Best Foods to Take Before Exercise

The best food before exercise is ideally something that‘ll give you some form of sustained energy. There are a number of high-quality complex carbohydrates that I would consider the best food before exercise, but it really depends on when you eat them. Complex carbohydrates are, without question, the best food to take before exercise. But different forms of complex carbohydrates take different times to assimilate into your system and allow your body to use them for energy.



One of the best foods before exercise that is available all over the globe is rice. Although brown rice takes a little longer to digest than white rice and will give you a slightly longer period of sustained energy than white rice, I personally don’t like brown rice. So, I use white rice as a sustained form of energy by eating it at least 2 hours before I exercise. In Asia, rice is about the most common food available on any street corner, and it offers a great slow-burning energy throughout the day.


In the Western world, a lot of pasta is consumed. Although I will not say it’s the best food before exercise, it still is quite adequate at giving the body a lengthy supply of sustained energy after consuming it. It’s best to eat pasta at least a few hours before exercise to give it time to be absorbed into your body and be ready to be used as exercise fuel.


In terms of the best food before exercise, I will have to say that potatoes and bread will give you a faster and ready-to-use form of energy that’s metabolized by the body much faster than rice or pasta. So, for this reason, both bread and potatoes can be a candidate for the best food before exercise.

And although bread and potatoes may be the best food before exercise, they’re certainly not the best food to eat if you don’t plan to exercise. These two foods will turn to fat if the energy from them is not used, almost as fast as you’ll get fat from eating a spoonful of sugar. So, be careful with eating too much bread or potatoes.


If I’m exercising with weights mid morning, the best food before exercise for me is oatmeal. I eat a medium serving of oatmeal for breakfast as soon as I wake up, and the energy from the oatmeal is ready to be burnt during my morning gym workout a couple of hours after I eat breakfast. The added benefit of eating oatmeal every day, especially in the morning, is it offers a great source of fibre and keeps the body regular.

Eating foods like chocolate or sweets are not the best food before exercise as they only give your body an insulin spike from the sugar and a short sharp burst of energy and as fast as your energy level goes up it plummets just as quickly and you end up feeling more lethargic than before you ate the sweets. So, stick to the complex carbohydrates I mentioned as the best food before exercise, and you’ll feel stronger and energetic for longer periods while exercising.


Anthony Hill

When you put together the sum total of my 30 years of bodybuilding training, the contests, the vast array of diets I have experimented (tortured) myself with as well as the experiences I have been through with various training partners in the gyms I have trained in all over the world, it’s been a great ride and I wouldn’t change it for anything. Over the years, I have been fortunate enough to be able to do lots of personal training for private clients alongside my day job. For a few years during my 30’s, I moved to Asia and worked as the Fitness Manager and head personal trainer at one of Thailand’s leading gyms in Bangkok. Learn More

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