Pourquoi faut-il bien manger avant sa séance de sport?

Why should you eat well before your workout?

Are you looking for new ways to improve your performance?
The solution lies within you!

Whether you're an athlete, a fitness enthusiast or simply someone who likes to stay active, pre-workout nutrition is an essential part of the routine. Find out how and why it's important to make your pre-workout nutrition a priority, maximizing the benefits provided by your physical activity. 

The benefits of a proper nutrition before exercise

It's possible to do sport on an empty stomach, but it's not recommended if you want to achieve top performance. Discover some benefits to adopting a proper nutrition before exercise: 

Pourquoi faut-il bien manger avant sa séance de sport?
Une meilleure forme physique

Better fitness 

Eating well before any activity is essential to ensure better fitness and improve the quality of your efforts. Just as a car needs fuel to move forward, the human body needs a good source of energy to function optimally and help you achieve your goals. 

Force musculaire et récupération 

Muscle strength and recovery

As well as providing energy, the right nutrition improves muscle strength and recovery. After a physical activity, your muscles take more (or less) time to recover, depending on the intensity of the workout. The right nutrition may speed up this process.

Rester concentré et motivé

Focus and motivation

Providing your brain with beneficial nutrients will help you stay focused and motivated during your workout. 

It's important to choose foods that are easy to digest, and eat them an hour or two before exercise to avoid any digestive problems.

Understanding nutritional requirements before exercise

The importance of nutrition adapted to one's needs is felt on a daily basis. A person exercising less than 3 hours a week at moderate intensity will certainly not need to increase their calorie and carbohydrate intake. Still, it's important to understand our own body's nutritional requirements in order to reach optimal sports performance. However, if you train every day, you'll need to follow a nutrition plan adapted to your needs, provided by a professional.

Macronutrients: The key to success

Macronutrients play a crucial role in helping you reach optimal performance. They are the essential nutrients provided by foods, allowing the creation of energy in your body. The body draws its energy from 3 main macronutrients:

● Carbohydrates
● Lipids (fats)
● Proteins

  • Pourquoi faut-il bien manger avant sa séance de sport?


    Carbohydrates are a source of fast fuel, promoting stamina and endurance. The body primarily uses glycogen, a complex carbohydrate stored in the muscles, to sustain intensive efforts. 

  • Pourquoi faut-il bien manger avant sa séance de sport?

    Lipids (fats)

    Lipids, on the other hand, provide a long-term source of energy for endurance exercise and help regulate body temperature. 

    They are said to provide an unlimited source of energy, but are only mobilized after a longer period of effort. However, it's best to choose fats that don't interfere with digestion, so avoid crème fraîche, cold meats and spreads. 

  • Pourquoi faut-il bien manger avant sa séance de sport?


    Finally, when the energy supply is no longer sufficient, the body mobilizes available proteins. These are essential for muscle growth and play a key role in recovery after exercise.

Essential micronutrients

In addition to macronutrients, vitamins and minerals are essential micronutrients that support various physiological processes during exercise. 

Pourquoi faut-il bien manger avant sa séance de sport?


Vitamin B (seeds, fruit, green vegetables...) is involved in energy production and helps maintain the nervous system's proper functions. Antioxidants such as vitamins C and E help reduce the damage caused by exercise. Blueberries, which are rich in vitamin C, are recommended for bodybuilding, as they promote recovery and regeneration of muscle fibres. 



In addition, minerals such as magnesium, potassium and calcium are essential for muscle contraction and bone health. They also play a role in transforming your food into energy.

Meal timing and composition

Pre-workout meal

The optimal timing for pre-workout meals varies from person to person, largely influenced by individual digestive system characteristics. Consequently, it's generally recommended to consume a meal approximately 2 to 4 hours prior to exercising.

● Complex carbohydrates
● Lean proteins

It is recommended to choose foods rich in complex carbohydrates (peas, whole grains, vegetables) for sustained energy, while adding lean proteins (white chicken meat, plain greek yogourt) low in calories and saturated fats to support muscle recovery. It's best to avoid saturated fats and too much fiber, as these can slow digestion.

Pre-workout snack

● Light
● Easily Digestible
● Fast carbohydrates

You can opt for a pre-workout snack, usually 30 to 60 minutes before exercise, to provide your body with a quick source of energy. Choose light, easily digestible foods that contain fast carbohydrates for immediate energy (banana, fruit juice).

Remember to drink water

Drink water to compensate for the water lost through perspiration. A lack of hydration can have more or less serious consequences on performance and health. Water is your best ally for exercises of moderate duration and intensity. Discover our range of hydration products to accompany you along your adventures! For longer activities, you can opt for energy drinks that are adapted to each person's needs and sport.

Pourquoi faut-il bien manger avant sa séance de sport?

Examples of pre-training meals and snacks

Balanced breakfast for morning sessions

Option 1

An excellent breakfast would be to enjoy protein-rich scrambled eggs, accompanied by a slice of wholemeal bread that provides fibre and complex carbohydrates. Eggs are an essential part of an active person’s breakfast, so don't hesitate to cook them any way you like! To add a touch of freshness and vitamins, eat fresh fruit. It's always preferable to eat fruit rather than drink juice, as the latter is mostly made up of added sugars.

Option 2

Another delicious alternative would be to opt for a protein smoothie with fruit and oatmeal to provide you with the nutrients you need to get your day off to a good start.

Well-balanced lunch for afternoon sessions

If you're planning your session for the afternoon:

● Quinoa salad
● Grilled vegetables
● Chicken pieces
● Greek yoghurt with crunchy nuts and berries

Quinoa is an excellent source of protein and complex carbohydrates, while the grilled vegetables add vitamins and fiber. The chicken provides lean protein for muscle recovery. For a healthy, nutrient-rich dessert, Greek yoghurt mixed with crunchy nuts and berries would be ideal to conclude this well-balanced meal.

Pourquoi faut-il bien manger avant sa séance de sport?

Light snacks for end-of-day sessions

For end-of-day sessions, it's important to choose light snacks that will give you the energy you need without weighing down your stomach.

Option 1

● Homemade energy bars.

These bars can be prepared with healthy ingredients such as rolled oats, dried fruit, nuts and honey. They provide a balanced combination of carbohydrates, proteins and healthy fats to keep you energized during exercise.

Option 2

● Dried fruits
● Plain yogourt

Another simple option would be dried fruit such as dates or dried apricots, accompanied by a little plain yogourt. Dried fruit provides natural carbohydrates and the yogourt contain protein and beneficial probiotics. Check out our selection of nutritional snacks and meals to keep you energized!

For athletes

It is strongly recommended to avoid experimenting with new food combinations on the day of a big sporting event. It's best to stick to familiar foods. Get ready for maximum performance!

What about after the workout?

It's essential to recover and replenish your body's reserves after a workout. Your body needs nourishment to restore the minerals, nutrients and water lost during exercise. Choose from our range of insulated water bottles to keep you hydrated.
A varied nutrition is recommended, with a focus on moderate amounts of carbohydrates, proteins and fats to recharge your energy levels.

Here are some examples:

Low-glycemic index foods that promote calorie burning and fat reduction (whole grain bread, oats, fruits and vegetables)

Compotes and fruit sauce (such as apple sauce), without any added sugar,  fresh fruit such as apricots, rich in potassium, iron, copper and magnesium

Rice, pasta, and sweet potatoes are preferred amongst athletes as they provide better nutrients than regular potatoes.

Now that you are a pro in pre-exercise nutrition, get ready for a pleasant and productive physical experience. Get equipped with Decathlon’s sports gear and make the best out of your favourite sports!

Pourquoi faut-il bien manger avant sa séance de sport?

Now that you are a pro in pre-exercise nutrition, get ready for a pleasant and productive physical experience. Get equipped with Decathlon’s sports gear and make the best out of your favourite sports!


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