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Is Honey a Good Pre-Workout? Why Honey is a Great Snack

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Because honey is mainly sugar, it’s a great way to get a quick boost of energy before a workout. Consider adding it to water, or a pre-workout shake!

With that being said, it’s not a replacement for the caffeine and active ingredients found in most pre-workout supplements, or the protein and complex carbs found in proper post-workout nutrition.

Is Honey a Good Pre-Workout? – Because honey is an easy source of simple carbs, it can be a great pre-workout snack. With this being said, you may want a more complete meal 1-2 hours before your workout as well, or a pre-workout supplement with caffeine and other active ingredients.

is honey a good pre workout

Is Honey Good Before a Workout?

So, “does honey work as pre-workout?”

In short, eating honey before workouts is a great way to get some added energy. This is especially true directly before you work out for a quick boost of carbs. 

Also, while honey is fine on its own, to improve palatability, you’ll probably want to mix it with water or a shake instead of eating plain honey. 

Below we’ll be looking at why honey is helpful, along with other nutrition tips, as well as the nutritional benefits of honey, and other considerations. 

What Do You Need Before You Workout?

Typically, small amounts of carbohydrates like those provided by honey can be consumed directly before a workout. Of course, honey is not your only option here, with small amounts of fruit, gels, or sports drinks being alternatives to consider. 

honey with water drink

While honey is helpful directly before a workout, you’ll probably want to have a larger meal several hours before your workout consisting of complex carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. 

Beyond nutrition, you may also be interested in pre-workout supplements. These typically combine caffeine with other active ingredients to provide an extra boost to your workouts. While these supplements are beneficial, keep in mind that they aren’t necessary for a great workout. 


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Nutritional Profile of Honey

Let’s take a quick look at what you can expect from a tablespoon of honey. This is a good amount to take if you’re wondering about how much honey before workouts to have. This amount of honey contains:

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

As you can see, honey is made up mainly of carbs, which are almost entirely sugar. This is exactly what makes it such a great source of quick energy for exercise. However, this is also what may make it unsuitable for some athletes, as we’ll cover more in-depth below. 

Honey is fairly limited when it comes to micronutrients, containing a small amount of potassium and little else. Minimally-processed honey is also a good source of antioxidants, which have numerous benefits for overall health, recovery, and disease prevention. This is one of the main benefits of having raw honey as pre-workout. 

1. Honey’s Potential Benefits as a Pre-Workout

The main reason people eat honey before gym sessions is because it’s high in sugar, which the body can quickly use for energy. While the differences won’t be massive, you may notice a slight boost in your performance and energy levels when you eat honey (or any other simple carbs) before your workouts. This is especially true if you’re working out on an otherwise empty stomach. 

With this being said, proper pre-workout nutrition (ie. a full meal rich in carbs, fats, and protein several hours before a workout) will likely have a more significant effect on your performance than a scoop of honey immediately before.

athlete eating honey before training

However, combining a full meal, and a pre-workout snack is likely the best way to optimize your performance. 

The benefits of honey as a pre-workout snack will also depend on the type of exercise you’re doing. If you’re exercising for ~30-60 minutes, taking a single serving of honey before your workout will likely get you through. 

However, for endurance athletes training for 1-2+ hours at a time, you may want to consider using honey as an intra-workout snack as well. Once your initial boost from the honey wears off, likely after 30-60 minutes, you can consume some more to provide another quick hit of energy.

Just keep in mind you’ll definitely want to have this honey along with water to avoid gastrointestinal comfort. 

2. Additional Considerations

It’s worth noting that honey is not suitable as a pre-workout for everyone. Especially if you’re diabetic, on a keto diet, or just cutting in general, honey may not be ideal for you. 

First, if you’re diabetic, remember that honey is just a form of sugar, and as a result, should be used sparingly. While it’s alright to use in moderation, you will need to keep the rest of your diet in mind and may want to use honey sparingly.

Next, because honey is nearly 100% carbs, it won’t be suitable for those following a keto, or low-carb diet. With that being said, while keto diets are likely effective at restricting calories which may then lead to weight loss, they likely aren’t ideal for maximizing exercise performance

Speaking of weight loss, if you’re eating in a caloric deficit, you may not want to add in the extra calories from honey into your diet. Although a spoonful of honey is relatively low-calorie, you’ll have to consider your goals and the rest of your diet to decide if it’s a worthwhile pre-workout snack.

What Makes a Good Pre-Workout?

Now that we’ve gone over why honey can be a good pre-workout snack, let’s cover what else goes into a perfect pre-workout. We’ll be discussing nutrition, as well as some supplements you may be interested in taking. 

1. Pre-Workout Essentials

Before getting into supplementation, you must have your pre-workout nutrition dialed in. 

This begins with a meal several hours before working out, which should contain a good amount of carbs, fats, and protein. This will be the main source of fuel for your workout. You should aim to eat something that will keep you satiated throughout your workout. When you’re a bit closer to your workout, consider eating a slightly higher-calorie, carbohydrate-based snack. 

Then, once you’re about to hit the gym, having a quick snack made up of simple carbs – like honey – can be a great way to give yourself a bit of added fuel. If you work out in the morning or you’re unable to eat a full meal several hours before your workout, having a small snack like this becomes even more important. 

Of course, this will vary from person to person. Having a full meal and a pre-workout snack may be too many calories for some. Many people may be just fine with a small meal 1-2 hours beforehand and a quick pre-workout snack right before hitting the gym. Consider your own goals and preferences when deciding on how to approach pre-workout nutrition.  

eating honey as pre-workout

You may also want to consider taking supplements like pre-workout to add some extra fuel to your workouts. These mainly consist of caffeine and other ergogenic ingredients. The added stimulation from caffeine can provide a significant boost to your workouts, especially if you’re unable to eat a full meal beforehand. 

We’ll be covering our recommendation for a high-quality pre-workout supplement below!

However, keep in mind that pre-workout supplements aren’t necessary to get a great workout in, and they aren’t a substitute for proper nutrition either. Make sure you have your nutrition dialed in, and that you’re not relying on supplements for your performance. 

2. Consider the Type of Workout

Next, how you handle pre-workout nutrition may change depending on the kind of exercise you’re doing. A light workout in the gym has much different needs than intense endurance exercise. 

If you’re working out for around 30-60 minutes, you can usually get away with less food beforehand. While a full meal followed up with a pre-workout snack is still ideal for performance, you may find you’re still able to get a good workout in with just a quick snack beforehand. 

This will also depend on how intense you’re going in the gym. Going for heavy one-rep maxes will likely require more fuel than a light deload workout, for example. 

man eats honey

On the other hand, if you’re practicing intense endurance exercise lasting several hours at a time, fueling properly is much more important for every workout. On top of a full meal and pre-workout snack, you’ll likely need to consider intra-workout nutrition as well.

Something like honey can be great for this, as it’s an easy way to get a quick boost of energy during your workout. 

While pre-workout nutrition is always important, for longer training sessions, it tends to have a greater impact on your ability to perform.

Our Pre-workout Recommendation

BULK Black by Transparent Labs

bulk black
  • Serving Size: 1 scoop (21.2 g)
  • Servings per Container: 30
  • Calories Per Serving: 5
  • Betaine Anhydrous Per Serving: 2,500 mg
  • Taurine per serving: 1,300 mg
  • Recommended by Athletes: Hafþór Júlíus BjörnssonPat LiPAULINA

For a high-quality pre-workout supplement, consider Bulk Black from Transparent Labs, which contains 275mg of caffeine, along with effective doses of active ingredients Citrulline Malate, Beta-Alanine, Betaine, and Taurine. This makes it a perfect partner to proper nutrition to boost your performance even more!

tl bulk pre-workout


Is Honey Good Before a Run?

Yes, honey makes a great pre-run snack for getting an extra boost of simple carbs before your workout. Just keep in mind you’ll want a full meal several hours before your run, and potentially some intra-workout snacks depending on the length of your run as well. 

Does Honey Provide Energy?

Yes, because honey is almost entirely made up of sugar, it’s a great way to get some quick energy. Just be aware it won’t provide the same pure stimulation that a high-caffeine pre-workout will. 


Pre-workout nutrition is incredibly important for optimal performance. While it’s no replacement for a full meal hours beforehand, honey makes an excellent snack immediately before a workout for a source of quick carbs. It’s also a great addition to slightly larger meals like shakes. 

You may also be interested in using pre-workout supplements along with honey. If so, we recommend trying Transparent Labs Bulk Black. 

Have you ever tried eating honey before workouts? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!


  1. Heidi Skolnik, “Here’s What to Eat Before and After a Workout,” Hospital for Special Surgery, (Accessed May 14, 2024)
  2. FoodData Central, “Honey,” US. Department of Agriculture, (Accessed May 14, 2024)
  3. Jerlyn Jones, et. al, “Everything to Know About the Health Benefits of Honey,” Healthline, (Accessed May 14, 2024)
  4. The Nutrition Source, “Carbohydrates and Blood Sugar,” Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, (Accessed May 14, 2024)
  5. Brittany Poulson, “Is Honey Bad for People With Diabetes,” Verywell Health,,limit%20your%20consumption%20of%20honey. (Accessed May 14, 2024)
  6. Carrie Bebermeyer, “Food for Thought: Ketogenic Diets Reduce Athletes’ Anaerobic Performance,” Saint Louis University, (Accessed May 14, 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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