If you lift weights, you’ve got to fuel your body—but no matter what you choose to eat, chances are somebody at your gym will tell you your choice of snack is the wrong one. So what is the “right” thing to eat when working out? And does it really matter when you eat it? How food fuels your workout

To be clear, we’re talking about nutrition around workouts that involve lifting weights. If you’re going for a long run , a bike ride, or a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workout along the beach, your nutritional needs will likely differ.

And the truth is, not everyone needs to eat before a workout, especially if it’s just a light workout. Most of us simply don’t train hard enough or frequently enough to warrant a five-course meal prior, and your body already has energy stored as glycogen in the liver and muscles. “The advantage of getting calories [around your] workout [is that they] will ‘spare’ some of these internal stores and prolong your time to exhaustion ,” says Trevor Kashey , PhD, a biochemist and nutrition consultant.

Other factors that depend on whether you should eat and how much to eat are: How long it has been since your last meal

How much body fat you have

Your underlying health conditions and the medications you are taking

How long your workout will be When you work out More simply, if you’re doing regular heavy strength training and trying to get super strong, eating something […]