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Timed well, the right pre-workout meal or snack can make all the difference in energy, performance, and recovery.   And smart fueling doesn’t have to mean pricey supplements. Today we’re Getting the Skinny with Molly on easy steps to prep your pre-workout snack, and 6 sample pre-workout fuel ideas.




Pre-workout fueling isn’t always necessary: In general, our bodies have more than enough stored energy (translation: carbs) to fuel us through workouts that are less than 60-90 minutes.

So for shorter workouts, it’s not absolutely essential to eat anything immediately prior to workout.

Exception: Individuals with diabetes/blood sugar issues definitely need to discuss with their RD and/or physician.


When do we “need” to focus on pre-workout fueling? When workouts will last longer than 60-90 minutes, and/or are intense, challenging workouts, and of course if we’re feeling hungry, weak, or light-headed – we need to eat.


What should we eat pre-workout?


Blend of carbs + protein: Carbs provide a quick release of energy, and protein helps to stabilize blood sugar levels, helping to keep us feeling solid, not experiencing a spike then crash of energy


Protein-only snacks (turkey, hard-boiled egg, cheese) can be beneficial when the main goal is to take the edge off of hunger, and/or workouts aren’t long or intense.






  • Protein Iced Latte:  Coffee concentrate + ready-to-drink protein drink like ICONIC or Muscle Milk Light


  • Whole grain waffle + nut butter (try protein-fortified, flavored nut butters like Nuts N’ More)


  • Cheese + Crackers (e.g string cheese or snack-size cheese + Triscuit Thin Crisps)


  • Cottage cheese + fresh fruit (or Greek yogurt, though cottage cheese is more electrolyte-rich)


  • Smoothie: Whey protein + milk or almond milk + ½ banana + teaspoon or tablespoon nut butter





Aim for about 2 cups of fluid, within 2 hours before exercise, then 6-12 ounces every 15 minutes during exercise.