What to Eat Before a Workout

By Curtis Mann Strength and Conditioning Specialist


Over the past 21 years that I’ve been training people in various transitions of health, wellness and fitness, one of the most pressing questions is “what should I eat before a workout”?

The first thing I always address is the importance of having what I call, a pre- workout snack or meal.

The reason for having a pre-workout snack is, your body uses sugar in the form of glucose (converted to glycogen) to fuel most of its functions. If you don't get enough to eat, your body will not have enough glucose, a condition referred to as hypoglycemia. It is a common condition in those with diabetes but, can occur in people who don't have it. If you are exercising in the morning before eating breakfast or missing meals, your blood sugar will usually be low, which can lead to dizziness. Other symptoms, such as nausea, increased heart rate and trembling may also occur. Eating at least two to four hours before exercising can help avoid low blood sugar. If you forgot to eat a full meal, eating a smaller snack such as crackers or fruit before exercise can help. Dizziness that occurs during exercise due to low blood sugar can be remedied by drinking a fruit juice or other snack high in sugar.

I consulted friends of mine who are Registered Dieticians, Exercise Physiologist , researched numerous nutrition articles and have drawn on my own education in nutrition to come up with what I consider are 4 high energy snacks or meals to have prior to a workout.

#1. Greek Yogurt and Trail Mix: If you’re planning on a hard vigorous workout or a long run eat some Greek Yogurt.  It’s easy on your stomach and when paired with some trail mix, can give you an energized boost.  Pick the trail mix that has more nuts and dried fruits. The healthy sugar from dried fruit provide the most amount of energy. Eat a small amount of nuts and seeds. These contain a high amount of fat and too many might make you feel slow and sluggish.

#2. Smoothies: In a hurry? Whip up a smoothie made of Greek Yogurt, fresh or frozen fruit, maybe some nuts and for a cold treat add ice. To make it a sweeter treat add a teaspoon of honey to boost energy. Protein powder can also be added to boost the amount of muscle building power.

#3. I was talking (being interviewed) to a College Student who was doing a paper for her exercise physiology (the identification of physiological mechanisms underlying physical activity) class, and I had to ask her what her favorite pre-workout snack is and we both had the same thing in mind. One slice of whole wheat toast, a tablespoon of Peanut Butter, and slices of Banana. When getting your engine ready for an intense workout, carbs are your friend. The release of simple and complex carbs gives you a good even, sustained release of energy.

#4. Oatmeal with fresh Fruit: Oatmeal is the ultimate pre-workout snack. It releases glucose into your body gradually giving a sustained energy boost. Adding fruit enhances the effect.

These are a few suggestions I have found that are not only favorites of fitness Professionals and Dietitians but, deliver the energy you need for a good intense workout.

If you know of some other pre-workout meals, please share them with me and I’ll pass them on to the other readers.

Visit our website, www.endresultsfitness.com for other articles like;

  • What to eat after a workout or run

  • Healthy Breakfast

  • Best Protein shakes

  • Whey Concentrate vs. Isolate: What’s The Difference?

End Results Health & Wellness has developed unique and individualized fitness programs to help you achieve your health, fitness, and wellness goals.

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This article was written by Curtis Mann Co- Owner and Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. Information for this News Article was obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and Sam Calhoun Exercise Physiologist.