Burgers Before Burpees: What To Eat (& What Not To Eat) Before a Workout

At one point in my life, I ate In-N-Out at least once a week, for four months straight. And because misery loves company, I dragged one of my co-workers down with me on this journey. Shortly after what I like to call the Dark Ages, I had forgotten my lunch at work. So, naturally, my now dependent co-worker suggested In-N-Out as a solution. I had a workout planned for that evening, but I convinced myself that if I ate light, it wouldn’t be a big deal. So, I ordered a cheeseburger with grilled onions and well-done fries (sans the animal style, and a double-double. I didn’t even finish my fries!) – light, just like I said! A few hours later, it was time for my spin class.


About 15 minutes into my workout, I wasn’t feeling too hot. And, lo and behold, 25 minutes later, I left in the middle of class and tossed my cookies. That’s when I realized that I probably shouldn’t eat In-N-Out before class. Because the first time I learned this lesson (when I ate The Hat before spin class) wasn’t enough.

[RELATED POST: To Break or Not to Breakfast | Should You Be Doing Fasted Cardio?]

Since then, I experimented heavily on foods I could eat before working out, everything from protein shakes and salads to strictly grilled protein and steamed veggies. I’ve since found that my tummy is too sensitive and works better on empty, so I’ve since moved to fasted cardio. But, for the rest of you, here are a couple of pre-workout snack ideas I’ve found from this Everyday Health article that will not only keep you from tossing your cookies but could also benefit you before a workout!

Here are a few recommendations from the article:

1. Steel-Cut Oats with Berries: The oats give you the energy you need to complete your workout, and the berries are full of vitamins and antioxidants! The best part about this meal is that you can make overnight oats so you can wake up, eat, and be on your merry way! I’m not a morning person, so the less I have to do, the more likely I am to actually exercise.

Check out this article for an easy recipe: Healthy Meal Prep Ideas For Breakfast | Overnight Oats.


2. Have some bananas: B-A-N-A-N-A-S (am I the only one who has to stop themselves from typing “banananananas’?)! These also provide a great source of carbs to fuel your workout and are loaded with potassium to prevent muscle cramps. If you need something a little heartier, add a slice whole-grain bread and peanut butter to make fancy toast and top it with bananas! This will add some more carbs and protein into the mix.

*Sidenote: if bananas aren’t your thing, grab an orange. My doctor so kindly informed me recently that oranges have more potassium than bananas and have fewer calories.

3. Eat, eat, eat apples and bananas: Or apples and peanut butter, since we already covered bananas. This is another easy carb and protein rich snack that you can do ahead of time. Slice up your apples the night before, soak them in a bit of salt water, so they don’t brown, dry them off, and put them in a plastic bag with a tablespoon of peanut butter. Then eat them in the car ride to the gym.

Check out the entire article here and share your favorite pre-workout snacks in the comments below!

Alyssa Carlos
Alyssa is a full-time defense consultant, part-time Soulcycle addict, and imaginary jeopardy champion. When she's not getting her spin class fix, she's finding new ways to workout so she can eat more, holding concerts in her car during traffic, and aspiring to be the next Anthony Bourdain. You can follow her food adventures at planesandplatters.com or on the following social media sites

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