The Best Workout Food for You

Many of you have been asking me for an ideal pre-workout food snack, especially in the late afternoon if you are planning on going to the gym, yoga or on a run after work, and need some “oomph” to give you energy and stamina to help you power through.

As usual, the best energy and beauty foods are found in nature. We need not turn to complex, soy protein isolate formulas or “muscle milk” drinks, or the products you get at GNC.  I’d rather look to nature to give me what I need, rather than a synthetic lab.  I urge you to do the same!

Without a doubt, one of the best workout foods I recommend for you is chia seeds. Yes, I’m talking about the same thing you may only have heard of from the “Chia Pet” phenomenon. Well the good news is that you need not grow a “Chia Ram” (admittedly, that is the chia pet I once had!) to get more energy, you just have to soak them and make them into a gel, which will serve as your power workout and beauty gel. You can get chia seeds at your local health market. They’re definitely getting more popular and are pretty common these days.

Chia seeds are an ancient, workout power food. It is said that the Aztec and Incan warriors used to eat them and run long distances between different tribal areas. It was well noted amongst these tribes that the chia seeds gave the warriors stamina and strength.


Today, chia seeds have been scientifically analyzed and we can see the specific nutritional reasons that chia is such an amazing food to carry us through out workouts. By weight, chia seeds contain more omega 3 vs omega 6 fats than salmon, and more calcium than whole milk (which we don’t really assimilate well anyway from dairy, but that is another topic!), along with antioxidants. Chia seeds contain all essential amino acids, making them a complete protein. They also contain important minerals like magnesium and boron. High in both soluble and insoluble fiber, chia seeds also helps promote fullness, without feeling too heavy, and ongoing cleansing.

Chia is an amazing Beauty Detox Food that balances your blood sugar levels and provides, steady energy for hours. I’ve experienced that its ability to keep you full and provide optimal energy has helped my clients ward off sugar and other cravings, especially later in the day when they are stalling to workout and want to eat a treat instead! Instead, I make them my Chia Seed Delight recipe, which is in the recipe section of The Beauty Detox Solution. Basically though, you can soak ¼ cup or so of chia seeds in unsweetened almond milk, and sweeten with stevia. It is delicious! You could also make it into more of a smoothie by adding more almond milk/water, and you could throw some hemp protein in there as well. As long as you wait at least 3 hours after your lunch, which may have some starch in it, it is a great Beauty Food Pairing combo. Seeds also tend to be lighter and less acidic than nuts, so it is okay to have a few hours before dinner.

Chia seeds do an amazing thing: they absorb fluids to swell to 10-15 times their size, creating a gel-like substance that will keep you full for hours. Yes, I said hours. I’ve been known to take a non-breakable container of dry chia seeds on a long hike, then when we get to lunch I soak them right in the container with water out of my water bottle, sweeten with stevia, then eat them like pudding. Guess who’s always charging ahead on the hikes??

Try the amazing chia seed out for yourself!

I just took this picture for you on my porch here in Albuquerque (yes there’s a big  movie shooting out here!). This is my favorite brand of chia seeds: The Chia Co. Their chia seeds are grown in my beloved Australia, and they are fantastic quality!



Last updated: Friday, June 19, 2015
  • Cheryl

    Hi Kim! How soon before my workout should I eat chia seeds? Thanks Cheryl

  • Makia

    How long should we soak them?

  • Julie

    Chia seeds are really tasty. Does it matter which color? – I notice you have the white kind. From what I read, the black and white seeds have identical nutritional values. Any thoughts?
    (Of course they need to be raw!)
    I will try this before working out, especially before running…maybe I can imagine I am running between Inca villages 😉
    Thanks for the great tips,

  • Kathleen

    Hi Kim,

    I think your book is wonderful, and I bought my mom in law a copy of your book and also got my husband to read some of it. I was wanting to know where you can purchase the Chia Co. chia seeds you took a pic of. Also, what brand of spirulina and chlorella do you recommend?


    • justperfect

      Hi…to find the Chia Seeds that Kim uses go to
      everything about the seeds is right there along with other products that they carry…..JP

  • Arielle (Your Vegan Girlfriend)

    Yay! So glad you posted this. I am a runner and have been playing with my nutrition before runs. I have been eating your oatmeal recipe but when I run around 4 or 5 pm I’ve been at a loss of what to do since fruit is out too. Going to try this today and will report back. Thanks so much Kim!

  • Jessica @ Healthy Obsessions

    Thank you for this post! I’ve been wondering what I should eat as a pre workout fuel. I love the Chia Seed delight and I typically make mine with Coconut milk. The recipe is good for two servings!

  • Jen

    Hi Kim!
    I love your book and your blog! So much fabulous information. I have been following a diet for about 5 months now (close to True Beauty without the fruit for yeast issues- someone told me about your book about a month ago). I’ve lost some muscle definition and I am looking to gain some weight and muscle tone back. Would chia seeds before my workouts help? Seems like it would. I also have seen you mention chlorella tablets and hemp protein in previous posts. Is it best to just try one or a combo and see how it works for me?
    Many thanks,

  • chelley

    Thank you so much for sharing, Kim! Can I ask if there is any difference in nutritient content between black and white chia seeds? Also, can I enjoy chia seed pudding before my fruit or green smoothie or shouldI have chia seedat least 3 hours after my greens and fruits? Please help. Thank you so much. =)

  • safia

    I just read your book and i loved it so much!! Ot made so much sense and it fits my vegan belifs perfectly. You are such an inspiration ! :) however how much exercise do you recomend for weight loss? I feel that high intensity workouts make my appetite uncontrollable .. I a big yoga fan and I could do that every day .. I enjoy running and dancing, but according to most magazines and celebs weight training is necessary to get that toned fit look..what’s your opinion on exercise and weight loss?
    Time magazine recently published an article that stated vigirous exercise makes weight loss even harder?

    • catbear

      I’m exactly the same way, a tough workout leaves me ravenous the rest of the day, and I can gain weight that way. Two things that have helped me immensely:
      1) Drinking triphala tea in the mornings and evenings which really helps curb my appetite.
      2) Eating a Lara bar within 45 minutes of working out.
      I am new to Kimberly’s food combining, and not sure if the Lara bar fits the guidelines, it’s dried fruit pureed with nuts. And if I ate it, how long would I have to wait until lunch? I usually finish working out at noon, and eat lunch at 2:00

  • safia

    I’m so confused :(

  • Lynn

    Hey Kimberly, I love your book and have made so many of your recipes! I also drink the GGS every morning. My only problem is that every time I eat avocado I have an adverse reaction, my nose gets itchy and my cheeks get red. This is so frustrating because I love avocado and it’s in a lot of your recipes – do you have any suggestions or alternatives? Also, can you overcome food allergies? Any help would be so great

  • jackie

    HI again,
    Just carrying over my follow-up questions from the prior blog…
    which brand of sprouted bread to you recommend; and
    can you recommend a holistic chef in nyc?

    Thank you!

    • Jeremy

      yes, please, I am having trouble finding sprouted millet bread.

  • Carolina

    Hi Kimberly,

    I just ordered your book in Amazon and I am amazed reading your blog posts!!! I am almost 11 weeks pregnant now and I am wondering what is your recommendation for pregnant women in relation to the detox diet. I would love to begin with it as soon as possible but I am not sure if it is the right time, but I also think that now is the time when I need to eat better and lost those bad habits, Please let me know what do you think.



  • Karise

    Hi Kim!
    I love chia seeds! The question I have is that rather than soaking
    them in water I just add them whole to things eg: oatmeal, salads and muesli. Will I still be gaining the benefits?
    Thanks so much, I love your blog x

  • Morgan

    Oh my God, Kimberly!! I can’t believe you’re in my state!! Welcome! I’m in Santa Fe!

    By the way, I love chia seeds. As you’ve noticed, it’s super-dry here, and I feel like they help keep me more hydrated–maybe it’s the gel or the fact that I have them soaked in liquid, or the omega-3s?

  • Jeremy

    I had a question about putting them in a smoothie, would we be blending the seeds with the almond milk and hemp protein or just adding them after we mix the later two.

  • 3YC

    I am definitely going to try this! Kim, do you have any suggestions for portable workout foods for long runs? I usually eat GU an hour into my long runs but I’d rather switch to real food, as long as it fits in my fuel belt.

  • Marcheline

    Hi Kim,

    Amazon just delivered your book today, so excited to read it! I’ve been reading your blog for a very long time now, and really appreciate all the time you take out of your busy life to help others.

    I have two questions: first, do raw tomatoes combine well with raw nuts or seeds? Second, I have really slow digestion, and one of the things that seems to help is eating very very little fat. These days, I eat almost exclusively fresh fruit and green smoothies. I want to start eating celtic sea salt and raw fat again, but I’m worried that it will clog me up again. Can you recommend a good minimum daily or weekly amount of fat for health? (I don’t want to harm my health my eating too few healthy fats.)


  • J

    Can these be eaten while breastfeeding and/or pregnant?

  • VitaDina! =D

    Hi Kimberly – I have been a follower for quite some time now and I am noticing a lot of repeat questions from some that are somewhat new to you. I know you have done a FAQ’s blog in the past but perhaps you could create a permanent link to your main page to a FAQ’s area that you could just continually add to…. just a suggestion. I hope you are well and enjoying your continued successes…. oh and I’m still patiently awaiting your yoga video… 😉 xx

  • Ken

    Thanks for this! (And everything else—Good Lord, you’re amazing!)
    I’ve been doing the “torture chamber” of Bikram Yoga most mornings, perhaps this will help. I’m new to both Bikram and Kimberly (both in the direct line of Paramahnsa Yogananda!), and still hooked on coffee. Doesn’t exactly go with a ninety-minute workout in a heated room!
    Wish me luck . . .
    Bless you,
    Angel of my kitchen,
    Love and Gratitude,
    Ken Hart

  • rae

    Hello Kim,

    I am in the BB phase and has lost a considerable amount of weight. The thing is I don’t want to lose this much weight. What am I doing wrong? I’m guessing you can’t answer that question. But I’m also guessing that I need Chia seeds in my diet asap and it will help me. What else can I add to my diet to put on more weight?I am down to 95 lbs. I want my boobs (not to mention energy) back, help.

  • Caroline M

    Thank you so much for sharing your information with us. I am starting the blossoming beauty stage, (for yeast issues) and I don’t know what to eat for breakfast. I have to avoid gluten (oats) and also all fruit… What to you think about hemp protein powder? What is hemp ok to eat with? Obviously no fruit , so carbs, protein, fat? Please help, I love your book and blog! You are an inspiration.

    • Cheryl

      Can you drink the glowing green smoothies? That is what I have for breakfast and I know it doesn’t seem like it but if fills me up for atleast 3 hours!

      • Sophie

        Do you really find it fills?

        I’m tempted to try it before a cardio and weight workout for breakfast?

        • Kimberly Snyder

          I do find it filling!

    • Christi

      You could have the raw rolled oat cereal using gluten-free oat groats or raw veggies with a couple of slices of gluten-free, yeast-free bread. These options are both part of the Blossoming Beauty Plan. Also, instead of the oats you could use buckwheat groats.

  • Becky

    Hi thanks for the great ideas. My boyfiend is semi professional athlete and is always looking for energy boosting snacks before he trains. Just a few questions…
    1. how long should I soak the mixture before it can be eaten?
    2. How long before a workout should it be eaten?
    3. Can it be made in advance?
    Any other tips you have would be great.

    I am a huge fan of yours, Thank you in advance!

    • Charlie

      Stir the chia seeds into the water; let them sit for about five minutes.
      Stir again, and let sit for as long as you like. The more it sits, the more gel-like the seeds and water become.
      If you made it in advance it would become more thicker, so best pouring it in water with lemon or Almond milk when you need it.
      As to having it before a work out, I would say 1hr before as its no good for anyone jumping about on a full tummy!
      Hope that helps. x

  • TamaraDT

    Hi Kim!

    I soaked chia seeds on the weekend and was amazed at how they gel together! But I couldn’t get a hold of almond milk and settled for rice milk instead. Is this a bad food combo, even though the rice milk is dilluted?

    Thankyou for posting a blog on chia seeds – I have now found a great afternoon snack for my weekends!

    Tam :)

  • betsy

    I just bought some Chia seeds! excited to try before my spin class tonight, wanted to ask how long before I work out should I have them?

  • Rebecca

    Hi Kim,

    Thanks for the post! I am on the lookout for a healthier pre and post workout supplement. I have been reading your book and making changes to my diet. However, I have difficulty with the “timing” between foods and drink. It seems that there are many good things that I should be eating or drinking daily but with all the “spacing” rules I am hard pressed to get it all in. How do you manage it?


  • shannonmarie (rawdorable)

    Love chia seeds, but for some reason they don’t keep me full like flax does (I would assume the two would work the same). I still eat chia; I just need to eat again sooner than most people. Weird.

    • sherala

      I’m a weird one too! I love chia but it doesn’t keep me full very long either.

      We are not alone :)

  • Jenny

    I love chia seeds, yay! I have a question about the diet. I’m a long time vegan, exerciser, health nut and I’ve been following the beauty detox for the past two weeks. I’m feeling a little flabby though! Do others feel this way initially? The skeptical me thinks it’s all the fruit or lack of protein (I cut out my morning amazing greens protein shake) but I’m going to keep going!

  • CIOL

    This realy good

  • Tammy J

    Hi Kimberly,

    I love all the healthy info and i have the beauty detox bible :)
    The only problem is i no longer receive your emails.

    i dont know why? Also when will your skin care and supplements be available?

    Thank you!!

    Much Love,

  • Vonda

    Here is a Chia Milk I drank for over two years and gave it up a couple of months ago when starting the new way of eating. I plan to try it again in several months. I used it to put in my teccenico every day. The barley in the teccenico was making my system acid, and also I was doing inproper food combining/overeating, using food for comfort.

    Chia Milk

    3 cups water
    4 Tablespoons Chia seeds
    4 raw not roasted walnuts(I store mine in the freezer)
    Soak the above items for eight hours in a covered bowl on the counter or fridge your preference and then
    In the blender add 2Tablespoons of organic Tahini
    2 tablespoons of raw Agave(would change this to Stevia)
    1 teaspoon of vanilla(good quality one)
    and the chia mixture
    Blend and store in fridge up to 4 days(need a strong blender due to unmixed gel from chia seeds)

    I used to add green Hemp powder to the chia milk with banana, berries and one apple

    Now with this excellent Detox plan I am having great results from I will not ever need Green Hemp seed powder or the teccenico again, or inproper mixing of fruit. But I do miss the Chia Milk.

    I feel so much freedom with this new eating plan: Heres some results

    No acid reflux or constipation, I have better digestion for the first time in my life, taking less digestive enzymes and better results with them, more benefit from my probiotics I have always taken, mucus has decreased, IBS has improved, experience real feelings of hunger, No pain in my gut, pain has decreased in my feet, toes, and fingers, less gassy sensations, go to the bathroom several times a day, losing all the built-up debris in my colon, depression/heaviness in feelings has decreased, no more need for anti depressants, more hopeful, skin is improving. Am losing weight and this is from a woman who could not lose a lb, my energy is lighter and my cognitive process has improved.

    Foods I am amazed I don’t miss are cheese, brown rice, nachos, beans, items with a face. I do miss buffalo burgers in lettuce wraps.
    Salad bar at work, green/white tea with sweetner, hummus with pine nuts, pecans, cashews, walnuts, goat milk product, yougart, cottage cheese, ice cream, Eggs, peanut butter, jam, corn on the cob with butter, cornbread/pinto beans, sprouted tofu, Raw Agave and honey, gulten free breads, gulten free mass consciousness desserts.
    Now I understand why I felt so sick in the past and was losing my hair.

    I went on and all day steep hike ending up above tree line with my daughter last week on my day off and I took my appropriate options along in my pack. I was at peace while she ate her yougart, cheese and crackers. I was so proud of my choices.

    My routine so far:
    I get up at 1:30am have my warm lemon water and take my probiotics, then 20 min later I take 2 oxygen mag caps, then head off to work along with 8oz of rooibos tea with lemon to drink on the way to work, I take filtered water to drink during my shift, water at work is loaded with chemicals. Take my vitmans/digestive enzymes at 4:30am
    I drink my ggs at 5am, I have my dinner at 8am which consists of different options below such as a large green salad with hemp seed oil and brags Aminos, or hummus dip made by the recipe in the book, I always have cut up organic veggies, or a stir fry of veggies, always have some fresh organic beeries along to eat on the way home after work at 11:30 am. I work to never eat after 1:30 pm as I go tobed for sleep at 4pm.
    I have expanded and started using Quionia, millet, hemp seeds, miso, and the acia shake. We do not have the frozen ones in the Denver but I found a freeze dried acia powder that has no other items included but the acia berry powder.

    This new lifestyle is an adventuous work in process.

    Kimberly thanks for providing such a great well written tool for creating enhanced health. VLL

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  • Jamie

    So glad I came accross this article… I have been trying to figure out what to do before my morning workout. Currently I am getting up at 5:15am and have a small banana which helps me go to the bathroom. My workout class is at 6:20am and is 30 minutes of weights and cardio. I just feel really weak and wonder if it has something to do with what I’m eating. Of course everything on the internet says to mix a protein and fruit which I know is not right. I could do the chia seeds but wonder if you think that is too much for early in the morning? I really appreciate all your help!!

    • Kimberly Snyder

      Hey Jamie,
      What time are you eating the night before? Your feeling weak could have to do with your overall food and hydration choices. I could not eat for a while, but do yoga and feel okay because of my overall diet. You can try having some chia seeds before, and see if that works better for you than having them after. xx

  • Ford W.

    Thank you, thank you! for answering questions I’ve had for years, for clearing confusion from so many “raw” sites. BIG QUESTION: Love the idea for pre-workout chia…PLEASE…suggest post-run protein/carb replenishment solutions (to refuel muscles, glycogen levels, etc.

  • Mikael

    Is there a taboo with mixing/paring chia seeds and the glowing green smoothie?

  • Katie @ OhShineOn

    How long do you let the seeds soak for in order for the gel-like consistency to form?

  • Charlie

    I mix granulated flaxseeds with my porridge or quinoa in the morning and then have them again at night in a soy yogurt or over my soup. They have really improved my ibs, and indigestion, its amazing!! Can I replace them with the chia seeds and get the same affect, or can I add them in to my diet with the flaxseed. I am going to start running more and the energy thing sounds great. But I do not want to upset my digestive system by going back to been blocked up without the flax, or adding the chia, and putting it lightly, becoming loo bound!

  • Caterina Steckelberg

    Vous avez une grande perception et je vais certainement en train de lire vos autres blogs!

  • Lily Greenfield