Natural Sports Nutrition and Supplements
Sports nutrition is required in two situations. (i) Either you are engaged in regular exercise and your body needs more nutrients than you can provide through diet alone, or (ii) you are not exercising and your diet is so poor that you want to supplement in order to help bring your nutrition intake up to par. Focus first on eating a healthy diet, then supplementing as needed while sticking to the basics. When engaged in sport activities, your body needs exactly the same things it needs when you are not exercising; it just needs it in higher amounts. This happens because of the higher demands that are put on the body when engaged in fitness. Here is my list of the best natural sports nutrition and supplements for your body’s needs.
Stick to the basics; first, you need complex carbohydrates for energy during workouts. Stimulants like caffeine, guarana, or ephedra are like adding gasoline to fire. It will give a big flame for a very short time. If you don’t have wood in the fire, the fire will quickly die out. Complex carbs are like a good source of burning wood. It allows for the body to produce energy in a steady manner during workouts.
Second, you need protein, especially branched chain amino acids (half of muscle mass is made up of branched chain amino acids) and essential amino acids (the ones your body can not manufacture from scratch). Protein is needed to rebuild muscle fibres damaged during fitness.
Third, you need healthy plant oils to provide an additional, even more steady energy source as well as anti-inflammatory action. During exercise and post workout, lactic acid is produced along with cell damaging free radicals. That’s why it takes a while to recover from intense workouts.
Make sure you supplement with antioxidants and fish oils to decrease this inflammation and quicken your recovery. You also need vitamins and minerals, especially trace minerals. These are needed as co-enzymes for your body to turn carbohydrates into energy and your protein into muscle fibres. Finally, electrolytes are very important. They prevent dehydration but also support proper muscle contraction and nerve signaling to muscles for them to contract. These are some additional nutritional basics.
Remember also that these supplements should supplement your diet. The diet should be rich in vegetables, lean protein sources like fish and organic poultry, brown and black rice for complex carbs, and healthy plant oils (olive, flax, hemp, coconut, argan). You should not eat fast foods, processed foods, high animal fat products or high-sugar products. They will all inhibit your performance.
Finally, if you are super serious about sport supplementation, you can go further. Arginine is excellent for bringing more blood to muscle. Beat juice is also excellent for this role. Glutamine is a very important amino acid for intense workouts and recovery. Remember to drink lots of clean water and rest for optimal recovery.
These are my tips for the best natural sports nutrition and supplements.
Dr. Karol MD