Ask the Dietitian: What is the best pre-workout meal?

January 29th, 2013

Q: What is the best pre-workout meal?

A: The answer is different from person-to-person and depends on what the workout entails. That being said, here are some general guidelines:

  • What to include in a pre-workout meal:
    • Aim for about 45-60 grams of carbohydrates, 14-21 grams of protein and 5-8 grams of fat
    • An example of a pre-workout meal:
      • A sandwich with 2 pieces of whole-grain bread, 3 ounces of. turkey, ½ slice cheese and vegetables of choice
      • An apple
      • Glass of water
  • If you get an upset stomach from eating a meal too close to your workout time (which is my case):
    • Plan to allow your meal to digest at least two hours before your workout
    • If you normally get hungry mid-workout, have a snack such as Greek yogurt or a PureFit bar about an hour before your workout
  • Some people can wake up in the morning and work out on an empty stomach; I am not one of them. If you feel dizzy or unsteady during a morning workout, chances are your blood sugars are low. Eat a small pre-workout breakfast such as a banana with peanut butter, a PureFit Bar or Greek yogurt, and then eat a full breakfast when you get home.

Remember that everyone is different! If you want personalized advice about what can work best for you, email me at

4 Responses to “Ask the Dietitian: What is the best pre-workout meal?”

  1. Mike Vespa says:

    Skip the cheese, there is plenty of fat in the turkey. Cheese is a terrible source of protein and enzymes.

  2. Brian says:

    I’ve been told that I should avoid protein in a pre-workout meal, because I want my body burning starch and not protein during the workout?

    • You certainly want to include carbohydrates in your pre-workout meal since they are the main source of fuel during a workout. That being said, consuming a balanced meal that includes protein and a small amount of fat is beneficial to increase satiety during and after a workout.

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