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Pre-workout Fuel: What to Eat Before You Exercise

Tracy Little — Writer for Top10.com
Aa man and a woman enjoying a pre-workout snack.
As a two-time Olympian, I know how important proper nutrition is before a workout.

Drawing from my personal training journey and my experiences in Beijing and London, I'm eager to share insights on the ideal pre-workout fuel to elevate your performance.

Meal delivery services are on track to reach 2.5 billion users by 2027, offering an opportunity to optimize your pre-workout nutrition effortlessly.

The food you eat before your workout greatly affects your performance, giving you the energy and stamina needed for better results in your exercise routine.

Stick around as I explore the importance of pre-workout nutrition and share how meal delivery services can help you achieve the best results.

Why Is Pre-workout Nutrition Important?

For effective workouts, you should fuel up properly so you can perform at your best, no matter how long you exercise. This involves maintaining enough glycogen in your muscles and liver and eating foods that provide your body with the necessary energy.

Glycogen plays an important role while you're training, especially during high-intensity sessions, as it's your primary fuel source. If you work out early in the morning, consider eating a carb-rich snack like bananas, grapes, whole-grain toast with peanut butter, or even a protein supplement.

» Tired of chopping veggies? Check out our top 10 prepared meal delivery services.

5 Key Elements of a Pre-workout Meal

Understanding macronutrients (macros) is crucial. They form the foundation of your meal, impacting your energy levels and how well you perform during workouts. Here are five key elements of a pre-workout meal you need to consider.

Protein: Fuel for Your Muscles

Protein is a fundamental building block for your muscles. It supports recovery and gives you the endurance you need for your workout. Plus, it lets your muscles work at peak performance.

Good sources of pre-workout protein include lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, and plant-based options like tofu or legumes.

Carbohydrates: Your Energy Source

Carbohydrates are your body's primary energy source. They provide the fuel needed to power through your workout.

Choose complex carbohydrates such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. These sources release energy consistently, keeping you energized throughout your exercise session. Also, avoid sugary treats like donuts to prevent crashes.

Fats: A Balanced Addition

Fats take time to digest, so adding healthy fats to your pre-workout meal can give you lasting energy for longer workouts. Opt for foods like avocados, nuts, and seeds, but consume them well before your workout to give your body time to digest.

Hydration: More Vital Than You Think

Staying hydrated is essential for optimal exercise performance. Dehydration can cause fatigue and reduce stamina. Besides water, consider drinks with added electrolytes to balance your body's essential minerals.

Sip water throughout the day and before your workout, but don't gulp it down right before training to prevent discomfort.

Meal Timing: Aligning With Your Schedule

Your pre-workout meal's timing should align with your training schedule.

If you work out early in the morning, opt for a small high-protein breakfast like a yogurt parfait with granola, yogurt, and a generous serving of fruit such as bananas. To boost muscle growth, you can add protein powder or go for a quick bite like a banana on whole-grain toast.

For afternoon or evening workouts, eat balanced meals that incorporate healthy fats, protein, and carbohydrates. Fiber-rich foods can provide a consistent source of energy during your exercise.

Have your pre-workout meal one to three hours before you start exercising. After an extended training session, grab a snack or meal to help with recovery.

Measuring Your Macros

Customize your macro intake to align with your goals using these strategies:

  • Weigh your food with everyday kitchen tools, like scales or measuring cups
  • Track what you eat with food apps
  • Follow visual cues and online guidelines to determine portion sizes
  • Enjoy veggies in abundance
  • Check the detailed nutritional information on prepackaged meals
  • Use food-tracking apps to make choices that fit your specific goals

» Download the Trifecta app for tailored meal plans on the go.

Meal Delivery Services for Workout Consistency

When I shifted from intense 10-hour daily training to a more balanced lifestyle, I saw firsthand how vital a healthy diet is for maintaining my overall well-being and fitness goals. I've learned that 80% of your results depend on your diet, while exercise accounts for the remaining 20%.

Meal delivery services can help you consistently stick to your fitness and nutrition goals. Life is full of challenges, making it hard to keep up with workouts and healthy eating. Meal planning, shopping, cooking, and cleaning up require time and effort. As a result, many people skip meals or opt for unhealthy snacks.

With regular meal deliveries, you simplify your eating routine. You don't have to plan every meal, which can help you stay on track with your diet.

Finding the Right Meal Delivery Service

To find a meal delivery service that aligns with your unique needs and taste preferences, use your household size and usual eating habits as your main criteria. Opt for a service that gives trial periods so you can try it out before fully committing to ensure it's the perfect match.

Also, check if the company offers flexibility, allowing you to pause or cancel your subscription when you have changes in your schedule, like vacations or busy periods.

Quality and Transparency

Read online customer reviews to make informed decisions about the food and service quality. Put kits that prioritize quality ingredients and are transparent about meal contents at the top of your list.

This clarity is crucial, especially if you're an athlete or have specific dietary requirements, like gluten intolerance, and need detailed nutritional info.

Addressing Nutritional Gaps

If you experience nutritional deficiencies, such as low iron causing fatigue, adjust your protein intake and address these nutrient gaps. A well-planned meal delivery service can be a lifesaver, warding off potential workout-related issues down the line.

» Check out these 10 delicious gluten-free HomeChef recipes.

Pre-workout Fuel: Maximize Your Workouts

Pre-workout nutrition can transform your exercises. Knowing what to eat before training can boost your performance dramatically. Whether you're an early bird or prefer afternoon workouts, timing makes all the difference.

Meal delivery services provide tailored, nutritious meals that fit seamlessly into your routine. By choosing the right pre-workout fuel, you can supercharge your movements and surpass your fitness goals.

» Ready to fuel your workouts? Dive into Green Chef's nutritious meals.

Tracy Little — Writer for Top10.com
Tracy, a two-time Olympian, brings two decades of professional sports experience to her writing. As a dedicated health and fitness expert, she contributes to Top10.com, sharing her passion and insights on wellness, nutrition, and peak performance to inspire readers on their health journeys.

*The information on this site is based on research, but should not be treated as medical advice. Before beginning any new diet plan, we recommend consulting with a physician or other professional healthcare provider. Results may vary based on various health factors, individual weight loss plans and adherence to the meal plan.