5 Essential Components of the Ultimate Pre-Workout Meal

by Jordan Syatt March 13, 2014

Pre-workout nutrition has long been one of the most furiously debated topics in the fitness industry.

I actually covered the most recent research regarding pre & post-workout nutrition in this lengthy and highly referenced article; if you’re interested in the science behind my recommendations, I encourage you to give it a read.

Today’s article is going to be brief and to the point.

Rather than dig into the science, I’m going make this as clear and concise as possible.

No boring research reviews and minimal scientific jargon.

Plain and simple, this article is going to outline the 5 essential components of the ultimate pre-workout meal.

It might seem simple – probably even too simple – but the truth is optimal nutrition doesn’t need to be complicated; in fact…it isn’t complicated at all! If someone tries to make you think otherwise…odds are they have no idea what they’re talking about and/or they’re trying to sell you something.

Watch the short video, follow my guidelines, and reap the benefits of basic, effective, and science-based nutrition.

The 5 Essential Components of the Ultimate Pre-Workout Meal

To Recap


1) Timing

Q: When is the best time to eat your pre-workout meal?

A: Roughly 1-3 hours prior to strength training

2) Protein

Q: How much protein do you need in your pre-workout meal?

A:  Generally speaking, 25-35g is sufficient

Q: Which type of protein is most beneficial?

A: Irrelevant. Any high-protein source will do so long as you meet your total daily requirements (~1g/lb of bodyweight). For a list of my favorite protein sources, watch the video above.

3) Carbs

Q: How many carbs should be included in the pre-workout meal?

A: Depending on your personal preference, anywhere between 20-50g is sufficient. 

Q: What types of carbs should be included?

A: Generally speaking, some type of whole, unprocessed carbohydrate source such as fruit (any kind), potato’s, rice, or oatmeal. That being said, other types of carbs (be it vegetables or traditionally labeled “unhealthy” carbs) are perfectly fine as well.


4) Tastiness

Q: I don’t like food X, Y, and Z…do I still need to eat them?

A: NO! Absolutely not. You shouldn’t have to choke down and suffer through your meals. Find something you enjoy that also helps you achieve your goals.


5) Caffeine

Q: Do I need caffeine or an energy enhancing supplement? Would coffee work?

 A: No, you don’t need an energy enhancing supplement. I drink coffee (so, yes, that’s fine) prior to training but you aren’t obligated to have anything you don’t want. That being said, caffeine can improve performance (specifically with sub-maximal weights) so it might be worthwhile to get a quick boost before hitting the gym.


Wrapping Up

So there you have it, the 5 essential components of the ultimate pre-workout meal are Timing, Protein, Carbohydrates, Tastiness, and Caffeine. 

Too simple? 

The media and supplement companies want you to think I’m making shit up.

Fortunately, I’m not. Nutrition really is this simple and, with a bit of dedicated effort, you can achieve your ultimate goals.

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