This could be the question I get more than any other on the day to day basis. There are tons of studies and research on what is the optimal food and time you should eat before you workout, but like anything it’s based upon YOU.
What it needs to include
CARBS- Glucose within the carbs are used to fuel the muscles during a workout. For shorter, higher intensity workouts carbs are the main source of energy. Carb loading can help improve muscle glycogen stores which is extremely helpful for endurance athletes.
PROTEIN is shown to increase athletic performance and a better anabolic response mid workout.
FAT Is the main source for longer, lower intense exercises. Yes, it helps you get through the end of a resistance training workout, but is more geared for endurance athletes.
Timing is simple. Getting a sufficient meal in 2-3 hours before hand is more than likely impossible. Shit gets in the way. Based upon what time you go to the gym, and when your last meal was, just plan accordingly. If you just had a huge lunch 3 hours before your gym session, your pre workout meal should be something small 30-45 minutes beforehand. But, as always, do this based upon you. If you can’t function at the gym with a rock of food in your stomach, don’t eat such a big meal; with the flip side being if you get 20 minutes into a workout and energy is low, eat more and/or closer to your lift.
To make it simple, eat something raw, natural and holds a good source of carbs, protein, and fat. Just because muscle and fitness says this jacked guy eats x food x amount of time before a workout doesn’t mean you have to as well. Most importantly, figure out what works for YOU. I could give you a specific macro%, but I hate that. It’s unrealistic. Solid examples can range from bananas, nut butter, whole grain toast, oats, and fruit & yogurt. What is your go to preworkout meal?