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What to Eat Before Working Out


It’s a good idea to eat before a workout – but you need to know what and when to get the needed benefit and avoid problems.

“About every two weeks we need to stop someone from finishing their workout because they are feeling weak,” said Lauren Blechle, clinical dietitian with Covenant’s LifeStyle Centre, atop the East Parking Garage.

A recent study from England, published in The American Journal of Physiology – Endocrinology and Metabolism and focus of a New York Times story, said eating before a workout may not be a good idea. Blechle disagrees.

She recommends a balance – some type of carbohydrate, protein and a little bit of fat.

“The body can use those carbs and get you through your workout so you don’t feel exhausted or lightheaded depending on the intensity of the workout,” she said.

If working out in the morning, she recommends eating a larger breakfast an hour before the workout, or a half hour before with a smaller breakfast.

Here are some breakfast recommendations to create that balanced mix:

  • A Greek yogurt parfait with berries
  • Toast with peanut butter and banana
  • Make a breakfast burrito
  • Oatmeal with a protein such as turkey bacon, turkey or chicken sausage, eggs or egg whites (but watch the sodium content in meats).

Working out after work? Blechle recommends a snack on the way to your workout, such as:

  • Apple with peanut butter
  • Protein bars

If you want a larger snack, she suggests eating an hour before the workout.

This post is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition. Please seek medical advice from your physician for any related medical condition. If you are in need of a primary care doctor, click here to find one in the Covenant Health network.

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