20 Pre-Workout Foods for Energy & 5 Pre-Workout Supplements

Before you start your exercise routine, ask yourself if you’re choosing the right pre-workout foods for energy. If you’re not sure what to eat before a workout, we’re here to help. But it’s important to know that it may vary on an individual basis. What works for one person may not work for someone else but as a general rule of thumb, eating healthy fats, carbohydrates and proteins can help give you energy. You’ll be able to exercise longer and feel even better after.

What to Eat Before Your Workout


Carbohydrates break down into glucose and the body uses it for fuel. The liver and muscles store glycogen, which the body uses as its main source of energy especially for short, high-intensity workouts. But unfortunately, your body has a limited amount of glycogen stores and low blood glucose (blood sugar) can lead to low energy, so you’ll need to replenish these  stores. Carbohydrates digest quickly, which means they can increase glycogen stores quickly. They are an effective pre-workout food for energy and they can provide energy fairly quickly (x).

Healthy sources of carbohydrates include:

  • Potatoes
  • Chickpeas, beans, lentils, peas
  • Pasta
  • Wheat, buckwheat
  • Oats
  • Quinoa


Protein is also a great nutrient to eat before working out. Protein may also be effective for short, high intensity workouts and can help with muscle recovery (x). There are several studies that suggest the effects of protein for exercise and recovery. The body needs it naturally to promote growth, repair damaged cells and tissues and synthesize hormones (x)

You can get protein from both plant and animal sources, depending on your dietary preferences. Plant proteins include beans, lentils and nuts. Animal protein sources include meat, fish and poultry. Animal proteins typically contain all of the essential amino acids that the body cannot make itself, but needs to maintain optimum health. Whether it’s plant- or animal-based, protein is a great pre-workout food for energy. There are a ton of easy ways to add more protein to your diet.

Healthy Fats

Although it may seem counterintuitive, your body also needs fat for energy, but specifically healthy fats. These aren’t the types of fats that accumulate in your body and damage your health. Instead, your body uses these as a source of fuel, specifically for longer workouts with moderate- to low-intensity. Long-term fat intake can reduce exercise performance but limiting fat intake and consuming healthy fats may help increase durability and endurance during your overall workout. These types of foods may help you feel full for longer (x):

  • Avocados
  • Whole eggs
  • Dark chocolate
  • Nuts
  • Chia seeds

Timing Your Pre-Workout Meals

Just like different macronutrients may be more or less beneficial depending on the type of workout, it may also be beneficial to time your meals to make sure your pre-workout foods for energy are as effective as possible. Here’s a general guide.

What to eat 2-3 hours before a workout
What to eat 2 hours before a workout
What to eat 1 hour before a workout

About 2 to 3 hours before your workout, you may want to eat a meal with carbs, protein and fat. 45 to 60 minutes before a workout, choose a meal that’s mainly carbs with some protein because these are easier to digest. 

Studies suggest that eating carbohydrates before a workout may enhance performance, despite their ability to increase insulin levels and reduce fat oxidation. When you consume carbohydrates before exercise, they may have metabolic effects that can help with weight loss and reduce weight gain in the future (x)

Try Pre-Workout Supplements

Another great way to prepare your body for a workout is to try pre-workout supplements, such as smoothies or milkshakes with protein supplements. Supplements may mimic the body’s natural properties for energy production and help fuel your workout. Here’s a recipe for you to try out: Whey Protein Antioxidant Smoothie.

However, before you take any supplement, make sure to consult a doctor for approval to determine if they are safe for you, based on your current health. Here’s a list of supplements that may help fuel your workouts:

  • Creatine HCL – naturally produces energy in the body
  • Beta Alanine – produces carnosine and reduces lactic acid buildup, which may reduce fatigue during exercise
  • L-Citrulline – help with nitric oxide production, which increases blood flow
  • BCAA 3:1:2 or BCAA 2:1:1 – reduces protein breakdown

Where to Buy Pre-Workout Supplements

Are you interested in trying pre-workout supplements for a little extra fuel before your workouts? You can purchase any of these supplements at BulkSupplements.com. The company is an industry-leading manufacturer and distributor for pure dietary supplements. BulkSupplements.com is not just a consumer brand. It also supplies pure ingredients to other brands that distribute food and other supplement products. Visit BulkSupplements.com to place an order today! 

Bottom Line

An important part of your workout routine is making sure you have the right nutrients and pre-workout foods for energy. Everyone is different and may have different preferences. But generally carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats are a good way to go, not only to increase energy and help with your overall endurance to get you through your workout, but to help support muscle recovery after. 

You can also choose to take pre-workout supplements and add them to milkshakes or smoothies to give you a little extra boost of energy before you hit the gym. These supplements can provide essential nutrients that may also improve your overall health in addition to fueling exercise. However, before taking any supplements, make sure to consult a physician to make sure the supplement you’re taking is right for you.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Author: BulkSupplements Staff