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Is Fruit A Good Pre-Workout Snack? (From A Dietician)

Michael Garrico
Published by Michael Garrico
Fact checked by Donald Christman, BHSc FACT CHECKED
Last updated: December 21, 2022

Fruit is beneficial to you, yes. But should you eat fruit before working out?

As a fitness coach, I often get questions from my clients wanting to know if fruits are a good pre-workout snack.

After hundreds of hours of research and working closely with my dietician, I accumulated a great quantity of knowledge about using fruit as a pre-workout.

In this paper, I have summarized the facts I’ve gathered.

Let’s dive in.

Quick Summary

  • Many fruits are high in water content, so they may help you stay hydrated during your workout.
  • Fruit juices, as well as dried fruits, are concentrated sources of calories and carbs.
  • Consuming the right fruits before a workout may also help with recovery.

Fruit as a Pre-Workout Snack

A woman eating a strawberry

Pre-workout snacks perform several functions:

  • They absorb excess acid, which aids in the relaxation of your stomach while suppressing your appetite [1].
  • Enable you to replenish your muscular glycogen reserves while also providing immediate nourishment to your active muscles.
  • Inhibit low blood sugar, known as hypoglycemia, which can induce dizziness, lightheadedness, and overall weariness, making even the shortest exercise uncomfortable [2].

As a general guideline, the closest you get to your exercise, the lighter and smaller your meal should be.

Since the fruits in your fresh fruit box have both simple carbohydrates (which provide fuel for the muscles) and fiber, they slow digestion to prevent spikes in blood sugars.

Nonetheless, the fiber contained in fruit slows digestion sufficiently to prevent a sugar spike accompanied by a collapse [3].

Fruit juices and dried fruits are far more concentrated sources of calories and simple carbohydrates, and if not ingested alongside complex carbohydrates or a protein source, they can cause blood sugar spikes.

You've undoubtedly heard that workout hydration before, throughout, and after an exercise is a good idea.

Fruits may assist with this since most have a higher water content, which means they may help you achieve your workout hydration demands.

5 Best Fruits to Eat Before Working Out

Different citrus fruits and banana

These varied fruit selections will provide you with the energy you require before an exercise and are a very efficient approach to boosting your performance.

1. Apples or Pears

Pears and apples are one of the best pre-workout snacks since they include fiber, flavonoids, and polyphenols, all of which aid in blood sugar regulation.

Apples, particularly, have been found in research to reduce the chance of an asthma incident due to their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant characteristics [4].

2. Citrus Fruits

Despite being low in calories, they are great pre-workout snacks since they are packed with water and high in vitamin C, which are inflammation-reducing ingredients.

3. Bananas

Eating a banana before a workout helps since they are high in carbs and potassium which enhances nerve and muscle performance.

Bananas provide simple, easily digested carbs. They are high in potassium, which enables an improved muscular contraction while working out at the gym and subsequent muscle cell development [5].

"When you don't have a lot of time to digest food, a banana is a great option because your body digests it quickly and will provide carbohydrates for your workout."

- Aja Gyimah, Dietitian & Founder of Kuudose

4. Watermelon

Slices of watermelon

A piece of fresh watermelon is sufficiently small not to irritate your tummy during exercise and has a high water content, which will help you stay hydrated.

Also, It is a wonderful source of vitamins and minerals, carbs, and lycopene, which are healthy for the joints as well as the cardiovascular system [6].

5. Nuts

They are high in energy and make excellent heart-healthy snacks. Prefer cashews for their Omega-3 content and walnuts for their fat content.

They might reduce the likelihood of heart problems and strokes.

All nuts have fiber, which aids in cholesterol reduction. Fiber additionally helps you feel fuller, which causes you to eat less [7].

Nutrients Found in Fruits and Their Roles in Exercise

Fruit juices in a bottle

Consuming the right fruits before an exercise may help with recovery. The following are the functions of each nutrient:

Fat

Although a diet high in fat is obviously harmful to health, this nutrient is a major fuel source for longer fitness activities.

Because fat is by far the most fuel-dense element, your body reserves extra fat for future use [8].

Moderate to low-intensity cardio exercises that last for long durations will use fat for fuel; hence it is critical to include it in proportion as part of your meal.

The unsaturated fats in nuts or nut foods (for example, almond butter) are an excellent supply of this element since the 'healthy' fats in nuts may be heart-healthy and aid in decreasing cholesterol concentrations while simultaneously being a major fuel source required for exercise [9].

Proteins

Protein is a vital ingredient for exercise, especially when taken before an exercise because it can aid in boosting muscular performance and development.

Just like fat and complex carbohydrates, this nutrient must be consumed in proportion as a portion of a well-balanced diet to get the advantages of protein.

Nuts are a good source of protein and aid in muscle repair, making them an essential component of every exercise meal.

Related Articles:

Carbs

A woman cutting bananas

Glucose is an important fuel because it stimulates your mind and is also the primary fuel source for your muscles and quicker, more intensive workouts.

This organic sugar is derived from carbs, which are abundant in fruit [10].

Including carbs in your pre-exercise snack may aid your body in retaining glucose, increase your stamina, and keep you focused during your exercise.

Carbohydrates offer short-term power boosts that disappear as your body's glucose resources deplete because your body can only store a constrained glucose level.

This is why I make sure to have complex carbs from nuts or dried fruit an hour before doing HIIT cardio exercises or other short, intensive activities.

FAQs

What Is the Best Fruit to Eat Before a Workout?

The best fruit to eat before a workout is a fruit that is easily digestible, such as bananas and apples.

Are Apples Good for a Workout?

Yes, apples are good for a workout. They deliver quick-acting energy for peak performance.

When Should I Eat Dry Fruits?

You should eat dry fruits early in the morning.

Should You Eat Fruits on an Empty Stomach?

You should eat some fruits on an empty stomach, including watermelon and mangoes. Other fruits like bananas, oranges, and pineapples that are high in fiber should not be consumed on an empty stomach.

Should You Eat Fruit on a Full Stomach?

You should not eat fruit on a full stomach. The ideal time to eat fruit is one to two hours before or after a meal.

Can I Eat Orange Before a Workout?

Yes, you can eat oranges before a workout. Consuming an orange will not upset your tummy and will give carbohydrates and vitamin C to aid muscle recovery.

Fruits as a Pre-Workout Snack

Fruit fiber delays digestion sufficiently to prevent blood sugar spikes accompanied by a collapse. Fruit is also high in water content, so it may help you stay hydrated during your workout.

Still, consuming fruit as a pre-workout snack may not be enough if you’ve set high fitness goals.

For an additional energy boost, it’s best to consider adding a supplement:

Having tested these products for safety and efficiency, my clients and I can attest to their enormous potential to deliver killer workouts through cutting-edge technology and natural ingredients of the highest quality.


References:

  1. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/eat-before-workout 
  2. https://www.webmd.com/diabetes/diabetes-hypoglycemia 
  3. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/carbohydrates/fiber/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC442131/ 
  5. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/banana-before-workout 
  6. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/watermelon-health-benefits
  7. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/8-benefits-of-nuts 
  8. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/6571234/ 
  9. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-disease/in-depth/nuts/art-20046635 
  10. https://www.mayoclinichealthsystem.org/hometown-health/speaking-of-health/how-nutrients-impact-physical-performance
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