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Is a Honey and Salt Pre-Workout Worth Taking?

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Combining honey and salt is an easy way to get some simple carbs and electrolytes in before your workout. While it can be a beneficial formula for some – especially endurance athletes – adding extra salt to your diet is likely unnecessary for most people.

Honey and Salt Pre-Workout – Honey and salt is a quick and easy way to get some sugar and electrolytes in before your workout. However, having salt pre-workout is likely unnecessary unless you’re an endurance athlete. For most people, plain honey will be a better pre-workout snack.

honey and salt pre-workout

Is Honey with Salt Good Before a Workout?

So, does honey and salt give you energy?

Yes, honey and salt may be a good choice for athletes who want a quick hit of sugar and electrolytes to help fuel their workouts. However, this is largely because of the honey more than the salt. Below we’ll be going more in-depth on why this works as a pre-workout snack or intra-workout drink.

Nutritional Profile of Honey with Extra Salt

First, let’s take a look at the nutritional profile of honey. In one tablespoon, you’ll be getting: 

  • 63.8 calories
  • 17.3g of carbs
  • 0.63g of protein
  • 0g of fat

As you can see, honey is pretty much pure carbohydrates, which are almost entirely sugar. This is a great pre-workout snack, as your body can quickly use this for energy

You can then add salt to honey to boost the electrolyte content of your snack. Some athletes associate salt with a better pump in the gym as well. However, as we’ll be covering below, this is likely unnecessary for most people.

honey as pre-workout

If you do decide to add salt, you’ll likely only want to add a very small amount so you’re not taking in an excessive amount of sodium. A shake or two of salt should be plenty. 

With this being said, having salt before or during a workout is especially beneficial if you’re training for several hours on end, where you’ll inevitably lose large amounts of sodium through your sweat.

For more casual exercise, adding extra salt to your pre-workout snack is likely unnecessary, as most people already get more than enough sodium in their diet

Keep in mind that monitoring your hydration and getting enough water is crucial when using honey and salt as a pre-workout snack. Also, note that most salt is the same. So, there won’t be any major differences between a honey and pink Himalayan salt pre-workout, and a recipe made with standard table salt. 

So, honey and salt benefits will likely be most apparent in endurance athletes, while more casual athletes will be fine just taking plain honey instead. 

What Do You Need Before a Workout?

Having a snack largely based on simple carbs is excellent directly before a workout. However, if possible, it’s recommended you eat a larger meal with plenty of protein, fats, and carbs around 3-4 hours before exercise, or a slightly smaller snack 1-2 hours before exercise.

athlete eating honey

Combining a full meal with a pre-workout snack is likely the best way to optimize performance. However, if you’re training first thing in the morning, just having a light snack before working out is better than nothing. 

As mentioned above, extra electrolytes/sodium in the form of salt will likely only be beneficial to endurance athletes who will be losing significant amounts of sweat. For the average gym session, adding extra salt to honey is unnecessary. 

Beyond this, you may also be interested in using a pre-workout supplement to help improve your performance. These typically consist of caffeine and other ergogenic ingredients like Betaine, Beta-Alanine, and L-Citrulline. While these aren’t necessary to have a great workout, they can provide an added boost of performance . 

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Making your Own Intra-Training Drink with Honey and Salt

Especially for endurance athletes, honey and salt may be best used as an intra-workout drink instead of a pre-workout snack. Combining honey, salt, and water is a cheap and easy way to make your own homemade sports drink. 

Beyond getting some added intra-workout energy from the honey, having some sodium alongside fluids is especially important during long bouts of endurance training. 

honey and salt drink

This is because drinking too much plain water while losing electrolytes through sweat can lead to hyponatremia or overhydration. This can lead to serious health complications, so it’s something endurance athletes need to be aware of. 

The AIS recommends endurance athletes consume 0.5-0.7g of sodium/L of fluid during exercise. This is a range meant to provide adequate electrolytes while still preserving the palatability of your beverage. We’ve kept this in mind with our recommended recipe below.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Litre of Water (4 Cups)
  • 2 Tbsp. of Honey
  • ¼ tsp of Salt
  • Optional: Lemon Juice

Directions:

  1. Stir in honey, salt, and lemon juice to water
  2. Adjust ingredient amounts to taste
  3. Allow to chill, and drink during exercise

Additional Considerations

It’s worth mentioning that honey and salt will not be an optimal pre-workout snack for all athletes. Many people should not be adding extra sodium into their diets, and honey may not be ideal for diabetics, or those following a low-carb diet.

First, as mentioned earlier, most people already eat an excessive amount of sodium in their diet. As a result, adding more to your pre-workout snack is likely unnecessary, and potentially harmful.

Especially if you have high blood pressure, we don’t recommend adding in extra salt to your diet. Consult with your doctor about appropriate levels of sodium intake for you. 

eating honey as pre-workout

Next, while it can be used in moderation, consuming large amounts of honey may not be ideal for those with diabetes. Remember that honey is essentially just sugar, and should be used sparingly. Once again, consult with your doctor about appropriate sugar intake. 

Finally, if you’re following a low-carb diet, or you’re just eating in a caloric deficit, adding extra honey to your diet may not be ideal for your goals. This mostly comes down to personal preference, so consider your goals before adding a scoop of honey into your pre-workout routine. 

Optimal Pre-Workout Nutrition

Below we’ll be looking at how to plan your pre-workout nutrition, and what every athlete should consider. 

1. Consider The Type of Workout

Overall, what constitutes optimal pre-workout nutrition largely comes down to your style of training. 

Something like honey and salt will likely be best suited to endurance athletes who need extra electrolytes. Plain honey would be sufficient as a pre-workout snack for most athletes who train for less than an hour at a time. Remember, adding extra salt to your diet is largely unnecessary for most casual athletes. 

Endurance athletes will also want to consider having some simple carbs and electrolytes during their workout to avoid overhydration. 

honey with water drink

When performing resistance training, the intensity of your workout will also determine your nutrition needs. A light upper-body workout will not require as much fuel as an intense lower-body workout for example. Consider your own needs and goals when deciding what to have before hitting the gym. 

2. Pre-Workout Essentials

Ideally, you should be having a balanced meal several hours before any workout for optimal performance. However, this may not always be realistic, if you train in the morning, for example. 

So, if such a meal isn’t possible, be sure you’re at least having a small pre-workout snack such as honey, or some fruit. This will help provide some fuel to your workout, and tide you over until your first proper meal. 

Also, while pre-workout supplements aren’t essential, they can be very beneficial, especially if you’re training on a mostly empty stomach. You should choose a high-quality supplement that’s right for you. If you’re sensitive to caffeine you may want a milder supplement, but if you have a high tolerance, you may want something stronger. 

Below we’ll be taking a quick look at the pre-workout supplement we recommend, Bulk Black from Transparent Labs. 

We Recommend

BULK Black by Transparent Labs

bulk black

Bulk Black by Transparent Labs is a great pre-workout supplement for its strong dose of caffeine, and effective doses of active ingredients Citrulline Malate, Betaine, Beta-Alanine, and Taurine. With 275mg of caffeine, this is a fairly strong pre-workout, so we mainly recommend it to those with high tolerances.

tl bulk pre-workout

FAQ

Is it Safe to Take Salt as Pre-Workout?

While adding an extra bit of salt to honey would likely be fine for most people, it’s also likely unnecessary as you already get enough salt through your diet. For those with high blood pressure, adding more salt to your diet could be especially harmful to your health.

The exception here is endurance athletes who lose a significant amount of electrolytes through sweat during exercise. These athletes will likely benefit from some added salt either before or during their workouts. 

Does Honey Give You a Pump?

It’s unlikely that honey will have a major impact on the pump you get during the gym. Overall, proper pre-workout nutrition and training technique is the best way to get a solid pump. If you’re looking to maximize your pump, try using an NO booster supplement, and use isolation exercises in a high rep range to get the blood flowing to your muscles. 

Conclusion

Overall, while salt and honey pre-workout is a great option for endurance athletes, extra sodium is likely unnecessary for most casual lifters. Instead, consider just taking honey, and making sure you’re eating a complete meal several hours before training. 

With this being said, if you don’t get a lot of salt in your diet, adding some salt to honey and your other food may be ideal! Remember that sodium deficiency is just as dangerous as overconsumption, so consider your own needs here.  

If you’re interested in trying a caffeinated pre-workout supplement alongside your honey, consider Bulk Black by Transparent Labs

Have you ever tried honey and salt as pre-workout? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

References:

  1. FoodData Central, “Honey,” US. Department of Agriculture, https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/169640/nutrients (Accessed May 15, 2024)
  2. The Nutrition Source, “Carbohydrates and Blood Sugar,” Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/carbohydrates/carbohydrates-and-blood-sugar/ (Accessed May 15, 2024)
  3. The Nutrition Source, “Salt and Sodium,” Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/salt-and-sodium/ (Accessed May 15, 2024)
  4. Heidi Skolnik, “Here’s What to Eat Before and After a Workout,” Hospital for Special Surgery, https://www.hss.edu/article_eat-before-after-workout.asp (Accessed May 15, 2024)
  5. Brittany Poulson, “Is Honey Bad for People With Diabetes,” Verywell Health, https://www.verywellhealth.com/honey-and-diabetes-5115267#:~:text=Like%20any%20other%20sweetener%2C%20honey,limit%20your%20consumption%20of%20honey. (Accessed May 15, 2024)
  6. AIS Sports Supplement Framework, “Electrolyte Replacement Supplements,” Australian Institute of Sport, https://www.ais.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0020/1000487/36194_Sport-supplement-fact-sheets-electrolytes-v5.pdf (Accessed May 15, 2024)
  7. Photos made by Torokhtiy Media Team.

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Jacek Szymanowski

Author: Jacek Szymanowski

Certified Nutritionist,
M.Sc.Eng. Biotechnology
Performance Architect,
Strength and Conditioning Specialist

Experience: 20 years

With over 30 years of fighting experience, specialization in nutrition coaching for athletes, and expertise in metabolic health and dietary strategies, Jacek offers a comprehensive approach to optimizing your performance and well-being. Backed by a Master of Science degree in Biotechnology, Jacek remains at the forefront of scientific advancements, ensuring that his coaching is always evidence-based and up-to-date.

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