Pre-Workout Nutrition & Supplementation

Have you ever wondered what an optimal pre-workout meal and supplement approach looks like? We’re not talking about simply taking your 5% pre-workout, we’re talking about your entire nutritional approach to your training session. What you do in the hours leading up to that is critical. In this article on Pre-Workout Nutrition & Supplementation, we’ll cover everything you need to know.

The Goal Of Your Pre-Workout Meal

Not everybody puts much thought into what they eat in the hours before their workout. Yet those hours are crucial. Therefore, the first thing regarding your pre-workout meal is to define your goal. Working out is both catabolic and extremely energy-demanding. What you do leading up to your workout should be approached with this in mind. Therefore, your goal is getting your body ready to perform at its highest level. In terms of nutrition, that means making sure you have enough cellular energy for your workout. Plus, you need enough protein to minimize the muscle breakdown that happens when you train.

Nutrition: Protein

As noted, ingesting protein before your workout keeps your body in an anabolic environment. That’s mainly due to elevated protein synthesis. The best pre-workout protein sources include egg whites, chicken breasts, and lean ground beef.(1)

Taking care of your protein intake in the hours before your workout sets you up for better performance and recovery. Derailing catabolism while you train is so important, we’ll be covering it in an upcoming article on intra-workout supplementation.

Nutrition: The Right Kind Of Carbohydrates

It’s no secret that the macronutrient providing cellular energy to your muscles is carbohydrates. In this case, you’ll want fast-digesting carbs. A large portion of your daily carbohydrate intake should be ingested in the hours surrounding your workout. This is especially true if you follow a low-carb diet. As an example, NASM suggests a 150 lb person should ingest about 68 g of carbs at least an hour before exercise. Use this as a guide, adding carbs based on your weight.(2)

If, for example, you’re a 200 lb bodybuilder, think in terms of 90-100 grams. Your sources should come from white potatoes, white rice, and yams. Also, since you don’t want to drink your pre-workout while you’re still digesting your meal, eat closer to 2 hours beforehand.

Nutrition: Fats

The last thing to remember when setting up your pre-workout meal is to choose healthy fats. Also, keep total fat low. That’s because fat can slow down digestion. That’s not what you want. Nothing is worse than a meal sitting on your stomach when you take your pre-workout. 

The Timing Of Your Pre-Workout Meal 

As mentioned, the best time to consume this meal is 1 ½ to 2 hours before your workout. Do not take any longer than that. Remember, you want the full benefits of this meal when you train. Another option for those that might have problems digesting a meal is to go with 5% Nutrition Real Carbs + Protein. A whole food shake like that works well and will be much easier to digest. 

Pre-Workout Supplementation

Despite the popularity of pre-workouts, not everybody understands what they are and what separates a good pre-workout from a bad one. Your pre-workout should cover the following areas:

  • Energy
  • Focus
  • Strength
  • Endurance
  • Pumps
  • Performance

5% Nutrition offers 5 pre-workout formulas that cover the needs of pretty much everyone. While we’ll look at the caffeine content of each one (Full As F*ck is stim-free), we’re not diving deep into each formula. Instead, we’ll focus on the ingredients that make these formulas so effective. 

Kill It

With 250 mg, here’s a good choice for lifters that do not want much caffeine. 

Kill It Reloaded

With 325 mg, here’s a Pre that pushes the energy much higher.


Our Stim-Crazy caffeine monster with 400 mg per serving. Also available in Stick Packs.

Kill It RTD

Here’s our newest pre-workout with a mind-numbing 10g of glycerine and 4g of cittruline, all in a convenient RTD!

Full As F*ck

Our stim-free pump- insanity pre-workout.

Here’s A Look At Some Of The Best Pre-Workout Ingredients


5% Nutrition has the insight to feature creatine in a pre-workout. Both Kill It and Kill It Reloaded contain creatine. Why is this important? First, creatine occurs naturally in the body as phosphocreatine, which is used to make ATP. Secondly, creatine is the original cell volumizer. It pulls water into the muscles for insane water-based pumps.(3)


Talking about pumps, citrulline is unmatched. It works by converting into arginine once in the body. The thing is, it absorbs better than regular arginine, thereby beating arginine at its own game.(4,5)


Taurine is an osmolyte and an effective cognitive enhancer. This popular compound works with other osmotic ingredients in 5% Nutrition pre-workouts, such as GlycerSize™ glycerol, betaine, and of course creatine. These combine with nitric oxide boosters for maximum pumps. Taurine also supports cognitive function and enhances focus.(6)


We’ve covered the basics of Pre-Workout Nutrition & Supplementation in this article. Coming soon, we are going to cover both Intra-Workout Supplementation and Post-Workout Supplementation & Nutrition. 


  1. Tipton, K. D., Elliott, T. A., Cree, M. G., Aarsland, A. A., Sanford, A. P., & Wolfe, R. R. (2007). Stimulation of net muscle protein synthesis by whey protein ingestion before and after exercise. American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism, 292(1), E71-E76.
  2. Nutrient Timing: What to Eat Before and After a Workout - NASM
  3. Feldman, E. B. (1999). Creatine: a dietary supplement and ergogenic aid. Nutrition Reviews, 57(2), 45-50.
  4. Figueroa, A., Wong, A., Jaime, S. J., & Gonzales, J. U. (2017, January). Influence of L-citrulline and watermelon supplementation on vascular function and exercise performance. Retrieved from
  6. Mizushima, S., Nara, Y., Sawamura, M., & Yamori, Y. (1996). Effects of oral taurine supplementation on lipids and sympathetic nerve tone. Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology, 403, 615-622.
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