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16 Things to Eat and Drink Before a Workout

jacquelinebuch profile picture
Jacqueline PaumierGuest Blogger
July 17, 2016 · 3.6k Views

So you’ve finally found a workout routine you really like and have committed yourself to getting it in at least three times a week. That’s amazing! Pat yourself on the back, because finding the motivation to get going is half the battle. Now all that’s left is to arm yourself with the proper nutrition to get the most from your work outs. With the right pre-workout routine you will give yourself that much needed energy boost to keep your stamina going when you need it the most.

Here are some tips and meal ideas on pre-workout nutrition:

  • Try and have your pre-workout meal 1-2 hours before training.
  • Your pre-workout meal should contain about half the calories of what you are hoping to burn, so if you want to burn 600 calories aim for a 300 calorie meal.
  • If you are working out later in the day, and have already had a full meal, aim for a snack 60-90 minutes before training.
  • If you are having a snack, try and keep it in the caloric range of 100-200 calories.
  • Make sure snacks are a combination of lean protein and slow acting carbs.

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Here are some pre-workout snack ideas: 

1. Dates and Nut Butter

Source: Healthy Crush

High in sugar but low in fat, dates meet protein packed almond butter for a PB & J inspired flavor that is perfect for workouts that have less cardio and more strength training.

2. Half a Banana

Bananas not only give you the right amount of energy with their natural sugar, but they also are jammed packed with potassium which helps heal your muscles allowing you to be back at it in a couple of days.

3. Cup Of Coffee

Source: The Daily Meal

Some of us simply can’t get the ball rolling without our morning cup of Joe! Obviously caffeine is the major superstar here, just be sure you give enough time between your cup of coffee and your workout, otherwise the only place you’ll be running to is the bathroom.

4. Chia Pudding

Chia is considered a Super Food thanks to its high amounts of nutrients and Omega-3’s. Since it’s usually made the night before, it’s perfect for those of us with a 5 am work out scheduled. Add in a little vanilla extract or 1 cup of mixed berries to take it up a notch.

5. An Orange

Remember when you played sports as a kid and there were always oranges by the water cooler? That’s because these bad boys are the perfect balance of restorative Vitamin-C and all natural sugar, keeping you energized while repairing the vital cells used during your work out.


Here are some pre-workout meal ideas: 

1. Oats & Eggs

Fast, easy and nutritious, oatmeal and eggs are a great way to get more than enough energy in your system. The Oatmeal is jammed packed with fiber and vitamins, and also slowly releases sugar into your blood stream, which will keep you feeling energized. The eggs are a fantastic source of protein and nutrients, but vital pieces to working out and staying in shape.

2. Fruit and Protein Smoothie

An easy, on-the-go protein shake is a favorite for work out enthusiasts and for good reason. The natural sugar found in fruit is perfect for an instant energy boost while a scoop of your favorite protein powder gives your body exactly what it needs to help build strong muscles. Adding in other smoothie superstars like chia seeds, almond butter, or leafy greens is the perfect way to get your engines running!

3. Avocado Toast

Source: Delish

This creamy pre-workout snack is so irresistible you won’t believe it’s healthy. The avocado brings you those fat burning Omega-3 properties, while the whole wheat toast gives you just the right amount of carbs for a high cardio workout session. Get fancy by adding on a drizzle of olive oil, honey, or red-pepper flakes.

>> SEE ALSO: 24 Amazing Avocado Toast Recipes That Will Make Your Day


And in case you were wondering, there are some post-workout tips to keep in mind as well:

  • Always snack immediately after a workout
  • If it’s the right time of day, get in a full meal post workout
  • Make sure meals are protein based and involve a fair amount of vegetables.


Here are some post-workout snack ideas: 

1. A Protein Shake

Source: Daily Burn

Protein shakes are the perfect option for when you are on the go and don’t have time for a real meal. The pack a full day’s worth of protein in an 8 oz drink, and now come in low calorie variations incase you want them for a snack rather than a full meal.

2. Kefir

Kefir is a fermented drink made by adding “grains” to cow or oat milk. The grains ferment the milk and the final result is a drink that is boosting with vital nutrients, perfect for workout recovery.

3. Dried Fruits and Nuts

The perfect on the go snack if you’re feeling a bit drained after your work out. The sugar in the dried fruit with restore energy while the nuts will keep you full.

4. A Banana

Potassium is the primary nutrient in bananas, and is extremely useful for helping prepare overworked muscles. Double up on your fitness game and toss one in to your protein shake.


Here are some post-workout meal ideas:

1. Quinoa and Salmon

Salmon is packed with Omega-3’s which has been found to help promote healthy weight loss, while quinoa is a vital multigrain that can help manage your appetite.

2. Tofu Stir Fry and Brown Rice

Source: Blue Apron

Brown rice is packed with fiber which aids your digestive system, while tofu is a great meat alternative and is fairly low in calories

3. Black Bean and Brown Rice Soup

Protein and fiber are the stars of this nutrient dense meal that is both nutritious and filling.

4. Sweet Potato and Chicken

Sweet potatoes are much lower in carbohydrates than average potatoes, but still have the same filling effects along with a wide variety of nutrients, while chicken (skinless and baked) is the perfect post workout protein source.


Above all, do not forget to hydrate:

  • Have two 8 oz glasses of water 1-2 hours before working out
  • Have one 8 oz glass of water 15 minutes before your work out
  • Have Another 8 oz glass of water during your workout
  • And always have an 8 oz glass of water 30 minutes after your work out

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jacquelinebuch profile picture
Jacqueline is a modern day gypsy, who has lived in several countries and has traveled to over 20. A sucker for all things pleasing to the senses; her world revolves around food (any and all food), foreign indie films, and salsa music. The first to jump off a waterfall and the last to say no to sushi, she has been described as a bit of an “extremist”. In her perfect world, no one ever spells “cool” as “kool” and Ryan Gosling has more tattoos. She enjoys spending her free time in her New Orleans home with her Cubano guitarist husband and 1-year-old son.

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