7 Pre-Workout Snacks That Make Your Gym Time Exponentially More Effective

"You wouldn't drive your race car before fueling it up, and your body is no different," explains Sean Garner, a trainer at Anatomy at 1220, which makes perfect sense from a fitness perspective. Working out on an empty stomach may sound like the best-case scenario (imagine having a steak dinner than sprinting on a treadmill), but the key is to carefully cherry-pick the meals, or rather, snacks you eat to help prepare your body for the (good) stress you're about to put on it.

As you probably could have predicted, protein-rich foods are your best bet before hitting the gym, especially EAAs (essential amino acids, like quinoa) as well as whey protein, which promote lean body mass and strength. Studies show that protein performance peaks within the body about 45 to 90 minutes after consumption, so timing is also key in getting the most from your pre-workout snacks. Want some yummy ideas other than quinoa, though? (We don't blame you.) Take a look at some expert-approved noshes below.

Opening Image: Minimalist Baker/Reebok

Next up: the one thing you should never eat after a workout.