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What carbs should you eat right before a workout

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What Carbs Should You Eat Right Before a Workout: A Comprehensive Guide

When it comes to optimizing your workout performance, fueling your body with the right carbohydrates is crucial. This article aims to provide you with a clear understanding of what carbs you should consume before a workout, their benefits, and the conditions in which you can benefit from them.

Benefits of Consuming the Right Carbs Before a Workout:

  1. Sustained Energy Levels:

    • Consuming the right carbs before a workout provides your body with a steady supply of glucose, which is essential for fueling your muscles.
    • This sustained energy helps improve your endurance, allowing you to exercise for longer periods without feeling fatigued.
  2. Enhanced Performance:

    • Eating the appropriate carbs before a workout can improve your overall performance by increasing your strength, power, and speed.
    • These carbs act as a readily available source of energy, enabling you to perform high-intensity exercises more effectively.
  3. Improved Recovery:

    • Carbohydrates consumed before a workout play a crucial role in replenishing glycogen stores, which get depleted during exercise.
    • By replenishing glycogen, your body can recover faster, reducing muscle soreness and promoting optimal recovery after a workout.


Eating before a workout is a good way to help you perform at your best. Choose simple carbs for quick energy, sports nutritionist to top athletes, Dr. Mike Molloy said. Good options are oatmeal, fruit, or white rice with some ground chicken.

Is it good to carb up before a workout?

Research has shown that carb loading may reduce fatigue and improve performance by 2–3% for exercise lasting more than 90 minutes ( 7 ). However, it is probably not effective for shorter durations of exercise or types of exercise that involve short bursts of activity, including weight training ( 7 , 8 , 9 ).

What should I eat 30 minutes before a workout?

The closer you eat before a workout, you'll want your foods to be in higher carbohydrates and lower in fats. If you are eating 30-60 minutes before: It is recommended that you eat a high carbohydrate, moderate protein, and low fat snack before exercising.

What food is good for pre-workout?

These great ideas of the best pre-workout foods will give you plenty of energy for your training session:
  • Fruit smoothies.
  • Yogurt parfaits with granola and fruit.
  • Bananas.
  • Oats.
  • Whole grain bread with a couple of slices of lean meat.
  • Chicken with rice and vegetables.
  • Apples with peanut butter and raisins.
  • Greek yogurt.

What are 4 examples of healthy carbs to eat before working out?

Examples of complex carb-rich foods to load up on ahead of your workout include rolled oats, buckwheat, whole-wheat bread, lentils, beans, whole-wheat pasta, blueberries, raspberries, apples, potatoes and yams.

What is the best carbs to eat before a workout?

Examples of complex carb-rich foods to load up on ahead of your workout include rolled oats, buckwheat, whole-wheat bread, lentils, beans, whole-wheat pasta, blueberries, raspberries, apples, potatoes and yams.

What carbs should I eat 30 minutes before workout?

The best things to eat 30 minutes before a workout include oats, protein shakes, bananas, whole grains, yogurt, fresh fruit, and more. An ideal pre-workout meal should be low in fat, moderate in protein, and high in complex carbs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should you carb up before lifting?

The body digests complex carbohydrates more slowly than simple carbohydrates. To increase energy ahead of a workout, a person should consume complex carbohydrates 2–3 hours in advance, and any simple carbohydrates 30–60 minutes in advance.

Does eating carbs before a workout help build muscle?

Carbs help maximize your body's ability to use glycogen to fuel short and high intensity exercises, while fat helps fuel your body for longer exercise sessions. Eating protein helps improve muscle protein synthesis, prevent muscle damage, and promote recovery. Good hydration is also linked to enhanced performance.

What is the best carb to eat before a workout?

Some good choices for pre-workout snacks to have one to four hours before a workout:
  • A peanut butter and banana or PBJ sandwich.
  • Greek yogurt with berries.
  • Oatmeal with low-fat milk and fruit.
  • Apple and peanut or almond butter.
  • Handful of nuts and raisins (two parts raisins, one part nuts)

What is a high carbohydrate pre-workout snack with protein?

Wholegrain Bread, sweet potato, and brown rice are great sources of complex carbohydrates that should be consumed around 2-3 hours before the gym. Combining these foods with a good source of protein means you'll get a good source of slow-releasing energy to fuel you throughout a whole workout.


What carbs give you the most energy?
This means that complex carbs provide you with a steady supply of energy throughout the day. Examples of complex-carb food sources you could try to include in your diet include unrefined whole grains, oats, legumes, and starches.
How can I increase my energy before a workout?
A banana and Greek yoghurt, egg on toast, or a low-fat cereal with milk are all easy to eat options, but you can find your own combinations. Eating before a workout will give an energy boost, but it's important to make sure you're eating enough nutritious food and drinking water throughout the day too.
How long does it take for food to fuel a workout?
This means it's just as important to take into consideration the “when” and the “what” when you're trying to calculate your ideal pre-workout bite blueprint. Your body is able to break down simple carbs in 30 to 60 minutes, protein in 60 to 90 minutes, and fat in 90 to 120 minutes, Rizzo estimates.
How long before food can be used for energy?
On an average, the solid food takes 2 to three hours to get digested and convert into energy. However, the snack foods take less time to convert into energy. The liquids, like juices, aerated drinks including alcohol, take only minutes to convert into energy.

What carbs should you eat right before a workout

How long does it take to get energy from exercise? The good news is that most people experience more energy within a few days or weeks after beginning an exercise program.
Does food give you energy to exercise? Snacks eaten soon before exercise probably won't give you added energy if your workout lasts less than 60 minutes, but they may prevent distracting hunger pangs. If your workout is longer than 60 minutes, you may benefit by including a carbohydrate-rich food or beverage during the workout.
What happens if you exercise and don't eat enough? Decreased energy levels: Without enough calories to fuel your workouts and daily activities, you may feel fatigued, weak, or lethargic. Decreased muscle mass: If you're not getting enough calories and protein, your body may break down muscle tissue for energy, leading to a loss of muscle mass over time.
What is a scientifically proven pre-workout meal? Ideally, two to four hours before a workout, eat a meal that is rich in complex carbohydrates (think oatmeal or brown rice), moderate in lean protein (think chicken or low-fat and fat-free dairy foods), lower in fat (think nuts and oils) and fiber (think broccoli and cauliflower) and includes plenty of fluids (think
  • Why is it important to eat before exercise?
    • Be well fueled going into a workout. Studies suggest that eating or drinking carbohydrates before exercise can improve workout performance and may allow you to work out for a longer time or at a higher intensity. If you don't eat, you might feel sluggish or lightheaded when you exercise.
  • Is it better to eat carbs before or after a workout?
    • Your body needs carbs to fuel your working muscles. Protein is there to help build and repair. Get a combination of the protein and carbs in your body 1 to 4 hours pre-workout and within approximately 60 minutes post-workout.
  • What are two food types to avoid pre-workout?
    • Nuts, cheese, and avocados contain protein, which is good, but their high fat content makes them pre-workout no-nos. “You don't want to eat something high in fat, like fast foods, fried foods, or cheesy foods,” she adds. Avoid them six to eight hours before your workout.