Fuel Your Workouts!

Do you often find yourself thinking, “My workouts are going great! What can I do to push my workouts to the next level?” If this sounds familiar, it might be the perfect time to look at your pre-workout nutrition routine. Fueling your body with the correct balance of nutrients will give you the fuel you need to sustain your intensity level during your workouts and assist with recovery afterwards. Each macronutrient plays a significant role to fuel your workout. Below is a detailed look at the role each macronutrient plays.


Carbohydrates tend to get a bad reputation around many social media circles. You’ll hear everything from carbs are evil to carbs make you fat. This couldn’t be farther from the truth! Carbohydrates are the preferred fuel source during short and high intensity exercise such as sprinting. Carbohydrates are mainly stored as glycogen in the muscle and liver. The longer you exercise, you increase the likely hood of tapping into muscle glycogen stores which may lead to fatigue towards the end of the workout. Making sure you have enough carbohydrates around your workouts will ensure you have the energy to sustain maximum level effort.


Protein can be one of the most beneficial nutrients for those who regularly exercise. Pre-workout protein intake leads to an increase in muscle protein synthesis which can boost recovery. Protein can also limit the amount of muscle protein breakdown which is essential to the maintenance or development of lean mass (aka muscle).


While carbohydrates are the preferred fuel source for short to high intensity exercise, fats are primarily used for moderate to low intensity exercise such as walking. Although there have been studies looking at total fat intake and physical performance, few studies have looked at the benefits of fat intake around the workout.

Pre-workout Meal Suggestions

Now that you have the basics about each nutrient, it’s time to look at actual pre-workout meal ideas. Before deciding on what to eat, it is important to take into account how close you are eating before the workout. Eating too close to your workout may lead to stomach discomfort. It is recommended to eat a complete meal around 2-3 hours before your workout.

Below are some suggestions:

  • Sandwich on whole grain bread, lean protein such as turkey breast, and a side salad.
  • Egg omelet and 1/2 cup of oatmeal.
  • Breakfast sandwich on a whole wheat english muffin
  • Lean protein, brown rice, and vegetables
  • Protein smoothie
  • Greek yogurt with a piece fruit
  • Protein shake and a granola bar

Feel free to experiment with different ideas depending on food preferences and timing of the meal.

In conclusion, it is important to fuel your body before your workouts with the right balance of nutrients in order to maximize your performance and recovery. If you feel you need a more personalized routine, feel free to contact one of our dietitians!



Written by: Jesus Hernandez RDN, LD

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