10 Best Before Workout Meals for Muscle Gain

Intense Workout

When it comes to getting a charming, lean and fit body, we all know that working out is an important factor, but what about what you eat?

The food you consume before workout helps to fuel workouts, while the food you consume after workout helps you to accelerate the recovery process.

It’s not just longer acceptable to grab anything before or after workout and hope for the best.

Consuming the right foods before a workout can make a big difference.

The idea of before workout meal is to give your body what it requires to perform at maximum intensity and prepare your muscles for boost.

Keep reading to find out the best pre-workout foods that will surely help you to give a boost to your muscles.

But First, Know Your Goals !!

What you should consume before a workout will depend on a few factors —

When was your last meal and what are your fitness goals?

Bodybuilding and Pre-Workout Meals

If your meal was within the last 1 to 2 hours, then you are more likely to have enough fuel in your tank to go to your workout.

But, if it’s been over 2 hours, you could experience a workout fail without eating something. 

Next, you should consider your fitness goals !!

If you are trying to lose weight, it’s very important to direct your body with your nutrition.

If you are trying to hold onto fat – the body has a source of energy to utilize.

If you feed your body with carbs, it will use this carb as its main source of energy instead of burning through the fat it has stored during your workouts.

In this case, you will not need a meal loaded with heavy carbs, but rather a high protein one.

Gym and Pre-Workout Meals

If your aim is building and maintaining muscles — you’ll need a balance of both protein and carbs. Protein to keep muscles sustained and carbs to keep you energized.

Your workout is the last component. If your workout is mainly focused on weight lifting and low on the cardio — you probably won’t need too much carbs.

However, if your workouts are focused on cardio — running or spinning, explosive drills like high intensity interval training (HIIT) or heavy conditioning workouts, you’ll require more carbs in your before workout meal.

10 Best Pre-Workout Meals


Some of the best before workout or pre-workout meals may include —

1. Bananas

Bananas are an amazing source of potassium, natural sugars and simple carbohydrates.

Potassium is an essential nutrient that is only stored in the body for a limited amount of time.

So, try to eat a banana nearly 30 minutes to an hour before your workout.

Fresh Banana

Consuming a banana as a before workout meal is the perfect way to boost glycogen stores and increased blood sugar levels.

A large raw banana (136 grams) contains about —(1)

  • 121 calories
  • 1.5 g protein
  • 31.1 g carbohydrate
  • 87.0 IU vitamin A
  • 11.8 mg vitamin C
  • 6.8 mg calcium
  • 0.4 mg iron
  • 36.7 mg magnesium
  • 29.9 mg phosphorus
  • 487 mg potassium
  • 1.4 mg sodium

It is best to try to get potassium from dietary sources such as bananas.

They also may help to prevent cancer, high blood pressure, asthma, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and digestive problems.

2. Oats

Oats are rich in fiber (especially beta-glucan), vitamins, minerals and many other healthful antioxidants.

Being rich in fiber, it facilitates a steady release of carbohydrates into the bloodstream.

oats

Therefore, a steady supply of energy throughout your workouts.

One cup (156 grams) of oats contains —(2)

  • 607 calories
  • 84.3 mg calcium
  • 7.4 mg iron
  • 103 g total carbohydrate
  • 26.4 g protein
  • 276 mg magnesium
  • 816 mg phosphorus
  • 669 mg potassium
  • 6.2 mg zinc
  • 1 mg copper
  • 7.7 mg manganese

Oats may also help to reduce blood pressure and cholesterol.

3. Dates

Dates are a great source of glucose and they work quickly.

Your body begins to absorb some of the sugar from dates as soon as you put it in your mouth.

Healthy-Dates

So, if you’re in a hurry and need instant or quick energy, dates may help you.

About 100 grams of dates contains —(3)

  • 277 calories
  • 1.8 g protein
  • 75 g carbohydrates
  • 149 IU vitamin A
  • 2.7 mcg vitamin K
  • 1.6 mg niacin
  • 15.0 mcg folate
  • 9.9 mg choline
  • 64 mg calcium
  • 54 mg magnesium
  • 62 mg phosphorus
  • 696 mg potassium

4. Chickpeas

They are a type of legume that offer a range of health benefits.

They help to boost digestion, keep blood sugar levels stable, increase satiety, and protect against metabolic syndrome and heart diseases.

Fresh chickpeas

One cup (about 164 grams) of boiled chickpeas contains — (4)

  • 269 calories
  • 45 g carbohydrates
  • 14.5 g protein
  • 4.2 g fat
  • 12.5 g fiber
  • 1.7 mg manganese
  • 282 mg folate
  • 0.6 mg copper
  • 276 mg phosphorus
  • 4.7 mg iron
  • 78.7 mg magnesium
  • 2.5 mg zinc
  • 477 mg potassium
  • 0.2 mg vitamin B6
  • 6.1 mg selenium
  • 6.6 mg vitamin K
  • 80.4 mg calcium

Chickpeas also provides an small amount of vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin E and niacin.

5. Greek yogurt

Green yogurt is the great choice for before workouts.

Greek Plain Yogurt

Per 4oz (113.3 gram) Greek yogurt provides — (5)

  • 66.7 calories
  • 40.7 mg sodium
  • 160 mg potassium
  • 4.1 g total carbohydrates
  • 11.3 g protein

Fat free plain Greek yogurt fills your stomach without being heavy and it’s easy to eat on—the—go.

6. Apples

Apples are free of cholesterol and fat.

Being a good source of fiber, it helps with digestion and may aid in losing weight.

fresh-apples

A medium sized (182 grams) raw apple with peel provides —(6)

  • 94.6 calories
  • 25 g carbohydrates
  • 4.4 g fiber
  • 195 mg potassium
  • 98.3 IU vitamin A
  • 8.4 mg vitamin C
  • 4 mcg vitamin K
  • 8.4 mg vitamin C
  • 10.9 mg calcium
  • 9.1 mg magnesium
  • 20 mg phosphorus
  • 195 mg potassium

Apples also contain boron, a mineral that helps protect your bones.

7. Egg Whites

Egg whites are fat-free and low calorie food. They provide bulk of the egg’s protein.

egg whites

A single egg white contains — (7)

  • 17 calories
  • 4 g protein
  • 55 mg
  • 3.6 mg magnesium
  • 2.3 mg calcium
  • 53.8 mg potassium
  • 4.9 mg phosphorus
  • 1.3 mcg folate
  • 6.6 mcg selenium

8. Nuts

Many sports person avoid consuming nuts, fearing they are full of calories.

But, its not true!!

Nuts contain potassium and most contain some carbs in the form of natural sugars. They are naturally low in sodium and fill you up with the energy.

Healthy Nuts as Pre-Workout Meals

Nuts, especially walnuts, are rich in omega-3 fatty acids which boosts your strength and performance during aerobic workouts.

They also contain protein, which helps your muscles to get recover after physical workouts.

Also, being a good source of carbs, they provide your muscular system with glycogen.

Nuts, such as almonds, walnuts, pistachio and cashews can be a great choice.

9. Protein Shakes or Bars

Many studies suggest that pre-workout protein consumption may improve the performance of an athlete.

proteins

An increased muscle protein synthesis has been shown while consuming protein (with or without carbs) before workouts.(8) (9) (10)

It has also been seen in improved muscle recovery and performance, and increased strength and lean body mass.

“Choose a bar with 15 to 20g of carbs and try to avoid ones that have sugar alcohols.” Matheny says.

10. Whole Grain Bread

Its every slice is an excellent source of carbs.

Whole Wheat Breads

You can add some hard-boiled eggs for a protein-packed snack.

Per slice (28 gram) of whole whet bread contains —

  • 69.2 calories
  • 1.9 g fiber
  • 30 mg calcium
  • 23 mg magnesium
  • 56.6 mg phosphorus
  • 69.4 mg potassium
  • 3.6 g protein
  • 11.6 g carbohydrates

Final Words


Before exercising, you must eat something that doesn’t make you feel tired while workout.

Eat nutritious and protein rich diet before doing workouts as it generates energy in the body for instance workouts.

Some of the best before workout meals are bananas, Greek yogurt, apples, sweet potatoes, protein shake, protein bars, whole grain breads, egg whites, nuts such as almonds, pistachios, cashews and walnuts.

But keep in mind that don’t eat in large quantities and there should not be much calorie intake in it.

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REFERENCES


  1. 6 Smart Pre-Workout Snacks. By Lisa Lillien; https://www.verywellfit.com/smart-pre-workout-snacks-1087923
  2. NUTS Before Going to The Gym. http://worldwide.borges.es/blogpost/nuts-before-gym/
  3. What To Eat Before A Workout To Exercise Like A Champ. By Korin Miller; https://www.delish.com/cooking/g27529670/easy-pre-workout-meals/
  4. The Best Foods to Eat Before and After Workouts. https://www.ahlanlive.com/the-best-foods-to-eat-before-and-after-workouts-642881.html
  5. Stimulation of net muscle protein synthesis by whey protein ingestion before and after exercise. Tipton KD, Elliott TA, Cree MG, Aarsland AA, Sanford AP, Wolfe RR; PMID: 16896166. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16896166
  6. Timing of amino acid-carbohydrate ingestion alters anabolic response of muscle to resistance exercise.Tipton KD, Rasmussen BB, Miller SL, Wolf SE, Owens-Stovall SK, Petrini BE, Wolfe RR; PMID: 11440894.
  7. Effects of a multi-nutrient supplement on exercise performance and hormonal responses to resistance exercise.Kraemer WJ, Hatfield DL, Spiering BA, Vingren JL, Fragala MS, Ho JY, Volek JS, Anderson JM, Maresh CM; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17701421
  8. What to Eat Right before a Workout. https://www.planetfitness.com/communitypf/articles/what-eat-right-workout
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