Choosing Good Pre-Workout Meals | STACK
X

Become a Better Athlete. Sign Up for our FREE Newsletter.

Choosing Good Pre-Workout Meals

March 12, 2013 | Branson Lee

Must See Nutrition Videos

As an athlete, you make the right decisions for your performance by heading to the gym for daily workout sessions, so don't make a wrong one by neglecting a pre-workout meal. (Read Guidelines for Effective Pre-Workout Nutrition.) What you eat before each workout session dramatically influences how you perform.

The secret to a good pre-workout meal isn't necessarily the food itself but what it contains. In order to properly get you through a workout, your meal needs to provide a combination of lean protein and complex carbohydrates. Take success in your own hands with these great options.

Egg Whites With Whole Grain Toast

Egg whites are great because they're low in fat and rich in fast-digesting protein. When paired with whole grain toast, they supply the nutrients you need to get through your workout without a significant decline in energy.

Egg whites are also fast to prepare, so they're perfect for early morning workout sessions.

Oatmeal With Casein Protein Powder

Oatmeal is a slow digesting carbohydrate, so you won't crash midway through your workout session. Complex carbs have been shown to aid fat oxidation during exercise. And since casein protein powder is also slower digesting, it delivers a steady stream of protein over time.

Note: if you move into your workout immediately after eating, a whey isolate protein powder is a better choice, because it is faster-acting. (See Ask the Experts: What's the Difference Between Whey and Casein Protein?)

Tuna and Whole Wheat Pita

Canned tuna in water is fat-free, and it's an excellent source of lean protein. Whole wheat pita offers a solid source of energy to keep you going throughout your entire workout session.

Just don't add any high-fat condiments (like mayonnaise) to this pre-workout meal. Fat content should be kept low to prevent cramping. (See The Most Hardcore Snacks in Sports.)

Chocolate Milk

If you can't tolerate the thought of solid food before a workout, chocolate milk works well, as long as your session isn't too long in duration. It provides some protein and carbohydrates, but the carbs are simple in nature, so you could experience a low blood sugar if you plan to exercise longer than 45 minutes.

If you plan to work out longer, add a complex carbohydrate such as a slice of whole-wheat toast.

Finished with your workout? Learn how to recover faster with Post-Workout Foods for Any Occasion.

Must See
How to Perform the Euro Step With Iman Shumpert
Views: 81,154
Why NFL Wide Receiver DeSean Jackson Counts His Blessings
Views: 1,919,699
Dwyane Wade Leads by Example
Views: 3,066,897

Featured Videos

Quest for the Ring: Duke University Views: 217,694
Eastbay: It Begins Now Views: 70,986
Path to the Pros 2015: Training Days Views: 118,412
Load More

Resources

STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers

Magazine

Latest issues of STACK Magazine

STACK 4W

Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice

Gamer

Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes

News

Find the latest news relevant to athletes

More Cool Stuff You'll Like

5 Ways to Fuel Your Early Morning Workout

Five Ways to Fuel Morning Workouts Early morning workouts are great because you get them done. On the downside, they are difficult to fuel because you'd...

12 Foods Every Athlete Should Eat

5 'Healthy' Side Dishes That Are Worse Than French Fries

Small Change, Big Difference: 5 Foods You Should Buy Organic

Healthy (and Unhealthy) BBQ Ideas For Athletes

Spice Up Your Healthy Cooking With These Lively Combos

The 6 Worst Foods for Athletes

5 Nutritional Power Combos for Athletes

How to Deal With Your Sugar Cravings

How Undereating Can Make You Gain Weight

Healthy Makeovers for 3 Classic Meals

Salad Showdown: Which Greens Are the Healthiest?

11 Food Services That Deliver Ready-Made Nutritious Meals

5 Ways Junk Food Can Mess With Your Head

STUDY: Eat More Fruits and Veggies, Live (Almost) Forever

5 Protein-Packed Recovery Shakes

10 Athlete-Approved, High-Protein Healthy Cereals

5 'Good Foods' That Might Be Bad for You

5 Non-Boring Ways To Eat Chicken

9 Athlete-Approved Peanut Butter Sandwiches

4 'Bad Foods' That Might be Good for You

The Grain Guide: How and Why to Use 8 Healthy Whole Grains

7 Foods That Are Ruining Your Workouts

5 Delicious Ways to Make Junk Food Less Junky

Why You Need Dietary Fiber

6 Healthy Foods You're Overeating

Load Up on These Foods at Your Backyard Barbecue

The Cheat Meal Day: Why It's Not So Smart

6 Eating Mistakes That Undo Your Workouts

A Sneaky Food Additive Athletes Should Avoid

10 Easy Ways to Eat Real Food

Vegetarian Athlete Tips: Olympic Swimmer Kate Ziegler

Brown Rice vs. White Rice: Does It Really Matter?

You Should Eat the Peel of These 12 Fruits and Vegetables

How to Eat Organic Without Breaking the Bank

The Best Foods for Digestive Health

How Friends and Family Affect Your Food Choices

Living Near Fast Food Could Increase Your Odds of Obesity

Are You Eating Too Much Protein?

Fuel Up Fast With 4 Smoothies From the New York Giants

3 Fruits and 3 Vegetables Athletes Must Eat

Where the Paleo Diet Falls Short

5 Healthy Foods That Got a Bad Rap

The Case for Red Meat

The Healthiest (And Unhealthiest) Ways to Eat Chicken

Healthy Eating at Restaurants: Decoding a Diner Menu

The Boston Cannons'

5 Foods That Are Stunningly High in Sodium

Terrible Toppings: The 5 Worst Things We Put on Food