BlogNutritionThe Food List: What To Eat Before A Workout

The Food List: What To Eat Before A Workout

5 mins read
Taisiia Dobrozorova
Written by Taisiia Dobrozorova on June 23, 2022
Pavel Balezin
Fact checked by Pavel Balezin
Ievgeniia Dobrynina
Fact checked by Ievgeniia Dobrynina

Whatever your workout goal is, you must be attentive to your nutrition. We will talk about the proper pre-workout food, the role of each essential macronutrient you get, and how it influences the reflection in the mirror and the result on the scales.

The success of any workout is 70 percent determined by a balanced diet and 30 percent by a set of exercises1. The right diet is the key to efficient training.

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Best pre-workout foods to build muscle and lose weight

For those who perform strength exercises, it's necessary to consume large amounts of carbohydrates. These elements will give your body a stable energy source. The body's energy expenditure determines a person's age and sex difference. Before training in the gym, you have to eat about 200 kcal for women and 300 kcal for men. These calories should be obtained from the intake of complex carbohydrates (not less than 70 grams) and protein (not more than 30 grams)2.

To burn fat, you should increase calorie expenditure compared to their consumption. However, this does not mean you must refrain from eating before training. It is recommended to have a minimum of complex carbohydrates and plenty of protein. Food high in protein helps protect muscle mass from destruction. Also, it's an ability to recover quickly from possible injuries and stress3.

If you start training within 3 hours or more, we recommend:

  •  Lean protein and a light veggie salad, sandwich on whole-grain bread;
  •  Egg omelet, whole-grain toast with avocado, and a cup of fruit;
  •  Brown rice, roasted vegetables, lean protein.

If you start training within 2 hours, try:

  •  Protein smoothie with milk, banana, and your favorite berries;
  •  Whole-grain cereal with milk; 150-200 grams of oatmeal topped with banana and sliced almonds;
  •  Sandwich on whole-grain bread with natural almond butter and fruit preserve.

If you start training within 1 hour or 30 minutes:

  •  Greek yogurt and any fruit;
  •  Protein bar with wholesome ingredients;
  •  Banana, orange, or apple.

Even if you follow all the nutrition tips, it sometimes happens that you can experience a lack of energy. That's why in recent years, various supplements have begun to gain popularity. Their task is to improve strength, enhance performance, increase lean body mass and lower fatigue. All of them have a unique composition and effect on the human body.

To its best function, your body also requires water. Try to get used to drinking water right after waking up, before breakfast, or before a morning run. Also, bring water to the gym with you because taking sips between the rounds is critical. It helps to restore the body's water balance during the workout.

Moreover, water regulates body temperature, participates in metabolism, saturates with oxygen for respiration, and performs several other functions to ensure the proper functioning of the body. Water is well suited for training with a small load and intensity4. If the activity lasts an hour, water is the best option for a drink. There is no need to intentionally pour a liter of water before training because active moving will be uncomfortable with a full stomach. The best option is to drink 200-600 ml of water 2 hours before exercise.

Is it good to workout on an empty stomach?

An empty stomach exercise will not bring the desired result due to a lack of resources. If you can't have a snack in time, you should eat something high in carbohydrates in half an hour, such as fruit, yogurt, or an energy drink. You can also drink a cup of tea without sugar or black coffee as an additional stimulant5. It will increase the production of adrenaline for proper fat breakdown.

Let’s put everything together:

While choosing what to eat before your workout, try to combine healthy carbs with high protein foods. Determine a proportion of these elements according to your goals. Be sure that a perfect balance will give your organism enough energy to do strength and cardio workouts. Just mind when you eat with what you eat. Additionally, don't forget that supplements can aid performance and boost recovery. We hope this article has answered all your questions. Stay safe, sound and hydrated all the time!

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By choosing high-quality sources, we make sure that all articles on the Unimeal blog are reliable and trustworthy

Jeff S Volek. (2004, April). Influence of nutrition on responses to resistance training. Med Sci Sports Exerc. DOI:10.1249/01.mss.0000121944.19275.c4
Tal Shoshan, Eric Post. (2021, July 9). Prevalence of Protein and Pre-Workout Supplement Use among High School Football Players and Potential Product Contamination. Glob Pediatr Health. DOI:10.1177/2333794X211031202
Ralf Jäger, et al. (2017, June 20). International Society of Sports Nutrition Position Stand: protein and exercise. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. DOI:10.1186/s12970-017-0177-8
Matthias Ring, Clemens Lohmueller, Manfred Rauh, Joachim Mester, Bjoern M Eskofier. (2016, November). A Temperature-Based Bioimpedance Correction for Water Loss Estimation During Sports. IEEE J Biomed Health Inform. DOI:10.1109/JBHI.2015.2466076
Lorruama J Fogaça, et al. (2019, October 25). Effect of caffeine supplementation on exercise performance, power, markers of muscle damage, and perceived exertion in trained CrossFit men: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover trial. J Sports Med Phys Fitness. DOI:10.23736/S0022-4707.19.10043-6