When it comes to maximizing the effectiveness of your workout, what you eat beforehand plays a crucial role. Pre-exercise nutrition can boost your energy levels, enhance performance, and help you achieve your fitness goals. But what – and when – to eat pre-workout is a source of confusion for many, which is why we’ve put together this handy guide: 

what to eat pre-workout to maximize performance

Pre-exercise nutrition should focus on providing your body with the energy it needs to sustain intense physical activity. Complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, are a great choice and should make up a significant portion of your pre-workout meal. These carbohydrates are slow digesting and provide a steady release of energy, helping you power through your workout.

Additionally, including a moderate amount of protein in your pre-workout meal can aid in muscle repair and growth. Good sources of protein include lean meats, fish, eggs, and plant-based options like tofu or legumes. Pairing carbohydrates with protein can also help regulate blood sugar levels and prevent a rapid crash in energy during your workout.

pre-workout meal suggestions

Stuck for pre-workout meal (or snack) inspiration? We’ve got you. Here are three of our favourite pre-workout combos: 

  1. Overnight oats topped with blueberries and a scoop of Greek yogurt. This meal combines complex carbohydrates from oats, antioxidants from berries, and protein from Greek yogurt for a well-rounded pre-workout option.
  2. Grilled chicken or tofu with quinoa and steamed vegetables. This meal provides a balance of protein, carbohydrates, and essential micronutrients to support your workout.
  3. Pumpernickel rye bread with almond butter and bananas. This simple yet effective option offers a good mix of carbohydrates, healthy fats, and protein to fuel your workout.

Remember to listen to your body and adjust your pre-workout meals based on your individual needs and preferences. Experiment with different combinations and see what works best for you.

pre-workout nutrition tips for success

To make the most out of your pre-workout nutrition, here are a few tips:

  1. Timing: The ideal time to eat is one to three hours pre-workout. This allows time for digestion and absorption of nutrients, ensuring you have enough energy during your workout.
  2. Portion Control: Be mindful of portion sizes to prevent discomfort during exercise. Eating too much or too little can hinder performance, so find a balance that works for you.
  3. Individualization: Everyone’s nutritional needs and preferences may differ, so don’t be afraid to experiment and find what works best for your body. Pay attention to how specific foods make you feel during your workout and adjust accordingly.

Remember, pre-workout nutrition is just one piece of the puzzle. It’s essential to combine it with a well-rounded fitness routine and proper post-workout recovery to truly achieve your fitness goals. 

what if I work out in the morning?

If you work out first thing, you won’t have one to three hours to digest a pre-workout meal. And that’s ok! Many people do very well working out in a fasted state. Some like to have a small amount of food pre-workout, which is perfectly fine if that works for you. One thing you can do if you prefer to workout on an empty stomach is to aim to eat a well-balanced meal that meets the criteria above the night before. 

final words

We hope that was a helpful overview of what to eat pre-workout. If you need some help with the workouts themselves, we’ve got you covered through in-home personal training in TorontoHamiltonCollingwoodOttawa– or Virtual Personal Training anywhere. Your first workout is free! Contact us to get the ball rolling.