Pre-workout nutrition

Pre-workout nutrition

What To Eat Before a Workout: How To Fuel Correctly

Feeling lethargic and tired going into a workout can massively impact your performance and ultimately mean you end up wasting your time.

But if your body is properly prepared and your blood sugar levels stable, training effect will be maximised. Better still, you’ll recover quicker which will increase progression and mean you can do it all over again at a high intensity.

Here are Built for Athletes’ fundamental tips on what to eat before a workout.

Best pre-workout foods

Like most aspects of nutrition, getting a good mix of food types is essential when deciding your pre-gym fuel.

Making sure you eat enough CARBS will maximise glycogen stores in your muscles and liver.

Glycogen is the main source of fuel your muscles will burn during exercise. Put simply – you don’t want to be running on fumes.

A bagel or whole-grain toast is a good source of carbs to eat about an hour before training. If you’ve got a high-intensity session in the evening, try eating a high percentage of carbs at breakfast. Porridge topped with banana and/or berries is a good option.

But don’t neglect PROTEIN. A huge number of studies have shown eating protein before a workout not only increases protein muscle synthesis – essential for building both lean muscle and muscle mass – but also improves physical performance.

Eating a protein-rich meal 2-3 hours before a workout is a good way to maximise recovery. Scrambled egg and avocado on toast or chicken thighs with rice are good examples. If you can’t eat until closer to your workout, a protein shake 1-2 hours before will do the job. It’s not a good idea to eat anything substantial 45 minutes before a session though.


The key is to eat a good balanced meal in the hours leading up to the workout. But if that’s not possible, consume foods more easily digested about one hour before.

You also might want to consider carb-loading the day before a particularly important session.