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Instant Energy, Calories Not Included

Hate the taste of energy drinks — or the accompanying carbs? According to a study out of New Zealand, you don’t actually have to swallow them to get a strength boost. Researchers had 16 study participants exhaust their biceps by flexing them for 11 minutes. Then they rinsed with either a carb drink or a taste-matched, calorie-free one. Turned out the carb-slugging subjects were able to flex with more force immediately afterward, and they had a 30 percent stronger neural response.

The theory is that the body mistakenly thinks that calories are on the way to the tired muscles, encouraging them to continue working hard. It’s a little weird, but if you’re really counting calories and need an energy jolt midworkout, the rinse and spit method might be worth a shot. Of course, whether your muscles will rebel and start punching you in the face once they realize they’ve been totally duped has yet to be studied.