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

Lisa Lorraine Taylor, BSc, CPT
Published by Lisa Lorraine Taylor, BSc, CPT | Staff Writer
Last updated: February 6, 2024
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Fruit is beneficial to you, yes. But should you eat fruit before working out?

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

After many 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 article, I have summarized the facts I’ve gathered.

Let’s dive in.

Quick Summary

  • Consuming fruits before a workout can be beneficial as they provide essential nutrients and help in absorbing excess acid, relaxing the stomach, and suppressing appetite.
  • The article recommends fruits like apples, pears, bananas, watermelons, and nuts as ideal pre-workout snacks due to their balance of fiber, carbohydrates, and hydration properties.
  • According to the Harvard School of Public Health, adults need 25 to 35 grams of fiber per day for good health, yet most Americans only consume about 15 grams, highlighting the importance of fiber-rich fruits in diets.
  • Personally, I believe incorporating a variety of fruits into pre-workout meals is a natural and effective way to boost energy levels and enhance overall workout performance.

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.
  • According to WebMD, they also 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 closer 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.

According to the Harvard School of Public Health, 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 some of the best pre-workout snacks since they include fiber, flavonoids, and polyphenols, all of which aid in blood sugar regulation.

Apples, in particular, 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 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 them 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.

How Do Different Types of Fruit Impact Workout Performance and Energy Levels?

Different types of fruit, like bananas, rich in carbohydrates and potassium, impact workout performance and energy levels positively. They provide quick energy and muscle function support, while berries with antioxidants aid in recovery. Citrus fruits, high in vitamin C, contribute to energy production and immune system support, benefiting overall workout performance.

What Is the Optimal Timing for Consuming Fruit Before a Workout?

The optimal timing for consuming fruit before a workout is typically about 30 to 60 minutes prior. This period allows the body to digest the fruit, making the energy available for use during the workout. However, this timing can vary depending on individual digestion rates and the type of fruit.

How Can Fruits Be Combined with Other Foods for a Balanced Pre-Workout Meal?

Fruits can be combined with other foods like proteins and healthy fats for a balanced pre-workout meal. Pairing fruits with Greek yogurt or nuts and including fats like avocado provides sustained energy, muscle support, and satiety. This combination ensures a steady release of energy and nutrients during the workout.

What Role Do Natural Sugars in Fruits Play in Replenishing Muscle Glycogen Stores?

Natural sugars in fruits play a crucial role in replenishing muscle glycogen stores. This is particularly important post-workout for endurance and high-intensity exercises. Fruits help restore depleted glycogen levels, aiding in recovery and energy replenishment.

Can You Share Some Fruit-Based Pre-Workout Smoothie Recipes?

Fruit-based pre-workout smoothie recipes typically include bananas for quick energy, berries for antioxidants, and a protein source like whey protein or almond milk for muscle support. These smoothies are easy to prepare and digest, providing a balanced blend of nutrients to fuel a workout.

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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