Pre Workout Nutrition For Performance And Recovery

Written by Gemma, 15 October 2017

Pre Workout Nutrition For Performance And Recovery

Want to maximize your performance and recovery? Make sure you're eating the right meals before your workout!

Pre-workout nutrition is often overlooked when it comes to getting the best results from training. It’s easy to rock up to the gym and drop a scoop of pre-workout and think you’ve got all the energy you need for your workout. But when did you last eat? And was it food that fuelled your body for peak performance?

We’re always looking for new supplements to help us perform better and recover faster, but we forget we can also improve performance and recovery with proper pre-workout nutrition.

Pre Workout Nutrition Tips

Meal size

Eat too little and you won’t have enough energy for optimum performance and recovery. Eat too much and you may feel sluggish and have digestion issues during your workout.

We recommend eating a full-sized meal 2-3 hours before your workout.

If you are eating 30-90 minutes before training, keep the meal small.


To maximize the results of your training, eat a meal containing carbs, protein and fat 2–3 hours before your workout.

Fat helps to fuel your body for longer but does take longer to digest so needs to be consumed a few hours before your workout.

If you are unable to eat 2-3 hours before your workout aims for a smaller and simpler meal 45-60 minutes before training.

A mixture of fast-digesting (simple) carbohydrates and protein is eaten about an hour before your workout will help maximise glycogen stores for performance, boost protein synthesis and kick-start recovery.

By choosing fast-digesting food sources for pre-workout nutrition, the nutrients will be readily available to fuel your workout and recovery.

Here are some examples of balanced pre-workout meals:

If Your Workout Starts in 2–3 Hours or More

    • Chicken, rice, vegetables

    • Egg omelette and whole-grain toast

    • Sweet potato, protein source, avocado

If Your Workout Starts Within 2 Hours

Protein Smoothie

    • Protein smoothie made with milk, protein powder, banana and mixed berries

    • Whole-grain cereal and milk

    • Porridge or oatmeal

If Your Workout Starts in 1 Hour or Less

    • Greek yoghurt and fruit

    • Protein bar with high carbohydrate and protein content but low fat

    • Banana or apple with peanut butter

    • Protein shake containing 20g protein

It is not necessary to eat a meal at each of these times and you can vary what time you eat your pre-workout nutrition depending on your schedule.

For best results, experiment with eating at different times before training and see which gives you the most performance or recovery benefits.

You may find that if you are doing different types of workouts you may perform better after different types of meals. For example, what may fuel you well for a strength training session may be too much for a cardio-based workout.

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