Eat for Energy: 3 Smart Strategies for Fueling Your Workout
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Eat for Energy: 3 Smart Strategies for Fueling Your Workout

What should you eat if you want the energy to work out without consuming too many calories? An expert weighs in.

Lona Sandon, R.D., explains the best ways to fuel your workouts -- without thwarting your weight-loss goals. 


If your last meal was more than five hours ago, have a 100- to 200-calorie snack 30 minutes before your workout. Liquids digest faster, so try milk, juice, Gatorade, or half a smoothie (keep it low-cal by choosing plain, low-fat yogurt and fruit and skipping syrups, powders, and other additions).


You need a snack during your workout only when you're hustling for more than 90 minutes. Your best bet? A 100-calorie carb boost, like a handful of jelly beans or a sports gel such as Gu.


Ideally, reach for a snack that combines carbs and protein to aid recovery. Second best: carbs with fiber (like fruit). If your next meal is less than three hours away, be sure your snack is under 200 calories; try an energy bar with at least 3 grams of filling fiber, half a bagel with peanut butter, or low-fat chocolate milk.


Originally published in FITNESS magazine, September 2006.