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Blog & Recipes

  • Alexandra Inman, RD & Stephanie Dang, RD

What to eat BEFORE a workout and WHY

Post contributed to by Chanel Soo.

Finding the right pre-workout foods can help you get the most out of your workout. Pre-workout nutrition can provide your body with the energy it needs to perform optimally. Careful attention should be given to the types, amount, and timing of your pre-workout meal or snack to ensure you don't suffer from gastrointestinal symptoms! In short, knowing what to eat, when you should consume it, and why certain nutrients are needed is important in best addressing and understanding the needs of your body.

At the start of a workout, it is incredibly important for a person to be hydrated and nourished with sufficient carbohydrates that will provide the energy needed for physical exertion. Pre-workout meals and snacks should mainly consist of fluids and carbohydrates, but these amounts depend on the intensity of workout you plan to participate in.


Maintaining water balance and hydration status is very important to working out in terms of training, performance, and recovery. Ensure you are adequately hydrated prior to the start of the exercise, plain water is usually sufficient!


Carbohydrates are the major fuel source for your body, especially your muscles and brain! Carbohydrates can come from many types of foods such as granola, fruit, oatmeal, rice, pasta, or breads. Try to include a source of carbohydrates 1-4 hours before exercise to give your body the energy it needs to complete the workout. You can experiment with the timing and type of carbohydrates you have, to see how your body feels during the workout; do you have enough energy? Are you getting any unpleasant symptoms like bloating or abdominal cramping? The timing and amount varies based on what and how much exercise you are doing, make an appointment with one of our dietitians to learn more!



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