What are you eating before your workouts?


The most common question I get as a sports dietitian is "What should I eat before I workout?!", or even just "Do I need to eat before working out?", so let's talk about that! I'll be doing a Q&A about pre-workout fuel next week (10/14), but for now, I'd love to hear about your go-to's.


Spoiler: there's no perfect meal or snack to eat before you workout. I want to help you find something that works for you


And in case you need some ideas, I'll be sharing some input from folx who answered this question via my Instagram (@heatherdcRD)  story last week. 🙂 


I usually love to eat some type of carb and/or protein! Whether it be oatmeal, eggs, eggs+quinoa, some type of food to provide energy and make me feel full until my workout.

Love this! Perfect combo for both before and after movement. 🙂 Oatmeal is one of my go-to's as well -- usually on a weekend when I have a little more time. 

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This is a great question! I've walked into many yoga classes still chewing a KIND bar (is that approved? I'm thinking not...). I hate working out on a completely empty stomach, so I usually just have something small like a protein bar, (KIND bar obviously), or even spoonful of almond butter and a couple crackers. Interested to learn whether there are foods I should avoid pre-workout!

Hah, if it works for you, it's approved! (And you don't need my approval 😉 ) I sometimes just opt for a quick spoonful of a nut butter, too. Not my first choice, but it works! 

I'd say the other things to avoid are things that don't settle well in your stomach before a workout. And, of course, you'll find out quickly which foods make that list! But typically something that is higher in carbohydrates will 1) provide quickly available (and efficient) energy for the workout, and 2) (perhaps more importantly) digest a little faster than a high-protein option. But again, if you find that the KIND bar works for you, stick to it! 

My go to is “one” of the following, a banana, hard boiled egg, 1/2 of a protein bar, scoop of cottage cheese, 1/2 piece of wheat toast with peanut butter. I need some protein before a workout but not a lot. Protein shakes are a no for me. I don’t like a lot of liquid in my tummy during my workout.

I feel the same way re: the liquid 😂 @KB1127

Love that you have so many options to pick from! And I agree -- personally, cannot do a shake or smoothie pre-workout unless I have at least an hour for it to settle. 


I work out early in the morning so I need my coffee 😉 and typically a hard boiled egg or some kind of protien.

Thanks for sharing! I wish I could get coffee in before a workout, but usually 1) don't have the time and 2) didn't think ahead far enough to get it read. 😉 But I love it *right* after. 

I don’t get up early enough to eat before I go to class. I usually eat right when I get home. I haven’t found eating helps or hurts my workout but I’m sure it has some affect.

You may not notice a big difference and that's totally OK! For folx who really prefer to not eat before exercise in the early morning hours, I usually encourage them to eat something within at least 15-20 minutes after the workout, and then another meal/snack within at least 2 hours, to help make sure they're getting enough fuel. I also added a tip for getting in a snack *right away* if you're a very early riser, in this article. 🙂 

I typically make a protein shake; Chocolate whey protein Water Banana Oats Cinnamon Peanut Butter (all natural unsalted) Ice cubes It balances my blood sugar, easily digested, and doesn’t make me feel “too full”.

Is there a certain whey protein 💪you like best? @MollyBurdick 

Love that you know exactly what works for you! This sounds like a good post-workout option, too. A versatile shake! 

Morning workout person here, so coffee for sure, even if it’s just a few sips 😆 And depending on how long my workout is, will also grab a Built Bar.

Yesss a built bar! Love those things!

I haven’t had Built Bar yet- where do you buy yours? @kendra_ridge @swei605 

I just buy them online! https://built.com/ and they always have free shipping 🙂

Try the Built Balls...Yum

I have never been able to do coffee before...but am a big fan of coffee right after. 😉 To each their own! 


PEANUT BUTTER. I love peanut butter on banana either before and / or after working out 🍌

Yes! Love how versatile PB is, for both before and after exercise. Always a go-to for me, as well! 


So funny I was just writing about this and was going to reach out to you!


Love seeing all the variety in your preferences! Goes to show that there's not one perfect solution to this fueling equation. 😉 I'm putting up a post tomorrow about how to plan your pre-workout fuel, and my go-to tip for adding in food before exercise...even if you workout first thing in the morning (as I usually do too)! 

I work out around 4-5am usually, almost always on an empty stomach as I hate the feeling of food sloshing around when I’m doing cardio ( lots of running /biking ) Typically come home and have some fruit and collagen protein following the activity

That's early! 🙂 Helps to have something as soon as you get home, especially that mix of carbohydrates and proteins. I always encourage folx to try and get something in before the workout, and added some tips for doing so in a recent article (here) . But totally get it doesn't work for everyone!