How To Pack Your Gym Bag With Pre Workout Foods


I typically recommend meals that are about 3/4 to 2/3 carbohydrate and 1/4 to 1/3 protein. This means that you are eating something that is mostly simple carbs with a little bit of protein. These simple carbohydrates will give you the immediate energy that you need to crush your workout.

We choose simple carbohydrates over complex because they will generally digest faster, giving your body access to that energy faster.


The idea is to consume a mostly simple carbohydrate meal before you workout to provide an energy boost for that workout. This is a time when simple carbohydrates with less fiber actually come into our diet. The majority of our diet should contain high-fiber foods.


Plan for early morning workout snack. Even just a piece of fruit will digest quickly before a morning workout. Or grab a small granola bar on your way out the door.


Plan meals as pre workout as needed. If you are working out or training in the afternoon or evening, plan your lunch or dinner to be your pre workout fuel.


Test out different food combinations to see what works best for you and your training. Does eating a bagel sit well? Or does just a banana feel better? Don’t forget hydration too.

Give your body enough time to digest the amount of food you ate.

Try these:

  1. Berries and Almonds

  2. Crackers and hummus

  3. Apple and PB

  4. Toast and Jam

  5. Chips and Bean Salsa

  6. Oatmeal and Raisins

  7. Homemade smoothie

  8. Banana and PB


Bonus Boost: Beet Root Juice

The nitrates in beets work in the body as a vasodilator, helping to dilate blood vessels to better move oxygen and nutrients to the working muscle groups.


What’s happening is that this is helping you to do the same amount of work with less oxygen consumption. (or to do more work for the same amount of oxygen)


Typically 8-12 oz 30-40 minutes pre-workout has been tested and is a safe recommendation. Be extra cautious of any supplements.


Look for a future post about nutrient timing. When we eat is important too!

Happy snacking!



Further reading:

Sports Nutrition: a Handbook for Professionals: Sports, Cardiovascular, and Wellness Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group, 6th ed by Christine Karpinski and Christine Rosenbloom

Clinical Sports Nutrition, 5th ed by Burke LM and Deakin V

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