Preparing for a Workout: What to Eat before Exercising

Should you eat before a workout or hop on the treadmill on an empty stomach? Here’s what you need to know. 

Some people who hit the gym several times a week, work out at home, or go for long runs or cycles wonder what they should eat before exercising — if anything. If your goal is weight-loss, for instance, isn’t chowing down on bananas, bread, and anything else to give you a boost only going to add to your pounds instead of shifting them? That’s why some like to exercise in a fasted state, especially if they’re serious muscle-builders and looking to get rid of stubborn pockets of fat. 

But, in general, if you’re going to be working out for some time  — say, at least 20 minutes to half an hour, or even an hour or more, you’re going to need to fuel up before you get going. You need to keep your blood sugar level stable, so it doesn’t drop and leave you feeling dizzy or faint. You also want to give your muscles the nutrients they need to work optimally and grow. 

That doesn’t mean sitting down to a big meal and pigging out — that would tend to make you feel sluggish and not want to exercise at all. So what should you eat before exercising? Let’s take a look. 

Fueling up before a Workout

Whatever kind of workout you usually do — whether it’s a lot of cardio or weight training or a combination of the two — you’re going to want some combination of carbs, protein and fat so you give your body the energy it needs and you don’t feel weak during your exercise and want to stop. An example of something you could eat before a workout might be peanut butter on wholewheat bread and a banana — there you have carbs, fats, and protein all in one. 

But if you’re looking to give your muscles a serious workout, over an hour or more, you’ll want to boost the amount of protein at the outset. You might like to consider eggs, cottage cheese, or a handful of protein-packed nuts. Or you could opt for what a growing number of people take today: protein powder, which also comes with carbs and essential vitamins and minerals, so you get everything you need. 

Benefits of Protein Powder for Exercise

One of the advantages of using protein powders is you can mix them up in a shake and take them with you and have them before, during, and after a workout. These shakes give you the energy you need for exercise, sustaining your energy levels during a workout, and helping your muscles to recover faster when you’re done. And as protein is required for muscle growth, tearing those fibers as you push yourself with lifting weights means you need to take in additional protein so they can repair and grow, thereby adding to your overall muscle mass. 

As recovery time is so important for many serious fitness-minded folk — as well as top athletes — the high levels of protein found in protein powder can help to dramatically speed up the time it takes for your body to recover from workouts that put a strain on various body parts. This can result in far less downtime and allow you to get back to the gym quickly and enjoy working out — and potentially to boost your performance along the way. 

So let’s all fuel up before our workouts, as well as during and after, and make sure we’re getting the most out of all of our exercise routines! 

You can get all kinds of protein powder right here at Fuel Station, including whey protein, plant-based protein, and ready-made protein shakes you can drink straight away. Order yours now and get free and fast shipping across the US!


The Food and Drug Administration has not evaluated these statements. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Please consult your medical practitioner before embarking on a diet or fitness program.

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