Pre-Workout Meals: 10 Best Foods To Have Before Your Workout

At times have you felt like you’re running out of fuel or stamina to complete your workout? One of the reasons you could feel this way is that you’re exercising on an empty stomach. While some might favor this, it does leave others feeling sluggish.

This brings us to the question that everyone from professional athletes to recreational exercisers ask - what should I eat before a workout? Well, you want your pre-workout meal to provide you with a good dose of energy to power through your exercise. But there’s more you should know about before we take you over the 10 best foods to have before your workout.

Pre-Workout Meals: What You Need To Know

  1. Adding carbs to your pre-workout meal is key. Carbohydrates are converted into glucose, which acts as fuel for the body. Whether it is resistance training or endurance training, carbs have shown to enhance performance throughout the workout. [1]
  2. Your goal with eating before a workout is to simply avoid things like getting a headache, feeling exhausted, fatigued, or lightheaded. A good pre-workout meal is supposed provide you with enough energy to power through your workout.
  3. Finally, it is important to remember that your pre-workout meal depends on the type of workout you’ll be doing and what your workout goal is. If you are strength training or lifting weights, you’ll certainly need energy throughout the session.

Also Read: What To Eat After A Workout?

Some Pre-Workout Meals You Must Try

Your pre-workout meal depends on when you plan to work out. If you’re planning to start exercising in about 15 mins, having a heavy pre-workout meal will leave you feeling too full to exercise. You want the food to settle down so there’s no discomfort in your stomach while you’re exercising. Hence, a smaller and simpler meal, like a banana and dry fruits would be good enough. Here are some pre-workout meals and snacks you can try depending on your workout schedule.

Small Bites To Eat 10 To 15 Minutes Before Exercise


Bananas are one of the best pre-workout foods and are quite easily available. They are a great source of carbohydrates, fibers, natural sugars, and potassium. Bananas make for preferable pre-workout snacks that aids in boosting your energy.

Dry Fruits

Dry fruits make for excellent pre-workout snacks as they are handy and easily available. Whether you are a professional athlete or someone beginning their fitness journey, you surely will have some or the other dry fruits at your disposal. A handful of these before you leave for your workout supplies you with enough energy, carbs, and small amounts of fats to keep you going. Whether you like almonds, cashews, walnuts, or even peanuts, they are all good enough pre-workout snacks and keep you from feeling drained out.

Granola / Protein Bar

Quick and easy to whip out and munch before your workout, granola / protein bars are great pre-workout snacks to have if you’re getting ready for your session soon. Packed with dried fruits, nuts, oats, and dates or honey, granola bars can offer energy and will keep you going throughout your training session. There are many combinations of granola bars available to choose from or you can also easily make them at home based on your preferences.

Small Meals To Eat 45 to 60 Minutes Before Exercise

Whole-Fruit Smoothies

One of the best pre-workout meals, a rich and delicious fruit smoothie is a great way to begin your day! Fruit smoothies have simple, natural sugars that are easy to digest and provide a good enough amount of energy to get you through your workout session. Simply pick any fruit of your choice or even mix a few fruits together or add a dollop of peanut butter to your smoothie for some protein boost.

Protein Shakes

A super popular choice and a quick fix, protein shakes make for great pre-workout meals. A good protein shake will provide you with a good dose of proteins, and nutrients and hydrate your body. And depending on your choice of protein powders they will also have carbohydrates in varying quantities. There are some amazing options for protein powders in the market, whether you want vegan protein powders or flavor choices. You can pick whichever fits your needs the best and get started for the day!

Peanut Butter & Toast

It might not seem like it, but peanut butter and toast do make for a good pre-workout meal. Peanut butter is high in proteins and is loved by fitness enthusiasts for the same reason. On a piece of whole-grain toast just spread a good amount of peanut butter and there you have it, your quick and easy pre-workout snack! If simply the toast seems like a bland snack, you can add slices of banana or any other fruit to your toast, which will add some natural sugars and extra nutrients to your meal, which in turn will boost your energy for your workout session.

Big Meals To Eat 1.5 Hours Before Exercise

Greek Yogurt With Berries And Granola

Greek yogurt is a low-calorie food product but is loaded with quick-digesting carbs that will provide enough fuel for your workout as well as ample protein. Pair that with a mix of berries and granola, this pre-workout meal has natural sugars, carbs, proteins, and micronutrients, making it an easy snack to have for you before you hit the gym.

#GoFit Tip - A pro-tip, look for granola that has wholesome carbs like oats, quinoa, or millet, and a good mix of nuts and seeds. Try not to add artificial sweeteners or choose fruit-flavored yogurt, instead opt for plain greek yogurt and add some honey.

Oatmeal And Fruits / Berries

One of the quickest and easiest pre-workout meals you can whip up is oatmeal and fruits. Oats are a great source of fiber, and you can add just about any fruit or berries you like. Bananas, strawberries, and blueberries are great options as they provide the meal with natural sugars. You can also add a scoop of protein powder that will give your pre-workout meal its dose of protein or add a dollop of peanut butter, which is also a great protein source. Honestly, with oatmeal, you can get creative and make various combinations with different fruits and even go savory with veggies!

Mixed Veggie Salad With Tofu

A healthy mixed vegetable salad is a great pre-workout meal option. With small pieces of tofu for proteins, some healthy greens, and a mix of veggies like bell peppers, tomatoes, or broccoli, you can make a healthy but super tasty pre-workout meal. Whether you like it baked or grilled or seasoned with your favorite seasonings, the meal as a whole provides would be wholesome. You can even add a side of whole-grain bread to add more carbs to the meal if you’re looking for that extra boost of energy for the day. And if you’re a non-vegetarian, you can also swap the tofu for chicken, and make it a healthy chicken salad!

Whole-Grain Toast And Egg Omelet

Eggs are a great option to add to your pre-workout meals. Rich in protein, with some amounts of fats, and nutrients, people have been consuming eggs as part of their workout routine for a long time. Whether you like them boiled, scrambled, or made in an omelet, an egg or two with a piece of whole-grain bread is a great pre-workout meal. If you have the time you can even make yourself an egg omelet sandwich by adding in some veggies.

Summing Up

Whatever pre-workout meal you choose, it should provide you with a balance of carbs, proteins, and essential fats to sustain throughout your workout without making you feel low on energy or lethargic. Your choice of a pre-workout meal should boost your energy and aid you in your workout. But at the end of the day, make sure to have fun with your pre-workout meals and try various combinations and flavors and keep your meals vibrant and healthy!


Do You Need A Pre-Workout Meal?

Pre-workout meals are an important part of any fitness routine. Whether you’re into resistance training or endurance training, pre-workout meals provide you with energy for your workouts to maximize performance and recovery. A meal before a workout will ensure that you don’t feel burnt out and lethargic mid-training and can fuel through your session.

What Should I Eat 1 Hour Before Training?

A key to choosing the right pre-workout meal is timing. The shorter the time between your meal and workout, the smaller and simpler food to choose. If you have an hour before starting your training, you can have a sandwich or mixed salad as this will be light for your body.

Are Bananas Good For Pre-Workout Meals?

Bananas make for some of the most popular pre-workout meals. Versatile, easily available, and super delicious, bananas are rich in carbohydrates and fiber, and easy to digest. They provide a good boost of energy before a workout session.

What Should You Not Eat Before Gymming?

You should avoid oily and greasy foods, fizzy drinks, spicy foods, refined sugars, and saturated fats before your workout.