We all know that what you eat impacts the hard work you do in the gym. But how important is it really to fuel your workout goals with food? Turns out, it’s pretty crucial. Even though carbo-loading may be a good thing, it’s hard to know what and when exactly you should be eating to prep for a big sweat session. If you have zero idea what to eat for the best workout ever, we’re here for you. With the help of sports dietitian Tara Collingwood, we’ve identified a bunch of different foods for the most common workout goals that’ll help you hit that next fitness milestone faster and stronger.

Workout Goal: Build strength and muscle

2. Low-fat dairy: Vegetarian? No prob. You can totally substitute eggs and low-fat dairy products like Greek yogurt for the meaty and fishy stuff. A little froyo won’t hurt either.

3. High-quality carbs: “Foods like quinoa, oats and whole wheat products provide energy for your workout and help spare the protein you’re consuming to build muscle,” says Tara. If you needed a reason to eat that quinoa bowl or add some whole wheat toast to your morning omelette, you’ve got it. Carbs are your friend!

Workout Goal: Increase endurance

Workout Goal: Maximize fat burn

6. Foods rich in fiber, like veggies: Vegetables are really low in calories but high in fiber, so Tara recommends filling half your plate with them if you’re hoping to lower your body fat percentage. Even for those who aren’t interested in losing weight (which is 100 percent optional and a super personal choice), eating a diet rich in fiber is always a good idea.

Workout Goal: Speed up

The Bottom Line

When it comes down to it, the key to fueling your workout is being conscious of what you’re putting into your body when you want it to perform. “There’s no one food (or group of foods) that will magically create muscle, burn fat or build endurance,” Tara reminds us. “It’s a mix of nutrients and balance of foods eaten at the right times and in combination with the time you spend working out that helps you accomplish your goals.” Basically, there’s no magic food formula you can adhere to that will suddenly turn you into a super-athlete overnight, but being strategic about what you eat and when can help you accomplish your #fitnessgoals ASAP and feel amazing while doing it.

How do you fuel your workouts? Do you notice that what you eat impacts your performance? Let us know @BritandCo!

(Photos via Getty)