Pre-Workout Nutrition: What to eat before a workout?

We all know that our best workouts include a proper warmup and some kind of preparation. Most of us have our pre-workout routines and rituals. Paying close attention to pre-workout nutrition is essential and we need to make this part of our routine. 

The only way to get the most out of a workout is to make certain you get the right pre-workout nutrition. Pre-workout nutrition gives you the fuels necessary to do the work. It stands to reason that in order to exert yourself in any kind of exercise, you will need the energy to do the work. 

What is more, solid pre-workout nutrition provides the elements for building muscle. Making sure you have the amino acids and proteins that make muscle will maximize your workout. In the most basic ways, good pre-workout nutrition is like fueling your car. You cannot get anywhere unless there is something to fuel the exercise. 

What is the purpose of pre-workout nutrition? What are the benefits of pre-workout nutrition? And how do you go about getting the right pre-workout nutrition? This guide will provide you with the basics of making sure you get the most out of your workout by paying proper attention to pre-workout nutrition. 

Pre-workout nutrition purpose

Providing your body with the proper fuel is essential for any workout. Whether you are just trying to stay fit or you are doing high-intensity athletic training, giving your body the right fuel is the first step toward an effective workout. 

Each macronutrient plays a crucial role in making your exercise and workout pay off with the results you are after. However, the ratio in which you should consume these macronutrients will vary according to the type of workout. 

It is important to pay attention to each macronutrient to understand what purpose it serves.


Carbs give your muscle fuel. The main form of fuel for muscles is glycogen. This is the main result of the way your body metabolizes glucose, and glycogen is stored primarily in the muscles and in the liver. 

For any kind of exercise, your body uses the glycogen that is stored in muscles. But for longer exercises, the kind of exercise we associate with endurance sports, your body will use glycogen that is stored in the liver. These differences will determine part of your pre-workout nutrition. 

It naturally follows that as you exert yourself in the course of a workout, you will deplete your stores of glycogen. Therefore, you must provide sufficient glycogen prior to a workout to get results. 

The scientific evidence has consistently shown that carbs provide the best source of glycogen for exercise. Loading up on carbs as part of your pre-workout nutrition will make your workout far more effective. The number of carbs will depend on the type of workout you do. 


There is plenty of research on the benefits of protein for pre-workout nutrition. Even eating protein alone (without carbs) has been shown to provide substantial muscle protein synthesis when included as part of your pre-workout nutrition. 

One study demonstrated that by eating about 20 grams of whey protein prior to working out significantly boosts anabolic response during exercise. 

The benefits of protein in your pre-workout nutrition plans include:

  • Improved anabolic response and muscle growth. 
  • Improved muscle recovery. 
  • Increased strength and lean body mass. 
  • Increased muscle performance. 

The conventional wisdom has always told us to include protein in our pre-workout nutrition. Science now proves that protein makes the difference for real results. 


Carbs provide a source of glycogen that is immediately available for working out. Fats can provide a store of glycogen to be used when the immediate glycogen reserves are depleted. For longer and for moderate to low-intensity exercise, fats can be almost as important as carbs. 

Most of the previous research on fats centered on how too much fat can damage your health. There was little attention paid to consuming fats before working out to see how exercise may benefit from fats. 

Recent research has looked at how fats may provide positive benefits for exercise as part of pre-workout nutrition. One study showed that consuming a diet that consisted of about 40 percent fat over 4 weeks actually increased endurance for runners and others who are involved in endurance sports and training. 

While carbs provide the bursts of glycogen we need for an intense workout, it turns out fats provide stores of glycogen for endurance training. While it remains important to monitor fat intake for our health, some fats as part of pre-workout nutrition are beneficial.

Pre-workout nutrition benefits

That pre-workout nutrition is important is not a new idea, but the extent of how important it is keeps becoming clearer. Research on sports and athletic nutrition shows us that pre-workout nutrition is absolutely essential some of the benefits of pre-workout nutrition include:

Increased physical performance

Protein is required for protein synthesis to take place – protein synthesis must exceed or equal the rate of protein breakdown for muscle maintenance and growth. Protein should be a key nutrient to support muscle maintenance and growth so that you can make every rep count.

Prevent premature fatigue

As energy levels deplete during exercise, your muscles can tire and become exhausted prematurely. When pre-workout nutrition consists of the correct nutrients, you are setting your body up for optimum performance with high levels of energy. When your body has energy readily available to burn, your body can make every rep count without tiring early.

Reduces the amount of muscle breakdown

To gain and maintain muscle tissue, protein synthesis must at least be equal to the rate of protein breakdown. Ideally, protein synthesis should exceed the rate of protein breakdown. BCAAs are the building blocks of protein. You should also source additional amino acids through dietary protein sources. Keeping protein levels high by saturating your muscles stores prevents your muscles from being broken down for energy.

When to eat before a workout

We have established that pre-workout nutrition is crucial, but timing is everything. To maximize your pre-workout nutrition, try to make sure you eat a meal that contains proteins, carbs, and fats at least 2-3 hours prior to working out. 

There are going to be times when you just cannot eat 2-3 hours before a workout. You can still get in some pre-workout nutrition. Just cut down on the amount you eat the closer you get to your workout. 

If you are within about 45 minutes of a workout, eat a small meal. Some form of protein shake or another exercise supplement that contains the nutrients you need will be ideal in these circumstances. 

Pre-workout meals

The main thing to keep in mind with pre-workout nutrition is to make sure you get enough protein and carbohydrates combined. Do not try to simply bulk up on protein. You need the energy from carbs as much as you need the protein. 

This said the kinds of meals you take for pre-workout nutrition can vary according to your taste. Here are some examples to think about. 

2-3 hours before a workout

  • Sandwich on whole-grain bread, lean protein, and a side salad
  • Egg omelet and whole-grain toast topped with avocado spread and a cup of fruit
  • Lean protein, brown rice, and roasted vegetables

Within 2 hours

  • Protein smoothie made with milk, protein powder, banana, and mixed berries
  • Whole-grain cereal and milk
  • A cup of oatmeal topped with banana and sliced almonds
  • Natural almond butter and fruit preserve sandwich on whole-grain bread

Less than 1 hour

  • Greek yogurt and fruit
  • Nutrition bar with protein and wholesome ingredients
  • A piece of fruit, such as a banana, orange or apple

You do not need to eat multiple pre-workout meals at different times. Just choose the one that is appropriate and vary the ingredients to your needs, making sure you get the right balance of proteins and carbs. 

Pre-workout supplements

There are a number of pre-workout supplements you can find that will provide you with the nutrients you need for solid pre-workout nutrition. The benefit of pre-workout supplements is that you do not need to prepare a meal and time it properly to get the pre-workout nutrition necessary.

Good pre-workout supplements contain some or all of the following active ingredients:


This is probably the most common rep-workout supplement. Creatine is known to increase muscle mass, muscle fiber size, strength, and power. Creatine also delays fatigue. Creatine is most commonly taken as a post-workout supplement but it is an effective pre-workout. 


Good old fashioned caffeine is a great part of pre-workout supplements. Plenty of runners will down a good amount of coffee before a run because it gives the pep they need. Caffeine can also boost strength and power, and it reduces fatigue during a workout. Caffeine will provide a maximum benefit of about 90 minutes after you consume it.  

Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)

These are the building blocks of muscle and BCAA supplements provide your body with an immediate jolt of muscle-building materials. Valine, leucine, and isoleucine are the BCAAs, and these will help build muscle and repair damaged muscle.


Beta-alanine is another amino acid. It boosts levels of carnosine in your muscles which helps enhance short and high-intensity workouts. By helping to increase carnosine levels, you increase your capacity for muscle endurance exercise while reducing fatigue. 

A good pre-workout supplement will contain all of these things. A pre-workout supplement should help you boost the essentials of pre-workout nutrition and provide the added features that increase results.  

Pre-workout showcase

You can get the most out of your workouts with the delicious and effective Pre-Workout Formula from NF Sports. This formula enhances motivation and supports your body’s ability to cope with high-intensity exercise. 

Free of artificial colors and sweeteners, NFS Pre-Workout will help you blast through your workout session like never before.

The best way to improve the way you feel or perform is to ensure you’re getting the most out of your workouts every time you train. NFS Pre-Workout was created to maximize every workout.

Whether you’re in need of extra motivation or looking to improve your performance, NFS Pre-Workout can help. While caffeine can get us going, it has limited effects on our muscular performance and cognitive function, especially when we develop a tolerance.

A great pre-workout delivers more than a caffeine rush. NFS Pre-Workout optimizes your workouts with proven performance-boosting ingredients. It is deliciously flavored with zero artificial sweeteners, colors, or flavors.


We all want to get the most out of our workout. For some of us, this means sparing no expense for the right equipment to maximize our exercise. For others, it means living with a carefully balanced diet designed for maximum health and fitness. Of the steps we take to make the most of working out, solid pre-workout nutrition is one thing everyone needs to pay attention to.

Good pre-workout nutrition provides you with the protein your body needs to build muscle. Resistance training and lifting are key to getting powerful lean muscle. We all know that. But none of that muscle can grow without the building blocks that come from a protein found in sound pre-workout nutrition. 

We also need the energy to get through our workouts. That energy comes in the form of glycogen, and the source of glycogen in our diets is carbs. It is essential that we get carbs in our pre-workout nutrition to provide the basic energy necessary to do the work. 

Finally, the much-maligned fats are also a part of good pre-workout nutrition. While it is important to pay attention to fats, make sure we are eating the right kind of fats, and eliminating unhealthy fats, we do need a certain amount of fat as part of pre-workout nutrition. Fats provide energy stores for endurance training. 

Ideally, we would all start our pre-workout nutrition with a solid meal that includes all the necessary macronutrients. But sometimes getting a solid meal in with the correct amount of time before a workout is not possible. A solid and reputable pre-workout supplement can provide you what you need to maximize your workout. Pre-Workout Formula from NF Sports will provide you with everything you need for a workout that gets results. 


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