What to eat before a workout when you’re short on time

Pre-workout nutrition is very important if you really care about your performance during training. Whether you lift weights, run 5k’s or run ultra-marathons your nutrition mostly dictates what your body is capable of doing that training session. In an ideal world, we would all like to get our pre-workout meal in about 2 hours before we start our session. This way the body has enough time to digest and breakdown all the nutrients it is getting in. On top of that, it has time to distribute the necessary nutrients to the muscle cells. This is mainly what you end up using as your energy source throughout the training sessions.

Some of us will mainly use carbohydrates as our fuel source while training, whereas some of us will use more fats. They are both completely different energy sources but at the end of the day, both come from the food you eat throughout the day. This is why your nutrition is so key.

Eating last-minute is better than no food at all

Unless you’re doing intermittent fasting and fasted workouts you will be better off eating right before a workout than not eating at all. There is a difference between eating a steak 5 minutes before you start working out and eating some more easily digestible foods like bananas prior to working out. The heavier the food, the more your body has to work to digest it. In turn, this can come between you and enjoying a good workout. Foods that are easier to digest will provide you with more energy if eating right before doing a workout, whereas heavier foods will only take up more energy and time.

Easily digestible foods are key

As I just mentioned, foods that are easier to digest will be key when you’re running short on time. Think about foods like bananas, overnight oats, yoghurt with some honey or a protein bar. If you look back at this list, you will also notice that all of these foods are either easy to prepare or they have been prepared already. which brings us to our next point.


With time restrictions also comes a little bit of prep work. You could make your pre-workout food, snack or meal in advance to save yourself even more time. Think of overnight oats or protein bowls . You could go for the option of foods that are easy to prepare at the time. Think of rice cakes with peanut butter and honey, yoghurt with berries and some seeds and a protein shake with some fruit on the side. You can also go for the option of foods and snacks that have been prepared for you already. Think of protein bars, bananas, apples etc.

Some more quick/ on-the-go pre-workout snacks

  • yoghurt (still low sugar) with fruit (and nuts)
  • apple or banana with peanut butter
  • eggs on toast/bagel or wrap
  • bagel with peanut butter and banana slices
  • (overnight) oats mixed with protein powder, cinnamon and possibly some berries and nuts
  • banana oats protein pancakes, check out the recipe here
  • cottage cheese with fruit, protein powder and peanut butter or jam/jelly
  • smoothie, for example: milk, spinach, banana, berries, protein powder

A quick and convenient pre-workout snack needs to hit 3 different markers. 1, is it giving you the nutrients you need (carbs, fats and protein). 2, Is it easy to digest if I am eating this closer to my workout? 3, can you make it in advance or does it take less than 2 minutes to put together?

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Categories: Fitness, nutritionTags: , , , , , , , , ,

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