What to Eat Before a Workout

What you eat before a great workout really depends on what time of day you choose to exercise, what kind of exercise you perform, as well as exercise duration and your own fitness level.

It’s easy to point out the obvious things you should avoid eating before any physical activity, including fast foods, fried foods and super-spicy foods, which take too long to break down - and may interfere with your exercise sessions and your digestion.

What to Eat Before Exercise for Losing Weight

Avoid eating large amounts of food before exercising in general to avoid feeling fatigue or experiencing cramps and side stitches, according to studies at The Mayo Clinic. Aim for 200 calories (or so), depending on your body weight.

Larger meals should be eaten 2-3 three hours before you work out. But if you are an early-morning exerciser, it’s more realistic to eat very lightly or to drink a smoothie before an early morning sweat session, saving that bigger meal until after a workout.

Instead, to generate and maintain energy before your workout, try snacking on 200-250 healthy calories or so, using a lean mix of healthy fats (l¼ avocado), carbs and protein.

What you eat before a great workout also depends on what time of day you choose to exercise, and also what kind of exercise you do, as well as how long you do it for. Generally speaking though, you may get optimal results with your workouts by watching what you eat before you exercise.

7 Perfect Pre-Workout Snacks

  • Steamed and salted edamame (1/4 cup), miso soup
  • String cheese and 4-6 whole grain crackers
  • Pear or apple with 12-16 mixed nuts
  • Small bowl of whole-grain cereal, milk and ½ banana
  • Low-sugar protein energy bar or granola bar
  • Handful nutty trail mix (skip the chocolate versions!)
  • ½ yogurt smoothie with flax and seeds

Even more importantly, be sure to drink water and hydrate before and during exercise sessions too. Most experts suggest drinking one cup of water per hour in the 2-to-3 hours leading up to a moderate workout.