How To Snack Prior To Exercise // The Filling Pre-workout Formula

How To Snack Prior To Exercise // The Filling Pre-workout Formula


If you are like me, you will need some sort of sustenance prior to working out.

I have hit the gym on ’empty’ before and nearly fainted on the way home.

Not to mention the horrible feeling of emptiness and having no energy whilst training.

People harp on about the benefits of ‘fasted workouts’, but I see no benefit of not being able to lift as much weight as I should be and being found slumped beneath a barbell with 200lbs crushing my lifeless body.

However, it may not be as simple as throwing a Madras curry down your neck 30 minutes before hitting the iron.


I find it particularly difficult to digest food before a game of rugby or working out and it can make me feel like I am going to puke.

That is no good when you have a game of 80 minutes or that you cannot perform deadlifts without feel of an upset stomach

I find it a fine line and balancing act of eating just the right time before activity and not eating too soon that I become hungry whilst lifelessly chasing a rugby ball around the field.

I am also sensitive to what I eat as well.

Anything too milky will not settle well at all, nor will any soda’s yet I find pre-workout formulas fine.


However, realistically it is all about timing because I can consume these normally.

As already touched upon, eating way too early will leave you with no benefit of the food eaten and may leave your feeling hungry, yet too late can result in nausea, indigestion and sluggishness particularly if I am performing activities that have my body put in high impact situations or doubled over placing pressure on my stomach.

I have found the sweet spot for me is approximately 90 minutes prior or if it is a big feed such as eggs, bacon, sausage, beans and toast are best eaten 120 minutes before and it will leave you satisfied.

However, these are guidelines set by how my body reacts, while it is a good general rule you may find yourself feeling famished and that eating a bowl of porridge or having toast 30 or 15 minutes prior is fine.

There are more than a good few of the guys at the rugby club who think nothing of eating egg, bacon and sausage sandwiches that would leave me crippled a mere 20 minutes before kick off while washing it down with a bottle of isotonic sports drink or a Red Bull.

So thinking back about that greasy fried egg and pork sandwich (plus lots of tomato ketchup) with the Red Bull what is best to eat before you participate in activity?

The Nutrition

You should aim for a snack that consists of high quality protein and carbohydrates that is around or just below the 225 calorie mark.

The protein will help your muscles grow and repair while the carbohydrates will be essential to provide the energy required to hit your maximum output.

The 15000 calories in that aforementioned combo maybe necessary for a guy weighing in at 250lbs playing a high impact and high intensity cardio game for 80 minutes but for most it will be too much.

Let’s also note that fatty foods, particularly foods that have been fried in oil are particularly hard to digest.

And, anything high in sugar just like that soda can leave you with a massive sugar crash that leaves you feeling drained.

So without further adue, let’s have a look at a number of pre workout feeds that should leave your feeling energized and sustained throughout your activities while not providing too many calories that you will not burn off.

1. Wholegrain toast with avocado and cracked salt and pepper.

2. Chickpeas drizzled with lemon juice and salt.

3. Egg white omelet containing onions, peppers and mushrooms.

4. Sliced pear and almond butter.

5. Greek yogurt with blueberries and pecans.

6. A fruit smoothie containing a protein powder.

7. Raw nuts such as almonds, cashews and dried fruit such as apricots.

8. Flavored tuna on wholegrain toast or whole wheat crackers.

9. Roast chicken with carrot sticks and avocado – don’t forget a bit of cracked salt and pepper.

10. Porridge oats with peanut butter and some sliced nuts.

11. Baked sweet potato with grilled chicken or a can of flavored tuna.

12. Sliced banana on wholegrain toast with a dollop of nut butter.

13. A wholegrain, non-sugar cereal with fat free milk or a nut milk – avoid soy milk.

14. A boiled egg with crushed avocado on whole wheat crackers.

Ben BA(Hons), PGCert

Ben established this site to be a free resource in 2015. Since then it has gained over half a million visits. He has always been interested in sport and he started playing rugby at the age of 6 represented his town, county and school. Ben also enjoys cycling, has started skiing and is in the Army Reserve representing his Regiment as part of the 150 Regimental Shooting Team. He holds a bachelor's and postgraduate degree in sport exercise & nutrition.

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