It goes without saying that athletes want to improve their health and fitness as much as possible to maximise their chances of success. For this reason, many people turn to using supplements for training to provide them with the nutrients that they believe will set them apart from the rest.
While this is a great option for some, the truth is that navigating the world of supplements can be tricky, not to mention dangerous. The supplement industry is not regulated and their effects are mixed, and in some instances they can even hinder your performance.
To help you out, we’ve compiled all the information you should consider before turning to supplements.
Diet vs. Supplementation
It’s true that you can get the nutrients you need with the right diet for your specific goals and lifestyle. And it’s also true that, in theory, supplements can provide you with an easier way to achieve this. However, many supplements can be harsh on the digestive system and contain high amounts of sugars and energy that simply aren’t necessary for you to consume as part of your daily routine.
As everyone is different, it’s important to consider your own personal needs, goals and daily activities when deciding between supplementation or changing up your diet. The most important thing to be aware of is that the results advertised by the supplement company aren’t necessarily realistic for everyone.
The best way forward is taking stock of your current diet and your goals and if in fact these do need improving then discussing these with an accredited practising dietitian.
What to Eat Before and After Training
Fuelling up before and after you train are essential to ensuring your body has the nutrients it needs to succeed. There are plenty of supplements on the market that offer both options, so what is best for you?
Before training, you should be giving your body some extra energy so it can perform at its best throughout the session. Usually, carbohydrate rich foods are best as they are easily digestible source of energy. In these situations, something as simple as a banana, or whole-fruit smoothies can be a great option.
After training, you want to ensure your body has what it needs to recover properly. The best way to do this is to eat protein-rich foods, as this will help your muscles repair themselves more quickly. Wholefood options such as milk or yoghurt or eggs, salmon and wholemeal toast are a great source of protein and other nutrients.
If you are racing and on the go, it may be appropriate to include a high-quality protein shake that you can have straight after your session.
If you are unsure of what your nutritional needs are and what specific things you will require to help you reach your goals, Sunshine Coast Dietetics can help. Our team of experienced sports dietitians can provide a personalised plan that works for you. Get in touch with us today to find out more.