Your Pre-Workout Eating Guide: What You Should Eat Before You Work Out [INFOGRAPHIC]

Fueling up before your workout will give your body the energy it needs to perform at its best.

Here’s a guide to the types of foods you should eat before you work out.

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What NOT to Eat

Avoid Fatty or Artificial Sugar-Rich Foods:

  • Fat takes longer to digest. Fat-heavy dishes will leave you feeling full and they might cause you to cramp.
  • Candy or other artificial sugar-rich foods will give you a sugar rush, but you will crash during your work out.

Back Off on The Calories:

  • Eat only what you anticipate you’ll burn.
  • Overeating might cause indigestion, sluggishness or vomiting. It will also offset any of the calories you burn off.

It’s All About Timing

How long will you be eating before you work out? The timing of your pre-workout meal will change what types of foods you should be eating.

Two to Three Hours Before Exercising:

  • Eat foods with ample amounts of protein, carbohydrates, fat and fiber.
  • These types of foods will take time to digest. Avoid working out for at least two hours.
  • The fat, fiber or carbohydrates will give you high quality, long-lasting energy (perfect for endurance sports or weightlifting).
  • The added protein will help to repair your muscles after exercising.

One Hour to 45 Minutes Before Exercising:

  • Eat something light and nutritious that’s rich with carbohydrates and glucose, like whole-wheat toast with fruit.
  • Carbs and glucose will provide your muscles with fast-burning energy.
  • Because these foods are light, you’ll digest them quickly and avoid a stomachache while exercising.

Pre-Workout Recipes

1)      Banana Walnut Bliss Smoothie


2 cups skim milk

1 banana

1 tbsp. honey

¼ tsp. vanilla extract

Chopped walnuts

Directions: Combine ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth.


  • Fruit smoothies are rich with protein, glucose and carbohydrates, which means they have everything your body needs to operate at peak-performance levels.
  • They’re easy to digest and relatively light too.

2) Chickpeas with Lemon Juice


¼ or 1/3 cup of chickpeas

Lime or lemon juice for seasoning

Dash of salt

Directions: Rinse chickpeas. Let them soak in water for 12 hours. Boil chickpeas in three times the volume of water for one hour. Let them simmer until tender. Season to taste.


  • They’re a fantastic pre-workout snack!
  • A quarter cup of chickpeas features 10 grams of protein, nearly nine grams of fiber and 30 grams of carbohydrates.

3) Chicken Breast with Brown Rice

4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts

Canned salsa (for flavor)
Fresh cilantro

1 tbsp. lemon juice

3 cups brown rice

Directions: Bake chicken for 20 minutes at 450 degrees until cooked through. Cook rice in two to three cups of water until rice absorbs all water. Season with salsa, juice and cilantro.


  • A good dish to eat two to three hours before a workout.
  • The chicken features minimal fat while boasting a hefty amount of protein for muscle repair.
  • The brown rice is also packed with complex carbohydrates that will give you plenty of energy for later in the day. Add vegetables for extra nutrients.

4) Whole Wheat Toast with Banana and Almond Butter

1 or 2 tbsp. of almond butter

1 slice of whole-wheat toast

1 banana, sliced

Directions: Toast sliced bread. Spread almond butter, add banana slices.


  • Whole wheat bread offers complex fibers and carbohydrates that are great for energy.
  • Bananas are full of potassium— which helps to boost muscle and nerve function.
  • Almond butter features four grams of protein and eight grams of fat, and its rich with vitamin E.

5) Oatmeal with Dates and Maple Syrup

¼ cup of oatmeal
¼ whey protein powder (vanilla)

½ almond milk

¼ cup ground almonds

¼ chopped dates

1 tsp. maple syrup (optional)

Directions: Boil milk, oats and almonds. Let them simmer for five minutes until the oatmeal has a viscous consistency. Remove oatmeal from heat, let it cool and add dates and maple syrup.


  • Flavorful, filling and packed with 23 grams of carbs and 19 grams of protein.
  • This is a great dish for those who are interested in weightlifting or bodybuilding.

6) Easy Greek Yogurt Parfait

1-cup low-fat Greek yogurt

1 large banana, sliced

Whole-grain cereal

1 tbsp. honey (or one packet of artificial sweetener)

Directions: Combine yogurt and sweetener in a glass. Then layer fruit, cereal and yogurt in sequential order.


  • One serving of Greek yogurt features 12 grams of protein and only 130 calories.
  • The whole grain offers a nice crunch and some complex fibers for energy, and the banana is rich with muscle-boosting potassium.


Fueling up with carbohydrates, glucose and protein before a workout will give your body the energy it requires to perform at optimum levels.

Plus, eating right will ensure that your body has everything it needs to recover after a tough workout.

Now get cooking!

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