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Q: How can I use nutrition to help my exercise performance?

Posted September 04, 2013 in Advice Column, Johnston

A: Getting the right nutrition before, during and after exercise can make all the difference on your energy level and, ultimately, end results. Before you exercise, it’s a good idea to consume some sort of carbohydrate and protein source in order to provide you with adequate energy and to reduce post-exercise muscle soreness.  Also, choose items low in fat and fiber that will be easier to digest. Examples of pre-workout meals or snacks include oatmeal with brown sugar with almonds and skim milk and a banana, or simply a sports drink or gel.

During exercise it’s vital that you take in the proper amount of fluids in order to replace fluid and electrolyte loss through sweat. Most low-calorie sports drinks have the appropriate amount of carbohydrates, electrolytes and fluid to achieve what’s required for workouts lasting an hour. However, those events, especially endurance activity, lasting more than an hour may need an extra carbohydrate source such as a banana or half-jam sandwich during activity.

For post-exercise, it’s necessary to consume carbohydrates, protein and fluid to restore muscle tissue, replenish fluids and replace muscle fuel. Recovery examples include yogurt and berry smoothies or a meal such as stir-fry with lean chicken and veggies with brown rice. For more exercise- related meal and snack ideas, speak with your local Hy-Vee dietitian.

Information provided by Missy Anker, Registered Dietitian, Hy-Vee, 5750 Merle Hay Road, Johnston, 270-9045.

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