It’s best to exercise on a light but nutrient-filled stomach. This may sound like an oxymoron, but this can be done through avoiding foods that are high in fat and fiber, and instead consuming high amounts of carbohydrates and moderate amounts of protein.

Your pre-workout meal and portions will depend on your body type and the intensity of your workout. But in essence, avoid fatty foods such as fried foods, fatty meats, dairy products (those not marked low/non-fat), and baked goods (with the exception of whole grains). Also, as fiber is slow to digest, it can lead to stomach cramps during exercise. Therefore, avoid foods such as fruits and vegetables with peels, beans, energy bars and cereals with added fiber.

Here are some pre-workout meal ideas:

Pre-workout breakfast:

Choice of carbohydrates and protein:

  • Whole grain cereal (low in fiber)
  • Whole grain toast or bagel with scrambled eggs
  • Peanut butter and jelly sandwich

Top it off with low-fat yogurt and a bowl of fruit.

Pre-workout lunch or dinner:

  • Chicken salad with low-fat dressing (be sure to get lean meat)
  • Sandwich on whole-grain bread with lean meat and vegetables
  • Pasta with moderate amount of meat sauce or pesto sauce

Timing of pre-workout meals

A meal should be eaten 2.5 to 4 hours prior to the start of your workout in order to allow sufficient time for digestion, but early enough that the energy is not used up.

Foods consumed after exercising should be high in carbohydrates and protein to repair and rebuild muscle and reduce muscle soreness.

Post-workout meals ideas:

  • Omelette with spinach, mushrooms, diced tomatoes, and red/green bell peppers
  • Grilled chicken sandwich with spinach, tomatoes, peppers, Portobello mushrooms and cucumber
  • Tuna salad with mixed vegetables and balsamic vinaigrette


Don’t forget to drink lots of water before, during and after your workout.

Have a healthy workout!


Sources: LiveStrong, Eggs for Action

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