The popularity of active lifestyle and proper nutrition is growing every day. Along with this, the popularity of sports nutrition keeps growing, too. It has become the basis of the daily diet not only for athletes, but also for amateurs. You will not surprise anyone with supplements to the main meals that improve strength indicators and are the fastest and most effective way to get into perfect shape. The range of sports nutrition is huge and you need to decide specifically on what suits your body and does not harm it.
What is sports nutrition?
Sports nutrition is nutritional supplements that are created specifically for people involved in sports or other activities. They serve as an additional source of proteins, fats and carbohydrates, as well as vitamins, minerals and amino acids. Today, it is impossible to stick to a balanced diet, given the fast pace of life, the constant rush and the synthetic nature of products. With the help of sports nutrition, you can eliminate the deficiency of vitamins and minerals, as well as improve physical performance, and achieve faster and better results in sports. After all, sometimes the body simply does not have enough of its own resources.
There are many myths covering this topic. Most often, they appear because of ignorance. For example, there is an idea that sports nutrition is needed only for gaining muscle mass. This is not true. Sports supplement manufacturers create products for people who respect their health, want to feel and look good. The second myth is related to the fact that sports nutrition consists of pharmacological preparations. No, sports nutrition does not change the metabolic processes in the body and, if taken correctly, has no side effects.
Types of sports nutrition
Depending on the type, sports supplements perform specific functions in the body. A clear understanding of the purpose of their use will bring you the most effective result. All sports nutrition can be divided into the following types:
Protein is an element that our body needs to build tissues of all organs, muscles, bones and the body as a whole. It is very difficult to get the required amount of protein from food every day, so protein is consumed by mixing it with milk or water. The task of the protein is to catalyze chemical processes in cells and normalize metabolic processes in the body. Its deficiency leads to different issues, such as a weakening of the immune system or impaired mental activity.
Creatine is an amino acid that is able to accumulate energy in human muscles, as well as increase its endurance due to the accumulation of ATP. Adenosine triphosphoric acid is a universal source of energy for all biochemical processes in the body. Creatine also plays a role in muscle building.
Amino acids are an integral part of protein that accelerate the recovery time of muscles damaged during physical exertion. There are essential and non-essential amino acids. The former are synthesized in the body, while the latter must be supplied with food. It is thanks to amino acids that our body builds new cells and repairs damaged tissues.
Gainers are carbohydrate-protein mixtures designed for weight gain without fat deposits. The supplement is very well absorbed by the body and recommended for those who want to quickly gain weight. But people who are prone to excess weight should use this type of sports nutrition with caution. Gainer also helps increase the efficiency of the body.
Fat burners are special supplements aimed at the rapid breakdown of subcutaneous fat. There are three types of them: thermogenic, lipotropic and fat blockers. Fat burners reduce appetite, accelerate metabolism and the breakdown of fats. Sports supplement manufacturers create fat burners for those who are prone to rapid weight gain. The effectiveness of the supplement is observed in combination with physical activity.
Glutamine is an amino acid found in muscle fibers. The use of this supplement leads to an increase of gamma-aminobutyric acid in the body, which is necessary for a person for normal brain function. Glutamine also plays a role in maintaining acid-base balance.
In addition, there are pre-workout complexes, L-carnitine, isotonics and gels.
How to take sports nutrition
- Protein powder is taken on the days of physical and power loads one hour before and after training. The daily dosage is 1.5 g of protein per 1 kg of the athlete’s weight. Exceeding the norm can become a waste of the supplement, as the excess will be excreted from the body naturally.
- Amino acids. Their daily dose depends on the amount of protein consumed, as well as the intensity of training. Most often, 10-30 grams per day are divided into 3-4 doses: in the morning 20 minutes before or within half an hour after meals, as well as before training and 15 minutes after it.
- Creatine is used if mass growth has stopped and there is no additional strength for training. The body is able to absorb as little as 50 mg of the supplement per 1 kg of body weight without physical exertion. That is, you can take up to 6 g of creatine daily. With active sports, the dose increases to 20 grams per day. It is mixed together with a protein shake, amino acids or a gainer.
- Gainer should be taken after training, which will reduce the effect of catabolism. On non-training days, the gainer is taken in the morning and in the afternoon, but not at bedtime. It can be diluted with water, milk and even juice. The dosage for men with 4 meals a day is calculated as follows: for every 10 kg – from 14 to 16 grams of the supplement. For women with a similar amount of meals – up to 14 grams of the product.
- Fat burners. Thermogenic and lipotropic supplements are taken 2 times a day – in the morning and half an hour before active training. Depending on the composition of the supplement and the amount of active substances, the daily dose may vary from 1 to 8 capsules. Fat blockers are taken 10-15 minutes before meals, but not more than once a day.
- Glutamine is best taken 2 times a day – immediately after training and on an empty stomach before bedtime, dividing it into doses of 4-8 grams. On non-workout days, take glutamine at lunch and before bed.
How to choose
Despite the fact that sports nutrition complements the main diet, its choice should be approached with extreme caution. With a wide variety of sports vitamins, you can easily get confused and pick up not what you need. Then it will be impossible to achieve the desired result.
Before buying, decide on the purpose of taking sports nutrition. For some people, this will be weight loss, for others – weight gain, improvement in athletic performance. Someone will be generally looking for a supplement for recovery after heavy physical exertion or injury. Also pay attention to the level of activity: whether you are working out in the gym, just taking a walk, or doing nothing but morning exercising. This will be your starting point for choosing a particular supplement.
Novice athletes are worried about where to buy sports nutrition: in a store or online. Sports supplement manufacturers supply their products to various points of sale and marketplaces. But buying sports nutrition on the Internet has several significant advantages:
- The price is lower than in the store. This is due to the fact that offline points of sale increase the price in order to recoup rent, salaries to employees and taxes to the state.
- You can order at any time of the day. Due to lack of time, some people cannot physically get to the store, so the ability to order sports nutrition online is almost the only selection criterion for them.
- The range is much larger than in stores. And this means that you can order all the necessary vitamins in one place.
- Discounts and promotions and various bonus programs are available for new and regular customers.
Today, sports nutrition is taken not only by athletes, but also by those who are worried about their health. By adding it to the main diet, you saturate the body with deficient vitamins and trace elements. But in order for sports nutrition to be beneficial, you need to take its choice very seriously, selecting it individually. Decide on the purpose, take into account the level of daily physical activity, and also choose only high-quality supplements. Protein, amino acids, creatine, fat burners, L-carnitine – the range is large. Your health is only in your hands, so choose and take sports supplements responsibly.