Are Sour Candies the Perfect Pre-Workout Snack?

You can get some carbohydrate energy from a nutrient-dense smoothie, banana, or bagel before you start your workout. In stark contrast, eating a bag of gummy worms in a gym parking lot doesn't seem like the best move. But with more than 1.2 billion views, sour candy has become the go-to pre-workout snack on GymTok .

As weird as it sounds, people on TikTok swear that eating sour candy — like sour candy bars or gummy worms — is the secret to getting through a tough gym session. Creator @keishaaa says wild cherry sour bars are "the best workout snack ever." She wrote in the comments section that she ate the entire bag and it served as an energy-boosting pre-work prep for her.

TikToker @drsierrehanowski chewed on a few bars before hitting the gym to lift weights, and later reported that her workout was indeed better than usual. Sports nutritionist Kelly Slovin says there may actually be something to this.

Sour bars are convenient, but she says they also taste great and contain the perfect ingredients to fuel your daily routine. Read on for everything you need to know about eating sour candy before a workout, experts say.

Why sour candies give you energy

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"When thinking about a pre-workout snack that'll give you a quick energy boost, you're going to want to look for something made primarily from simple carbohydrates," Slovin tells Bustle, which is Sour Candy to a T.

Simple carbohydrates enter your bloodstream almost immediately, compared to fiber, protein, or fat-rich foods that provide a sustained release of energy. As Slovin explains, this type of candy is easy to digest, can boost your energy, and won't cause any gastrointestinal discomfort like heavier items.

During exercise, your muscles also can't differentiate between energy from sour candy and bananas, Slovin says. Your body breaks down glucose (also known as sugar) in the exact same way to provide energy for your daily life.

"Of course, bananas will provide more nutrients that can be used for other purposes, but when looking specifically at the function of carbohydrates, all sources of simple carbohydrates will produce the same results," she says.

When should you eat sour candies?

To make the most of a delicious pre-workout snack, Slovin recommends eating some gummy worms 15 to 30 minutes before your workout. "Since it's a quick form of energy, it doesn't last as long, especially during exercise," she says, so timing is everything.

As for portion size, "it depends on the candy," she adds. "Aim for a pre-workout snack of approximately 30 to 90 grams of carbohydrates, depending on your individual needs." So read those labels.

Sour Candies as a Snack During Workout

And while you're at it, you might even want to take this bag to the gym. Many people on FitTok eat acid bars during breaks as a way to keep going, but Slovin says snacking during a workout is only really necessary if you're working out, running, or lifting weights for more than an hour.

During endurance exercise, your body uses its energy reserves to fuel your muscles. When these reserves are depleted, you'll start to feel sluggish, which is when refueling with gummy worms may help. "The body gets energy from the carbohydrates in the candy, which can be used quickly during exercise," Slovin says.


Sour candies are easy to keep in your gym bag or running belt and come in handy when you don't have time to eat a meal or snack before heading to the gym. Convenience, quick access to sugar, and the novelty of eating something like sour watermelon are likely reasons for the rise of the trend, Slovin said.

That said, as a nutritionist, she typically recommends eating whole foods when possible, like a handful of granola, pretzels, a banana or some dried fruit. Still, she enjoys sour candies as a pre-workout snack. Remember to eat a nutritious meal when you get home.

Research references:

Hawley, J. A. (2015). Carbohydrate dependence during prolonged, intense endurance exercise. Sports Medicine (Auckland, New Zealand) , 45 (Suppl 1), 5-12.

Hurwick, Alaska (2019). The role of fiber in energy balance. J Nutr Metab. DOI: 10.1155/2019/4983657.

Holesh, J. E. (2023). Physiology, carbohydrates. May 12, 2023. See: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (Florida): StatPearls Publishing; January 2023–. Phone number: 29083823.

Ormsby, M. J. (2014). Pre-exercise nutrition: The role of macronutrients, modified starches, and supplements on metabolism and endurance performance. Nutrients. doi:10.3390/nu6051782.

Rothschild, J. A. (2020). What should I eat before exercise? Pre-exercise nutrition and responses to endurance exercise: Current expectations and future directions. Nutrients. DOI: 10.3390/nu12113473.


Kelly Slovin MS, RD, Sports Dietitian