New Air 10: $80 OFF with code "MOMS80" Shop now
Iconic Air 3: $90 OFF with code "UPOWER" Shop now
Spin to win $100 OFF code

What to Eat Before a Workout? (Scientific Guide)

By Alex Bakhovsky
March 1, 2024
8 minutes
What to Eat Before a Workout? (Scientific Guide)

Have you ever caught yourself wondering ‘What should I eat before a workout?’ Begin with the note we aren’t exploring random opinions here. This is all science-backed goodness packed into one delicious blog post! So tighten your apron strings, my dear pals, ’cause we’re cooking up knowledge!

Here’s a sweat-drenched truth: the food you eat can be either the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison for your workout. How many times have we gulped down something quick before hitting the gym only to end up feeling like a derailed train after ten minutes? 

Those who think they’ve no time for healthy eating will sooner or later have to find time for illness. Let’s make the choice today. Let’s turn our meals into stepping stones mirroring steps on stair squats! Excited? I sure am! So buckle up and get ready for this wild whirlwind trip of flavors, fitness, and facts because here comes…

Table of Contents:

Understanding Pre-Workout Nutrition

Understanding Pre-Workout NutritionBefore we commence this appetizing journey into the world of pre-workout meals, it’s essential to understand our main players: carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Equally crucial is knowing about glycogen and how our body feasts on these components for energy.

  • Carbohydrates

Carbs are our primary source of instant power. Consider them your tidy fuel reserves, ready to spark up as soon as you hit that treadmill or lift those weights. Carbs simply break down into glucose that either gets used immediately for much-needed energy or is stored in muscle cells as glycogen for later use. Carbs play a main role during high-intensity training sessions.

  • Proteins

They build us! Proteins enrich the repair process post a strenuous workout, but befriending them before exercising assists in reducing muscle damage and facilitates quick recovery too. 

  • Fats

Fats are your quiet best friends — the ones you underestimate until they save you during crisis times — say duration activities where that stored glycogen exhausts itself. They step up slowly yet steadily not just with calorie-rich energy but regulating inflammation and hormone production. 

Grab a cup of green tea because coming right next is something every athlete loves more than sleep. Glycogen — our premier storage form of glucose providing direct ammo during workouts requiring intense metabolic responses like sprinting or weightlifting! 

The clocking hour though when we consume these pre-workout meals, plays a crucial role too. No one wants to burp during squats or feel dizzy with a stomach too full, right? You do need enough time for digestion and nutrient absorption properly, and thus eating about 2-3 hours before a workout seems reasonable. Timely pre-workout nutrition not only boosts performance but also shields muscle mass — talk about killing two birds with one meal!

The Ideal Pre-Workout Meal

The Ideal Pre-Workout MealAs we delve deeper into the realm of pre-workout nutrition, one truth stands undisputed – there’s no ‘one size fits all.’ Just like our fingerprints or that perfect song in an epic workout playlist, our dietary choice remains uniquely ours. Yet, if we consider a macronutrient pendulum for a broad sweep recommendation, hanging somewhere between 40-60% carbohydrates, 25-35% protein, and 15-25% fats can be titled as ‘ideal’. How does this translate to your dinner plate?

Imagine yourself at your dining table. Lay out an assortment of complex carbohydrates such as whole grains — brown rice or quinoa, perhaps? These meals are slow-burning wonders that provide a consistent energy release. Toss in lean proteins, think grilled turkey or plant-based seitan for vegetarians — it aids in muscle repair and building new tissues. Don’t forget those healthy fats like avocado slices or drizzles of olive oil to serve an extra layer of energy.

With portion sizes though, here’s where the magic lies — appreciating individuality! If you’re someone gearing up for a light workout session — a brisk walk perhaps — an apple with almond butter spread should suffice. For weight-lifters aiming to break personal records? A chicken breast cooked with sweet potatoes and mixed veggies could be your holy grail!

Do remember folks, nutritional needs vary greatly depending on various factors – your fitness goals, workout intensity, to our unique metabolic rates. So, customize these nutritional tips to suit your journey towards a healthier ‘you.’ It’s about treating oneself with kindness and slowly appreciating the nuances of changes rather than an overnight marvel!

Learning about pre-workout nutrition is just like waiting for that perfectly baked pie. It requires two generous dollops of patience and one big open mind. As we wander deeper into this fulfilling gastronomic sojourn together, always remember – it’s not about eating less but eating right! 

Tailoring Pre-Workout Meals to Your Workout Goals

Tailoring Pre-Workout Meals to Your Workout Goals

  • What to eat before a workout to build muscle?

If your eyes are set on chiseled muscles, then protein should become your bosom buddy! Protein provides essential amino acids for muscle repair and growth – think of it as the bricks and mortar of building your muscular mansion! Pair it with high-quality carbs that refill those glycogen stores in the muscles you’re eager to develop.

Try grilled chicken breasts or tofu for my vegan sculptors, combined with sweet potatoes. Wash these down with a generous gulp of Greek yogurt mixed fruit smoothie, and bid hello to those Hulk-like biceps!

  • What to eat before a workout for energy?

For that invigorating push during workouts, complex carbohydrates stand undefeated. They break down slowly into glucose fueling consistent energy supply throughout your session — no unwanted sugar-crashes midway!

Have oatmeal topped with an assortment of fruits like berries or bananas, for example, and sprinkle almonds or flaxseeds, this meal is not just Instagram-worthy but also energy-packed.

  • What to eat before a workout in the morning?

Early birds listen up — for that sunrise fitness routine find companionship in easy-to-digest proteins and carbohydrates while staving off fats that could upset your stomach if nervous about exercising so early.

Blend banana and berries into a whey protein smoothie garnished lovingly with chia seeds – all set for a gentle dawn exercise kickoff!

  • What to eat before a workout to lose weight?

The goal here is optimizing calorie burn without risking nutrient deficiencies — challenge accepted! Mix slow-digesting carbs, lean proteins, and a judicious portion of healthy fats.

Perhaps a salad filled with mixed greens topped with grilled tuna/legumes, half-boiled egg, and olive oil dressing — watching those extra pounds melt will be a joy!

Despite these varied robust recommendations, maintain hydration and respect your body’s unique picks – for always remember “One person’s food is another person’s poison”. Painstakingly collected facts can serve as an illuminating guidebook but at the end of this winding day, catching whispers from one’s body sounds the sweetest. So go on my dear pals, let’s dine into fitness!

Hydration and Electrolytes

Hydration and ElectrolytesNow that we have gathered much wisdom around solid chow, it’s time to quench our thirst for knowledge about something equally — or dare I say potentially more — vital: hydration and electrolytes. When it comes to the anthem of any workout regime, water undeniably hits the high note!

Water assists not just in avoiding uninvited cramps, overheating, or a tiresome dry mouth during workouts but also carries nutrients around the body — saluting its importance becomes not a choice but rather a necessity! Performance decreases with even mild levels of dehydration.

While drinking ample water, you also may squeeze a lemon for flavor and vitamin C. Before exercise is crucial, don’t rule underdogs out – our trustworthy electrolytes. Those microscopic marathon runners carry electric charges necessary for muscle contractions during your workout sessions. Without them consider one marooned on a desert wishing for an oasis of strength!

So where can we gather these silent supporters? Simple ways lie beneath nature’s shade – sodium can be garnered from table salt along with potassium refilled through bananas, and calcium and magnesium can be collected from various dairy products/nuts and veggies/fruits respectively.

Adapt your water intake dynamically based on sweat rates tuned with unique needs while catching hold of minerals necessary to hold onto that balance inside-out! Remember, sweat losses during workouts are not merely water but trace liquids carrying prized salts — let’s pledge towards replacing every drop that falls along each rep completed!

Supplements for Pre-Workout

Supplements for Pre-WorkoutIn the ocean of pre-workout routines, supplements are like islands — some packed with treasure troves, others noisy tourist spots full of promises but void of actual benefits. When utilized judiciously though, certain supplements can kickstart your workout journey into overdrive mode.

  • Protein powders

They extend a helpful hand in muscle-building and repairing. Loyal companions I’d say!

  • Creatine

it bolsters strength, aids muscle growth, and imbibes water into your muscles giving them that ‘full’ appearance.

  • Caffeine

It’s not just your morning alertness ally but also a friend to those high-intensity gym sessions by improving focus and decreasing perceived exertion. If unsure about coffee-induced jitters, replacing it with green tea extract handing out similar benefits wrapped within antioxidants could be a great choice!

Before rushing towards popping any pill or powder remember dear friends — dietary supplements should merely serve as adjoining help to well-balanced nutrition and quality hydration already onboard. As tags suggest they ‘supplement’ rather than replace meals! Everybody reacts uniquely so always consult professional advice. The key here is trial tweaked with patience and persistence while real magic continues weaving its pattern beneath nutrition’s broad umbrella!

Addressing Common Misconceptions 

Addressing Common Misconceptions As we near the end of our nutrition tour, let’s dust off some common misconceptions that often muddy the crystal-clear waters of pre-workout nutrition.

  • Fasting workouts burn more fat

While it’s true exercising on an empty stomach pushes the body to utilize fat reserves, long-term effects might backfire triggering a catabolic state— where muscle mass could be broken down for energy requirements. Always remember, when it comes to workout fuel, balance is key!

  • More proteins for bigger muscles

Protein indeed plays a pivotal role in muscle repair but loading too much won’t transform you into Hercules overnight! Excessive protein doesn’t lead to augmented muscle gain but might put stress on the kidneys. 

  • Sports drinks are needed for every workout

Quick reality check — most sports drinks are sugar bombs better suited for rigorous exercise lasting beyond 60-90 minutes when electrolyte replacement becomes essential. Hydration needs for most normal workouts can be happily met by water without unnecessary calorie addition.

Making Every Bite Count

As we loosen our apron strings and place our chef hats back on the rack, it’s hard to ignore the profound shift in understanding we’ve experienced about the not-so-mysterious-anymore world of pre-workout nutrition. From devouring details about carbohydrates, proteins, and fats being more than just names on a nutrition label – to gulping down wisdom around hydration and dietary supplements — we have mustered up the courage to accept food as not mere subsistence but rather an unseen friend cheering us during every workout session!

Always remember — investing today in genuine knowledge around your meals is like fastening a safety belt before hitting the road and driving towards your fitness goals. Eating intelligently might seem hard initially but let me assure you — it’s worth every bit of effort put in! 

Alex Bakhovsky
Greetings, I am Alex Bakhovsky, a fervent health and fitness enthusiast with a profound ardor for enhancing the overall well-being of both ordinary individuals and elite athletes. My ultimate goal is to disseminate this passion and knowledge to a wider audience, including yourself. With over five years of experience as a certified personal trainer and nutritionist, I have acquired a wealth of practical knowledge and skills that enable me to provide comprehensive guidance and support to my clients in achieving their fitness and wellness goals.
Subscribe Win Free Air3 & 100 OFF
Featured Products
Ulike Air 3
90% hair reduction in 4 weeks
$239 $329
Ulike Air +
78% hair reduction in 4 weeks
$219 $309
Related articles
Latest article