There is a theory that training on an empty stomach (‘training fasted’) can increase fat burning. It is an interesting idea, but many of us simply cannot concentrate on our exercise if our stomachs are demanding attention.  Too much food close to a workout is also a bad idea. That presents a particular problem if you exercise in the morning, unless you want to be up really early.

Food before exercise must not weigh you down or put you to sleep. Ideally it should also provide slow-release fuel, to keep you going through your workout and into your day. It should also not negate the effects of the workout by stuffing you with empty calories.

Try these ideas for a pre-workout fast-breaker that will be ready in moments.


A banana is an ideal snack if your workout is within half an hour. It provides a good mix of complex carbs, minerals and vitamins with fruit sugar for a little bit of a quick hit.


A home-made smoothie is an easy way to get some nutrition in even for those ‘can’t face breakfast’ types. Try these high protein smoothie ideas, or simply blend up a mix of banana, orange and apple with milk. Adding spinach leaves before blending sounds bizarre, but the fruit will mask the raw taste. (This works less well with kale which will taste bitter)

Make sure you don’t blend more fruit than you would normally eat, it is all too easy to end up with a thousand-calorie smoothie!


Greek yogurt with sliced fruit takes 30 seconds to prepare, and is another gentle quick-start for your system before your workout. Chop up whatever is in the fridge or fruit bowl, or keep a stock of tinned fruit in juice.


Exercise needs fuel, and fuel means carbs. Toasted wholemeal bread spread with peanut butter or mashed avocado gives you complex carbs and good fats.

Enjoy your snack, and enjoy your workout!

The Author

Jessica Ambrose

Jessica is a fitness writer who loves long distance running, yoga, strength training and healthy eating.


Michael W.
23 October 2018

Michael W.

Yes to Greek yoghurt and fruit. Grab a handful of pumpkin seeds too and you have a pretty satisfying breakfast.

Charlie M.
23 October 2018

Charlie M.

I have to say I'd much rather enjoy a crunchy apple, a tasty banana and a tangy orange than mushing them up into baby food! Much quicker to eat as they come, too, and no blender to wash.

Hugh M.
22 October 2018

Hugh M.

All the above are my regular breakfasts. I would recommend also adding chia seeds and oats to a breakfast smoothie to make it more substantial

Simon J.
20 October 2018

Simon J.

good ideas - I quite often have to squeeze my workout in first thing, but I want a snack that will ensure I neither bulk up nor throw up! Toast is often just the job.

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