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Fuel Up: The Best Pre-Workout Foods

Heading to the gym on empty? Better fill your tank: Snacking about an hour before a sweat session lets you work out longer and harder. To help you get your rear in gear, we reviewed more than 180 new snacks. Our eight winning picks provide complex carbs, which break down slowly to deliver continuous energy, and list either fruit or a whole grain as their first ingredient. And because they come in at 200 calories or fewer and contain no more than six grams of fat, they're easy to digest. Go ahead, eat and run.
Water bottles, dumbbell, iphone, headphones, pre-workout snacks Dynamic Duo

While carbs give you energy to ace your workout, protein helps build and maintain lean muscle, explains Stephanie Middleberg, RD, who says you need between six and eight grams to get the benefits. Pair any of these snacks with a hard-boiled egg, string cheese, or a cup of chocolate milk to go the distance -- and look good while doing it.

What Makes a Winner
Companies submitted 189 new snacks to FITNESS. Our experts -- Anar Allidina, RD, a dietitian in private practice in Toronto; Keri Gans, RD, the author of The Small Change Diet; and Stephanie Middleberg, RD, the founder of Middleberg Nutrition in New York City -- helped us determine which ones should move on to the next round. Those finalists were sampled and voted on by FITNESS staffers.