The foods you eat (or don’t) before exercise can make or break your workout. Eating the correct amount of the right calories before working out is essential for an effective workout and to achieve the results you’re looking for.
Alternatively, working out on an empty stomach can quickly lead to low blood sugar, resulting in dizziness, muscle weakness, and fatigue. I do not recommend working out if you are experiencing any of these things before or during your workout. So, no matter your fitness goal (fat loss, muscle gain, increased endurance, etc), a pre-workout snack is necessary in helping you reach your goals safely and quickly.
Benefits of Pre-Workout Snacks
Sure, pre-workout snacks can be tasty, but they serve a bigger purpose than to please your taste buds. Eating an adequate pre-workout snack helps:
- Increase muscle mass
- Boost energy levels
- Improve mental focus
- Increase endurance
- Improve efficiency
- Promote muscle recovery
- Increase metabolic rate
Needless to say, pre-workout snacks are extremely beneficial. So, what makes a pre-workout snack effective and healthy?
What to Eat Before a Workout
Before working out, stick to foods that are easy-to-digest and provide your body the energy it needs. Ideally, opt for foods that contain carbohydrates and lean protein. It’s best to avoid foods that are rich in fiber and fat. Aim to eat your pre-workout snack about 45-60 minutes before your workout.
However, if you haven’t eaten in several hours and feel really hungry, it’s better to consume a bigger snack or meal beforehand. Include a small amount of fat in your meal and eat at least 2 hours before your workout.
Pre-Workout Snack Ideas
Before your workout, eating a combination of carbohydrates and protein is ideal. My favorite delicious and effective pre-workout snacks, include:
- Oatmeal with Fruit- This is my personal favorite snack, especially for morning workouts. Oats are slow digesting carbs, slowly releasing sugar into your bloodstream and giving you consistent energy throughout your workout.
- Whole Wheat toast with Peanut Butter and Banana – Whole wheat toast is a healthy source of easy-to-digest carbohydrates. All natural peanut butter is rich in protein and provides an energy boost. Bananas are high in potassium, which is extremely helpful in balancing electrolytes during your workout.
- Apple Slices with Almond Butter- Apples are a simple carbohydrate, which provides quick energy, while the fat and protein in almond butter slows the release of energy to your bloodstream and muscles.
- Greek Yogurt With Berries and Granola- Greek yogurt is rich in easy-to-digest protein, while berries and granola provide quick-digesting carbs.
- Energy or Granola Bar- A high quality energy bar is great for an on-the-go snack. Look for bars that are with protein and granola/oats. Avoid ones that contain a lot of added sugar and/or filled with chocolate.
- Cottage Cheese with Fruit- Similar to yogurt, cottage cheese is a great source of protein. Paired with fruit, it makes for an energizing and satiating snack.
Eating a nutrient-dense, easy-to-digest pre-workout snack is one of the best ways to ensure a great workout. For custom guidance on your workouts and nutrition, consider working with me one-on-one. Together, we can create the best pre-workout snacks for you!