Instructor and Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Alicia Romano, dives into optimizing your pre-workout nutrition and hydration.

Fueling your body before exercise is essential for sustaining your energy, boosting performance, properly hydrating and speeding recovery! No matter what time of the day you chose to work out, finding ways to nourish your body – through fluids or food – can ensure a safe and energized workout!

What and when you eat/drink prior to your workout depends on personal preference, schedule, type, and intensity of exercise and of course, your overall tolerance. Typically, a well planned meal eaten 3-4 hours prior to your workout should suffice. However, if you have gone longer than 4 hours without fuel prior to your workout or are hitting a morning class, we would suggest following the guidelines below: 

  • Choose a combination of quick digesting carbohydrates (energy) and fluid
  • The closer you eat to the start of your workout, the more simple, small, and /or liquid your snack/meal should be 
  • Minimize high fat and high fiber foods before your workout to minimize stomach upset 
  • Limit trying new foods/ snacks before a workout to minimize stomach upset
  • Limit guzzling large amounts of water/fluid or high sugar beverages right before exercise to minimize stomach sloshing

Some great pre-workout snack ideas:


Slice of toast or waffle with nut/seed butter + a banana and/or drizzle of honey 

Low fat yogurt with granola + fruit 

1/2 turkey sandwich

Fruit + yogurt smoothie 

Small bowl of cereal or oatmeal with milk + berries


Banana or apple + 8oz hydration

Granola bar or fruit bar + 8oz hydration

Fruit and yogurt + 4oz hydration

Small fruit + yogurt smoothie 

Dried fruit (dates/apricots) + 8oz hydration 

Slice of sourdough toast with jam + 8oz hydration 


8oz fresh fruit or vegetable juice 

8oz hydrating sports drink  (Ex: G2 Gatorade, Drip Drop, Ceralyte, Pedialyte) 


Hydration is essential for delaying fatigue, regulating your body’s temperature and speeding up recovery. Ideally, we should be hydrating regularly and daily by sipping on water and other decaffeinated, unsweetened (or lightly sweetened beverages). A good rule of thumb? Aim to drink 1/2 of your body weight in ounces throughout the day (8oz = 1 cup) and additional fluids to make up for extra losses (ex. If you are prone to extra sweat, in hot weather, etc). And of course, always start your day with hydration BEFORE (or with) coffee, especially when you are making your way to a workout. Beverages that provide great hydration include:

  • Water
  • Sparkling water, mineral water + flavored water
  • Milk, soy milk, another plant-based milk, 100% fruit or vegetable juices
  • Decaffeinated herbal teas
  • Electrolyte beverages
  • Soups, smoothies, yogurt, fruits + vegetables also provide hydration

We hope that by supporting yourself with adequate fuel, you will be able to make the MOST out of your workouts. As always, listen to your body – you know what you need best. Sometimes, even the BEST pre-workout fueling isn’t enough to support the demands of your body at that moment! Remember to always carry water and a snack with you surrounding your workouts, and modify/rest as you need if you feel your energy plummeting.