7 Best Pre-Workout Foods for Women – What to Eat Before a Workout

Heading to the gym? Fuel up on all the best pre-workout foods to give your workout a boost.

When it comes to working out, we all want to get the most out of our training session. Whether you’re a runner, a weightlifter or a bodybuilder – finding the best pre-workout foods can be the difference between leaving the gym feeling amazing, or disappointed.

When it comes to pre-workout foods, not all snacks are made equal. There are certain foods that can give you body everything it needs to power through a workout. They help to keep hunger at bay, energize your body, fight off fatigue and even boost recovery.

Once you have the perfect balance of protein, carbs and fats in your system, you’re very likely to feel the results in your training session.

So, are you ready to feel the burn? Let’s get down to the best pre-workout foods for women.

7 Best pre-workout foods

1. Oats

best pre-workout food for women

This high fiber food is the perfect option for a slow energy release. The complex carbs in oats are primed to deliver energy to your body, but as they take longer to break down, you’ll receive the boost over a prolonged period. This makes it perfect for endurance or a time-consuming weights session.

What’s more, the high fiber content will keep you fuller for longer, so you don’t have to worry about a mid-workout hunger pang.

2. Bananas

This powerhouse pre-workout food is a firm favourite for energy boosts. It utilizes simple sugars to give you a quick and effective energy lift – perfect for those high intensity workouts.

It’s also packed full of potassium which supports muscle function and gives recovery a helping hand.

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3. Whole grain bread

bread best pre-workout food for women

The whole grains within this bread offer up a generous portion of complex carbs, which should help you to fuel a long training session. Spread some peanut butter on there for additional protein and healthy fats that will add to your pre-workout lift.

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4. Greek yogurt and fruit

Not only are fruits packed with health-promoting vitamins, they’re also a great source of carbohydrates. Greek yogurt on the other hand, brings an amazing hit of protein too.

This is key as, while carbs can help to energize you, a high protein diet increases muscle protein metabolization, which will help you to develop and maintain muscle and cut down recovery times [1].

If you’re looking to add muscle to your frame, opt for a normal Greek yogurt as the calories from the extra fat will help to increase your calorie intake. If you’re looking to lose weight, go for a low-fat option – just watch out for the sugar content!

[Related Article: Powher Up Pre-Workout Review]

5. Trail mix

trail mix best pre-workout food for women

Nuts are packed full of calories and protein which should put you on track for an amazing workout. Just be aware that they’re high in fat which is what makes the so calorific. This may suit a weight gain diet better than a weight loss option.

6. Protein and banana shake

Why not combine the energizing benefits of banana with a handy shake? What’s more, by throwing some protein powder into the mixer, you can also keep muscle protein metabolism high, reduce recovery and boost the results of your workout. It’s one of the best pre-workout foods out there.

Simply use your chosen milk or milk substitute, add one banana, a small portion of oats (for carbs and creaminess) and one banana before mixing together in a blender. And voila! You’re ready to hit the gym.

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7. Chicken, veg and brown rice

Now, if you’re taking your diet really seriously, you might want to look at a pre-workout meal to help you achieve your goals. In which case, the classic grilled chicken breast, veg and brown rice combo is perfect for you.

It’s brimming with all those essential carbohydrates from the veg and brown rice, and is packed with high protein, lean chicken to promote recovery and results. Prep this in advance to make it as easy as possible to fit into your daily menu.

[Related Article: Transparent Labs PreSeries Lean Pre-Workout

When should I eat my pre-workout food?

It’s not just about what you eat when it comes to the best pre-workout food for women – you also need to time it right.

Eat too early and you’ll miss the energizing boost and may even start to get hungry mid-session. Enjoy your pre-workout food too late and you may find you feel unwell during your training, which could even mean cutting your workout short.

To get the best results we recommend eating between 60-30 minutes before you start your workout.

If it’s a larger meal like the chicken, veg and brown rice, leave a longer gap between eating and training, but if it’s more of a snack then tuck in at around 30 minutes.

By giving yourself a little time, you’re allowing the body to process the carbohydrates and digest the food so you’re primed to work hard and do your best.

Best pre-workout foods for training goals

best pre-workout foods

Best pre-workout foods for muscle gain

If you’re looking to add mass to your frame you need to tick two key boxes: a high protein diet and a high calorie intake. These two things are a recipe for a stronger, more powerful body. As such, these pre-workout foods for muscle gain should help you get there:

  • Protein and oats with peanut butter: Mix protein powder into your oats to up your amino acid intake, and add peanut butter for those essential calories.
  • Chicken and wheat pasta: Cook up a portion of wheat pasta and add chicken and your chosen sauce to tick off the most important macros: carbs and protein.
  • Protein, banana and peanut butter shake: Wiz up your chosen milk, some protein powder, a banana and a dollop of peanut butter for a high calorie, muscle building boost

Best pre-workout foods for weight loss

Weight loss may be on the agenda for you, therefore you need to ensure you’re getting low calorie, complex carbohydrates and plenty of lean-mass-promoting protein. Check out these recipes for a taste of what you should be aiming for.

  • Protein and oats: Like the bodybuilding option, but sans peanut butter. Mix your favorite protein powder into your oats to promote a lean physique.
  • Apple and peanut butter: Add a little nut butter to a few slices of apple for a lower calorie, good protein start to your training session.
  • Half an egg-white omelette: Make a three egg omelette, but use only one yolk and three whites for a lower calorie, higher protein boost. Add chicken if you really want to up your amino acid intake.

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Best pre-workout foods for energy

Whether you’re an endurance athlete or a weightlifter, energy is high on the priority list for most when it comes to finding the best pre-workout foods. Check out these options to power up your next workout.

  • Fruit smoothie: blast a banana, some berries and some milk together for a high carb start to your training session.
  • Oats and banana: Pour yourself a large bowl of oats and add banana slices on top for a tasty treat ahead of a tasty workout.
  • Whole grain bread with peanut butter: Spread your favorite nut butter over a few slices of bread for the ultimate pre-workout energy boost.

Final word

With the best pre-workout foods and meals under your belt, you can start every workout off well, and potentially even improve your performance.

If you want to take it to the next level, you might consider checking out a pre-workout supplement.

We’ve reviewed Powher Up pre-workout and Transparent Labs PreSeries Lean Pre-Workout – check them out!


gymgirlfit was created by health and fitness enthusiasts, with backgrounds in powerlifting and writing. We've written for a number of well-known fitness publishing companies.

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