If you are an early bird who hits the gym before the crack of dawn, you must know the importance of fueling your body with the right pre-workout meal. A well-balanced breakfast can give you the energy and nutrients needed to power through your workout, boost your metabolism, and build lean muscle mass. But with so many options it can be overwhelming to figure out what to eat before an early morning workout bodybuilding practice. Fortunately, getting what you need to feel energetic before a workout doesn’t have to be complex or time-consuming. There are many simple ways to instantly get something in your tummy, including quick pick-me-ups and nutrient-dense meals. In this article, we’ll provide some nutritious meal ideas and their consumption timings to help you maximize your gains and crush your fitness goals.
What To Eat Before Early Morning Workout?
If you are looking for the best food to eat before an early morning workout, you should consider food and drink that is rich in carbs. Carbs offer a quick energy load and boost the glycogen stores (1). These are the glucose reserves that muscles dip into when you are working out. For this, fruits or grains are considered great choices.
The next question often asked by people is should I have proteins before or after the early morning workout? According to experts, you can include some proteins in the pre-workout meal if you can stomach it (2). This could be in the form of eggs, yogurt, or milk. This is especially recommended when indulging in muscular activities like weight training.
Likewise, it is also essential to get proteins after the workout because that may help with muscle recovery.
What Is Best To Eat Before An Early Morning Workout?
Often, there is no definite answer to this question. Everybody has different body mass and stamina, so their preferences may vary. Determining what you should consume and how much may take some trial and error. Below are some food options you can eat before an early morning workout. Take inspiration and find out what works for you!
When you eat carbs, they turn into glucose which gives you energy. If you have too much, your body stores it as glycogen. To power your morning workout, you should eat carbs that are easy to digest and give you energy quickly. Thus, choose foods that rank high or moderate on the glycemic index chart (3).
The glycemic index chart ranks carbs between 1 – 100, with 100 having the most impact on blood sugar levels. Moderate to high glycemic carbs are easy to digest and raise blood sugar levels. A few examples of moderate to high glycemic index carbs are:
- White bread
- White rice
- White pasta
- Breakfast cereal
It is recommended to get 50 – 100 grams of carbs before a workout. This equals 200 – 400 calories, increasing the glucose level and making it easy to digest before the workout begins.
If you’re going to exercise, you should change how many carbs you eat based on how hard and long you will work out. If you’re doing tough exercises for your chest, back, or legs, having a big meal beforehand is good. But a smaller meal is better if you will do easier exercise, like for your calves or core. It also depends how soon you are eating before your workout. If you don’t have much time between your meal and your workout, a smaller meal might be better so you don’t feel uncomfortable while you exercise.
It is okay to consume only carbs before a workout; some research supports the consumption of proteins, too (4). Having carbs alongside proteins may help you get energy and prevent muscle breakdown. There is no need to get a lot of protein to enjoy this perk. Around 20-30 grams should be enough.
Fiber is found in many carb foods, but your body can’t digest it. Although fiber is good for you, it can slow digestion, so eating fiber before an early morning workout might make you uncomfortable.
Instead, choose lower fiber foods, like white bread instead of whole grain bread. The refined and natural qualities make these the best foods to eat before workout bodybuilding. You can get your fiber in later on in the day.
Fat can slow digestion and keep food in your stomach longer (4). This means eating foods high in fat before an early morning workout is unfavorable. Even healthy fats like olive oil, flaxseed, or avocado should be limited. Foods like nuts and whole eggs, which are natural fat sources, should also be limited. Eat them after your workout or later in the day.
Pre-Workout Meal And Snack Suggestions
With the above information, it shouldn’t be difficult to figure out what to eat before early morning workout, bodybuilding practice. For further information, we have rounded up some suggestions that could help you decide.
- Low-fat milk and cereal
- A protein energy bar
- Rice crackers and scrambled egg whites
- Turkey slices and bagels
- Ripe banana mashed onto toast with some honey
- A hard-boiled egg with one apple
- Granola bar
- Instant oatmeal and berries
- 1 cup of orange juice with a few slices of beef
- Fruit smoothie prepared with low-fat yogurt and protein powder
The key ingredient of your snacks should be carbs and proteins. This will help your body to get the energy for an intense workout session. Even fitness experts suggest that when bodybuilding, eat before your morning workout something that fuels your body, unlike traditional heavy breakfasts like pancakes or eggs cooked in loads of oil.
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What To Eat 30 Minutes Before Workout, Bodybuilding Practice?
An ideal pre-workout meal should contain low fat, moderate protein, and a high amount of complex carbs. This meal gives you the energy to push through bodybuilding workouts and general exercises. It fuels resistance in the body and spares the muscles from breaking down.
Some foods to eat before workout/bodybuilding practice include:
Oats can be a good meal to have before your workout. They give you lots of energy released slowly, just like whole grains.
Compared to apples and oranges, bananas have more carbs, making them a good snack before a long workout. Half a banana with nut butter adds protein and fat to your pre-workout meal. This can help keep your blood sugar levels steady during your workout (5). You can also add banana slices to low-fat milk.
Some studies have shown that eating protein before working out can help improve athletic performance (6). Drinking protein shakes with water or low-fat milk before a workout can help build muscle and is a good meal before a morning workout.
Whole grains are carbs that give you energy. They release slowly into your body, which helps keep your blood sugar levels steady (7). This can help you maintain your energy during a long endurance workout that lasts more than 40 minutes.
Fresh smoothies are a great energy source before working out because they are easy to make and have the necessary nutrients. To make them healthier, avoid adding sugar and include vegetables. You can also add unsweetened yogurt to make them more filling and tasty.
Boiled eggs are also an excellent source of protein, and the yolk has lots of nutrients. Eating them with whole-wheat bread can help increase your energy levels.
Read More: The Benefits Of Running In The Morning
Fresh Fruit And Yogurt
If you have around 30 minutes before your workout, you can have unsweetened yogurt and fruit as a quick and practical snack. It has carbohydrates, fluid, and nutrients, making it one of the best meals before a morning workout.
When doing early morning workouts, eat before or after your practice session to ensure your body isn’t tired. Whether going for bodybuilding practice or your regular gym session, you should fuel your body according to the planned workout.
For instance, if you plan to work out for over 60 minutes, eat a small meal or snack with 15-75 grams of carbohydrates and protein. For low-intensity exercise or exercise that lasts less than 45 minutes, you can have a small snack or not eat anything before working out (8).
What To Eat Before Lifting?
If you are a natural bodybuilder who wants to avoid pre-workout powders, eating whole foods is important. To see the best results, you need to consume the right macronutrients, including carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. Each nutrient has its own specific uses.
It is really important to balance the types of macronutrients you eat if you want to make the best gains. The right amount of protein, carbohydrates, and fat can help you achieve the desired growth and see the best results.
Before strength training, eating a small meal or snack can give you the energy you need to perform better and longer. You might feel too tired or lightheaded to do your best without it. Eating something with carbohydrates and protein is required for an energy boost, muscle growth, and recovery.
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How Many Meals Do Bodybuilders Eat A Day?
Remember that what you eat and how often you eat can also impact your performance and progress. Bodybuilders spend hours in the gym building muscle mass and regularly eating, usually six times daily. They usually eat protein at every meal, sometimes in shakes.
Full meals usually include lean animal protein like grilled chicken or fish, vegetables, and sometimes a carbohydrate like sweet potatoes or rice. They also control their dietary fat intake by cooking their food through steaming, broiling, or boiling methods.
Bodybuilders should focus on healthy foods and nutrition when developing their diet. They must follow a healthy diet with the right foods to build muscle mass safely. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, consuming a nutrient-rich diet can also reduce the risk of health conditions that could negatively impact a person’s life expectancy and quality of life (9).
The Bottom Line
So far we have learned that what you eat before and after your workout can greatly impact your performance and recovery. But why settle for bland when you can make your pre and post-workout meals more exciting?
Why not try a peanut butter and banana smoothie before hitting the gym? Or how about some grilled chicken skewers with sweet potato wedges for post-workout fuel? The possibilities are endless!
Get creative with your pre and post-workout meals and make them something you actually look forward to. No more bland chicken and rice bowls or tasteless protein bars. With creativity and experimentation, you can find the perfect fuel for your workouts that satisfies your taste buds.
There are countless ways to make your snacks exciting when wondering what to eat before an early morning workout, bodybuilding or not. Broaden your culinary horizons and add fun and flavor to your fitness routine. Your body and taste buds will thank you!
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- Fundamentals of glycogen metabolism for coaches and athletes (2018, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- What to Eat Before and After a Workout, According to a Registered Dietitian (2019, self.com)
- A good guide to good carbs: The glycemic index (2023, health.harvard.edu)
- What Is Carb Timing and Can It Boost Your Workout Performance? (2022, everydayhealth.com)
- Sugar Addiction Facts: Cravings, Hidden Sugar, and More in Pictures (2022, medicinenet.com)
- Pre- versus post-exercise protein intake has similar effects on muscular adaptations (2017, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- The Nutrition Source (n.d., hsph.harvard.edu)
- Pre-Workout Nutrition: What to Eat Before a Workout (2022, healthline.com)
- Dietary Guidelines for Americans (2020, dietaryguidelines.gov)