Physical activity is as important as healthy food. People who work out try out different foods to improve their performance. There are many supplements and specific sports nutrition products on the market. But what kind of food is essential during exercise? And are there any studies that prove the effects of supplements? Here are some facts and pieces of advice about diet that will fit well with physical activity.
Athlete nutrition is classified into three categories: food supplements, specific sports foods (such as special drinks, shakes, and energy bars), and the (primary) daily diet. There are different types of supplements on the market: vitamins, minerals, proteins, carbohydrates, and many more. Weight loss supplements are also available. All these kinds of supplements are used in the world of sports.
There are many studies on the effects of different supplements. Research shows that supplements have little beneficial effects when they are not used correctly. The supplements that are commonly used and whose effects have been proven are:
caffeine: improves performance, except in short, high-intensity exercise.
creatine: improves performance in single and repeated sprint bouts and improves
the recovery between sessions.
Phosphate salts: improve performance in activities of one hour or shorter.
Make sure that you use them correctly and safely!
Specific sports foods can have more beneficial effects than supplements. Those include drinks that are rich in carbohydrates. These drinks can be used during physical activity of at least 45 minutes, to improve endurance. You can also stimulate the protein buildup by adding proteins (like protein powders) to carbohydrate-rich drinks!
The drinks are not useful when you are doing low-intensity exercise shorter than 45 minutes. I know that after ten pushups, you may feel no glucose in your muscles anymore. You mistakenly decide to drink an entire bottle of some sugar-bomb drink, hoping you can replenish your muscles with glucose like that. But you are taking in more energy than you need!
Eating food rich in carbohydrates before exercising will improve your performance. I usually eat a banana before an exercise, and after the workout, I drink plenty of water to make sure I stay hydrated. The essential thing in the diet of an athlete is the (primary) daily diet. Several researchers have shown that an optimal daily diet can significantly improve physical performance!
The primary diet should include fruits and vegetables, low-saturated fat (like chips, meat, butter, etc.). Variation in this is critical. An elemental diet delivers the required energy, the ‘building materials,’ vitamins and minerals necessary for activities, building, and recovery.
You may also want to match your diet as closely as possible with the sport that you practice. This depends on certain factors, such as the type of game and the energy you need every day. Endurance athletes or bodybuilders will use vitamin and mineral supplements because they require a high energy intake. You will not need any supplements when you do not do any above-average activities or have a regular diet. When your food is optimal, you will get a lot out of that already!