14 Pre-Workout Nutrition

woman working out

See Foods You Can Eat Before A Workout

Workout is not just about engaging in physical exercises. It is also about what you eat. Food contributes to the progress of the workout, as they provide you with the essential strength needed to complete your workout routine. It also ensures the performance and strength of achieving your workout goals. Asides from these, good workout nutrition can help you recover faster from sore muscles after your daily workout routine, as well as maximize your output and performance while minimizing muscle tear or damages resulting from workouts.

A number of foods have been identified to be helpful for workouts. These foods have been broken down into pre and post-workout nutrition. Each set is best for what its name implies. Pre-workout nutrition should be consumed before any workout because they provide the essential nutrient your body needs to function properly under the pressure of a workout.

You Are What You Eat

Supporting your workout with healthy nutrition will provide you the strength and energy you need to perform better. There is a certain essential role each macronutrient plays before a workout. However, the rate at which you have to consume these macronutrients depends on a lot of factors, some of which are the kind of exercise, as well as the individual involved.

The following are essential macronutrients for pre-workout;


Glucose from carbs is an essential fuel for the body. Glucose is converted to glycogen in the body. For rigorous and mild exercise, your glycogen stores become your major source of energy. However, for longer and more rigorous exercises, the amount of carbs required depends on certain factors. These factors include your type of training, the intensity of the training, and the diet itself.

The quantity of glycogen deposited in your muscles is limited. Thus, when it diminishes, your output becomes little. Hence the need to consume carbs that would supply you with enough glucose, which would later be converted to the glycogen that would be utilized by your body during exercise.

According to studies, glycogen stored in the muscles increases as a result of carbs consumption, and replacing it after utilization would improve performance and encourage a boost.

One of the best ways of maximizing glycogen stores is by consuming a diet that is rich in carbs for 7 straight days.


Researchers have been able to identify improved athletic performance as one of the importance of protein consumption. When protein is combined with carbs, or when it is consumed alone before the workout, the degree of protein synthesis in your body increases. People who consumed about 20 grams of whey protein regularly before their workout routine recorded a positive and high anabolic response.

The other benefits of protein consumption before a workout are;

  • Rapid and healthy muscle growth
  • Rapid muscle recovery
  • Improved muscle and body performance
  • Increased muscle strength


Since glycogen is effective in high-intensity exercises, fat is also an essential fuel for longer and moderate exercises. Some studies have connected the dots between fat intake and improved athletic performance.

According to certain studies, consuming a fat-rich diet daily for 4 straight weeks would shoot your running endurance up to about 40% for trained, fit, and healthy runners.

Importance of Planning Pre-workout Meal

Planning your pre-workout meal is as important as planning your workout routine itself. You definitely cannot workout on an empty stomach, as your body may not be able to withstand the pressure from the workout as a result of a lack of energy. Thus, planning a meal and eating before a workout would supply you with the energy you need to perform well.

In order to maximize your workout routine or output, consuming a combination of carbs, fat and protein would yield obvious and amazing results. It is essential to see that these foods should not be eaten just 30 minutes or 1 hour before exercise. The food has to digest well before you begin your workout routine in order to prevent indigestion and other digestive issues. Pre-workout nutrition should be consumed about 2 to 3 hours before the workout. However, if you must eat 45 minutes or 1 hour to your workout, then choose lighter and simpler pre-workout meals, as they would help prevent discomfort in your stomach during exercises.

Pre-workout Meals

fruit juiceThe sort of food you consume and how much of it you need depends solely on two factors, which are the intensity and duration of the workout. The best pre-workout meals should consist of a combination of carbohydrates and protein. However, if you must include fat in your pre-workout meal, then it has to be consumed hours-about 2 to 3 hours before the workout.

The following are the different kinds of balanced pre-workout meals you can try out;

If You Wish to Begin Your Workout Between 2 To 3 Hours, Or More, Eat the Following;

  • A cup of fruit juice with avocado spread, combined with whole-grain toast and omelet egg
  • A side salad with a sandwich on whole grain
  • Roasted vegetables with lean protein and brown rice

If You Wish to Begin Your Workout Within 2 Hours, Eat the Following;

  • Milk with a whole-grain cereal
  • Whole grain bread with almond butter and fruit sandwich
  • Smoothies made with milk with berries and bananas plus protein powder
  • Oatmeal topped with sliced almonds and banana

If You Wish to Begin Your Workout within 1 Hour or Less, Eat the Following;

  • Wholesome ingredients and nutrition bar with protein
  • Fruits and Greek yogurt
  • Some other fruits such as oranges, apples, and bananas

It is important to see that you do not need to consume all pre-workout meals at the same time. Picking one of these meals will also supply you with the energy required for the intensity and duration factors of your workout. To get better results, you can carry out certain experiments with different timings and nutritional compositions.

Supplements Are Also Just as Important

Supplement, as the name implies, is a kind of compliment for food and nutrition, especially for foods that are not high in a particular kind of nutrient. They are commonly used during sporting activities, and they are known to improve strength and performance, as well as reduce fatigue.

The following are some of the most immeasurable pre-workout supplement;


This is one of the most used supplements in sports. It is known to improve muscle fiber size, mass, strength, and power while reducing fatigue. As much as creatine is best taken before a workout, it works effectively as well after a workout. Ingesting about 2-4 grams of creatine daily would produce great results.


Caffeine is popularly known for its ability to improve performance, power, and strength, as well as reducing fatigue and burning of fat. Caffeine is a major ingredient in certain energy drinks, teas, and coffees. Pre-workout supplements and pills are not left out in this list. The quantity of caffeine you consume does not matter. Its effects on your performance are usually the same, regardless of the amount you take.

Branched-chain Amino Acids

Research has discovered that consuming this amino acid helps reduce muscle damage risks and improve protein synthesis. Ingesting 5 grams of branched-chain amino acids prior to your workout is effective enough to do the job.


This is an essential amino acid that boosts your muscle stores of carnosine. Just like glycogen, it is known to be effective for workouts that have a longer duration and higher intensity. This is possible through its ability to improve your muscle endurance and exercise capacity while reducing fatigue in the process.

Consuming about 0.5 grams of beta-alanine before the workout is enough to get you all the energy you need for the workout.

Asides from these supplements, some people prefer products that contain a combination of 2 or 3 of these pre-workout supplements. This combination provides significant improvements to the muscles, strength, power, and endurance of the athlete. The major ingredients contained in these complex products include;

  • Caffeine
  • Arginine
  • Branched-chain amino acid
  • Beta-alanine
  • Creatine
  • B vitamins

The recommended dose of these complex products depends on the product itself and its brand. However, it is advisable to take them about 35 to 45 minutes before workout.


waterHydration is essential as well. Staying hydrated is as important as pre-workout meals and supplements. It is advisable to consume water and soda before you begin your physical exercise. They are the liquid secrets to improved productivity.

In conclusion, in order to maximize your performance during a workout, it is best to plan a pre-workout meal, where water is an important part. Stick to the meal plan and complement your meals with pre-workout supplements if need be.