Sports nutrition is an everyday business, just like toothpaste, washing powder, deodorant, or clothing. These are sold, advertised and marketed to the masses. Toothpaste has different flavours, and delivers a range of different effects and outcomes. It is just the same with sports nutrition.
If you are just starting out training, with so many different options, brands, and choices available, it can be quite confusing. All you know for certain is that you want a sports nutrition product which is effective and can deliver results quickly. In this article, I am going to tell you about the most significant sports nutrition categories, with a hope that this will make it easier for you the next time you are looking to buy sports nutrition. You will learn what to buy, for what benefits, rather than just opting to buy the most expensive products or brands.
So I don’t repeat certain points in each category, to begin with, I will just give you some general information. I must say at this point quite openly that sports nutrition can be overrated. Overall, it does bring some benefits, that is not being questioned, but it doesn’t do everything for you. This, of course, is not how some magazines and health advertisements would have you believe.
There was a recently documentary by the BBC called Sports Supplements; No, Great Shakes? Which confirmed this viewpoint. Equally, scientific research does not also give clear evidence of the overall effectiveness of sports nutrition, although there are some very limited exceptions to this statement.
The best way of looking at sports nutrition is an addition to workouts, diet, and rest. It is often considered that sports nutrition will have a greater effect on those individuals who eat and sleep less often because they are getting a lack of nutrients and therefore energy. Both of these which can be compensated for through sports nutrition. However, if you are well organised and have a good daily regime, you may not benefit greatly from this. There is a myriad of comparisons on the subject of sports nutrition with anabolic steroids, some people think that if you are taking sports nutrition, then you are taking a product similar to steroids, which couldn’t be further from the truth. To compare the two is just as crazy as comparing the speed of an F1 car with that of a bicycle.
Sports nutrition is more like an additive, and anabolic steroids are drugs which are used to build muscle mass and strength. It is important to remember that anabolic steroids in sports are prohibited and are considered to be dangerous to your health, they are not a type of sports nutrition.
Below is a list of the most popular sports nutrition categories. Pay close attention to the first three! They are the most frequently used and receive the best feedback from the athletes who use sports nutrition. I would advise you to proceed with caution and be careful with new products such as ultra-filtered proteins, and creatine with xy particles, those things which come with resonant names or advertise a new formula. Often these deliver the same results, and just come with a minute new ingredient or smell which doesn’t actually deliver anything special, but it does carry a new price tag, often higher.
Multivitamins and Minerals
Vitamins and minerals help the body with its normal everyday functions; they support growth and development and act as regulators. Each vitamin and mineral has its own specific function. In this category, I would like to also include Omega – 3 fatty acids, although they are neither a vitamin or mineral, they have received a lot of positive feedback.
If you eat a healthy, balanced diet, and you have no health problems, then there is no need to use this all year round. They actually become more relevant in the winter season when there are less fresh fruit and vegetables readily available. It is important to be careful not to overdo it with vitamins. There are many different products which are available with a high vitamin and calorie density, these are created by those people who use anabolic steroids because they have big workout loads and an increased need for nutrients. To natural athletes, an increased dose such as this will not deliver any kind of advantage.
After all, any surpluses will all end up as waste. It is important to consider the price – vitamins are vitamins. But for some reason, vitamins in sports nutrition stores are differently priced than those in the pharmacy, so it is worth considering the best place, or outlet, that you can purchase your sports nutrition from.
Without a doubt, proteins are the most popular type of sports nutrition. A lot of people think that the protein in itself grows muscles, but this is not true. If you want to build muscle, then you need to get more protein from your diet. Not all people want, or are able to eat in such a way. It is, therefore, important to know that a deficit in protein can quite easily be offset by taking protein shakes, which are much easier to prepare. You only need a shaker and water, and normally you only take these once or twice each day. With protein powders, around 60-80% will consist of protein, vitamins and some additional amino acids.
The major raw material is milk whey, otherwise known as whey protein. However, it is also a protein from meat, eggs, hemp, rice, and soy for example. Make sure not to overpay. At first, start with the simplest and cheapest option, with predominantly whey protein. After you’ve had this for a while, then consider trying something else.
Creatine is actually a substance which is naturally occurring in the body, and also something that we can pick up from food. It helps in the production of energy, power, and also in speed sports activities. Of course, most people would like to either run faster or lift more so it makes sense that creatine in its artificial form can be a useful addition. It can increase your body weight, but often it is mostly the water that is retained from creatine that causes this, although, there are some newer versions of creatine which claim to have eliminated this problem.
If you decide to use creatine, remember that is better to pick this up along with carbohydrates, and also not to continually use this for a prolonged period of time. If you are advanced, then sometimes creatine will have little or no effect on you at all. Moreover, if you have any concerns with your kidneys or a family history of any such related conditions, it is not recommended to use this product. On a final note, please always pay careful attention to the quality of the product and the associated ingredients as there have been some studies which show that certain manufacturers’ products can contain unfriendly substances.
We could also say that Gainer is a protein which contains carbohydrates and a little bit of some other substances such as vitamins and creatine, for example. Gainers are ideally suited to those who are thin, or who do not have the time to eat properly, meaning they cannot pick up all of the required nutrients from their normal everyday diet. The protein and carbohydrate ratio may be a different relation 1: 1 to 1: 5.
And, in some gainers, there is a large portion of added carbohydrates in the form of a simple sugar, which is only occasionally hiding behind clever names. It is for this reason that there are many people who will choose not to use a gainer.
Alternatively, they prepare themselves a calorie-rich shake, or just take sugar along with some other delicious products. It is, therefore, a better choice to select a gainer with more complex carbohydrates. Although they are slightly more expensive, they are much better all round. The thinner you are, the more of carbohydrate-rich type of gainer you will need. If you are susceptible to obesity, then gainers are not suited for you.
It is best to begin with a basic protein, as most of these consist of amino acids, only if they have been isolated in their purest form. This way the absorption process is much more efficient and is better for you as it will help you to recover faster. Additionally, a range of amino acids can be combined, these are sold to help you deliver specific goals with the one of the options being the complex amino acid. It contains all non-essential and essential amino acids; separate amino acids such as arginine or glutamine; BCAA (branched chain amino acids), consisting of three amino acids – leucine, isoleucine and valine is also another option which is available to try out. Each of the amino acids in the body has a different function.
They are all available in liquid, powder, and capsule form, but is a very expensive product. So if you are going to buy this, make sure you understand the benefits, and that they are worth this extra price tag.
A good example of these is ZMA and plant extracts. These are meant to naturally elevate levels of the male hormone – testosterone. Some of these are popular among users of anabolic steroids. For example, with plant extracts; Tribulus trerestris is commonly used at the end of a steroid cycle, in order to quickly restore testosterone back to their natural levels. It is rare to hear a lot of positive feedback about these confirm that they help natural gym goers build muscle. Rather, it has been most known to help with a person’s sex drive and not muscle building.
Weight Loss Supplements
I always wonder what to say to these types of products. Thinner isn’t always better, healthier is best. With the majority of these products, they are not to be taken as a remedy on their own, they are best as an accompaniment to a good diet and a good exercise routine. Some of these types of products can help to give you a little more energy, some might make you feel better, others will increase the perspiration during exercise. However, if you only take the supplements, it’s likely that nothing will really change. Under this heading is a range of products such as L-carnitine, green tea extract, and specialised fat burners that contain a variety of ingredients such as caffeine and plant extracts. Each has very little difference in their functions, composition, and use. For instance, L-carnitine is much better to use during aerobic training.
They main purpose of taking a pre-workout supplement is to increase your energy during your workout session, giving you a better ability to focus, this is usually delivered in a tasty shake before a workout and the composition is very different. More often than not, they are mixtures of various ingredients. Mostly caffeine, amino acids, plant extracts, and vitamins. It is not advisable to have one before every workout that you do, perhaps only if you want to hit new records or push yourself a little harder for that day. It is sometimes heard that this type of supplement can actually raise the blood pressure and pulse, which can make it harder to get a good night’s sleep.
This is probably the tastiest category overall and includes specifically manufactured protein bars for athletes. Protein bars are very useful when you want something sweet to eat when you’re on a strict diet. They have different flavours and compositions, and some contain more protein than others. Choose based on your individual goals! They are not something that people choose to eat frequently, this is mostly because of the cost.
There are other supplements which are no less important than any of the products mentioned above. The main differentiator is that they are used less frequently, and there is the availability of these substances in the pharmacy. A good example of this is supplements which are used to help with joints, these are useful both for the average person, and the athlete.