp up its appeal and to get more antioxidants and nutrients into your system.

If you truly want to focus on giving your body as much energy as possible, you can easily add a scoop of your protein powder to your oatmeal which can help to give you more amino acids and protein to build your muscles during your workout.

4. Fruit Smoothies

Although in today’s day and age there are plenty of people who believe that fruit smoothies are a great beverage to enjoy in between meals, fruits are quite high in calories, which is why they are better used as a meal replacement, such as the perfect pre-workout meal. You can also add your protein powder to a fruit smoothie to enhance its caloric content and bring more protein into your liquid breakfast.

fruit smoothies workout

Fruit smoothies can also be a great option for people who aren’t particularly fans of breakfast as they’re easy to get down first thing in the morning and will settle comfortably in your stomach. However, it’s important to remember that due to their high levels of glucose, fruits give you fast-acting energy and you should have your smoothie approximately 30 minutes before you workout.

5. Whole Grain Bread

As the perfect source of complex carbs, whole grain bread is a simple and quick thing that you can throw together before you go to the gym. Topped with some apple butter or organic peanut butter and you’re well on your way to a great and fast breakfast that is equally as tasty as it is convenient. It can also be a great option for people who typically can’t eat too much before they workout.

Finding the perfect pre-workout meals can be tough, especially if you’re someone who can get overwhelmed by plenty of different choices. There are several different things that you can eat before you workout that are phenomenal for offering the ideal energy levels and muscle-building macros. In order to find your favorite pre-workout meal, we recommend trying out the different ideas on this list as well as a couple of others to determine which will give you the most amount of benefits.

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