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WHEELING, IL - SEPTEMBER 19: Halloween candy is offered for sale at a Walgreens store on September 19, 2013 in Wheeling, Illinois. Walgreens, the nation's largest drugstore chain, has been expanding the merchandise offerings at many of their stores to include fresh food and grocery items. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

You don’t have to say no to Halloween candy in order to make monster gains at the gym. In fact, the seasonal treats can be an effective workout fuel, according to Insider and one expert. Dr. Rachelle Reed, senior director of health science and research for Orangetheory Fitness says Halloween candy is “one of those things people think they need to eliminate,” but it doesn’t have to conflict with your fitness goals.

It all comes down to strategic planning. Loading up on carbs before and after exercise can improve performance and support recovery and it turns out, some sweets are more beneficial than others at certain times. Your body needs fuel for energy during your workout and that can be a quick fix of carbs, in the form of candy.

To get the most out of your Halloween candy, this what Reed recommends:

  • Get your sugar fix 30 to 60 minutes before a workout – She suggests eating a gummy or chewy candy before you hit the gym. Reed’s favorites include Sour Patch Kids or Nerds, and she says for best results, go for a treat with about 150 to 200 calories.
  • Save the candy bars for a post-workout treat – The combo of carbs and protein in treats with chocolate, peanut butter and nuts can help boost muscle recovery after you exercise. Reed says the ideal amount is around 200 to 300 calories with 30 to 50 grams of carbs and 20 to 25 grams of protein. She suggests combining your Snickers or Reese’s with your usual post-workout protein snack or shake.
  • Balance is key with seasonal treats – Reed believes in the 80/20 rule of eating healthily 80% of the time and indulging the other 20%. She says no foods are off limits and we shouldn’t label foods as good or bad. And she even gives the green light to sneaking some candy from your kids’ trick-or-treat haul.

Source: Insider