Empty plate with a frown.

What should you eat before and after a barre workout?

I don’t know about you but I love food! That’s all good because it is highly recommended eating before and after your body conditionning. Pre-workout fuel is as essential as post-workout food.

Training on an empty stomach is only a good idea if you want to loose a lot of extra weight. If that is your goal, then it is best to schedule your workout routine early in the morning before breakfast. Otherwise, don’t train being hungry, you will end up lacking energy to finish!

BUT what if waking up at 6am to exercise on an empty stomach is just not going to be part of your plan anytime soon? That is my case! I still want to reap the fat burning benefits from my hard training efforts. I want the best results!

So, what to eat before and after a barre workout? Please note that it depends on your own personal workout goals, the intensity level of your exercising as well as the time of the day you train. We all run on different schedules and have distinct needs, body types and metabolisms, so what works for me may not work for you.

Before my barre training, I avoid:

  • “Healthy” labeled fruit juices, cereals and granola bars that are loaded with natural sugars. Yes, “natural sugars” is still sugar intake and it interferes with the fat burning process.
  • High in sugar products such as cookies, cake, sports drinks etc… that boost up your energy but it quickly fades away. Refined foods cause a spike in your blood sugar levels.
  • I avoid eating a big meal to prevent any stomach digestive discomfort such as acid reflux and gastrointestinal problems. I also feel very sleepy after a large meal.

What to eat before your barre workout?

When possible, it is best to eat light, choosing food that is easy to digest. Then, I wait at least 30 up to 60 minutes before I workout.

When I consume a full heavy meal, I wait 2 to 3 hours. I like taking a walk because it helps with digestion by getting the food moving quicker through the system.

3 essentials

Some proteins

Proteins (eggs, nuts, yogurt, cheese, white and red meat) are crucial for muscle repair and growth. Exercising creates tiny tears in all the sculpting muscles in movement.

Some fats

Healthy fats (avocado, coconut oil, olive oil) make you feel full longer and are an important energy source. However, as mentioned earlier, I keep my portion light and easy to digest. No high-fat meals before your workout. Your body digest fats slower than carbohydrates. Too much fat won’t convert into energy fast enough for your training.

Good carbohydrates

Carbs are our body’s favorite energy source. Quality healthy carbohydrates such as whole wheat foods (pasta, rice and bread) will sustain you throughout your fitness training. As mentioned earlier, bad carbs like white sugar, fruit juices and refined foods such as white bread, are bad for your overall health because they are very low in essential nutrients and turn into fat. The key is your portion size. I try to keep it to 1 cup of carbs each meal.

Tip: if you don’t like whole wheat pasta, cook your white pasta “al dente”! In fact, eating when it is still firm (no longer crunchy), your body slowly digests it and it steadily releases energy. When it’s overcooked, it’s like consuming pure sugar!


Photo by David Mao on Unsplash

Of course, what I eat depends on the time of the day I exercise. I work full time 5 days a week. During work days, I exercise in the morning and during the week-end, I workout late afternoons usually before diner. It can change, depending on what is planned on week-ends.

When I workout in the morning

I am not a big hearty breakfast eater. During the week, I have a cup of coffee with some milk (a café latte), 2 of my favorite organic whole wheat chocolate covered cookies and some fruit such as an apple, kiwi or banana.


Last year, I used to work at night. So on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I was able to go to ballet class around noon. I would eat lunch afterwards. Beforehand (30 minutes before), I would eat a banana and a handful of nuts such as almonds or cashews. Bananas are an excellent source of healthy carbs that would help me keep up in intensity and nuts are healthy fats and a valuable source of proteins.

If you plan to workout at lunchtime, opt for a hearty breakfast with complex carbohydrates, healthy fats and proteins such as oats, a protein shake or scrambled eggs. Keep hydrated!


When I workout in the evening, I make sure I eat a balanced meal at lunchtime that includes:

  • A complex carbohydrate that helps manage blood sugar spikes: whole wheat pasta, rice, bread.
  • Healthy fats: olive oil, coconut oil, avocado.
  • Quality proteins: eggs, beans, chicken/beef.
  • Vegetables that provide the vitamins and minerals I need.

What to eat after your barre training?

After a workout, we need to re-fuel and recover! I congratulate myself by providing my body with some well-deserved food. It’s the ideal time to eat. Do NOT skip eating after your workout thinking that you will burn more calories. Muscles consume the most glucose after a body conditioning.

Recovery post-workout food:

  • Raises your calorie burn rate.
  • Increases your metabolism.
  • Increases your gain in lean muscles.

Protein is the key to fixing all the small tears created in our muscles after a workout. I grab a handful of nuts to eat just after my workout and I make sure I have a rich healthy balanced meal later on, once at home.

Most importantly

Don’t skip drinking water and eating water-rich foods!! Drinking plenty of fluids throughout the day is vital. Dehydration decreases your performance by around 10%. When I was a child, I was very sportive and I remember getting cramps occasionally. I found out later that it was due to dehydration and lack of magnesium. I included more magnesium in my diet by taking a magnesium supplement.

What about you? What do you eat before or after your workout? Please share below your thoughts and experience on the subject!

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  1. Benny says:

    Hello, it is a great and nice feeling to know that someone will create a great website like this and also create a write up on an article like this. I have always made sure that I hydrate myself by taking in as much water as possible. Thank you for this post!

  2. Hori W says:

    I wondered what a ‘barre’ workout was and thankfully, the link explained it thoroughly.
    You explained the necessary foods to eat before a workout (carbs mostly) and also after (protein mostly). I always feel heavy in the stomach if I eat before training but maybe that’s due to my powerlifting training schedule, which requires some heavy lifting. I do notice, my energy does fall away quicker as I become more fatigued and usually, I will just manage to complete my programme. I suppose an egg on toast an hour or so before might help? After the gym, I eat heartily, no problem there! Thanks for the article.

    1. Anne-Caroline says:

      Thanks for your insights! Yes I believe an egg on toast is a great pre-workout choice. Opt for whole grain bread instead of white bread as this latter turns into ‘fast sugar’!

  3. Hamish58 says:

    Gosh!  This is not my natural go to subject being a 61 year old male!  But I was intrigued and so took a proper wander through your website.  I have without doubt extended my knowledge as  result.  By the way you write well in a very engaging way so it is really easy to enjoy being on your website.

    More importantly I am a father of 1 boy and 4 girls and three of the girls are involved ion dance and or exercise in one way or another.  I am pointing them at this site as I know they will be very interested in the fusion of ballet Pilates and Yoga to be found in Barre Floor exercises.

    Thanks I enjoyed this far more than was my initial expectation! 

    Hamish 🧐

    1. Anne-Caroline says:

      Thank you so much for your comment!! So glad you enjoyed surfing on my website and learn about barre fitness!! 🙂

  4. Faheem says:

    You are so right about the importance of taking a(n appropriate) meal before and after training.
    When I was young I used to practice kickboxing. And because I just didn’t know any better there were times when I did not prepare properly for the training by eating the right things in advance and I ended up becoming dizzy and having to stop mid-training because I just had no energy inside me.

    1. Anne-Caroline says:

      Exactly!! Thank you for your comment!!

  5. Harish says:

    Your suggestion is very helpful for everyone wishing to get fit while eating and doing exercise. I am much aware about my diet. I really appreciate your guide. I am doing exercises on a daily basis and feeling awesome. I reduced my intake. I mostly do exercise before breakfast to lose some extra weight. Very supportive guide.

  6. Creators Hub says:

    Wow! its so refreshing to learn that nuts have valuable protein that can help restore tissues after a work out! Now you may be wondering why this is such a comforting information for me? Well i have been concerned about my protein intake since i went vegan few months ago and i have been carefully seeking out a balanced nutrition that would suit my vegan lifestyle. Also i have been practicing Yoga also and the intensity keeps me alert and conscious of what i should eat after each session. Obviously work out, diet and nutrition form go hand in hand and form the basics of good health, fitness and spirituality. Its awesome to learn about the barre workouts here! Haha it’s indeed a very practical fitness option that is rather convinient to practice at home and i percieve the efficiency is high in fitness results. Indeed i will share this article with my folks. THANKS for gifting your experience out to help others. I really appreciate all i’ve learnt. In fact you just made my day. Cheers!

    1. Anne-Caroline says:

      Thank you for sharing my article and commenting! So happy you’ve learned about nuts!!! That’s great!

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