Foods to Eat Before You Exercise

The benefits of eating before exercising are many and proven. Proper caloric intake at the right time will provide the energy your body needs to be in top shape during any activity.
Foods to Eat Before You Exercise

Last update: 27 May, 2022

In today’s article, we’ll tell you what kind of foods to eat before you exercise.

Many people think you shouldn’t eat before exercising. However, this is a myth and you should eat before a workout. Your body needs energy to complete any physical activity.

Eating before exercising is particularly important if you have a morning activity routine. When you eat before going jogging or training at the gym, you get even better results. However, this doesn’t mean you can eat pizza. You must carefully select the foods you’re going to eat before you exercise.

In this article, we’ll tell you a few things you should know when it comes to choosing foods to eat before your workout.

Foods You Can Eat Before Exercising

It Depends on the Kind of Exercise

The kind of workout you’re about to do is the first thing you should take into account when trying to select the foods you’re going to consume before you do. It’s also important to consider your personal goals.

For example, if you’re trying to lose weight and burn fat by working out, then opt for low-calorie foods. This way, you won’t feed the glucose pockets of your muscles and liver.

Instead, if your goal is to perform intense training or to increase muscle mass, then you should fill up your energy reserves before you begin. This is because your body will need a lot of energy and to get it, your best option is foods high in protein, fat, and carbs.

When and How Much to Eat Before You Exercise

A man doing abdominal crunches.
Eating well before exercising is essential to maintain your energy during a workout.

It’s also important to eat at least half an hour before you begin your activity. You may even need a little longer, if possible, depending on the foods you eat. Otherwise, your body will be too focused on digesting what you ate instead of using it as fuel. (This scenario may have been what started the myth that you shouldn’t eat before you exercise.)

Furthermore, keep an eye on the amount of food that you eat before exercising. Otherwise, you may feel too full during your physical activity. For example, your stomach may hurt and you’ll feel heavy and without energy.

Ideally, eat a moderate portion of quality food. However, always make sure to eat it well before your workout for your body to use it as energy during the workout.

Proteins and Liquids and Carbs…Oh My!

In general, you should try to eat carbohydrates that are easy to digest before a workout.

Many will provide the energy you need. For example, wholegrain bread, non-processed cereals, pasta, rice, as well as certain fruits and vegetables are all great options. Of course, the best practice is to consume a mixture of simple and compound carbs.

If you’re going to work on your muscles, it’s also important that you consume foods that have protein. From this group, you can opt for ham, eggs, dairy products, etc. The essential thing here is to eat them at least 2-3 hours before your workout so you have time to digest them.

Of course, you should stay adequately hydrated before, during and after any type of training. Drink at least half a liter of water before you exercise. Alternatively, you can also drink non-strained fruit juice or some other stimulating drink such as coffee or tea. This is particularly helpful if you do your physical activity in the morning time.

Foods to Eat Before You Exercise

A woman drinking a vegan shake.
Fruits, smoothies, and grains are ideal options to have before an exercise routine as they have a high amount of simple and complex carbohydrates.

Bananas are the perfect food to eat before and after an exercise routine. In fact, this fruit has a high potassium content that replenishes all of the minerals you lose during your physical activity. In addition, bananas contain carbohydrates and these provide you with the energy you need to exercise.

Fruit shakes are another great option. They’re quick to prepare and you can add all kinds of ingredients to them. Ideally, a shake should have fruit, yogurt, and granola or some other type of cereal.

When thoughtfully prepared by selecting the right ingredients, a shake can transform into a whole food packed with proteins, vitamins, and carbohydrates. It’s the perfect way to prepare your body for movement.

If you don’t have a lot of time to spare, then eating a slice of bread with jam is an easy and quick option to energize your body. Cereal bars are also acceptable as long as you eat some that are low in calories, have zero artificial ingredients and contain whole-grain cereals, as well as fruits, and seeds.


All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.