What to eat before a workout: 12 healthy snacks quick and easy

Combien of time are you at the gym, after a heavy working day, on an empty stomach?

Your last meal before the weight training dates back to more than 4 hours… and still, should you have had the time to eat well.

No wonder you feel a lack of energy to move!

femme endormie sur un ballon qui manque d'énergie, un café à la main

femme endormie sur un ballon qui manque d'énergie, un café à la main

Then quickly, you avales a potion pre-workout and engulfed a chocolate bar called “protein” which contains more sugar than protein… in a few minutes, you feel a palpitation and your snack is on the edge of the lips, ready to come out. Your energy drink is not only harmful to your workout, but also to your recovery. Because the evening, you find it hard to sleep well.

Finally, you get up the next day more tired than the day before, asking why?!

Because eating well at least a few hours before the weight training or sport is important. Here are 12 snacks pre-workout natural quick and easy , as well as the timing and composition of the meal preceding the exercise. (All the details after the infographic follows.)


Table of contents


infographie 12 collations santé faciles et rapides à manger avant un entraînement


Benefits of eating before the weight training or sport

Some women have a tendency to forget to eat nutritious foods before exercise makes a big difference on their energy level and their motivation to move after a big day of work. Not to mention that you’ll also have the results you desire more quickly! More specifically, you will:

  1. More energy during your workout

    Fill your reserves of glycogen before a workout can significantly help your energy level. If you’re on a low-carb diet, an intense workout can be very difficult to manage, because your reserves are low. Without this energy, you are more at risk of exhausting your muscles to strengthen. This is why this type of diet is often recommended for athletes and people wishing to build muscle mass. The energy level is also affected by your sleep habits, hydration and stress.

  2. Better protection and recovery of your muscles

    When you set of the heavy weights and you train intensely, your body is in its catabolic phase. This means that it can break down the muscle tissue and to use it as a source of energy. A meal préentraînement, or at least post-workout, appropriate and some supplements may, therefore, prevent muscle breakdown and improve repair, recovery and building muscle.

  3. A better muscle tone

    Consume protein before your workout can help release amino acids, promoting protein synthesis during your workout. You training with intensity and eating enough, the stronger muscle will be more rapid.

Your nutrition program of bodybuilding, including a meal before the training can therefore make all the difference between achieving your goals and your keeping it on a shelf. Of course, there are some criteria to follow especially if you want to lose weight, or at least, not to take it. Here is some info to help you.

When and what to eat to gain tone or muscle

To optimize your performance and strengthen your muscles, you must eat. But, what you eat and when you do also affect your results. (See examples of meals and snacks pre-workout depending on the time you have left before your workout, below).

Carbohydrates: They are the fastest to be absorbed and converted into energy. The first phase of their digestion is done in 2-3h, depending on the source. And, as they can fill up your glycogen reserves and give you energy, they should occupy the most important place in a meal pre-workout.

But, be careful! No question of falling face-first into the maple taffy. The small jujubes, or any quick sugar will cause fluctuations in your blood sugar! Result = a beautiful crash just before your workout…

Choose carbohydrates with a low glycemic index such as oats, basmati rice, quinoa, legumes, and sweet potatoes, a few hours before the workout. Take fruit if you need energy in the hour before your session.

Proteins: They normally require between 3 to 4 hours for absorption. Given that it is also important for protein synthesis and decreasing muscle breakdown, your meal préentraînement should also contain a good amount of protein.

Lipids: They take longer to be converted into energy, which is between 6 to 8am. Your meal and your snack préentraînement should be relatively lower in fat. At least one session of endurance at moderate intensity, which will require a greater use of fat as source of energy (cycling, jogging, swimming, long-term).

*Good fats such as nuts, seeds, oils and avocado can be eaten in small quantities. Avoid large quantities especially from high-fat meats or fried foods and dessert, which cause inflammation and require more time and energy for digestion.

Timing: Depending on the duration of absorption and digestion of nutrients, the best time to eat your meal préentraînement is about 2-3hrs before.

the right time is now

the right time is now

Not worth it for me to say… I know! Who has the chance to provide his meal before the gym and also precisely?!

At least to train always at the same time and have a schedule that allows you to eat this complete meal 2-3h before… the time often passes too quickly! At the time of the eating, you still can be just 1 hour. Sometimes also, a task the more work you retards and your meal would have been supposed to give you energy to move now goes back to more than 5h…

Well, don’t worry, this is not so serious. A snack pre-workout may very well be the case. Here’s how:

2 to 3 hours before a workout

Meal préentraînement:

Normal meal rich in protein and carbohydrates: lean Meat + carbs (basmati rice, quinoa, sweet potatoes or legumes) + vegetables.

In general, a meal around 400-500 calories should provide a good meal préentraînement if you follow a weight loss program.

Calculate 1/2 to 3/4 cup cooked) carbs (basmati rice, quinoa, sweet potatoes) + 130 to 150g of meat.

If your priority is the weight-or the firming up and that you have no weight to lose, you can combine a meal more wide (1 cup of carbs) and a shake pre-workout or post-workout with fruit.

For athletic performance, increases your carbohydrates according to your need and/or take during your workout in liquid form. This may be the case if you are doing workouts of over an hour at high intensity or endurance sports; running, cycling, swimming, etc. long-term.

Examples of meals pre-workout:

repas santé, riz, poulet et légumes verts

repas santé, riz, poulet et légumes verts

  1. Quinoa salad (1/2 to 1 cup cooked) with a chicken breast cooked in one of the 8 quick ways following + vegetables.
  2. Omelet with ham and veggies with oatmeal (1/3 to 1/2 cup uncooked) with small fruits.
  3. Salad of spinach, avocados, broad beans (1/2 to 1 cup) and red tomatoes with 1 tin of tuna in olive oil.
  4. Fish fillet with basmati rice (1/2 to 1 cup cooked) and steamed vegetables.

45 minutes to 2 hours before a workout

If you have less than 2 hours to digest a meal préentraînement whole, may be préféreras you a snack.

Snack préentraînement:

Source of protein, easier to digest + carbs.

Examples of snacks pre-workout:

  1. Trail mix for an extra Boost of energy

    Handful (1/4 to 1/3 cup) of nuts with dried fruit (2 tbsp to 1/4 cup). Blend of superfoods: Almonds, cashews, Brazil nuts, pumpkin seeds, goji berries, cacao beans, coconut chips, dates or cranberries

  2. Smoothies to a full of vitamins

    Protein powder, 1 banana, and berries with almond milk and 1 tbsp of almond butter. Or try this green smoothie creamy: In a blender, grind 1 tbsp almond butter natural creamy 2 cups fresh spinach (well packed), 1 cup almond milk vanilla, ½ ripe banana, ¼ cup pineapple, frozen, chunks, 1 tsp chia seeds or flax crushed

  3. Cake peanut butter and banana for gluttony

    Rice cake nature, or crackers health style Ryvita, peanut butter or almond if you prefer, it is also good 😉, banana and a sprinkle of cinnamon!

  4. Protein Shake Choco & Almond for your next muscular

    1 to 1 ½ measure of a good protein powder chocolate, 3/4 to 1 cup of almond milk, 1 to 2 tbsp of coconut grated, 1 tbsp sliced almonds

  5. Perfect Greek yogurt for the perfect snack

    3/4 cup of plain Greek Yogurt, 3/4 cup fruit, 2 tbsp to 1/4 cup of cereal health and some almond pieces.

  6. Cottage cheese & avocado for a snack rich in protein

    Cottage cheese, avocado, tomato, on a toasted bun health or rice cake nature.

  7. Tuna on crackers because a cane of tuna it is lagging well!

    A small tin of tuna on a pita made from whole grains.

  8. Apple, nuts and light cheese for a snack, just simple

    30 to 45g of low fat cheese (allegro) with 10-12 whole nuts and an apple.

  9. Pudding avocado & chocolate for your sweet tooth

    See the recipe here.

  10. Oatmeal fruity

    1/3 to 1/2 cup (uncooked) of oatmeal with 1 scoop protein, 1/2 banana, or an apple and almond pieces, cinnamon.

  11. Hummus & vegetables to eat more vegetables

    Vegetables of your choice, hummus is the most natural as possible!

  12. Protein bar made with natural ingredients. Not the rods that have the look of a bar, Oh Henry!!

Less than 45 minutes before a workout

This may be the case if:

  • You train early in the morning,
  • Your meal préentraînement has been distanced more than 3-4h.

Snack préentraînement:

Sources of protein and carbohydrate rapidly digested.

Examples of snacks pre-workout:

  1. A fruit (pineapple, apple, orange..) and 1 to 2 measures of protein in water or almond milk.
  2. A shake with fruit and protein.
  3. Shake mocha protein: 1 cup coffee and 1 scoop of protein chocolate. (You can add 1 tbsp of coconut oil. Since this fat is digested more quickly, it is a good source of quick energy that gives the taste.)

A small tea or coffee can always be a good option to combine your snack or just before your workout. The effects of caffeine vary in each, but in general terms, it serves as a stimulant to help:

  • Stimulate the metabolism,
  • Reduce fatigue,
  • To improve the performance.

Take an espresso (50-60mg caffeine) or a cup of coffee (60-90mg) may therefore give you a small boost is nice for your session. But, be CAREFUL not to take less than 6 hours of sleep.

Of course, some supplements can also support your training. It all depends on your objective and your budget. The most used are the BCAA’s and glutamine for muscle growth and faster recovery. Creatine for muscle growth, strength, power and resistance to fatigue. Typically taken before and/or during.

suppléments pour la musculation

suppléments pour la musculation

What to eat after a workout

If you don’t have the option of eating a meal in more or less a hour following your workout; a shake (1 to 1 1/2 measure of protein + 3/4 to 1 cup of fruits) can allow you to quickly absorb the protein and to refuel glycogènes. It will help you to reduce the energy losses that can occur after a session.

This shake will have to be followed (or can be simply replaced) by a good balanced meal 1 to 2 hours later (protein + fat) with carbohydrates according to your objective or if you consume immediately after your workout and do not, therefore, the protein shake with the fruit.

Oh, and hydration is also a very important factor for a better performance, energy, recovery and health of your muscles! 😉


If you have not already done so, download these ideas of balanced meals for the whole day with a template of menu to develop yours:


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