We Asked 5 Trainers What They Eat Before a Workout, So You Can Follow Their Lead
When it comes to hitting your health and fitness goals, what you eat before your workout can be just as important as the workout itself. You need fuel for energy, but you don't want to be so full that it slows you down. It can be hard to strike that crucial balance and easy to get in a rut eating the same thing before every session. So, POPSUGAR talked to several personal trainers to learn what they eat before a workout. Here are some of their favorites to help guide you and spark some ideas for your pre-fitness fuel.
Oatmeal With Peanut Butter and a Banana
If your workouts are high-intensity, you need the fuel to get through them. Keaira LaShae, an AFAA-certified personal trainer and creator of Tabata-based dance fitness program If You Can Move, eats a spoonful of peanut butter mixed in with her oatmeal and pairs it with a banana. Sometimes she adds a scoop of her favorite protein powder to the mix as well. "It's tasty and has healthy carbs that give me lots of energy for my workouts," LaShae told POPSUGAR. "The protein feeds my muscles so that I feel strong in my movements, and it also helps me to sustain my appetite."
LaShae usually eats about 30 minutes before her workout to give her body enough time to digest the food so the nutrients can get into her system. "I also don't want to have that super full feeling right before I dance," she said.
Pretzels and Cheese
Short on time? Sue Heikkinen, an ACE-certified personal trainer and head registered dietitian for MyNetDiary, explained that a handful of pretzels and a string cheese will do the trick. She recommends foods that contain carbohydrates for energy and some protein to help with muscle recovery.
Her other go-to's are half of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (easy on the peanut butter) or Greek yogurt with blueberries. However, Heikkinen noted that if she's eaten a balanced meal consisting of carbs, protein, and fat within two hours, she won't need to eat anything additional to fuel her workout.
Avocado Toast With Sprouted Hemp Seeds
If you're embarking on a long run or walk, you'll need something that gives you energy for the long haul. Mike Curry, an ACE-certified personal trainer and creator of StrongBoard Balance®, said he eats avocado toast with sprouted hemp seeds for long lasting energy, whether it be for a workout or a hike. "It's delicious plus has some carbs and good fat to burn for energy, and a small dose of protein for those working muscles," Curry told POPSUGAR.
Eggs With Oatmeal and Blueberries
Looking to build muscle? Dave Schenk, CSCS, NASM-certified personal trainer, and founder and co-CEO of LIFT Society, eats a big bowl of oatmeal mixed with blueberries and unsweetened almond milk with a side of three scrambled eggs about three hours before he lifts. Schenk explained that the carbs from the oatmeal provide the energy needed without curbing muscle development.
"The eggs are also important because studies have shown that consuming protein in your pre-workout meal not only aids in building muscle, but also creates an anti-catabolic effect that simultaneously helps the body to avoid burning muscle by giving your body all the amino acids it needs," Schenk said.
Depending on the length of your workout, you may be fine with just an apple. Paul Bamba, an ACE-certified personal trainer and founder of Trifecta Strong, told POPSUGAR he eats carbs and protein before an endurance-based workout, but for shorter, speed-focused workouts, he goes for a less heavy option like fruit. "When all is said and done, you have to know how your body adjusts to nutrition before a workout," Bamba explained. "Just like everything else with physical fitness, try various methods and find what works best for you and your body."