How to Fuel Your Body Before a Workout

How to Fuel Your Body Before a Workout

When I first started my fitness journey, I was a night owl when it came to my workout routine. I would go at the end of the day after dinner, around 8PM, and push through a hard sweat. I had energy built up from the day and a tough workout put me right to sleep. I had tried the morning workout routine, but honestly, it just wasn’t for me. And if I’m being really honest, I secretly judged the 5AM gym goers. It made no sense to me why someone would WILLINGLY wake up at the crack of dawn to exhaust themselves further. I mean, that’s stuff for crazy people, right? I had joined a few of my friends at their 6AM pilates to give it a try, but I was always ended feeling more exhausted than before.

I thought I had cracked the code with my 8PM workout, but a few months in things started to take a turn. I wasn’t sleeping as soundly. I would wake up at all hours of the night, still riding the remainder of my energy high from my nighttime sprints. When morning came, I was barely making it through the day. And having enough energy for evening workouts? Forget it. I completely fell off my healthy routine. I knew something needed to change, so at the risk of being completely insane, I decided to give the morning workout another shot.

But I wanted to do it right this time. Why did my friends have pep in their step after their morning sweat when I wanted to collapse and sleep for 3 more hours? After many conversations and many Google searches, I narrowed it down to one potential culprit: food.

Yep. Food. That’s it.

At the time I was big on intermittent fasting – which don’t get me wrong, intermittent fasting works wonders for many people! But what was the one thing all the early risers had in common? Breakfast. And not just one breakfast, two. So I decided to give it a shot.

After speaking with a dietician, I learned how to properly stack my diet around my morning workouts.


Before exercise:

Quick carbs for quick energy

After exercise:

Protein and carbs for sustained energy


Seems simple enough, right? So I gave it a shot. For 4 weeks I had a small meal or snack before my workout, eating things like oats, bananas, or ezekiel bread with a small cup of cold brew. After my workout, I ate another slightly larger meal, consisting of egg whites, turkey sausage, chicken, greek yoghurt, and cottage cheese with a slightly larger cup of cold brew and almond milk (because coffee is the best part of any morning, you know?)

Suddenly, I had energy. And not just a quick burst of adrenaline – it was sustained throughout the entire day. I wasn’t sluggish or desperately craving a nap by 3PM. I also had less cravings, and was building muscle faster than I’d ever seen on myself. All the protein was keeping me full, satisfied, and truly fueling my body in a way I never had.

Now I’m 3 years in, sticking to this exact formula. I’m still not as crazy as the 5AM gym goers, but 7AM has been working out just fine for me! So for those of you who are like me, looking to level-up their fitness game, here’s a step-by-step guide to get you through it.


Step 1: Pre-Workout Fueling

Repeat after me. Quick carbs = quick energy.

Quick energy makes us run faster. Running faster makes us super heroes.

About 30 minutes to an hour before your workout, focus on easy-to-digest carbohydrates like:

  • Oats

  • Sprouted-grain toast & peanut butter

  • Granola parfait

  • Bananas

  • Apples

  • Oranges

Breakfast food before a workout with bananas and oatmeal

Step 2: Get moving!

Some of my favorite workouts combine strength training and pilates-based movements. But no matter what you do, make sure you’re staying hydrated! Lots of water is key, and if you need an energy boost, opt for quality and convenient caffeine like Compass Coffee Cold Brew on Tap. With no sugar, dairy, or gluten, it’s a guilt-free way to enjoy a flavorful drink that complements a healthy lifestyle.

Working out with cold brew

Step 3: Post-Workout Recovery

You’ve burned through (most) of the energy with your carbs, so now it’s time to add in something more sustainable. So meet your new best friend! Protein. Protein. Protein. Not only does it keep you full, it's crucial to aid muscle recovery. My go-to protein packed breakfasts are:

  • Eggs or egg whites

  • Turkey sausage

  • Chicken sausage

  • Greek yoghurt

  • Cottage cheese

  • Protein smoothies

  • Protein pancakes

Protein packed breakfast with eggs and cold brew

Remember that how you fuel your body isn’t a one-size-fits-all formula. What works for one person may not work for you. But even with all the different options out there, there’s one common denominator that can’t be negotiated: quality ingredients. No matter how you choose to nourish yourself, the best ingredients will yield the best results. Give these suggestions a try and what difference it makes in you!

Drinking cold brew after a workout
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