Best Pre Workout Meal For Weight Loss And Muscle Gain


If you’re wondering what the best pre-workout meal for weight loss and muscle gain is, then you’ve come to the right place.

Nope, we’re not talking about scrapping the fat off before hitting the gym for that speedo body. Instead we want you to be on your best behavior at your next workout because we’ve got a list of the best pre workout meals for weight loss and muscle gain after workouts.

Best Pre Workout Meal For Weight Loss And Muscle Gain

You’ve got the workout routine down. Now it’s time to figure out your pre-workout meal.

But it’s not always clear what and when you should eat before your workout. The best foods for you depend on your fitness goals.

That’s why I’m going to share my 11 best pre-workout meals for weight loss and muscle gain. So you can optimize your nutrition and get the most out of your training sessions.

Pre Workout Meal

Pre-Workout Meal Defined

When we think of meals, sometimes we picture cooking, sitting down to eat, and cleaning up after. But a pre-workout meal doesn’t have to be a formal affair.

Instead, any kind of nutrients you put in your body count as a meal in this case. Whether that’s a fully prepared traditional meal, or something as simple as a shake or smoothie.

Another point to clarify, pre-workout refers to a window of time leading up to a resistance training session. And that could be anywhere from 2 hours to 30 minutes before you hit the weights.

Why Is The Pre-Workout Meal Important?

Eating before your workout fuels intense training while setting the stage for recovery and growth.

Also, the kind of food you eat dictates your metabolic state. And that affects the amount of fat and carbs that you burn while you workout.

So let’s take a look at different types of foods in terms of macronutrients.


Whatever your goal, it’s almost always a good idea to get some protein in before your workout.

The reason is that your body uses amino acids during intense training. And if they’re not readily available from your diet, your body will break down your muscles to get them.

Therefore, eating protein before a workout is the best defense against losing muscle.


When you’re doing anaerobic workouts like weight lifting, carbs are your body’s preferred energy source. So it’s no mystery why pre-workout carbs are beneficial for muscle building.

But that doesn’t mean you should always eat carbs before the gym. In fact, you should keep carbs to a minimum if your goal is fat burning. Because your body will burn more fat when carbs are not immediately available.


Dietary fat is another potential energy source for workouts. And you can bump up your fat intake with a low carb meal for a fat-burning workout.

But you should consume fat in moderation with a high carb meal before a muscle-building workout.

Now let’s look at how you can assemble those macronutrients into actual meals. Here’s a list of my 11 best pre-workout meals for muscle gain and fat loss. Below that, you’ll find more detail on each meal.

Best Pre-Workout Meal Ideas

  1. Protein Oatmeal & Honey
  2. Blueberry Banana Smoothie
  3. Rice Cake Peanut Butter & Jelly
  4. Home Style Protein Pancakes
  5. Ground Turkey & Sweet Potatoes
  6. Veggie Omelet
  7. Protein Coffee
  8. Jet Fuel Protein Shake
  9. Steak & Eggs
  10. Jacked Green Tea
  11. Natural Nuts & Seeds

Pre-Workout Meal For Muscle Gain

The best muscle gain meals are high carbs and high protein. For that reason, I recommend eating this meal 1 to 2 hours before your workout. That way the carbs are broken down into glucose which you can burn for energy during your workout.

Protein Oatmeal & Honey

Protein oatmeal (aka proats) is an excellent combination of slow-digesting carbs and fast-digesting protein. Perfect for supplying amino acids now and carbs throughout your workout.

Plus, stirring in a bit of honey gives you an added boost of flavor and energy to get you out the door. And the best part is, this meal takes just 3 minutes to prepare!

Click Here For This Proats Recipe

pre-workout meal proats

Blueberry Banana Smoothie

Another quick and easy pre-workout meal is a smoothie. And this blueberry and banana combo provides carbs while packing a potent punch of vitamins and minerals.

To up the protein, simply add a scoop of your favorite protein powder.

Rice Cake Peanut Butter & Jelly

Ditch the bread and replace it with rice cakes. Then spread natural peanut butter and jelly on top. And serve with a protein shake.

Consider it a new twist on an old classic. It doesn’t get much easier than this.

Home Style Protein Pancakes

Did I say it doesn’t get easier? I spoke too soon.

How about having protein pancakes delivered to your door courtesy of Icon Meals? All you have to do is pop them in the microwave and enjoy!

pre-workout meal protein pancakes

Ground Turkey & Sweet Potatoes

All of the recipes so far take only a few minutes to prepare. This recipe takes a little more prep time, but you can still have your pre-workout meal ready in 20 minutes or less.

Start by sauteeing the ground turkey and seasoning to your liking. At the same time, bake a large sweet potato in the microwave.

After cooking, I like to mash the sweet potato and mix it in with the ground turkey. But you can serve them separately if you like.

Custom Muscle Gain Meal Plan

Get personalized pre-workout meals designed specifically for your body and lifestyle. Including custom recipes formulated to fit your macros and calories – no counting required!

Pre-Workout Meal For Weight Loss

For fat loss, pre-workout meals should be low carbs and high protein. Since you don’t have to digest carbs, you can eat this meal 30 to 60 minutes before your workout.

Veggie Omelet

Eggs have been called the perfect protein. One reason for that is the high bioavailability, meaning more of the protein gets absorbed.

For this recipe, you’ll prepare an omelet using only about half the yolks. Then add chopped peppers and shredded cheese.

Protein Coffee

If you’re a caffeine junkie, protein coffee is a great way to get your fix while fueling your body. Another Icon Meals creation that includes a nootropic to help you focus.

Just add 1-1.5 tablespoons of coconut oil (or MCT oil) to round out your macros for a good low carb pre-workout meal.

pre-workout meal protein coffee

Jet Fuel Protein Shake

If you’re not into coffee or just want to reduce the stimulants, give this shake a try. All you need is a scoop of your favorite protein powder and a squirt of MCT oil.

MCT oil is a super fast-absorbing form of dietary fat that gives you a natural shot of energy. And the protein spares your muscles during your workout.

Steak & Eggs

Shakes and smoothies not your thing? Then you can’t go wrong with good old fashioned steak and eggs. For this recipe, I recommend using whole eggs and a leaner cut of steak.

Or you can choose your ingredients and order this meal pre-cooked from Icon’s Custom Meals page.

Jacked Green Tea

While tea may not sound like much of a meal, this recipe combines it with unflavored protein powder and MCT oil to really jack it up.

In addition, the EGCG compound found in green tea has been shown to increase fat burning. That means this is one potent pre-workout concoction.

Natural Nuts & Seeds

So far, most of these recipes only require a few minutes to prep. But if you want something you can just grab and go, reach for a handful of nuts or seeds.

Some of the most nutritious are almonds, walnuts, and pepitas (pumpkin seeds).

The Best Pre-Workout Meal for Muscle Gain

If you’re looking to maximize protein synthesis and enhance muscle recovery, then you need to be considering what you eat before the gym (pre workout meal). Recent research showing that a pre workout meal consisting of adequate protein and carbs leads to better muscle protein synthesis and strength gains, and researchers are starting to consider pre workout nutrition as being even more important than post workout nutrition when it comes to building muscle. Now keep in mind that the pre workout meal for “bodybuilders” or those lifting weights will differ dramatically from endurance exercise athletes. In our case, we are mostly concerned with getting in high quality fast digesting leucine-containing pre workout protein, as well as moderate-high glycemic index pre workout carbs with minimal fibre in order to boost performance and create an anabolic environment to further boost muscle gains.

In this video I’ll go through the best pre workout meal based on several studies, and provide you guys with some other options for pre workout meals that you can use to help get more bang for your buck in every workout.

As always, if you enjoyed this video then please don’t forget to give the video a like, leave a comment, and share the video! Thanks for watching!


When it comes to building muscle mass, the food you put into your body is equally (if not more important), than what you do in the gym.

To increase muscle size and density it’s inevitable that you’ll have to pick up heavy weights and move them around with great intensity, but if you aren’t feeding your body high quality calories in the right quantity, you will miss out on valuable gains inside and outside of the gym.

The question is, does it matter when you get your calories throughout the day or not? Is the preworkout meal even important, and if it is, what is the best preworkout meal for muscle building?


When starting a muscle building phase, it’s important to look at your nutrition as a 24-hour cycle, broken into a few very specific parts.

Aside from getting in adequate calories each day, the pre-workout and post-workout meals are often considered the most important when it comes to optimizing physical performance in the gym and positively influencing the recovery proces

In the pre-workout window, your body needs adequate nutrients and calories to enable you to power through an intense resistance training session. If you don’t fuel your body properly before your workout, your performance will suffer.

When building muscle mass, every single set, rep and exercise you complete in a given workout is crucial. Even if you’re focusing on sets in the 3-5 rep range, the amount of weight you push or pull during each set will determine how much lean muscle mass you will gain

Techniques like negative reps, forced reps, drop sets and training to failure on specific sets can help you build more muscle, but to sustain your energy in that kind of workout requires a lot of fuel.

To push your body to maximum capacity and performance, you must pay as much attention to what you eat before your workout as you do after your workout. Both meals are important, but for some reason the pre-workout meal often gets neglected. That can’t be the case when you are eating to build mass.

So we’ve determined that the preworkout meal is important, but what should it consist of? What does the best preworkout meal for building muscle mass look like?


Best Preworkout Meals

Preworkout nutrition doesn’t have to be rocket science, but there are a few rules you should follow if you want to make the most of this precious window.

#1:  Consume 20-30 grams of protein

During the preworkout window, it’s best to choose a protein source that has an adequate amount of fast-digesting protein (approximately 20-30 grams). Options for ideal preworkout protein sources include whey protein, egg whites, chicken, ground turkey or even tuna.

If you are going to eat any form of animal protein before your workout, it’s best to eat your preworkout meal at least 2-3 hours before you hit the gym, otherwise you may find that the digestive process interrupts your workout flow. If you need a quick dose of protein before your workout, it’s best to consume protein that is faster-digesting, like whey protein or egg whites. If you choose to consume a faster digesting protein source you can make your meal or shake, consume it and be ready to hit the iron within 30-60 minutes.

Though experts often claim that carbohydrates is the most essential ingredient for a pre-workout meal, protein is just as important. One study even suggests that there is greater lipolysis and plasma fat availability following high-protein relative to high-carbohydrate meals

#2:  Consume Carbohydrates

Carbohydrate Rich Foods

How many carbohydrates you consume in your preworkout meal will depend on your body-weight, your age and your macronutrient goals for muscle-building. Typically, the standard recommendation for carbohydrate intake in a preworkout meal is around 25-40% of your total daily carb intake.

That can vary slightly, but building a lean physique will require the majority of your carbohydrates to be consumed around your workout in the pre and post window. To keep it simple, you can plan to follow a 3-to-1 ratio of carbohydrate to protein one hour before your workout. Studies have shown that when athletes consume carbohydrates 1 hour prior to a workout, insulin and blood glucose levels are reported to elevate immediately before exercise

Though not absolutely essential for building muscle, carbohydrates play a useful role in helping to maintain enough energy to push through an intense workout in the gym and then recover from that workout without any issues.

#3:  Avoid Foods High in Fat

Fats are an important part of any muscle-building diet, but they should be used sparingly in the preworkout meal. Fat delays food leaving the stomach (the process is called “gastric emptying”), and can slow down your body’s uptake of nutrients. This is the reason why fats need to be present in small doses in your preworkout meal.

Fats should be present in other meals throughout the day, but you should primarily stick with carbs and protein before and after your workout. When you are preparing for an intense workout, you’ll want something that digests quickly, like a simple carbohydrate and protein.

Most published research studies report no performance benefits linked to consuming a high-fat meal in the pre-workout window when compared to a high carbohydrate or protein meal


Ideas for Preworkout Meals

In case you’re hurting for ideas in the meals department, we’ve laid out a few preworkout meal combos below that will leave you feeling energized and satiated, which is exactly how you want to feel going into a grueling workout.

Preworkout Meal #1:  Whey Protein and Oats

If you want a simple meal that will give you the perfect macronutrient combo, then whey protein and oats is perfect. All you need is oatmeal, preferably plain quick oats or rolled oats, and the protein powder of your choice. Check out a few of our protein options here if you need some ideas.

You can make hot oatmeal and add protein powder if you prefer a warm meal, or you can try overnight protein oats, a trend that has grown in popularity over the last few years.

To make overnight protein oats, all you need to do is mix oats with liquid (almond milk, cashew milk or water) and add a protein powder. Simply let the oats sit in the refrigerator overnight and eat them anytime during your preworkout window the next day.

If you want an excellent spin on whey protein and oats, mix up your preworkout meal with our flavorful options–strawberry, french vanilla, chocolate, mocha or salted caramel.

Preworkout Meal #2:  Egg Whites and Toast

Egg Whites and Toast for Preworkout Meal

Egg whites, like whey protein, are a fast-digesting source of protein. Any form of fast-digesting protein is perfect for the preworkout meal, where the goal is to ingest protein and begin a workout soon after without feeling sluggish.

Egg whites are a great protein source preworkout, and nothing goes better with eggs than toast. If you prefer white bread over wheat, this could be a good thing. While wheat bread is definitely acceptable in the preworkout window (as long as you wait at least an hour before your workout), white bread is a perfect example of a fast-digesting carb–a carbohydrate source that can be ingested and used for fuel immediately. For this reason, egg whites and toast are the perfect preworkout combination. If you want to add a tasty side to your egg whites and toast meal, try some lean turkey bacon or center cut bacon.

Preworkout Meal #3:  Chicken and Rice

Although consuming chicken is not ideal if you need to start your workout in 30 minutes, if you have a few hours before your workout, chicken is a nice choice for a preworkout protein source. Of all the animal protein sources you could consume preworkout, chicken is one of the best because it hits a few key points–it’s high in protein, and it’s low in fat.

Rice has long been touted as one of the best options for pre and post-workout carbohydrates, and for good reason. As with the eggs and toast meal, with this option you can choose brown rice or white rice. White rice is faster-digesting than brown rice, so it can be consumed an hour or so before your workout, whereas brown rice should be consumed a few hours before your workout. Rice has a double benefit, because it is relatively high in protein compared to other grain sources and it is also very low in fat.

If you’re getting tired of bland chicken and plain rice, try seasoning your rice and chicken with Himalayan pink salt, lemon pepper, garlic or other calorie-free spices. If you mix up the seasonings often enough, it will never get old.

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