10 Ideas for a pre-workout meal

10 Ideas for a pre-workout meal

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These 10 ideas for a pre-workout meal are my personal favourites and have been my “go too’s” for years!

How often do you find yourself half way through a workout and suddenly feeling weak, shaky and fatigued?

And it’s more frustrating when you end up cutting your workout short because you have no energy to continue.

It feels like such a waste, especially when you’ve waited all day and made the effort to get into your workout gear and travel to a gym or elsewhere to perform your workout.

You are definitely not alone with this.

The most likely reason for experiencing these feelings during or after your workout is because you are not fuelling your body with the right nutrients before your workout begins.

On a side note, please do not dismiss any possibility of another health condition.

If you feel genuinely concerned, or if you have had ongoing issues I would advise seeing a medical professional to be sure.

Please see my disclaimer for more info on this. I am not a medical professional.


Why is a pre-workout meal important?

I don’t think I need to teach most of you that our bodies need to be fueled with the right nutrients to be able to function at its best.

Most of us learn this from a very young age but many of us have no idea what foods our body needs to be able to do this.

It’s the same with vehicles, machinery, plants animals, anything that relies on one or more outside sources to function properly.

You wouldn’t jump in your car with the petrol light flashing and try to drive 200 miles, because it doesn’t have the gas to complete the trip.

Its the same with our bodies.

If we don’t put enough of the right nutrients into our bodies before a workout, we will eventually burn out.

Too often this happens before we have completed it simply because we have exerted more calories/energy than we have consumed to get us through to the end.

Whats worse is that when we begin to feel these weak, shaky, fatigued feelings, our glycogen stores have been depleted (glycogen is the primary fuel your muscles use for energy), therefore when those stores have been depleted your body will start to use hard earned muscle for fuel.

No one wants their muscle wasting away, it takes a long time to build muscle and far less time to lose it.

What nutrients should a pre-workout meal consist of?

  1. Slow digesting carbs – this will sustain your energy levels throughout your workout
  2. Protein –  this is what your body needs for muscle growth and repair.

Make sure you allow your body adequate time to absorb the nutrients before working out.

1-2 hours before is the ideal time to consume a pre-workout meal.

Your body needs carbs!

Carbohydrates are your bodies main source or energy.

When you workout your body burns more calories from carbohydrates so it is extremely important that you are fueling your body with the right amount of carbohydrates before your workout. 

The intensity of your workout will greatly determine the amount of carbohydrates you need before.

If you plan on doing an explosive high intensity workout you will need to fuel your body with more carbs than if you were to do a light workout requiring less energy.

Don’t be afraid of carbs.

If you understand how they work with your body you can manipulate it how you want and can avoid over consuming which can lead to weight gain.

Pasta is personally one of my favorite foods and I eat it fairly regularly, but it is one of the foods that so many people avoid because they associate it with getting fat or gaining weight “instantly”. 

The reason you will gain weight is not because you ate pasta, it is because you are overeating and not getting your correct split of macronutrients. 

I wont get into this here because I want to get to the main point of this post but it is important to know how much our body relies on carbs to function and perform daily activities.

For more info on managing your diet better and how to avoid overeating and consuming the wrong nutrients see my article on Macronutrients.

My 10 favourite pre-workout meals


1. Oatmeal with almond milk, banana, almonds and chia seeds

So quick and easy to make. I have been eating this for years for a pre workout meal, especially when I don’t have a lot of time.

1/2 cup oatmeal
1/2 banana or one small banana
1 cup almond milk
10-12 almonds
1 tsp chia seeds

Microwave oats and milk and arrange banana, almonds and chia seeds on top.

Vegetarian recipes

2. Chick pea and hummus wrap

1 wholemeal wrap
1/4 cup chick peas
Original hummus to spread
Capsicum, spinach, carrot or any veggies
Hot sauce (optional)
Small amount of bbq sauce

Pre workout meal

3. Tuna salad sandwich (can substitute tuna with vegan ham )

1x 85g can of tuna or 3 slices of vegan ham
2 slices of wholemeal bread
Alfalfa sprouts or lettuce
Lite mayonaise


4. Muesli with greek yogurt and almonds

3/4 cup of muesli
1 cup almond milk
1 Tbsp greek yogurt or non dairy yogurt
8-10 almonds
Berries (optional)

vegan recipes

5. Pasta and tofu/chicken

100g cooked wholemeal pasta
100g tofu or 80g chicken
1/2 cup tinned tomatos
2 mushrooms
3/4 cup spinach
Salt and pepper (optional)

Cook pasta and at same time cook chicken in seperate pan if you are having chicken. Chop veggies and tofu and stir fry together and add tinned tomatoes and garlic.
Once pasta is cooked mix into sauce and serve.


6. Protein oatmeal

1/2 cup oatmeal
1 scoop protein powder (any flavour)
1 cup of water
Blueberries (optional)

Heat oatmeal and water in microwave for 1 minute. Take out and stir in protein powder, add a little more water if you need to. 
Sprinkle blueberries on top.


7. Boiled egg and rice (can substitute egg for chickpeas)

2 boiled eggs or 1/2 cup chick peas
3/4 cup cooked rice – i find it so much easier to use the instant 90 second heat rice)
Chopped zucchini (optional)
1 Tbsp reduced salt soy sauce

Cook rice and zucchini separately, add boiled eggs or chickpeas. Mix all together with soy sauce and serve.


8. Protein smoothie

1 scoop protein powder
1 cup almond milk or water
1/4 cup of oats
1 small o r1/2 large banana
1/2 cup berries

Blend together in blender with a little ice.

Pre workout meal

9. Chicken and rice

3/4 cup cooked rice
80g cooked chicken
1 tsp teriyaki sauce

Cook rice (instant is quick and easy), cook chicken or used tinned, mix together with teriyaki sauce.

Pre workout meals

10. Pita bread with tuna or chick peas

1 whole meal pita 
1x 85g tuna or 1/4 cup chickpeas
Alfalfa sprouts or lettuce
1 Tbsp greek yogurt
Fresh mint
Red onion

A healthy diet is key to overall long term success for achieving and maintaining weight loss. If you’re truly ready to lose some weight, change your lifestyle and learn how to manage your weight long term, my 21-Day Weight Loss Plan & Wellness Guide will teach you just that…and loads more! Check it out below and learn how I can help you reach you weight, body and wellness goals and maintain it.

For more related posts on healthy eating and recipes you might like to take a look at my easy healthy smoothies and healthy breakfast ideas . Both vegan and vegetarian options!

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