Sports Nutrition is a thing that seems to cause a lot of confusion amongst people. What supplements can I take? How much protein I need? Do I need pre-workout supplements? What can I take to optimize my energy and recovery after exercise? There are many things on offer that can help with all of these to help you get the most out of your performance and see the best results.
How Important is Sports Nutrition for Me?
People have different needs when it comes to sports nutrition, dependent on what it is that their goals are. Here I will discuss some of the most popular and necessary supplements.
One of the most popular additives to help with sports nutrition is a good protein powder. We, as humans require .8grams of protein per 1kg of body weight and that can increase to 1 or 1.2grams if someone is active, or weightlifting. This can be hard to get through the diet sometimes. Most protein powders can contain about 20grams or more of protein meaning it can be useful for either adding to a meal, substituting a meal and/or for recovery after exercise. Vegans and vegetarians in particular can find it hard to make their protein requirements as meat is the highest form of it found in the diet. There are many vegan and vegetarian protein supplements on the market making it easy for people to get their adequate sports nutrition.
Magnesium is involved in over 300 functions in the body and has a very important role in sports nutrition, in that it helps with energy metabolism and normal muscle function. Magnesium helps the body uptake glucose helping to increase energy through sports. It also helps with protein synthesis. Studies have also shown that as physical activity goes up so does a need for magnesium.. Magnesium also helps the body recover from exercise by preventing and helping to clear the build up of lactic acid therefore making it an important addition to someone’s sports nutrition regime.
L-arginine is another popular supplement in the sports nutrition world. It is responsible for the production of nitric oxide which helps to improve blood flow which in turn helps the delivery of nutrients to muscles and aids in waste removal. L-arginine also helps to increase the levels of growth hormone in the body, which can help increase and maintain muscle mass.
BCAA’s are a combination of three amino acids leucine, isoleucine and valine. This trio of amino acids has been studied to be the best combination for helping to build muscle mass, and maintain muscle mass while dieting making it a useful addition to a sports nutrition programme.
Creatine is another popular sports nutrition supplement. It is found naturally in muscle cells and helps the muscles to produce energy. Our biggest source of creatine in the diet is through meat consumption meaning vegans and vegetarians can see massive improvements while supplementing with creatine. With a proper amount of creatine in the muscles, they produce more ATP, which is often called the energy currency of the muscle. The more you have of this the better you can perform. Creatine also helps other cellular processes which can help increase muscle mass, strength and recovery. It is also responsible for an increase in anabolic hormones, increases cell hydration, reduce the breakdown of protein, and improved cell signalling which aids in more muscle repair and growth.
Omega 3 fish oils are another useful additive to a sports nutrition programme. Omega 3 is not synthesised by the body and so must be taken in the diet. From a sports nutrition perspective they help to keep joints lubricated which is important when someone is participating in an exercise programme. They are also anti-inflammatory meaning they help and muscle synthesis. They also help with recovery and minimise harmful inflammation and free radicals in the body that are produced through exercise. They also keep the arteries clear meaning more oxygen can freely get through to the working muscles and heart.