Diet & Nutrition 5 MIN READ 268 VIEWS February 23, 2022

Choosing Your Pre Workout Meal for Muscle Gain

Written By HealthKart
Medically Reviewed By Dr. Aarti Nehra

pre workout meal for muscle gain

A pre-workout meal is the most important part of your preparation for a good training session. It varies depending upon your goal. If you are planning a pre workout meal for muscle gain, you need to make sure that it is rich in nutrients that will fuel you during the training session, build new muscle fiber and recover faster from heavy lifting. 

When choosing the best pre workout meal for muscle gain, most people are unsure about the nutrient content. Should you include more carbs to get the energy that you need to train or should you focus on protein for muscle gain? The best way to plan your meal is to first understand the basics of muscle gain and nutrition. 

Importance of Pre Workout Food for Muscle Gain

When you are in the gaining phase, you need to focus on every portion carefully. It is not just about getting more calories throughout the day. You need to ensure that your meals are able to give you optimal physical performance while boosting the recovery process. 

The best pre workout meal for muscle gain is one that gives you the right nutrients to help you power through rigorous training. When you are training to bulk up, every last repetition can play a crucial role. There are different techniques that you can try like training until failure, negative reps, drop sets, or forced reps. No matter what you choose, it all comes down to how you perform your reps. You can do your best only when your body is adequately fueled. The basic structure of your pre workout meal for muscle gain looks like this:

1. Protein 

You need about 30 grams of fast-digesting protein like tuna, egg whites, or whey proteins. Consuming protein is known to boost the availability of plasma fat which keeps you energized throughout the workout session. 

2. Carbohydrates 

The pre-workout meal should contain about 25-40% of the total carb intake each day. The amount varies depending upon your body type. If you are looking at building a lean physique, then it is best to consume most of your carbs in the pre and post-workout window. The primary role of carbohydrates is to help you maintain your energy levels so that you can steadily increase the intensity of your training.

3. No Fatty Food 

Fats are necessary to bulk up, however, they should be used in very small doses in the pre workout meal. Fat tends to delay gastric emptying or the rate at which the food that you consume leaves the stomach. This reduces the ability to absorb nutrients. Then even the best pre workout food for muscle gain will be inadequate in supporting you through a long, arduous training session. 

Ideas for Pre Workout Meal for Muscle Gain

To help you understand how to plan your pre-workout meal, here are some simple ideas to get started with. These are some of the most highly recommended and effective options: 

1. Oatmeal and Whey Protein 

For anyone who is looking for the best pre workout food for muscle gain, with the right proportion of macronutrients, this is the easiest option. All you need to do is cook rolled oats or quick oats and mix in any protein powder based on your preference. The best thing about this is that it is a very versatile meal option that you can experiment with. Add some flavor with fruits or ingredients like peanut butter to bring variety. 

You may also prepare overnight oats by mixing oats with almond milk or water and leaving it in the refrigerator. Once the oats are fully soaked and ready to eat, mix in any whey protein that you prefer. 

2. Egg Whites and Toast

Egg whites can easily become a part of your pre workout food for muscle gain. Just like whey proteins, even egg whites are fast-digesting protein sources. The idea is to consume your protein as close to your workout as possible so that you don’t end up feeling sluggish before you train. It is observed that using slow-digesting protein a couple of hours before your workout often leaves you feeling low in energy. 

Eating egg whites with toast before your workout gives you the best combination of proteins and carbohydrates. There’s one interesting fact that most fitness enthusiasts may not be aware of. Often, we choose wheat bread over white bread when we are on a strict diet. However, with a pre workout meal for muscle gain, the latter is preferred because it is a fast-digesting carb. It can be consumed right before your training and is used up quickly, giving you great results. 

You can top the toast with other ingredients like lean turkey or avocados along with eggs to prepare a satisfying and nutritious pre-workout meal. 

3. Rice and Chicken 

This is, possibly, the easiest pre-workout food option. It is readily available and requires minimal preparation. Chicken is a wonderful pre-workout protein option because it is low in fat but high in protein content per gram. It also digests faster than other animal-based protein sources. 

Rice has always been a great choice for pre workout food for muscle gain. It is one of the fastest digesting carbohydrate sources which loads you up with energy when you train. Now, similar to the choice between white and brown bread, white rice is a better option for your pre-workout meal. It digests faster and is easier for your body to absorb. 

You can add flavor to rice and chicken with assorted seasoning, herbs, and spices. The only thing that you need to remember with any animal-based protein choice is that you need to consume it at least 30 minutes before your workout for the best results. 

4. Banana and Protein Shake

If you are looking for the best pre workout meal for muscle gain to consume on the go, a smoothie or a shake is a great idea. Banana shake has always been a preferred choice among fitness enthusiasts, as it gives them the energy that they need for training. 

Bananas are rich in carbohydrates, no doubt. But there is another advantage to using bananas before a workout – they contain a good amount of potassium which is vital for maintaining electrolyte balance within your body. This means that the chances of dehydrating are reduced. 

You can opt for different bases for your banana milkshake like almond milk or soy milk. Once the milkshake is ready, just mix in a scoop of any protein powder of your choice. To enhance the nutritional value of your drink, add some nuts. They give you a good source of energy to boost the training performance. 

You can make a pre-workout drink with any beverage of your choice. All you need to do is add a scoop of protein powder to get the right balance of nutrients. This means that your pre-workout meal can include a variety of smoothies and milkshakes that are easier to consume. 


The right pre workout meal for muscle gain contains fresh and natural ingredients. However, if you do not have the time for meal preparation, you can opt for pre-workout supplements. Make sure that you choose a brand that you trust. In addition to that, you need to follow the right supplement dosage suggestions to prevent any unpleasant experience.  

It is best to avoid using pre-workout supplements with stimulants like caffeine. Although it has its benefits, it can cause strong reactions in some people. The best way to find the right supplement is to consult a healthcare expert.

Read these next