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The New Fitness Rules

Think you know the drill on shaping up and slimming down? Think again. Find out how the latest science is rewriting the rule book on everything, including maximizing your fat burning and acing your running form, so you can finally reach your goal.
woman with headphones eating peanut butter Should You Eat Before a Workout?

Old school: Exercising on an empty stomach will burn more fat.

New rule: Have a 150-calorie jump-start meal an hour or two before your workout.

Ever force yourself through a workout, even though you were starving, simply because you thought you would tap into those fat stores faster? Next time, eat up. The latest research in the International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism found that exercisers who ate breakfast before treadmilling for 36 minutes had a significantly higher fat-burning rate for as long as 24 hours compared with those who ate post-workout, even though both groups consumed the same number of calories during the day. Plus, a recent report in the Strength and Conditioning Journal concluded that when you start off with a grumbly tummy, there's no fat-burn advantage: You won't be able to go as intensely or burn as many calories, and you'll also lose more muscle. Pre-workout, nosh on these easy eats from Nancy Clark, RD, the author of Nancy Clark's Sports Nutrition Guidebook: a banana and a half cup of plain low-fat yogurt, or a whole wheat English muffin with a half tablespoon of peanut butter.