Here’s When To Eat Before a Workout

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when to eat before a workout
When to eat before a workout is answered by the result you want to achieve. Do you want to lose weight or to build muscle?

When to eat before a workout is a next query we answer in this article and this single query answers two of its sub-queries as well which are: when to eat before a workout to lose weight and when to eat before a workout to build muscle.

As always, we try to make our articles as clearer as we can so you get all the information about a specific query or topic at the same place – including this article as well.

Before we can start with answering the best times to be eating prior to a workout, we need to understand the type of foods and macronutrients we need in order to maximize our efforts and perform exercises energetically.

During exercise or a workout, your body needs proteins, fats, and carbohydrates.

Proteins for:

  • Supplying of amino acids to your body so it can repair the broken muscles and help you shape up and generate more muscle.
  • Improving overall performance that you, otherwise, wouldn’t be able to experience.
  • Increasing the amount of muscle mass gained during resistance workout.
  • Stimulation of growth.
  • Synthesizing of muscle protein.
  • Reducing deterioration.

Carbohydrates for:

  • Providing your body with enough energy to go through your workout with ease.
  • Making sure you get the most out of your resistance exercises.
  • Rising of energy either at a rapid pace or a slower, long-lasting pace – depends on the carbohydrates you consume.

Fats for:

  • Providing your body with energy.

However, fats aren’t appreciated from many dietitians, and their contribution to muscle growth or an effective workout isn’t much either – this is because they are harder to digest and so you can’t get their energy during your workout (assuming you consumed them 2 hours before your workout.)

You may get their health benefits, but it won’t be at the exact time of working out – unless you consume fat-rich foods 6 hours before working out and that’s not healthy compared to that of the meals packed with protiens and carbohydrates.

Also, as mentioned, carbohydrates are of two types:

  1. Simple carbohydrates
  2. Complex carbohydrates

Simple carbs provide you with a rapid rise in energy levels, so you get most out of your short workouts.

Complex carbohydrates, however, provide you with energy that lasts longer – that’s best when you plan a long workout.

Now that we know why we need these macronutrients, let’s share the foods that have most of these macronutrients found.


High protein foods that we know work best for exercise are:

  • fish, such as salmon and tuna
  • poultry, such as chicken and turkey
  • nuts
  • beans
  • lentils
  • eggs
  • soy

High-carbs (complex) foods that we know work best for exercise are:

  • broccoli, sweet potatoes, and other vegetables
  • whole-grain pasta
  • beans
  • lentils
  • brown rice
  • oats
  • whole-grain bread

Healthy fat foods that we know work best for exercise are:

  • avocados
  • nuts and seeds
  • olive oil

Also, not all fats are healthy – some may leave you unsatisfied and unhealthy if consumed.

Foods mentioned above, however, contain healthy fats.

With that being said, you’d need these foods to eat before a workout for better results.

Now, the question is: when to eat before a workout.

To answer this, you’d have to understand that it depends on the outcome you’d want to achieve with your workout.

Is it that you want to lose weight or are you trying to build muscle?

If you remember, we had the same way of reasoning in our previous guide that answered when to eat after a workout.

Once you know that reason, rest is answered below.

When to eat before a workout to lose weight?

If you want to lose weight and are confused about the perfect time to be eating before you work out, it is best that you don’t eat anything at all.

Yes, when you don’t eat anything prior to working out, your body depends upon the fats present in your body thus burning more of them, causing weight loss.

If, however, you are uncomfortable with not eating anything before working out, you may eat 4 hours before working out and it will still help you lose weight.

With that being said, not eating before a workout is best if you want to lose weight.

And if that’s not something you’d want to do, eat at least 4 hours before you work out.

When to eat before a workout to build muscle?

Unlike the case with weight loss and eating prior to working out, you’d need more of the macronutrients we discussed earlier in this article.

Why? Because they help you to be more energetic and help build muscle.

Also, when you consume the macronutrients mentioned above, your body now isn’t dependent on the fats that exist in your body – this ensures that you aren’t losing any weight but are gaining muscle.

Now, when to eat before a workout for an optimized result is the question you might have.

What we found is, people who ate their meals 1-2 hours before their workouts had better results and more energy to go through their workouts, especially the resistance workout.

We, therefore, believe that if you eat at least an hour or two before you work out, you can be more energetic and perform better than you usually would.

What is it that you want to achieve with your workout? Is it that you want to build muscle or you’d want to lose weight? Let us know in the comments’ section and we will see if there’s anything we can help you more with.


A. You need macronutrients if you want to build muscle and have more energy.

B. You don’t need macronutrients if you want to lose weight with your workout.

C. It is best to not eat anything before working out if your plan is to lose weight.

D. If you want to eat before you work out and want to lose weight at the same time, eat 4 hours before you exercise.

E. It is best to eat 2 hours before you work out if you want to build muscle.

F. Eating healthy fats before working out isn’t as effective as eating high-carbs and high-protein foods.


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The information contained within this article and overall site is merely for informational purposes and is based on historical facts. Please always consult with your dietitian before creating a diet plan for yourself.

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