The most common mistake people make while trying to lose weight is not eating enough. Say, you hit the gym or your local park to squat, run, lift weight etc but even after all that jazz, you just can’t seem to get the desired results. You feel drained, dejected and unmotivated.

Do you know why? It’s probably because you aren’t fueling your body enough. 

Oftentimes, especially when our head’s in the fitness zone, we tend to think of food as mere calories. Adding and balancing out all the intake to lose those few kilos or to get tighter abs. While that’s great to ensure a balanced diet to remain fit, it can have a dark side too. What we can do to have a more healthy perspective is see the food intake as energy tokens rather than just calories.

The major source of fuel for the body is carbohydrates; therefore, it is ideal to have something rich in carbohydrates. Therefore, one must have easily digestible carbohydrates that can help prevent hunger during exercise and give you energy.

What’s A Pre-Workout Meal?

To ensure that you get the best of your workout routine and even run a few extra miles, we suggest a pre-workout meal. Pre-workout meals, even known as pre-workouts are multi-ingredient dietary plans that ensure high energy, better athletic performance and even catalyzing the losing weight process.

Why do people take pre-workout meals? Here are a few reasons why. Check out the things you should keep in mind while designing a dietary plan for yourself or talking to a dietitian!

Importance And Timings Of Pre-Workout Meals

A good pre-workout meal or snack can help you burn more calories and power you through a rigorous exercise session, turning your body into a powerful fat-burning machine and speeding up your weight loss. Here are a few things to remember:

  • As we said, if you want a good workout session, you need to provide your body with the necessary fuel it needs.
  • Eating the right foods can help your body burn more fat and give you enough power to survive through a workout.
  • If it doesn’t get enough fuel, the body starts converting your muscle tissue into energy. Which you don’t want, right? We’re all trying to build up muscles here.
  • Carbs are the key. The reason carbs help is pretty obvious—they’re your body’s go-to source of energy and what experts recommend eating before a workout to properly fuel.
  • When exercising, especially at high intensities with boot camps, indoor cycling classes, and lifting sessions, your body uses blood glucose and glycogen as its main energy source.

As the name suggests, your pre-workout should be before you hit the gym. The best pre-workout meal timings are 20-30 minutes prior. You should avoid eating right before a workout. During a workout, you are putting strain on your muscles. At the same time, if your stomach is also trying to digest food, you will not be able to work out optimally. In fact, you might even end up developing a bad gut.

Though it all depends on the intake, pre-workout meals can last for 4-6 hours, with the most pronounced effect hitting 30-60 minutes after consumption.

10 Best Pre-Workout Meals

Most people head to the gym on an empty stomach, probably because they don’t know what to eat. But this doesn’t mean that you chow down heartily before your workout either. Not that you’ve made up your mind to never miss out on some pre-workout meals, here are some of the best ones to make the experience tasteful and healthy. Check them out!


You must be living under a rock if you haven’t heard about it, let alone trying quinoa in a gym before. And as boring as it may sound, it can help you start your day off right. Quinoa is high in fibre, protein and has a low glycemic index. These properties have all been linked to weight loss and improved health.

Oatmeal With Banana And Almonds

Oatmeal is a healthy and delicious breakfast option, especially if you’re looking to lose weight. They’re not only low in calories but are also high in protein and fibre that keep you feeling full. 

To make your meals with oats more filling, mix with half a cup of plain nonfat Greek yoghurt. Try pairing a hearty cup of cooked oatmeal with half a banana, flax seeds and a handful of almonds for a high fibre breakfast for weight loss.

Healthy Snack Bars

Don’t have time to make anything? Snack on nutty granola bars. It’s a great pre-workout snack for people who wonder what to eat before a morning workout because they like their stomach to feel light before exercising.

Just make sure to aim for granola bars that have 200 calories and at least 10 grams of protein. Unless you’re someone who burns hundreds of calories every day, avoid snacking on bars over 300 calories.

Green Tea

Most herbal teas and carbonated waters have zero to very few calories. Rich in antioxidants, green tea promotes faster fat burning. Regularly drinking green tea can help you lose weight and reduce your risk of several diseases, including diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

There are limitless ways to enjoy green tea in the morning. Try adding a squeeze of lemon, drizzling on a bit of honey or brewing your tea with ginger or mint to bring a tasty twist to your cup.


The infusion of energy caffeine provides can be sustaining enough to power you through long bouts of exercise. That can translate to better endurance on the treadmill, on the pavement and in the weight room. If you’re working to get lean and sculpted, caffeine can be a great ally. It allows you to torch maximum calories during your workout and throughout your day even after vigorous exercising. 

In addition to giving you energy, caffeine boosts mental alertness and sharpens focus, which can speed up your reaction time and enhance your overall performance as you push through heavy lifts.

Beetroot Juice

Speaking of drinks, beetroot juice, though less researched, has shown to increase the body’s levels of nitric oxide, a natural vasodilator that expands blood vessels and increases blood flow and helps improve cardiovascular performance. Nutritionally speaking, beets have it all. It also helps increase VO2 max.

The VO2 max essentially indicates endurance. When dietitians and cardiologists study VO2 max, they're looking at oxygen intake and output, and how long the subject can sustain exercise at a certain oxygen level. With the help of beets, subjects can exercise longer, and more efficiently.

Peanut Butter On Toast

Sounds yummy but feels unhealthy? Trust us, it’s not. The trick here is to get whole wheat or multigrain bread here. And instead of going for a sandwich, have just one slice. Lather on a layer of peanut butter and enjoy the best pre-workout meal.

Peanut butter provides a good amount of protein, along with essential vitamins and minerals, such as magnesium, potassium, and zinc. Great for losing weight, that’s one reason why bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts swear by 2 spoonfuls of peanut butter every day.

Greek Yoghurt

Yoghurt is high in protein and has been associated with decreased hunger and food intake, plus a lower risk of weight gain. Greek yoghurt, great for smoothies, also pairs well with a bowl of fruit and some flax seeds. Not only are smoothies a quick and easy way to obtain a concentrated dose of nutrients, but they also double as a convenient breakfast item that can accelerate weight loss.


If you’re into fitness and try to maintain a healthy diet, you probably include egg intake at least once a day. Although eggs contain a certain amount of fat, omelettes made using whole eggs or just egg whites are a great source of muscle-building protein and amino acids.

Just make sure to consume them 2-3 hours before your workout session. These are perfect if you prefer to exercise during the evening or at night. Add some greens such as spinach or kale to make the most of this meal.

Fruity Protein Shakes

If you’re on the go and in a hurry, then a quick protein shake can solve your pre-workout problems. By consuming a shake with a good source of fast-releasing protein, with simple carbohydrates, you can get all the pre-workout nutrients you need in a matter of minutes. Add some seasonal berries and you'll be on your way to a healthy pre-workout.

Goal-Oriented Pre-Workout Meals

Best Pre-Workout Meals For Muscle Gain

Consume 20-30 grams of protein and some carbohydrates to maintain enough energy to push through an intense workout in the gym and then recover from that workout without any issues.

Options for ideal pre-workout protein sources include whey protein, egg whites, chicken, ground turkey or even tuna.

Best Pre-Workout Meals For Weight Gain

While most diet plans focus on weight loss, weight gain for many is just as important if not more. A handful of nuts and raisins are often advised by nutritionists to gain weight. Bananas work just as nice too. Easy to eat on the go.

Bottom Line

To exercise, your body needs a certain amount of energy. When this fuel is missing, your body starts converting your own muscle tissue into energy which can be counterproductive if you’re trying to build muscles. So don’t skip your pre-workout meal and consult a dietician for more insights on your body’s needs.

Now that you know what to eat, it’s time to head to the one-stop destination for all your quality sports goods. Decathlon offers a wide range of equipment you might want to add to your home gym including dumbbells of different weights, yoga mats, and exercise benches. It provides people across the world by developing innovative and affordably priced gym wear and gym equipment products.

Check our Fitness Range at Decathlon
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