• 10 Best Pre-Workout Foods – What Should I Eat Before a Workout?

    07 Aug 2019

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    Editor-in-Chief of the Approved By Coach

    There is a reason why people often mention that in order to change your body, 70% of changes depend on your nutrition. And that’s true, without good nutrition, not even the hardest, brutal workout will be much help. In order to get fuel your body with good nutrition and receive a boost of energy it needs to get the max it of a workout – you need to consume a certain food, that will not only give you energy for an effective workout but will even help you build muscles a lot faster. And today, we’ll take a look at the top 10 of such best pre-workout foods.

    Understand Your Body

    In order to function at it’s best, your body needs to get enough of the 3 crucial ingredients: proteins, carbs, and fats. These ingredients will not only help your body remain healthy, but also give you the energy you need for every activity. That is why all pre-workout snaks are enriched with a healthy balance of these ingredients.

    So let’s take a look at what each of them does for the body:



    If you are wondering what to eat before a workout, try protein to boost your strength. Consuming protein such as salmon, an egg, or a piece of chicken breast as a pre-workout snack will be a big help to recover and strengthen your muscles. What makes protein the best pre-workout meal for muscle gain is that they increase amino acids in the body, which in turn stimulates muscle growth.



    Carbohydrates can be valuable for your workout nutrition because they act as a power source for your body. If you plan to engage in intense training and wonder which the best pre-workout food for energy is, try carbs. Make sure to consume enough carbs daily, according to your age, gender, and activity levels.



    You might think fat is unsuitable as a pre-workout meal; however, not all fat is bad. It’s the trans fat that you should avoid, since they take longer to breakdown and absorb, especially before a workout. Instead make sure to consume foods with healthy fat, such as olive oil, avocado, and even dark chocolate.

    Choose Your Timing Wisely

    Make sure that you choose the best time to train. Even if you eat the best pre-workout foods, it is difficult to see quick results if you don’t time when to have your meals. Eat a balanced diet containing fats, carbs, and protein at least 2 hours prior to exercising. If you can’t do this, remember to eat your pre-workout snack, just in a fewer amount. If you only have an hour or less time for your snack, get simple foods that are easy to digest. Also, make sure to combine carbs and protein to prevent an upset stomach as you train.

    What Should I Eat Before a Workout?

    What should I eat 3 hours before a workout

    First of all, if you’re wondering: “Should you eat before a workout?” – Yes! Absolutely, since you will be more energized and get a lot better results than if you were to exercises on an empty stomach. However, the best thing to eat before a workout depends on the severity, period, and the type of training you plan to perform. However, generally, there are some foods that work great for everyone. So here are some of the best meals to eat before a workout:

    1. Oats

    Oats are the best pre-workout snack because they are a rich source of fiber and release carbs gradually. This gradual process keeps the energy levels stable during exercise.

    2. Bananas

    When looking for good pre-workout food, consider bananas because they provide potassium, energy, and carbs which boost muscle performance. Although many fitness enthusiasts choose to drink sweetened water, banana before workout are a much better option, since the sugar in them is easy to digest.

    Timing Is the Key

    3. Peanut Butter Sandwich

    When looking for what to eat before morning workout, a peanut butter sandwich is a quick and really nutrient option. Since a peanut butter sandwich is enriched with protein, it’s ideal for weight loss or bodybuilding. So if you exercise to lose some pounds, the butter will not only make you full for a longer time, so you don’t overeat, but the protein will also help build muscles as you train. However, make sure to eat only natural, clean butter, without sugar or high salt content – otherwise, it will do you more harm than good. And of course, don’t go too heavy on it, since peanut butter before workout is rather caloric dense.

    4. Apple +Almond Butter and Raisins

    Raisins and apples not only provide fiber, but they are an excellent source of natural sugar. You can eat them in a lot of forms – as a smoothie, an ingredient in a salad, or even combine these fruits with almond butter. The latter especially is a good option, since almond butter contains monounsaturated fats to deal with hunger. This is the ideal snack if you don’t want to feel bloated but still need some energy boost.

    5. Grilled Chicken

    Grilled chicken with broccoli and sweet potatoes will give you a good source of muscle-building ingredients. As long as the sugar contents in potato are not very high, and the chicken is skinless – this combination is an excellent choice if you are wondering what to eat before the gym. As for what makes grilled chicken the best pre-workout foods is the fact that it has a lot of protein, carbs, and potassium.

    6. Bread

    A slice of whole-grain bread is full of carbohydrates. Moreover, bread with boiled eggs makes the best pre-workout snack, since the carbohydrates provide vigor as the body breaks them down. And the body uses this energy as nourishment during the workout.

    7. How About Dried Fruits?

    Dried apricots, berries, raisins, and other fruits not only boost your workout nutrition, but are also delicious. Moreover, dried fruits provide simple carbs, which are useful because they are quickly released into the bloodstream. This process boosts your energy levels for better performance.

    8. Greek Yogurt

    Greek yogurt, unlike other types, does not have additives or artificial sugars, which makes it the best workout food. You can also add fruits to enhance the taste and provide carbs. Moreover, greek yogurt has nearly twice the level of protein than regular yogurt. So Greek yogurt, combined with fruits makes one of the best pre-workout foods.

    9. DIY Granola Bar

    A granola bar is one of the best pre-workout foods, and you can actually even make it at home. That is because a DIY granola bar is not only cheap, but you can include all the nutritious ingredients you want, for instance, dried fruits, seeds, and grains.

    10. Cottage Cheese

    Cottage cheese makes a good pre-workout meal, especially if it’s low-fat. With cottage cheese, you get protein which not only acts as a fuel but also helps in the growth and recovery of muscles. Moreover, this pre-workout food helps you bulk up while burning fat.

    What Should I Avoid Before a Workout?

    What not-to-eat-before-a-workout

    The foods you need to avoid are of course junk food. Carbonated drinks, fast food, various snacks like chips and sweets – all of them are low in nutrients and full of sugars, which is not ideal for a pre-workout. There have been numerous studies, confirming that junk food has a lot of side effects on your physical body, but your mental health as well. While spicy foods are not as harmful, and can actually help boost your metabolism, it’s important not to go too heavy on spicy food, since it has a lot of side effects like heartburn and indigestion. Spicy foods can also cause cramps, which would make your exercise a lot more uncomfortable.

    Although you need sugar for energy, it’s the refined sugars and sweeteners you need to avoid. Try healthy alternatives from natural sources such as fruits. Your body can digest and utilize natural sugars faster and effectively. Avoid beans and other legumes as they cause stomach problems which can hinder your exercise.

    Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Pre-workout Meals

    There are many questions that people often ask regarding pre-workout snacks. So we’ve decided to look at some of the most common questions and clear the air once and for all:

    What Makes a Good Pre-workout Snack?

    When looking for a good pre-workout meal for weight loss or mass gain, remember that the amount you eat makes a difference. Choosing the right snack depends on the kind of exercise, severity, fitness, and goals. The best workout snacks are those that are high in protein and fiber and have no added sweeteners and artificial food dyers.

    What can I eat 30 min before workout

    Which is the Best Food before Workout (30 Minutes to My Workout)?

    The best food to eat before a workout is a combination of carbohydrates and protein. Also, remember the intensity of your training determines your pre-workout meal. You don’t have to eat a lot but, for instance, you can have a banana to provide carbs and a spoon of peanut butter, or yogurt for protein. Plus, choose energy bars with at least 25gm of carbs and 10gm proteins. And finally you can also mix the best pre-workout supplement that works for you with water and consume at this time.

    Which are the Best Snacks to Eat an Hour before Exercising?

    If you have an hour before your exercise, choose more substantial snacks, for instance, peanut butter sandwich with honey, and banana. Spread the butter on whole-grain bread, top with the banana, and honey. You can also eat Greek yogurt topped with berries and nuts. This is a delicious combination of proteins, minerals, healthy fats, and antioxidants.

    A fruit smoothie is also a good alternative. You can blend your favorite fruits, milk, and chocolate to create a delicious and healthy pre-workout drink. You can also soak oats in milk overnight and have them the next day with bananas or fruits of your choice. Just remember to put this combination in the fridge for preservation.

    What to eat before a workout

    Which are Best Pre-workout Foods to Eat 3 Hours before Hitting the Gym?

    The best food to eat 3 hours before exercising should contain enough proteins and carbs to keep you going throughout the training. Consider eating a full meal as this provides the body with enough energy. Remember a balanced diet is crucial for achieving your goals.

    What are the Best Pre-workout Meals for Weight Loss?

    Eating to lose weight might seem absurd, but you can’t go to the gym without a pre-workout meal even if your goal is to shed some pounds. Choose a snack with moderate proteins to help you burn calories and sustain you throughout the process. You also need carbs to provide energy for maximum performance. Foods such as oats, sweet potatoes, and quinoa contain fiber and carbs which fuel you during workouts.

    Should I eat before morning workout?


    And that’s about all that we at ApprovedByCoach wanted to share with you! Overall, if you choose to start a workout regime whether to gain or lose weight, don’t forget that what you eat before and after exercising matters. Keep in mind that some foods can cause you to gain weight even if you train hard, while others might bring about no changes. And a pre-workout meal provides you with energy and sustenance throughout your training.

    And perhaps you have a personal favorite pre-workout snack that gives you amazing results? What is it? Feel free to share with us your little tricks in the comments, so we could share information, and help each other get closer to our fitness goal!

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    1 comment
    12 April, 2022
    Useful article. Thanks!