5 of the Best Pre-Workout Foods for Every Type of Gym-Goer

Whether you’re the type of gym-goer who wakes up before the sun rises to hit the treadmill, or you like to wait until after work for a sweat session, it’s vital to properly fuel your body for any type of exercise. This means you must be sure to eat enough calories and carbs to sustain a high level of energy. It’s also important to note the sensitivity of your stomach — while some people can eat a full meal only an hour before a tough workout, others have to wait three or four hours between their meal and their gym session.

According to BuiltLean, a large pre-workout meal should consist of a relatively low amount of fat, a moderate amount of protein and dairy, and plenty of low-glycemic carbs, as these will slowly release into your bloodstream and offer you lots of energy over time. Need some guidance? The following foods are perfect for eating before your workout and they can be eaten alone or combined with other foods for something more substantial.

1. Bananas

Bunch of Bananas

Bananas are an ideal pre-workout snack. | iStock.com

Not only is this fruit easy to take with you when you’re on the go, but it’s also one of the best foods for sustainable energy, no matter what you’ll be doing at the gym. Men’s Fitness explains bananas are full of digestible carbohydrates that give you the immediate energy boost you need before you exercise. Potassium is also great for maintaining nerve and muscle function.

For those who love to exercise in the morning, bananas are one of the best foods to eat when you wake up, especially when paired with Greek yogurt for protein. The carb and protein combo here will keep you energized from the beginning of your workout all the way to your office.

2. Coffee

a cup of coffee and a crossword puzzle

Sip some coffee first. | iStock.com

Your morning or midday cup of coffee could actually be helping you with your gym performance. Having a caffeine jolt before your workout can help you complete more reps in strength training, and you also might find your workout is more enjoyable with a little caffeine in your system. When you’re enjoying your workout, you’re more likely to push yourself, burn more calories, increase your reps, and have a better attitude about coming back to the gym the next day. Just be careful if you’re predisposed to acid reflux — coffee can cause heartburn if you drink it too close to your workout.

3. Eggs

boiled eggs on a wooden chopping board

Boiled eggs are perfect before the gym. | iStock.com

If your focus is on strength training, then eggs are particularly crucial for your workout. Total Gym Pulse explains adding more protein to your meals before your workout can be a great way to boost energy and prep your muscles for recovery at the same time. You’ll also feel like you can sustain your strength longer during exercise, which is great for those looking to build some muscle.

Striking the right balance between protein and carbs is key, so try putting your egg on some toast. Just make sure you choose whole-grain bread.

4. Fruit smoothies

Fruit smoothie

Try having a fruit smoothie. | iStock.com

The beauty of the fruit smoothie is the sheer variety of flavors you can create. Fruits like apples, oranges, pineapple, and strawberries are excellent energy sources, says New Health Advisor. For a great pre-workout smoothie, utilize a few fruits and add some Greek yogurt for protein, plus granola for carbs and texture. Not only will the smoothie taste great, but the protein from the yogurt will help build and repair your muscles while the granola will keep your energy at an all-time high. If you’re planning on having your fruit smoothie a few hours before you hit the gym and you want to ensure that your stomach won’t be growling during your workout, toss in half an avocado. This fruit will thicken up your smoothie and add healthy fats to keep you full for longer.

5. Oats

A bowl of fresh oats

Oats will help you push harder during your workout. | iStock.com

There’s good news out there for those of you who love oatmeal for breakfast. The World’s Healthiest Foods explains oats are a great source of healthy carbs, and they’re good for the heart. Consuming oats can help lower your blood pressure and help strengthen your heart, meaning that you can push yourself even harder during your gym sessions. If you’re a cardio lover, this is particularly important for you, as oats will keep energy high through even the toughest HIIT workout.

One of the healthiest ways to eat oats is by making overnight oats, which are super easy. Using a mason jar, combine oats, a milk of your choice, and whatever flavorings you’d like. Wholefully suggests adding chia seeds, Greek yogurt, vanilla extract, and even peanut butter for added protein. The choice is yours with this easy, portable meal.