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5 Foods to Consider Eating Before Exercise

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The secret to a successful workout isn’t necessarily new gear, a different training plan, or even greater effort. Oftentimes, the real secret is in what you eat before you exercise. That’s because the body requires the right nourishment to perform at its best.

Here are some of the best options for a pre-workout meal or snack.

1. Dried fruits. Since they require no form of preparation at all, dried fruits offer a convenient way to consume something healthy. Even better, dried fruits are easy to digest and high in carbohydrates, which means they provide a quick, reliable jolt of energy.

Also, dried fruit of any kind is high in a variety of valuable vitamins and minerals. This is a great choice for running on trails.

2. Nuts. Like dried fruit, nuts are an easy way to fill up, no matter how pressed for time a person may be. Besides being rich in vitamins, nuts are high in protein, which makes them especially helpful before weight training.

Weight work triggers tiny tears in the muscle; to heal these tears, and thereby increase strength, the body requires significant amounts of protein.

3. Smoothie. If properly prepared, a smoothie can be healthy indeed. However, it’s important to avoid the mistake to which many people fall prey: adding too much sugar. Instead, a smoothie should primarily consist of plenty of fruit for the carbohydrates, as well as a protein source.

Not only will a smoothie provide nutritional benefits, but it also will help the body stay hydrated through a workout.

4. Oatmeal. Carbohydrates are vital to a good workout, since carbs are broken down into glucose (the body’s source for energy) after digestion.

Oatmeal, it turns out, is an amazing source for complex carbohydrates, which are digested slowly and provide a steady, reliable supply of energy throughout even a long workout. It’s also easy to make oatmeal even healthier by adding fresh fruit.

5. Energy bars. Another simple option, energy bars are one of the easiest ways to boost to the body’s store of carbohydrates. A quality energy bar should also contain some protein. Steer clear of the many brands that have excessive amounts of sugar and salt, as these are more like candy bars.

A solid pre-exercise meal is critical. Without proper sustenance, the body cannot sustain intense exertion for long. Worse, if the body runs out of fuel, it may even start breaking down muscle for energy.

People looking to get in better shape, boost their mood, and athletes of all levels should make sure to always consume some healthy, nourishing food a few hours before they work out.

5 Foods to Consider Eating Before Exercise

John D. Moore, PhD

Described as folksy and down to earth, Dr. John Moore infuses current events and pop culture into his posts as a way of communicating wider points on issues related to wellness and goal attainment. His work has been featured in nationally syndicated media, including Cosmo, Men's Fitness and CBS Market Watch. He is a consultant to a number of Fortune 500 companies and institutions of Higher Learning. Dr. Moore is author of Confusing Love with Obsessionand Editor in Chief at: Guy Counseling.

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APA Reference
Moore, J. (2017). 5 Foods to Consider Eating Before Exercise. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 24, 2020, from


Last updated: 19 Nov 2017
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