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What should I eat before and after a workout? 

Proper nutrition before and after a workout can make a big difference in how your body responds to the work you do. Sports performance manager Mackie Shilstone recommends five foods that will prepare your body for exercise and five that can replenish the nutrients lost during exercise.

To give your body the fuel it needs for a productive workout, Shilstone suggests the following:

• Water - Start hydrating two to three hours before training. Aim for at least 16 ounces (two cups) of fluid at this time, and an additional eight ounces (one cup) 10 to 20 minutes prior to your workout.

• Trail mix - The dried fruit will provide you with healthy sugars for a quick energy boost, while the seeds and nuts will prevent your insulin level from dropping.

• Bananas - high in potassium but also a quick energy source Carbohydrate gel packs - They provide a dose of concentrated carbs that are absorbed into your bloodstream faster. Ideal for runners and any other athletes who require quick bursts of energy to make it through high-intensity workouts.

• Whey Protein - quick-digesting protein, which means your body will quickly get the amino acids it needs.

According to Shilstone, proper post-workout nutrition is just as essential as what you eat before working out. To make the most of your fitness routine, try these healthy snacks after exercise:

• Water - Be sure to drink enough to replace losses due to perspiration; 16-24 ounces per pound of sweat lost. You should be able to determine this by weighing yourself before and after the workout.

• Sports drink - replaces carbohydrates and electrolytes quickly if exercising vigorously.

• Whey Protein - quick-digesting protein that aids in muscle growth and repair post- workout.

• Simple carbohydrates - essential to building adequate glycogen stores for recovery and continued training; examples -- baked chips, Chees' Its, pretzels.

• Low-fat chocolate milk - quick and easy; good carb-protein mix to aid in recovery.

For more information on fitness and nutrition, contact The Fitness Principle with Mackie Shilstone at East Jefferson General Hospital at 504.457.3100 or go to www.ejgh.org/thefitnessprinciple.

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