Pre-Workout Meals and Snacks
What To Eat Before A Workout
Struggling with energy during your workouts? Wondering if you need supplements or pre-workout drinks?
I asked the after-work regulars at my gym the question: “What did you eat before you came to workout?”
The answers were so varied! I heard: “a handful of nuts”, “some chips”, “a banana”, “nothing”, and the classic, “pre-workout supplement drink of course!”
Most of these gym goers I spoke to were at the gym to do strength training and/or use the cardio equipment. No one was actively training for a competition or a specific sporting event, but these were all people who came to the gym on a regular basis and work hard to see improvements in whatever area they are focusing on. I have also heard a lot of complaints from these people about poor energy in their workouts…
I started thinking that maybe it is time to make these workouts feel better!
First of all, if you already feel like everything is working well for you, then stop reading. Keep doing what you are doing. I am so glad you are feeling good!
If you are not, then here are a few simple tips.
Have Pre-Workout Meal and Snack Strategies
- Make sure you drink enough water during the day! Yes, drink water at work alongside your coffee. If you area dehydrated before you even start your workout, you will not get the most out of that gym session. Need some ideas? Check out this previous blog post: Hydration tips if you struggle to drink enough water
- If you are an after-work or evening gym goer, you will likely need an afternoon snack of some sort so that you have energy to get you through to your workout. I recommend a more substantial snack if you have a few hours before the gym. Some examples could be: crackers and hummus, an apple and peanut butter, half a sandwich, or a muffin with a piece of cheese.
- If you are feeling low energy or hungry heading to your workout, or if it has been more that 3 hours since you ate lunch or a partnered snack containing both carbs and protein, then grab a simple easy carbohydrate filled snack. Carbs have such a bad reputation in our culture, but they are necessary for good energy in your workouts! Carbohydrates will be digested and absorbed by your body quicker than protein or fats, which means they will top up the energy stores in your muscles in time to have a more powerful workout.
10 Quick Carbohydrate Filled Snacks:
- A piece of fruit such as a banana or apple
- Animal crackers or arrowroot cookies
- A juice box
- A simple chewy granola bar
- Fruit snacks or Jujubes (Yes, I said jujubes as in the candy!)
Read more about the science of sugar here
- Fig bars or Fig Newtons
- Dried fruit such as raisins, mangoes or dried cranberries
- Handful of roasted chickpeas or lentils
- 1/2 a PB & J sandwich
- Handful of crackers or pretzels
I like to have some fun with my pre-workout snack, and I hope you will too! We do not have to choose the “perfect” thing, but rather something that we like and that will give us an energy boost.
What is your favorite pre-workout meal or snack? Let us know in the comments below.
Looking for more sports nutrition advice?
Check out these previous articles on our blog:
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Disordered Eating, Emotional Eating & Sports Nutrition
Fitness enthusiast and lover of all things food, Jana is passionate about helping her clients improve their relationship with food and their body. She is a strong, motivational leader. Jana also offers the balance of a warm, supportive coaching style to nudge her clients from their comfort zone while feeling safe and supported. She specializes in mental health, eating disorders, body image and sports nutrition.