12 Foods to Eat Before a Workout for Better Results
Cars and your body have one thing in common—they both only work as well as the fuel they are given. Set yourself up for success by eating the right foods before you exercise. Not only will your pre-workout snack impact your energy levels, but the wrong choice can leave you with distracting digestive distress.
Don’t think you can avoid the problem (and speed up weight loss) by not eating anything beforehand. Your body needs calories to power through workouts, and putting it in too much of a deficit will leave you feeling weak and unable to burn as many.
And, while fasted cardio has its merits, you’ll see better long-term progress if you ensure you’re well-fed before you work out.
12 Best Foods to Eat Before a Workout
Make the most of your time to exercise by pre-fueling with these healthy, nutrient-dense choices.
1. Dressed Up Apple Slices
This high-fiber fruit satisfies your sweet tooth without giving you a short term sugar rush. Pair apple slices with your favorite nut butter and top them with raisins or dried cranberries for a snack that fills you up without sitting too heavily in your stomach.
2. Eggs in Any Form
Considered by many to be “the perfect protein,” eggs provide all nine essential amino acids in one convenient package. You’ll get 70 calories and six grams of quality protein per egg, as well as critical vitamins and minerals like iron, vitamin D, choline, and more.
Enjoy them scrambled with sweet potato or sunny side up on whole-wheat toast. We also recommend keeping hard-boiled eggs in the fridge for an easy snack.
3. Plain Greek Yogurt
Yogurt before exercise can be a touchy subject. Spring for the pre-flavored, fruity favorites at the grocery store, and you’re getting more simple sugars than nutrients and risk suffering from fading energy mid-workout.
Unsweetened Greek yogurt, in contrast, packs a 17-gram protein punch per half cup and breaks down slowly, so it’s less likely to affect your stomach. Best of all, you can dress it up to your taste with fresh fruits, nuts, and even grains like oats and quinoa.
4. Bananas and Peanut Butter
Consider this humble fruit as mother nature’s energy bar. Beyond potassium, bananas are packed with carbohydrates to give your system a steady glucose supply throughout your workout.
Pair banana slices with peanut butter to benefit from a filling serving of protein, and place them on whole-wheat toast with a sprinkle of chia seeds for the workout days when you need something extra.
5. Cottage Cheese
This convenient snack doesn’t get enough attention. Cottage cheese contains casein and whey protein, both of which fuel you during workouts and help you develop muscle mass. You can treat this traditionally savory snack like yogurt by topping it with fresh berries or even dried, sliced apricots.
Just make sure you give yourself several hours after eating before you hit the gym, so you don’t experience any digestive issues from the dairy content.
6. Rice Cakes “Toast”
If you’re gluten-free, it can be tricky to take in enough carbohydrates to stay full for workouts. Welcome to the rice cake, which offers a convenient, tasty platform for all your favorite pre-workout toppings.
Slather on peanut butter and banana slices, spread with avocado and top with a fried egg, or even transform a few into tuna fish “sandwiches.” As rice cakes rarely go stale, you can keep them on hand for convenient snacking.
This deep red root vegetable is high in betalains, which aid muscle contractions, lower blood pressure, and even helps transfer oxygen to your muscles.
While beet juice gives you a boost of nutrients, you’ll better benefit from its fiber content if you eat beets whole. You can eat them baked, roasted, pickled, or even grated on top of your salad, sandwich, or pasta dish. Consider also blending beets into your post-workout smoothies.