What to Eat before Heading to the Gym!

If you didn’t already know, what you choose to eat before going to the gym has an impact on your performance in the gym.  Eat the correct foods and find yourself with sufficient energy to complete your workouts, however, if you eat the wrong foods you just might find yourself struggling hopelessly early on in your workout.

The most important thing you should remember is that you should not have a full meal less than three hours before your workout.  Anything you have before going to the gym should be a light snack.  The purpose of this snack is to provide you with the fuel to last through your workout.  Below I give a general overview of what to have and what not to have before your workout.

What to Have

It doesn’t get any more basic than to ensure your body is properly hydrated before working out.  If you are dehydrated during your workout you cannot perform at your best, and you can end up fainting or blacking out during your exercise.  Natural carbohydrates that do not have too much fiber are the best foods to have before your workout.  Examples of these foods are oats, bananas, brown rice, brown bread or pasta.  These foods release energy slowly which means you will be able to call up on this energy when needed.

What Not to Have

Fatty foods as well as foods with a high sugar content are bad choices.  Fatty foods are not easily digested and they will make you feel sluggish and de-motivated during your workout.  Foods with a high sugar content will give you an initial energy followed by a huge crash thus compromising the completion of your workout.  Therefore, a snack like chocolate is a disastrous choice heading into a workout.


As you can see from the explanations in this article, what you eat pre workout can either make or break you in the gym.  With this knowledge you are able to make better choices to enhance your performance during your workouts.  Pre workout nutrition should never be a meal but always a light snack that your body can easily digest.  Stay away from fatty foods as well as those with a high sugar content.

Chris   www.gainbuildmuscle.com


I love to blog about fitness. www.gainbuildmuscle.com

3 thoughts on “What to Eat before Heading to the Gym!

  • August 22, 2011 at 4:53 pm

    That’s a very well constructed comment Matt!
    I am a professional volleyball player, and i too did intermittent fasting for quite some time. I would do a 16 hr fast finishing with a 1.5 hr workout.
    All of my lifts went up….
    The most important thing for me was to get protein in fast after the workout, in the form of food (usually meat) as opposed to protein shakes. Metabolising natural protein sources is by the most effective approach to natural weight lifting.
    I also experimented with a BCAA (branched chain amino acid) supplement before the workouts. I got this idea from intermittent fasting guru Martin Berkhan, he knows his stuff.
    I now follow the paleo diet. here is a great blog that explains the paleo diet well. As an athlete i have never felt better than on the paleo diet. Jumping higher and lifting heavier than ever. also a much easier sustained concentration due to the slow released energy of ketosis.

    • August 28, 2011 at 5:56 pm

      Thanks noyellingds, yeah I got the IF from Martin and I am really looking forward to his book coming out.

      I think the ultimate diet, or way of eating, is probably paleo + IF, that is the direction I am trying to go right now. I’ll move all exercise into the evening and basically just skip breakfast for my fast.

  • August 22, 2011 at 8:41 am

    Sometimes what you don’t eat is also important, I was on a intermittent fasting routine for a long time – I had some of the best workouts I have ever had fasted. Three reasons why I think this was the case:

    1) Increased drive and focus I have while on the fast – for me my workouts go like my mind goes, if I am not focused I don’t do very well.
    2) It may have also been because I had freed up the typical energy used for digestion to be used for the workout, I think we sometimes underplay how much energy is required to digest food.
    3) Energy systems are already primed with fat metabolism, your body is producing more than normal enzymes to break down fat and utilize it. Typically if you have eaten you are going to run on whatever carbs are in the system and then at some point make a shift to fat. It all depends on what your workout intensity level is as well.

    It should be noted my workouts are usually under 1hr, although in the past I have done 2.5hrs of martial arts training – including things such as grappling or sparring – fasted with no issues.

    A lot of people say they are shaky or tired if they don’t eat, but I wonder if that is more mental since we are so programmed by the media, food industry, and the like to need to eat every few hours. I have seen friends unknowingly going for long periods of time without eating with no complaints, but if they are aware that they have not eaten in a while they claim they start to feel hypoglycemic.

    I actually did one of the most taxing things in my life on a 18hr fast – it was testing for my provisional black belt. I had to spar a new black belt every 2 minutes for 30 minutes with no break other then the brief moments to switch to a new person. We then got a few minutes of rest and repeated this scenario two more times. I got winded, I got tired, but I never felt like I was “done” and I was still (trying) to blitz the other black belts on my last round. In fact I felt I could have went on much longer while most others who had eaten were worn out by the end of the second round.

    One more thing, don’t get me wrong here, if you workout fasted your post workout nutrition is vital, you do need to eat after working out to get the best results, but you especially need too after a fasted workout because you have most likely depleted your glycogen levels. That was the hardest part of intermittent fasting for me – trying to time my fast end with my workouts.


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