What to eat before going to the gym

Drinking before workout
Young man making protein shake before training

Whether you’re going to the gym, out on a run or carrying out exercise in the comfort of your home, it’s vital that you eat beforehand.

Exercising on an empty stomach is a bad idea and should be avoided at all costs. This is because you need to give your body the nutrients it needs in order to keep your energy levels up during your workout.

While it’s important to eat before exercising; it’s equally important to eat appropriately. It’s no good filling yourself with greasy junk food, as this will leave you feeling sluggish and lethargic – not to mention the fact it’s linked to a whole host of health implications, like obesity and diabetes.

So if you’re wondering what the best foods to consume before exercising are, why not follow these suggestions?


Eating protein-rich foods before your workout will help to promote muscle growth, maintenance and repair. Proteins are composed of essential and non-essential amino acids, so it is important to obtain the correct ratio of both in order to achieve an anabolic state – where the body’s muscles grow in a positive way.

The best way to do this is by consuming complete protein sources, such as egg whites, skimmed milk and chicken.

Remember though, foods high in protein take longer to digest, so it is advised to consume them at least two hours before you work out.


Foods high in fibre can be eaten before exercising, as the nutrient works to provide slow-release, sustained energy throughout the duration of a workout.

What’s more, fibre can help to ward off health problems like heart disease, diabetes, weight gain and certain cancers.

Whole grains like brown rice, quinoa and oats are good sources of fibre and work well when combined with a protein source like turkey or chicken.

Consume fibre-rich foods at least three to four hours before you exercise though, as they take a while to digest and could cause stomach discomfort if eaten immediately before any type of strenuous activity.


A combination of simple and complex carbohydrates are great for a pre-workout because they are a good energy source and can be converted more readily into glucose – required by the bloodstream to provide energy to the body’s cells.

Simple carbohydrates are sugars and can be obtained in their natural form from fruit and vegetables. Therefore, consuming a fruit or vegetable smoothie before exercise is a good option.

On the other hand, complex carbohydrates are starchy foods and can be found in their natural form from foods such as bananas, lentils, chickpeas and nuts. They provide a slower and more sustained release of energy than simple carbohydrates, and in their natural form contribute to appetite control and sustained energy levels.

Previous articleTips for staying motivated
Next articleHow swimming can boost your Health Score