Best Pre-Workout Meals and Snacks


Your body needs fuel to work properly, and this is even truer during a workout. To train at your very best, you need to ensure that your body has enough in it to sustain itself during your workouts. Knowing what foods will provide you the best results is important, and that’s where Plunkett Fitness in Overland Park, Kansas, can help you.

Benefits of Eating Before a Workout

You know that you need to eat to have energy, but eating before a workout is essential to a successful workout, and while what you eat matters, it is even more important that you have the energy to burn during your workouts.

Simple carbohydrates will provide your body with fast acting glucose, which provides energy for your body to burn. Complex carbohydrates allow your body a slow-releasing source of energy to provide additional endurance and prevent a mid-workout energy crash.

Eating before a workout helps prevent muscle catabolism, which is when muscle tissue starts to break down. Protein also helps with muscle recovery and growth, which is especially important for people who are trying to build muscle. In fact, the right foods can actually increase muscle anabolism, or the building of muscle.

What Should You Eat Before a Workout?

Before a workout, your body needs protein and carbohydrates. While this seems like a pretty simple task, the type of carbohydrates you consume can impact your results. Simple carbohydrates are best consumed within an hour of your work out, while complex carbohydrates should be consumed about two to three hours before your workout.

So, what foods should you make part of your pre-workout meals and snacks?


For a great source of simple carbohydrates and potassium, munch on a banana between 30 minutes to an hour before your workout. To add complex carbs and protein to the mix, consider slicing your banana and putting it on a slice of whole wheat toast with a little peanut butter. You can even sprinkle chia seeds on top for a little more flavor.

Yogurt Parfait

A simple yogurt parfait with two percent of full-fat yogurt, granola, and berries is a great pre-workout snack. It is quick and easy to make, and you are getting all kinds of nutrients as well as both protein and carbohydrates. Consider using Greek yogurt for a protein boost.

Apple with Peanut Butter

Apples and peanut butter are the perfect combination for both your taste buds and your workout-ready body. Apples provide your body with much-needed vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. The peanut butter adds protein, which will help you feel full throughout your workout. For a twist, add raisins and chia seeds.


While not all smoothies are advised as a pre-workout snack, a nice fruit-based smoothie is a great pre-workout drink. Smoothies are full of sugars, which make them high in calories, which provides you a great source of energy during a workout. Use a cup of Greek yogurt, your favorite fruits, and a little granola. You can even add in almond milk and ice for more texture and flavor.

Oatmeal with Fruit

Oatmeal is a great pre-workout meal due to the complex carbohydrates it contains. Add some fruit to your oatmeal for additional nutrients and water to keep you hydrated during your intense workouts.


Omelets are full of muscle-building protein, and you can add in all kinds of vegetables to get a boost of vitamins and minerals. Omelets are known for preventing muscle catabolism, so they are a great meal when consumed a couple of hours before your workout.

Sweet Potato

While eating whole grain bread and brown rice are other great options for a pre-workout snack, sweet potatoes also contain vitamins and minerals, which makes them a super healthy choice. The complex carbohydrates in sweet potatoes provide long-lasting energy that will keep providing you energy until your workout is finished.

Protein Shakes

Protein shakes make for a great pre-workout snack. These shakes provide your body with protein and simple carbohydrates; plus, they only take a few seconds to make. Make sure you find a protein shake that isn’t full of added sugars, however.

When Should You Eat Before a Workout?

Now that you know what you should be eating before your workouts, it is important to know when you should be eating to reach peak performance.

About two to three hours before you start a workout, you should have a small meal of about 400 to 500 calories. This meal should contain a good source of protein and complex low GI carbohydrates.

At 30 minutes to an hour prior to your workout, have a small snack with a little protein and simple carbohydrates.

Plunkett Fitness gives clients more than just workout help. Plunkett trainers can also help develop a nutrition plan that is personalized to your lifestyle and body. In addition, Plunkett Fitness offers personal training, group fitness programs, and semi-private training. To get started with an Overland Park personal trainer, call Plunkett Fitness today at 913-390-3360.