Are you exercising to gain health benefits? If so, you know how vital nutrition is in enhancing the benefits of physical activity. Hydration and nutrition not only improves performance but also helps prevent and heal injuries. Sports nutrition supplements are used by sports personalities from all over the world for boosting their performance and strength and accelerating recovery. They are widely available in the market today in various forms. Here are some of those along with the benefits of each supplement.
The most popular supplements consumed to enhance performance are antioxidants. These are powerful substances that can prohibit and prevent the oxidation of molecules in the body. You can usually obtain them from fresh vegetables and fruits. When our bodies are placed under stress while rigorous exercising and training, the use of available oxygen increases. This increase results in more oxidative stress and greater number of free radicals in the body. Antioxidants play a vital role in detoxifying these free radicals and speeding up recovery. Various sportspeople have claimed that supplements such as antioxidants can minimize immune dysfunction, muscle damage and fatigue and improve overall performance.
As researched by the American College of Sports Medicine, caffeine is the most extensively used stimulant in the world that comes in various forms including chocolates, energy drinks, soft drinks, tea, nutrition supplements and coffee. Athletes prefer caffeine as a performance enhancer because it affects pulse rate, blood pressure, fat stores and stomach acid production. It helps mobilize fat stores, which allow the body to make use of fat as its primary fuel source and spare glycogen. Glycogen, stored in the liver and muscles, is the excess fuel source for the body. When glycogen depletion is delayed, athletes can work out harder and faster for longer hours. It also allows them to do more reps before the fatigue sets in. Caffeine is very advantageous in sprinting exercises, where the person is going full out for a short time.
If you are serious about the sport you perform and want to have maximum intensity workouts to increase your muscle strength and size, creatine supplement is what you need to go for. It is made from amino acids and can convert food into energy. You can obtain creatine from meat and fish mostly. Bodybuilders consume this supplement to volumize their muscles. Creatine has a characteristic that makes muscle cells inflate and give you an appearance of heavy muscles. In addition to this, it also serves as a stimulus for protein synthesis. According to the researchers at the Institute of Cell Biology in Switzerland, it can be used to heal bone fracture and treat osteoporosis. Moreover, creatine is proven to enhance recovery and improve brain function and sprint performance.
Ephedra, which is also known as ephedrine, has also gained popularity as a sports nutrition supplement. It is an herb that was originally used to treat patients with common cold or asthma, so it is the main ingredient in various decongestant cold remedies. However, today, athletes consume it because of its weight loss benefits as it boosts the burning of fat tissue and retains muscle mass. Runners take it before interval sessions, while weight lifters swallow it to boost their workouts and ice-hockey players pop in a few ephedrine tablets before games. Ephedra is widely recognized because of its ability to enhance energy levels among sportspeople and its thermogenic effect. It can also increase power, strength and speed, minimize reaction time, reduce fatigue and improve the overall body composition.
Erythropoietin or EPO is a naturally occurring hormone that is produced in the body. Its main function is to enhance the production of red blood cells. As a result of the increased number of red blood cells, the capacity of the blood to carry oxygen also increases and more oxygen is delivered to exercising muscles. This addition of oxygen enhances the muscles’ energy production and improves athletic performance. Athletes use EPOs for higher intensity workouts for longer durations. They are most commonly used for endurance sports such as long-distance cycling. However, it is important to know that EPOs have some severe side effects, so do your research before you go for them.
Beta-alanine is a new supplement that appeared in the sports nutrition market only a few years ago. It is usually available as a powder mixed with liquid or as capsules. Since its introduction, the supplement has been proven quite effective in enhancing muscular endurance. Numerous people are able to perform a few additional reps in the gym due to beta-alanine consumption. It can improve high-intensity cardiovascular exercise performance such as sprinting and rowing. Beta-alanine is known for boosting power output and muscular strength, increasing aerobic endurance, improving muscle mass and maximizing an athlete’s capacity to train harder for longer duration.
HMB is one of the most researched sports nutrients supplements that have the ability to improve athletic performance. It has anti-catabolic effects and can decrease muscle damage, which leads to muscular adaptations to resistance training and increase in lean body mass. Various researches have proven that including HMB in diet can enhance endurance performance, increase aerobic capacity, and reduce fat mass in runners and cyclists.
As compared to other sports supplements, D-ribose is the least common energy booster that consists of a type of carbohydrate. It can increase cellular energy in your body by producing high-energy molecules, known as adenosine triphosphate. Numerous studies have proven that D-ribose supplements can improve performance and ATP levels if taken on consecutive days of high-intensity workouts. Hence, the supplement is quite useful for those athletes who are engaged in high intensity and volume of training for prolonged hours.
For an athletic performance, it is necessary to have training, talent, adequate sleep, motivation, and good eating and drinking habits. If these basic elements are missing, you will not be able to perform, even if you take a huge number of sports nutrition supplements. Therefore, before you opt for any form of supplement, make sure that you take a balanced diet and do regular training.