Which foods and how much to eat depends on the type, duration, and intensity of the workout.
A good rule of thumb is to eat a mixture of carbs and protein prior to exercise.
If you eat fat with your pre-workout meal, then it should be consumed at least a few hours before your workout.
Here are some examples of balanced pre-workout meals:
If Your Workout Starts Within 2–3 Hours or More
- Sandwich on whole-grain bread, lean protein, and a side salad
- Egg omelet and whole-grain toast topped with avocado spread and a cup of fruit
- Lean protein, brown rice, and roasted vegetables
If Your Workout Starts Within 2 Hours
- Protein smoothie made with milk, protein powder, banana, and mixed berries
- Whole-grain cereal and milk
- A cup of oatmeal topped with banana and sliced almonds
- Natural almond butter and fruit preserve sandwich on whole-grain bread
If Your Workout Starts Within an Hour or Less
- Greek yogurt and fruit
- Nutrition bar with protein and wholesome ingredients
- A piece of fruit, such as a banana, orange, or apple
Keep in mind that you don’t need to eat many pre-workout meals at different times. Just choose one of these.
For best results, experiment with different timings and nutrient compositions.
A combination of carbs and protein is recommended for pre-workout meals. Fat can also be beneficial, but it should be consumed at least two hours before exercise.