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The Best of Supplements & Sports Nutrition in 2021
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Also see: Amino Acids, Bodybuilding Supplements, Creatine, Fat Burners, General Health, Nitric Oxide Boosters, Post-Workout, Pre-Workout, Protein Bars, Cookies and Snacks, Protein Powder, Supplement Stacks, Testosterone Boosters, Weight Loss Supplements & Vitamins & Minerals.
Supplements are now part of sports nutrition. They can be used in addition to a well-balanced diet to add focused nutrients for a certain fitness goal.
Supplements come in different forms and they target various areas of training, recovery, muscle gain, or weight loss. Most supplements used in sports nutrition fall into one of the following categories.
Protein powder is a micronized supplement with concentrated protein. It’s made from foods such as milk, peas, or meats, mainly for their high protein concentration. Protein powder supplementation is used for endurance, muscle gain, and strength gain. Each supplement of this type comes with a recommended serving size. A scoop or serving of protein powder is mixed with water or milk. It should not be used to replace foods high in protein such as eggs, fish, meats, milk, or peas.
Amino acids are considered to help the body stop protein breakdown in muscles. Branched-chain amino acids (BCAA) are the building blocks of protein. Typical BCCAs include leucine and isoleucine. These supplements come in a micronized form or tablet form, typically taken with water.
Creatine naturally occurs in the body. It’s used as a supplement for added energy at the cellular level. Typical sources of creatine for creatine supplements include beef and fish.
Fat burners come in all types of formulations. Thermogenic supplements are a type of fat burners. They impact thermogenesis or the way the body creates heat. In turn, this aids fat burning and weight loss efforts.
While some fat burners advertise all-natural ingredients, it’s still important to take them with caution. These can be some of the most problematic supplements and taking advice from a dietitian or a doctor is advisable before considering supplements for weight loss.
Pre-workouts contain amino acids, caffeine, green tea, or other ingredients that give energy. These supplements are taken before a workout with the role of boosting energy levels. Made in a micronized powder or tablets, pre-workouts are considered energy-boosting supplements for higher performance during a workout. Most pre-workouts are taken around 30 minutes before a workout.
Vitamins and minerals
Vitamins and minerals are essential to the body. They are available as supplements. Vitamins don’t offer energy but they can be considered for a healthier body and a healthier life.
Fitness enthusiasts take vitamins and minerals in a combined formulation or on their own. Pure Vitamin C is often used to boost the immune system. Multivitamins are considered by those who want a more practical alternative with a selection of vitamins.
Most vitamins should be taken under the recommendation of a dietitian, as most supplements. Good vitamins and minerals for muscles include.
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin B12
- Vitamin C
Omega 3 fatty acids
Omega 3 fatty acids are used to protect the health of the joints. Regular fitness sessions impact the body and they can harm joint wear. This is where healthy fats such as Omega 3 fatty acids are turned into supplements. Fitness fans and athletes take Omega 3 fatty acids in certain periods of intense training.
Electrolytes or essential minerals support various organs and functions of the body. Types of electrolytes include sodium, potassium, and calcium. In the right concentration, they play an irreplaceable role in health. For example, sodium helps send nerve impulses and it also helps with muscle contractions.
Weight gainers are mixed supplements to add calories to a diet. Such supplements are normally used by those looking to gain weight. Most weight gainers use a combination of protein and carbohydrates to add caloric intake to daily nutrition. They aren’t the healthiest supplements but they can be a solution for some people who find it difficult to gain weight.
Sports recovery drinks often use a combination of different supplements listed above. They typically come with electrolytes and vitamins. Some recovery drinks even include carbohydrates which are turned into a quick source of energy muscles need after intense workouts.
5 Considerable Supplement Mistakes
Supplements can be considered similar to foods. As with foods, too much or too little of a given nutrient can be troublesome. Apart from servings control, you can also learn from the following common supplement consumption mistakes.
- Taking too much
Taking too many supplements can be troublesome. Serious health conditions from taking multiple servings are rare. Skin rashes are among the first signs of taking too many supplements. It’s best to only take supplements in the serving size recommended by the manufacturer.
- Taking random supplements
Taking all types of supplements in hope of better health and fitness is not the best approach. For example, some vitamins are not even fully absorbed. Protein is only absorbed to a certain limit as well. But taking all types of supplements is not recommended. It’s best to discuss supplementation with dietitians or doctors.
- Not reading directions and nutritional information
Supplements are required to have a nutritional label. This is where consumers find out about the ingredients in a certain supplement. Sugar is one of the main ingredients to avoid in supplements as it can lead to a different type of health conditions such as diabetes.
- Taking vitamins on an empty stomach
Some vitamins are fat-soluble. For example, Vitamins A, D, and E only dissolve in fat. This is why most people should not take vitamins on an empty stomach as they simply won’t be absorbed.
- Neglecting real wholesome foods
Even the best supplements have limited results when it comes to health benefits without real foods. Those into fitness need to eat balanced foods regularly as the main source of nutrition. Protein, vitamins, and minerals should come from foods first. Supplements only supplement good diets.
Here is the ultimate short guide on what you should be doing as you start your journey in supplements:
There’s no one size fits all type of thing that one can implement and get good results in a snap. Let us help set the path for you in creating a solid foundation of knowledge on how you should navigate your wellness journey.
1. Identify your goal
On top of having to choose what food to eat and which supplements to take, you must pin down your goals. May it be to gain muscles, improve endurance, enhance strength, it needs to be established. One cannot create a plan if its components are not aligned with the end goal. Remember to do this with your coach, trainer or even your mentor. Classify your goals to effectively build a plan for your body and sports performance.
Also, avoid filtering your weaknesses. You must be keen in looking at your areas of improvement so you can tuck those into your program or training, for you to reach your goals. Lastly, the smartest way to go is choose the right coach or trainer. Search for someone who is equipped enough to put your plans together so you can move forward and achieve your goals in no time.
2. Have the right fuel
Top of the list is talking about food. Some who would want to get immediate results with their bodies would jump right off and forget about food completely. It is essential though to focus on the quality of your meal, it must be one of your top priorities.
There can never be a perfect combination of food across the board for all people. But the common denominator of it all is the quality of your macronutrients. Excellent sources of carbohydrates, protein and fat kick off a solid foundation that the body needs before, during and after workout. It assembles the pathway and chemical processes that your body requires to achieve great results. It is equally important to consider the adequate amount of vitamins and minerals. These entities are needed by the body for rapid restoration and cell repair that makes up the exquisite combination of strength, stamina, and endurance.
Don’t forget to be accountable of your calories, because not all calories are created equal. You might be getting equal number of calories from donut when you compare it with avocado toast. But quality of one speaks volume when fuelling and recovery is at stake.
Consider your hydration as well. When a person is more active, the body demands for more fluid to allow normal blood flow and replenishing of electrolytes lost from sweat. Gone are the days when healthcare professionals will call you out for not getting 8-10 glasses of water. Each body has a different demand for water, anchored with the level of physical activity.
3. Be smart with the supplements you might need
Supplements should not replace your meals. Dietary supplements are there to further enhance the physical performance and to proactively support recovery after training or workout. It has come to a wide selection, from bars, capsules, and shakes to name a few.
Supplements should be targeted to your goals. In building muscles, BCAA (branch chain amino acid), L- arginine, creatine and glutamine are few of the supplements that are proven by research to be effective and completely safe in acceptable doses.
In choosing supplements that are right for you, think of your dynamics. If you are preparing to compete for a long run, gels would be your best friend. If you are into body building and weight training, shakes and bars are your top options. Each form of these supplements is curated in which activity you are bound to do. It’s always up to you to make the smart choice.
Recently, phytonutrient supplements are making a scene in Sports Nutrition. The rise of phytonutrients and its effect to carbohydrate metabolism and natural fat-burners are both known to be effective in conditioning the body in the aspect of growth and repair. These phytonutrients serve as the antioxidants that reduce oxidative stress in the body to allow full recovery after an intense physical activity, may it be a normal work out or post- competition or race.
It is only right for you to consider if the supplements you have will take a toll in the long run. Be keen in reading the ingredients list and its recommended dose before heading on to regular intake. Also, be mindful of the potential side effects that might appear. Allocate a good amount of time in researching its benefits and other relevant information you can find.
4. Don’t underestimate the power of recovery
It’s no doubt that a person would want to have an over-do of training or work out if the body is at its peak. However, the cells need to recover in a decent amount of time after a strenuous training or after a race/ competition. Even during the training phase, body needs time to recover.
Recovery period is proven to promote muscle growth and repair. At this phase, the body actively supports immune function. During this time, the body effectively adapts to the training and level of physical activity that you are currently engaging. For some, recovery involves total absence of strenuous physical activity, yoga, or active stretches to help cells recover smoothly.
There are a bunch of information that one needs to know about Sports Nutrition. Now that you have a few aces up your sleeves, you are now more equipped in channelling the health goals that you have in mind.
Sports nutrition and supplements often go hand in hand. Some of the best supplements are those that are third-party tested.
Since not all supplements need to be regulated, it’s best to choose products that have been third-party tested and approved.
Information on product testing should be available on the label.