What To Eat Before A Workout: The Ultimate Guide

Eating before a workout is essential to make sure your body has enough fuel to give you the stamina you need to push through to achieve your goals. But knowing what to eat before a workout is equally crucial to ensure you’re fuelling up on the right food groups to give your body energy and your muscles the support they need. 

woman making protein shake

From pre-workout meal ideas to how to make a protein shake, here’s everything you need to know about what to eat before a workout.

Why It’s So Important To Eat Before A Workout

If you’re ever wondering ‘should I eat before a workout or should I wait until afterwards?’, remember that food is your body’s main source of energy, and energy is essential if you want to smash your goals. The benefits of eating before a workout include:

 - It provides you with the energy you need to fuel your body to go after your goals

 - May help you to work out for longer, taking you closer to your goals and your next personal best

 - Helps to give you the stamina you need to keep going towards the end of your workout

 - Keeps your blood sugar levels up, helping to prevent lightheadedness

 - Supports your recovery after a workout

What To Eat Before A Workout

When you’re deciding what to eat before a workout, it’s important to make sure you’re getting nutrition from all of the important food groups. Carbohydrates, protein, and unsaturated fats all need to be a focus to help fuel your body. Let’s take a look at why:


bowl of porridge with strawberries

Carbohydrates are essential for fuel. Our muscles take the glucose found in carbs and turn it into energy to help you power through an intense workout. When you’re choosing what to eat before a workout, focus on complex or slow-release carbs. These are carbohydrates that release their energy slowly, helping to keep your body fuelled over a period of a few hours.

Examples of complex carbs include:

 - Oats

 - Whole grain bread

 - Whole grain pasta

 - Whole grain cereal

 - Sweet potatoes

 - Beans and legumes

Another quick way to eat carbs before a workout is to try our Cream of Rice supplement. This fast-acting, easily digestive carb source is a great way to get the energy you need before a workout quickly. Complete Strength is available in flavours including Apple Pie, Caramel Biscuit, Strawberry Cheesecake, Sticky Toffee Pudding, and Chocolate Orange.


Consuming some fats is also important for providing your body with energy, but you need to make sure you’re focusing on unsaturated or ‘good’ fats, rather than saturated fats.

avocado - a source of 'good' fats

Eating too many saturated fats can increase the risk of high cholesterol and associated health problems, including heart disease and stroke, but unsaturated fats can provide your body with energy and important nutrients.

Examples of good fats to incorporate in your pre-workout meals include:

 - Avocados

 - Sunflower seeds

 - Olive oil

 - Pumpkin seeds

 - Almonds


Where carbohydrates fuel the body, protein helps it to build and repair, which becomes especially important when you’re trying to build muscle. Consuming protein before a workout can help to fuel muscle protein synthesis (muscle growth), helping you to reach your goals.

Good sources of protein include:

 - Chicken

 - Eggs

 - Milk

 - Yoghurt

 - Soy

 - Beans and legumes

 - Almonds

Consuming high levels of protein from food can require a lot of ingredients shopping and food prep, which is why many athletes choose to use protein powder to boost their intake instead, as it can be a much more convenient option.

At Complete Strength, you’ll find both Whey Isolate and Whey Concentrate protein powder in a great choice of flavours. Our whey isolate formula contains less than 1g of fat per serving and is available in flavours including Eton Mess, Chocolate Banana, Chocolate Orange, Coconut Cream, and more.

In contrast, our whey concentrate protein powder contains 23g of protein and 2.2g of fat per serving, giving you a range of options, depending on your goals. Try it in flavours including Cookies and Cream, Salted Caramel, Vanilla Ice Cream, and Cinnamon Cereal.

How To Make A Protein Shake

A protein shake is the perfect choice to consume before your workout. Here’s how to make a protein shake using Complete Strength’s Whey Isolate or Whey Concentrate protein powder:

 - In a bottle or protein shaker, mix one scoop of your chosen protein powder with 100ml of water or milk (you can use either dairy or plant-based)

 - Shake the mixture until all of the powder has dissolved

 - Drink immediately

You can also use our protein powder to make a protein smoothie; simply add a scoop of protein powder to your favourite combination of fruit and milk or yoghurt and blend thoroughly.

Other ways to add protein powder to your pre-workout routine include adding a scoop to your morning porridge or overnight oats, or even simply stirring a serving into a bowl of yoghurt.

When Should You Eat Before A Workout?

If you’re consuming complex carbs and protein to fuel your body before a workout, it’s best to eat these around 2-3 hours before you start exercising. Eating a few hours in advance of your workout will give your body time to digest the food ahead of your session to avoid any discomfort.

For a quick fix ahead of your workout to make sure your muscles are properly fuelled, drink a protein shake around 30 minutes before you start exercising to give the protein enough time to make its way to where it’s needed most.

It’s also important to keep your body hydrated before and during your workout by drinking plenty of water, so make sure you’ve got a bottle with you at all times - most gyms will let you refill your bottle there.

Meals To Eat Before A Workout

spinach omelette

You may choose to consume only protein or our carbohydrate-packed Cream of Rice before a workout, but if you want to fuel your body with all of the important pre-workout fuel groups, here are some ideas for combining protein, carbs, and good fats in one meal:

 - Scrambled eggs and avocado on whole grain bread

 - Omelette followed by a bowl of whole grain cereal

 - Chicken and avocado sandwich, made with whole grain bread

 - Almond butter on whole grain toast

 - Ricotta on whole grain toast

 - Protein shake made with milk

 - Protein smoothie made with yoghurt and fruit

Pre-Workout Supplements To Try

Aside from our protein powders, our range includes more pre-workout supplements that are designed to be taken before a workout to help fuel your body.

These include Complete Strength PreV2, which we’re proud to say contains more high-quality ingredients than any other pre-workout supplements. This food supplement with sweetener combines stimulants and full-focus ingredients, with 8g of citrulline in every 2 scoops. Choose from a range of flavours, including Strawberry and Lime, Tutti Frutti, Fruit Salad, and Pina Colada.

If you’d rather not use stimulants, our Complete Strength GOAT Pumps formula features the same ingredients as our PreV2 supplements, just without the stimulants. Complete Strength GOAT Pumps is designed to fuel insane pumps, provide you with laser focus, and help you achieve huge performance increases.

Take one of these formulas alongside your pre-workout meal to help give your body an extra boost. Check out our full range of pre-workout supplements here.

Why Complete Strength?

Complete Strength supplements are made for athletes, by athletes. Our range of high-quality supplements are designed to help you achieve real results at affordable prices - when you choose Complete Strength, you’ll know you’re getting the athlete’s choice.

We pride ourselves on innovation, and make sure we only use high-quality ingredients in our products, so you can be sure you’re fuelling your body with the very best supplements, designed to help you to reach your goals.

Shop our full range of supplements here, and please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions about our range.