what to eat before a workout

Wanting to up your gains in the gym?

Well, we’re here to let you know what to eat before a workout to build muscle.

Before we dive in, one thing we want to make clear is that you should mention when to eat said food groups.

Where possible, it’s best to eat your pre-workout meal around 2-3 hours before you start your workout.

Although, we know that’s not always possible. So, if you can only have a quick bite around 45-60 minutes beforehand, just ensure what you’re eating is smaller and simpler to digest.

Let’s get into the foods that help you build muscle…

what to eat before a workout

Table of Contents


Now, you might have already guessed this one!

Protein is naturally occurring in foods such as:

  • Seafood, like salmon, tuna and prawns
  • Chicken and turkey
  • Eggs
  • Beans and lentils
  • Nuts, like peanuts
  • Soy products, including tofu

Then, of course, you have protein powders and supplements, which can also be helpful when trying to up your muscle mass.

Protein shakes, for example, provide the body with amino acids which are easily absorbed. Research suggests that increased amino acid levels in the bloodstream can have a more significant impact on muscle synthesis. That’s essentially the body’s process of repairing muscle damage caused by exercise.

Other studies also suggest that protein shakes may help retain muscle and promote muscle gain.

While there are several brands on the market, we have to say our current fave is BodyScience.

With a huge range of protein powders, bars and even coffee – we have to say our favourite is their Low-Carb Mousse Protein Dessert. You can use it to of course make mousse, or use it in smoothie bowls, pancakes, mug cakes and more.

It contains Casein Protein, MCT Oil, Fibre, 23g of protein and naturally occurring Glutamine, L-leucine and BCAAs. Plus, one serve contains less than 150 calories.

Keep in mind, protein supplements should never completely replace protein in foods as part of a balanced diet. Just think of them as extra support for your muscle-gain journey!

As for how much protein to eat pre-workout? Around 20–30 grams can result in an increased rate of muscle protein synthesis that lasts for several hours.

what to eat before a workout


Muscles use the glucose from carbohydrates for fuel, particularly for longer exercise sessions. Making sure you’ve eaten the right amount of carbs before working out will help optimise your performance and, therefore, results.

Opt for complex carbohydrates as they provide a longer-term source of energy that burns slower over time.

Foods that are considered to contain complex carbohydrates include:


  • Vegetables like broccoli and sweet potato
  • Whole grain pasta and bread
  • Lentils and beans
  • Brown rice
  • Oats
  • Fruit like bananas, pears, apples
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Like carbs, fats are essential for providing our bodies with energy.

The body does take longer to break down fat, however, so ensure you’re sitting more about that 2-3 hour mark pre-workout if you’re going to eat it.

You can read more about the ‘good’ fats to eat here.

what to eat before a workout