Your Best Pre and Post Workout Meals + Timing


As my hill climbing season finished yesterday and with my first TR plan looking large next week I want to really pay attention to my nutrition from now on. I feel it’s an area to make some free gains to improve my performance.

I work in an office, from 8am until 4pm, arriving home at 5pm (car commute = 1 hour), training will commence at 6pm. So let’s say for a workout of 60-90 minutes of higher TSS, so maybe 80+ what are you go to pre and post workout meals to ensure the session gets nailed and also recovered from? Information on timing would be good although I guess in general 2-3 hours prior to training is normally the way to go.



You have a fairly similar schedule to me.

If I have a high calorie burn workout scheduled I will have a bowl of oatmeal or a sweet potato around 3:30 or 4. For me that clears out of my stomach and fuels me for the ride. If I’m doing something easier (<1,000 calories) I don’t do anything specific other than my normal lunch timing (lunch at 12ish, fresh fruit x2 spread between 1-3).

Afterwards I don’t eat a ton of calories, but will vary quantity based on how big the workout was. I eat enough to ensure I’m refueled, but I don’t sleep well if I eat a lot.

For me it is less about the specifics of what I eat, but the timing of the calories. If I’m doing 1500 calories on the bike and thus need 3,500 total - I want to make sure I’ve eaten 2,500 of those by 3-4 PM so that I don’t have to binge after the ride

However, I do typically eat pretty clean. Lots of salads, sweet potatoes, white meat poultry, pork tenderloin, oatmeal, etc. The only ‘messy’ foods I typically eat are on the bike where I keep up some simple sugars so that my body doesn’t reject them on race days


Normally 5-600 calories around 2-3 hours before. Home made sandwiches and a piece of fruit or two. A fairly evenly balanced meal macronutrient wise, usually moderate to low fat.

Does me fine for a 1200-1400 calorie burn in 90~ mins.

I eat the majority of my calories PWO but come from an IF background. Currently experimenting with 24hr fasts.


I love this question! I always eat before a workout, of course unless I’m working out directly in the few hours after lunch or breakfast.

Pre, 1-2 hr out

  • supermarket banana pancakes with spelt flour (healthy-ish), current favorite!
  • banana
  • baked sweet potato + fresh salsa (I bake the SP in the weekend)
  • 1-2 slice of bread with cheese or tahini
  • small bowl of cut oats with oat or soy milk

Post: 200-300mL soy milk (3.5g protein per 100mL + sugar), either chocolate or vanilla taste. I take less if the workout was low intensity. then real food within the next 1 hour.

I find that both the pre and post-workout fuelling really helps me to be fit for the workout and eat “normal” throughout the rest of the day.


I’m fairly unusual in that I like to eat right before I start my ride.

For a normal trainer session, I wake up, drink a cup of coffee and eat banana and/or a bagel with homemade peanut butter and jump on the trainer 5 -10 minutes after.

If I’m going for a longer ride on a weekend, I’ll make an egg and breakfast potato scramble with onions, bell peppers and cheese maybe 30-45 minutes before I jump on the bike. (This is probably pretty heavy for most people, but I have an iron gut and it’s my weekend treat)

Afterwards, I just focus on getting a good meal with whole foods within 45 minutes or so.

A few of my staples are:

  • Taco Salad with chicken, beans, corn, homemade salsa, romaine, onions, bell peppers, and hot sauce
  • Whole wheat pasta with either pesto sauce or spaghetti sauce wand a chicken breast
  • Grilled teriyaki chicken with rice and quinoa and steamed broccoli

I just cook a bunch of chicken in advance so that I can serve it up a bunch of different ways.


Honestly, I find a bowl of white rice pre-workout works really well for me. I’d say around 1-1.5 cups of cooked rice, with some soy sauce, anywhere from 15-30 minutes before getting on the trainer (less time before workout = less rice). If I’m going out for a long group ride on the weekend I’ll top it with two fried eggs, sunny side up, with the yolk mixed into the rice/soy sauce. It’s probably my favourite food… it helps to have a rice cooker (which means you always have cooked rice ready to eat) and also helps if you buy good rice (my favourite is Kokuho rose sushi rice from California) and quality soy sauce.


I have my routine of having one of my wife’s monster oatmeal cookies about 2-3 before hitting the bike. She puts in peanuts, soy nuts, flax seeds and M&M’s. There is also peanut butter added. It is really filling so that by the time I set to go, I don’t have any heavy feeling. Plus they taste great.


I love fried rice for breakfast before a ride.

Rice in a pan with touch of oil, maybe chopped onion. Crack a couple eggs in there, stir it around, add sone soy sauce, and I like some chili/garlic sauce as well. Cook through a minute or two until the moisture cooks off and rice gets fluffy.

I’m sure it’s way healthier than takeout fried rice, and just as tasty.

I try to keep a bunch of cold, cooked brown rice in the fridge. I use it to throw on salads, use for fried rice, or with leftover stirfries…


I’ve been ensuring that whatever I am doing, whether it be hard intervals, SS or group ride, that I eat something at work about 3.5 hours before. My go to at the moment is 2 x rices (with chocolate on top!) and a piece of banana loaf. If I need topping up before getting on the bike I will usually have a small banana around 30 minutes before. My lunch meal is pretty standard and always at 12pm, so I tend to eat the above about 3pm.

I’m no longer shoveling something down my neck with about 20 minutes to go and I believe it’s working really well. Who knew eh!

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Chicken Caesar salad with refried beans. It’s a weird combination but I think my hormones are out of whack, I get insanely bizarre cravings lately

My favorite pre workout food is 1/4 cup Bob’s Red Mill Muesli (Big thank you to @Nate_Pearson, I first heard about it on the podcast and I love it) with 1/4 cup milk (almond or low fat). I like to eat this around 1-2 hours prior. I make them in advance because the longer the oats sit in the milk, the softer they get.
If I am going to do a big MTB ride on the weekend then I’ll make a swiss style bowl of muesli the night before and I’ll eat it 1-2 hours prior to the ride.

  • 1/2 apple shredded
  • 1 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup muesli
  • 1 teaspoon of honey or maple syrup on top
  • I’ll add blueberries if I have them
    I find that this really lasts me a long time and leaves me feeling strong for most of the ride.
    Post hard workout or post hard ride I do a protein shake if I’m at home. If I’m just finishing a really hard ride I usually eat some quality unhealthy food like a good quality bacon cheese burger with sweet potato fries.

Training days: just my normal routine. I work nights so I have a lot of flexibility here. Varies between two eggs and rice with some Franks to Red Mill GF oats with some granola or waffles. Do this about an hour before.
Race days: The same. Time before the event varies on if it’s a crit, hilly road race, flat, etc. will toss in a banana or apple prior, honey stinger waffle, and a gel or something right before the race starts.
Nutrition during the race: crits: nothing. Nuun energy or whatever I have. Red Bull 45 mins prior. Road race with a lot of climbing - carborocket 333. No food. Same with flat stuff too or just some honey stinger waffles

and for us that workout first thing in the am? i’ve been doing just water before I ride and then electrolytes during the ride. I’ll typically get up at 440, take the dog out for a quick piss and poop and then hop on the trainer. In the past, I’ve only been able to take in a gel or banana at most so soon before rides, but I’ve been doing the majority of the rides without any food, which I don’t feel has hurt me, but I have been getting the ammonia smell (that people have been discussing in another thread) lately with the longer harder workouts. I try to intermittent fast, but I go back and forth with this. I’m used to not having bfast now, but still can’t figure out if I’m better off with or without it. Sorry for the rambling… :confused:


In my experience I have better workouts when I have time to eat first. I can do sweet spot okay without food but Vo2 or sustained power are not going to go well if I am running on empty.

yeah. during the week is impossible to eat a proper bfast before riding. I have just enough time to take care of the dog, get on the bike, shower and head out to work. I’m not planning on waking up earlier than I already do… Weekends i have a little more time.


Most people will call this boring, but my new go to meal:
-Fry onion, garlic, ginger
-Add tamari + fish sauce + brocolli
-add cooked brown rice,peas & 2 eggs until eggs are done

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You’re bizarrely similar to me. 4:40am alarm then onto the trainer at 5am! I use one scoop of EFS in a 750ml bottle if it’s 90+mins. Otherwise I’ve just been having water.

The above tends to work much better if I refuel within 30-45mins after workout (usually lots of veggies, 3x eggs on toast w tahini), and also if I have some good carbs for dinner around 8pm the night before (eg., bake potatoes and steak, or stir fry chicken and veggies on brown rice). I find my glycogen levels are perfectly topped off and ready for the 5am workout. I’ll be spending 48mins at 95-99% FTP (in 4x 12min intervals) within my 90min workout 5am tomorrow on that recipe.

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Hi, anyone have any good recommendations for what to eat/drink post workout? I’m still getting used to interval training where I’m probably ‘only’ burning 500-1000calories. Not really too bothered about weight loss, so its more about maximising the benefits of the sessions

Another one up at 4:40 to be on the bike at 5 am. I have one bottle of water and one bottle of electrolyte for the whole workout. Try to eat as soon as I am back inside which is usually my muesli with vanilla yogurt. If I am feeling hungrier than usual (not very often) I will have some toast with salt free Vegemite (for all the Aussies out there salt free is incredible)

After this try to stick to normal eating habits through day with good dinner at night.


I like to do eggs with pinto beans and rice.
But if I’m on the road, find some chocolate milk and get to a chipotle