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Bodybuilding for beginners

Bodybuilding Supplements for Beginners

Bodybuilding Supplements for Beginners

Bodybuilding for beginnersIf you are a keen athlete or beginning to get involved in the sport of bodybuilding, then you should seriously consider supplementing your diet with good quality nutritional sports supplements. If you do this, then your body will be better prepared to build muscle, repair damaged tissue helping you to develop the physique of your dreams.

Bodybuilding nutrition

Focusing on good bodybuilding nutrition can be very beneficial to both your general health but can also have a significant impact on performance improvement. As a beginner bodybuilder, if you are not currently following a well-planned nutritional programme then you should begin to consider doing so. Additionally, supplementing your diet with some of the main sports nutrition products should also be a consideration, especially if you want to improve your performance or physique.

Many people don’t understand the need for sports supplements when they eat a healthy, well balanced diet, but the science is clear on this issue. Besides this, the simple answer is that good quality nutritional supplements play a major role in bodybuilding.

Let’s discuss the role of nutritional supplements in bodybuilding. Here we take a look at the major roles supplements play in the development of a bodybuilder:

    • Nutritional supplements can help to burn fat and maintain good health.
    • They can improve athletic performance, strength, and recovery times.
    • They can increase energy and stamina.
  • They can also act as an aid to lean weight gain.

What are the most important supplements for bodybuilders?

There are thousands of sports supplements on the market but the most important ones include:

    • Protein supplements.
    • Creatine.
    • Essential fatty acids.
    • Testosterone boosters.
    • Branched-chain amino acids (or BCAA).
  • Glutamine.

Some bodybuilders also take nutritional products for weight loss, and meal replacement supplements according to their specific needs.

Protein supplements

Some of the major proteins that are common to serious athletes and bodybuilders alike include:

    • Whey protein.
    • Soy protein.
    • Milk protein.
    • Rice protein.
    • Hemp seed protein.
  • Egg white protein.

Which protein supplement an athlete uses will often vary based on the nature of the bodybuilder (if they are vegetarian) and their stage of development.

How can I take protein supplements?

Protein supplements are quick and easy to prepare. For convenience and taste you can simply mix the protein powder with milk, juice, or even water.

When should I take protein supplements?

Generally you should consider taking protein supplements immediately after your workout (whey isolate). You can also take them before starting your exercise or muscle-building programmes, usually slow release proteins are more effective here. There are also some proteins that you can take before going to bed. So, there are various types of protein supplement you can take depending on where you are in your exercise routine or at specific time of day.

Using Glutamine

Glutamine is important especially for serious athletes and bodybuilders. Did you know that you may suffer from a weakened immune system if you have a deficiency of glutamine?

To support your immune system and muscle tissue, you may want to consider taking  glutamine supplements. Medical science has shown that that glutamine can help to reduce healing times for patients following surgery, and can also aid with muscle repair and tissue growth for athletes.

Creatine boosts energy for bodybuilders

It is a commonly known fact that creatine helps to increase energy which is especially useful for athletes and bodybuilders.

Good quality creatine supplements are a great source of energy for bodybuilders who are often engaged in punishing workout programmes.

Bodybuilding supplements and your diet

Often there are misunderstandings regarding the role of nutritional supplements in bodybuilding. Some believe that such sports supplements can replace a regular diet, especially breakfast, lunch and evening meals. However, this is not a healthy way to maintain good wellbeing.

As an active bodybuilder you should remember that your nutritional supplements should go hand-in-hand with your regular diet. You should never skip or replace daily meals with sports supplements. Instead you should build a nutritionally sound diet plan, which can include supplemented with the right nutritional products.

So, take a good look at the bodybuilding supplements we’ve mentioned here to help increase your performance as a bodybuilder. Once you’ve incorporated them in to your diet plan you will find yourself more energetic and much stronger in the gym.

Wikipedia: Bodybuilding

Others who have found this information about bodybuilding supplements for beginners useful include:

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Want help with nutrition?

Get in touch now for more information about bodybuilding supplements for beginners and the use of sports nutrition products  to help improve your muscularity and physique. Our team of sports scientists and nutritionists are always happy to help.

Basketball Nutrition

Basketball Nutrition & Sports Supplements for Basketball Players

basketball-nutrition-and-sports-supplements-for-basketball-playersJumping, repeated short fast sprints and explosive breaks are the main elements of play in the exciting game of basketball. This all means that basketball players need to utilise both aerobic and anaerobic energy systems.

Looking at these energy systems and in particular basketball nutrition and hydration in a more structured way can really help to improve overall athlete performance and post-event recovery.

As any good athlete knows, to be successful you also have to think tactically and show good technical ball skills throughout a game.

Depending on the level of competition and local circumstances, basketball players will probably need to train for at least one session per week at one end of the scale, to two sessions per day at the other, professional/elite end of the spectrum.

Whilst the common conception is that basketball players are renowned for their towering height, in reality it is a game for athletes of all shapes and sizes. What is common is that they tend to have low to medium body fat levels which helps to improve speed and agility on the court.

Remember that basketball is not only a game of high- intensity running, but it is also a sport that requires concentration, fast decision-making and ball-handling skills, which are all adversely affected in some measure by dehydration and low blood glucose levels.

As fast sprints are essential in the make-up of any successful player it is important that muscle tone and strength are maintained at optimum levels, which normally means sticking to a diet that has the correct levels of carbohydrate in it.

In order to maintain the energy levels required to allow you to perform on court at your optimum, you need to ensure that diet your is low in fat and high in vitamins and minerals – which means eating lots of fresh fruit and vegetables.

Hydration

It is also important that you stay correctly hydrated, and in order to achieve this, fluids should be consumed before, during and after routine training and competitive games.

You should also be aware, however, that body fluid losses will vary depending on effort levels, training and competition times and venues.

For example, if playing on an indoor air-conditioned court, you may find that you don’t sweat as much as if you were playing on a badly ventilated court, or outdoors in the hot sunshine.

At the same time, although hot playing conditions will result in appreciably higher body fluid losses, you should also be aware that you could still lose significant amounts of body fluids when playing in air-conditioned venues.

The trouble with conditioned environments is that, due to the cool conditions, your body can get confused and you are unlikely to feel the need to replace these fluid losses.

Taking all this into account, rather than relying on your sweat rate or feeling of thirst to determine fluid needs, a much more reliable method of assessing body fluid losses is a “weigh-in” before and after the game or training.

For each kilogram of body weight lost, you should be encouraged to drink approximately 1.5 litres of fluid, either in the form of water or a specially formulated sports drink.

Basketball nutrition

Good nutritional plans can help basketball players optimise their performance so it is important to be aware of what to eat and drink before training or competition – and in what amounts.

Your aim should be to begin any exercise session or competitive encounter well hydrated, which means drinking regularly throughout the day before your activity.

You should be looking to get into the habit of taking a drink of some kind to accompany all intake of food, whether it be a meal or simply a snack.

Then, immediately before the training or competition begins, you should aim to consume between 200ml and 600ml of fluid.

This not only helps with personal hydration, but also prepares your stomach to accepting fluids throughout the game.

Pre-event nutrition

Your pre-event/pre-training session meal needs to provide fuel three to four hours prior to the game, so it really needs to include some carbohydrate and a source of protein. Here are some useful suggestions you may wish to consider:

  • Chicken or tuna salad sandwiches.
  • Baked potatoes with a low-fat filling. Try to avoid adding butter.
  • Pasta with a low-fat sauce.
  • Toast or crumpets.
  • Fresh or dried fruit.
  • Rice pudding, try adding your favourite fresh or dried fruit.

Pre-event snacks

Your pre-event snack should ideally be eaten one to two hours beforehand to provide fuel right through training or a game.

It needs to be high in carbohydrate, low in fat and tried and tested by you in training so as to avoid any unwanted surprises.

Some suitable pre-event snack ideas could include:

  • Jam, honey or banana sandwiches.
  • Toast or crumpets with your favourite topping, say jam or peanut butter.
  • Sports nutrition bars.
  • Scone with jam.
  • Rice pudding with fresh or dried fruit.
  • A bowl of your favourite breakfast cereal with low-fat milk.

If you are not comfortable with eating solids before a match, specially prepared liquid meal supplements, a fresh fruit smoothie or sports drinks are all possibilities.

Nutrition and hydration during competition

So what about nutritional intake during competition? Well, indoor environments, coupled with high-intensity exercise, can lead to considerable sweat losses – especially in larger players – but the frequent breaks during a game of basketball provide the perfect opportunity to take on-board fluids.

And while water is a must during training and for hydration during the day, sports drinks during a game can promote improved performance because they not only deliver fluid, they also deliver some carbohydrates to the brain and working muscles.

Sports drinks can also be more palatable than plain water, they also help to deliver some salts which can increase thirst – therefore encouraging fluid intake – and help to replenish salts lost through sweating.

Remember that basketball is not only a game of high- intensity running, but it is also a sport that requires concentration, fast decision-making and ball-handling skills, which are all adversely affected in some measure by dehydration and low blood glucose (energy) levels.

Sports drinks are ideal as a means of topping up energy levels during the game and/or training.

The recovery phase

After a game or an intense training session it is essential that you recover body carbohydrate and fluid stores before the next session.

The recovery process is vitally important and there are no two ways about it; basketball players need to recover properly, especially if they want to keep their body fighting-fit and in the best possible shape.

There are three golden rules to successful basketball player rehabilitation; and we refer to them as the three R’s:

  • Refuel

    Refuel muscle glycogen (carbohydrate stores).

  • Repair

    Repair muscle tissue (for maintenance and development).

  • Rehydrate

    Rehydrate to replace fluids and salts lost through sweat.

Bodily carbohydrate stores (glycogen) must be quickly restored to allow performance levels to be maintained – the optimum time to restore muscle glycogen stores is during the first hour after training or competition and this is when you need to consume carbohydrates.

If you do not replenish glycogen stores adequately however, recovery may well be affected leading to unwanted fatigue and poor performances may then follow.

We’d suggest that a recovery snack similar to the following should ideally be taken within half-an-hour of finishing a game or training session:

  • Fresh fruit, natural yoghurt and fluids.
  • A chicken or tuna salad sandwich and fluids.
  • Fresh fruit smoothie.
  • Instant-soup, bread roll and perhaps some fresh cheese.

Players should always look to pre-prepare their own snacks – as there may be only crisps, pies, greasy burgers and hot dogs available at the venue!

A more substantial meal must then follow the snack, within three to four hours of completing the activity and this could comprise:

  • Baked beans on toast.
  • Whole grain rice with a low-fat chicken sauce.
  • Pasta with a low-fat sauce.
  • Jacket potato with low-fat fillings.
  • Noodles, salad with lean beef and fluids.
  • Grilled chicken breast with potato and fresh vegetables.

Rehydration

Rehydration is also vital after exercise.

Being weighed before and after your activity provides a good measure of fluid lost and, assuming that 1kg of body weight lost is equivalent to 1 litre of fluid, for every litre of fluid lost, it needs to be replaced by approximately 1.5 litres.

This fluid replacement should be consumed over a few hours after exercise, or, if a game finishes late at night, some fluid afterwards and more the following morning.

So what about alcohol intake?

It should be in moderation, if at all. Excess consumption can impair recovery and effective rehydration, and can have a negative impact on your recovery, fitness and general basketball performance.

Want to get involved in basketball?

If you’re not currently involved in basketball as a recreational activity or at a competitive level and are keen to learn more about taking part then read on. Here we’ve brought together a number of useful links to basketball organisations that may be able to help you.

  • Basketball England

    Founded in 1936, Basketball England (then commonly referred to as the EBBA) is the governing body for all Basketball in England. A non-profit making organisation it is an association of member clubs and players.

  • The British Basketball League

    The British Basketball League (BBL) represents the highest level of the professional game in the UK. There are thirteen franchises in major towns and cities across the nation, spanning Plymouth in the south-west all the way up to Glasgow north of the border.

  • British Wheelchair Basketball

    British Wheelchair Basketball (formerly the Great Britain Wheelchair Basketball Association) is the governing body for wheelchair basketball in the United Kingdom. BWB is a registered charity and is the representative body of wheelchair basketball in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

  • Basketball on Wikipedia

    Basketball is a sport played by two teams of five players on a rectangular court. The objective is to shoot a ball through a hoop 18 inches (46 cm) in diameter and 10 feet (3.048 m) high mounted to a backboard at each end. Basketball is one of the world’s most popular and widely viewed sports…

Want help with nutrition?

Get in touch now for more information about basketball nutrition and the use of sports supplements to help improve your on-court performance. Our team of sports scientists and nutritionists are always happy to help.

Boxing nutrition guide

Boxing Nutrition

Boxing Nutrition & Sports Supplements for Boxers

boxing-nutrition-and-sports-supplements-for-boxersAs much of the energy expelled in the sport of boxing is of the fast, explosive kind, boxers need a clearly defined aerobic foundation that will allow them to optimise their performance throughout a fight.

Additionally, because there are several different weight divisions in boxing, there are a whole range of nutritional and dietary programmes that can be put in place that will help a boxer gain a performance advantage over their opponent.

If you are a competitive boxer you will probably need to train around three times a day in the build-up to a competition or fight, and each session should include weight training, running, sparring, technical skill work and conditioning, such as work with a medicine ball and skipping.

To optimise your nutritional intake it is imperative that you consume foods that are full of beneficial nutrients such as carbohydrates, iron, protein, vitamins and minerals

Making the weight

In an attempt to maximise your power-to-weight ratio, which is crucial in paving the way to success in this sport, you should seek to reduce/optimise your bodyweight just before a competition.

Although boxers generally have large kilojoule (energy) needs due to the demands of their punishing daily training schedules, the fact is that you will often have to limit your nutritional consumption in order to make the weight leading up to a competition.

This means that you have to be very careful with your choice of both fluids and food if you are to recharge, replenish and repair muscle sufficiently between training, while at the same time maintaining a low intake of energy.

It is a delicate balance but can be perfected with practice.

Boxing nutrition

As a boxer, when seeking to optimise your daily nutritional intake it is imperative that you consume foods and nutritional supplements which are full of beneficial nutrients such as carbohydrates, iron, protein, vitamins and minerals.

Fatty snacks, such as chocolate and crisps, and carbohydrate rich foods or fluids that are free of nutrients (soft/fizzy drinks, for example) should really be avoided, or be indulged only occasionally.

As there are several different weight categories in boxing, strict dietary measures have also to be employed prior to a fight.

Prior to competition your goal should be to achieve a slow mass and body fat reduction for around eight to ten weeks, thus increasing your power to weight ratio which should help to optimise your fight performances and potentially give you a substantial advantage over your opponent.

If you have not achieved your weight category limit 24 to 48 hours before the weight-in, you will need to undergo a “low residue” diet with very slight fluid restriction so that you can shed the remaining pounds.

As there are usually between four hours and a day between the weigh-in and the bout itself there is usually ample time to consume and replenish food and fluids without impairing your performance.

However, be very careful with your state of hydration when attempting to make the weight; if you lose vast quantities of liquid and therefore become too dehydrated you risk serious problems, not only as far as performance is concerned, but to your health in general.

Preparing for boxing competitions and tournaments

Amateur boxing tournaments vary considerably in length and format and sometimes boxers may be asked to compete on a daily basis; although most international tournaments require competitors to fight every alternate day.

Be aware that if you are a title contender you may have to step into the ring four or five times if you are to eventually win the tournament, and, in view of the fact that each bout is of three rounds, lasting three minutes – if it goes the distance – with a one-minute rest between rounds, it can be a very arduous schedule.

On the first day of competition you will be required to weigh-in, along with every other competitor, but on subsequent days only those who are actually competing on that particular day will have to go through the process again.

During the course of a competition you need to be careful to balance your nutritional intake, even after weigh-in so that you can make the weight for the next bout.

Note that usually a minimum of three hours must elapse between the end of the weigh-in and the start of your fight so you will have some time to refuel and rehydrate where necessary.

Beware pizzas, chocolate, fizzy drinks!

Due to the strict weight classifications and the need for boxers to carefully control their weight, some fighters build up unhealthy food consumption habits of the “feast and famine” variety.

When not preparing for a specific boxing competition or bout they often indulge themselves on fatty, high energy foods such as pizzas, chocolate, fizzy drinks and alcohol.

They then artificially restrict their consumption of high-kilojoule foods aiming at speedy weight loss in the run-up to their next fight.

For the sake of your long term health you should try to avoid this “feast and famine” ritual by maintaining your weight as close as possible to that required in competition.

This more balanced approach will ensure that you reach your desired body mass safely without having to turn to extreme measures before the weigh-in, which can be detrimental to your performance and also potentially harmful.

Hydration for boxers

It is also crucial that boxers get their body fluid balance right.

Despite the dangers of dehydration it is still not uncommon to find competitors training in sweat-suits or heavy, non-breathable garments in order to encourage perspiration… avoid this approach.

Ideally you should drink regularly throughout your training to make sure that you stay correctly hydrated from the first training session to the last.

It is also important that you follow the routine of weighing yourself prior to and after training sessions or bouts to measure how much body mass you have lost.

This loss in body mass is an excellent indicator of the fluid you will have lost and failed to replace.

To rehydrate your body correctly you really need to replenish your fluid levels, to do this you should look to drink between 1.25 and 1.5 times the amount of fluid lost.

Recovery phase

After an intense training session or boxing competition it is essential that you recover body carbohydrate and fluid stores before the next session.

The recovery process is vitally important and there are no two ways about it; boxers need to recover properly after fights or training sessions, especially if they want to keep their body at fighting-fit and in the best possible shape.

There are three golden rules to a boxers successful rehabilitation; and we refer to them as the three R’s:

  • Refuel

    Refuel muscle glycogen (carbohydrate stores).

  • Repair

    Repair muscle tissue (for maintenance and development).

  • Rehydrate

    Rehydrate to replace fluids and salts lost through sweat.

Bodily carbohydrate stores (glycogen) must be quickly restored to allow performance levels to be maintained – the optimum time to restore muscle glycogen stores is during the first hour after a fight or training and this is when you need to consume carbohydrates.

If you do not replenish glycogen stores adequately however, recovery may well be affected leading to unwanted fatigue and poor performances may then follow.

Want to get involved in boxing?

If you’re not currently involved in boxing as a sport and are keen to learn more about taking part then read on. Here we’ve brought together a number of useful links to boxing organisations that may be able to help you.

  • British Boxing Board of Control

    The British Boxing Board of Control (BBBofC) is the governing body of professional boxing in the United Kingdom. It was formed in 1929 from the old National Sporting Club and is headquartered in Cardiff.

  • The Amateur Boxing Association of England

    The Amateur Boxing Association of England, or England Boxing is the national governing body for boxing. It is responsible for the governance, development and administration of boxing in clubs and competition. It also represents England as a member of the International Boxing Association (AIBA) and the European Boxing Council (EUBC).

  • The British Amateur Boxing Association

    The British Amateur Boxing Association (BABA) was established in October 2008 to manage the World Class Performance Programme for the GB Boxing team that competes at the Olympic Games. It oversees the men and women’s Podium and Podium Potential squads.

  • Boxing on Wikipedia

    Boxing is a combat sport in which two people engage in a contest of strength, speed, reflexes, endurance and will, by throwing punches at each other, usually with gloved hands. Historically, the goals have been to weaken and knock down the opponent…

Want help with nutrition?

Get in touch now for more information about boxing nutrition and the use of sports supplements to improve your speed, power, strength and stamina for better fight performances. Our team of sports scientists and nutritionists are always happy to help.

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Bodybuilding for beginners

Bodybuilding Supplements for Beginners

Bodybuilding Supplements for Beginners

Bodybuilding for beginnersIf you are a keen athlete or beginning to get involved in the sport of bodybuilding, then you should seriously consider supplementing your diet with good quality nutritional sports supplements. If you do this, then your body will be better prepared to build muscle, repair damaged tissue helping you to develop the physique of your dreams.

Bodybuilding nutrition

Focusing on good bodybuilding nutrition can be very beneficial to both your general health but can also have a significant impact on performance improvement. As a beginner bodybuilder, if you are not currently following a well-planned nutritional programme then you should begin to consider doing so. Additionally, supplementing your diet with some of the main sports nutrition products should also be a consideration, especially if you want to improve your performance or physique.

Many people don’t understand the need for sports supplements when they eat a healthy, well balanced diet, but the science is clear on this issue. Besides this, the simple answer is that good quality nutritional supplements play a major role in bodybuilding.

Let’s discuss the role of nutritional supplements in bodybuilding. Here we take a look at the major roles supplements play in the development of a bodybuilder:

    • Nutritional supplements can help to burn fat and maintain good health.
    • They can improve athletic performance, strength, and recovery times.
    • They can increase energy and stamina.
  • They can also act as an aid to lean weight gain.

What are the most important supplements for bodybuilders?

There are thousands of sports supplements on the market but the most important ones include:

    • Protein supplements.
    • Creatine.
    • Essential fatty acids.
    • Testosterone boosters.
    • Branched-chain amino acids (or BCAA).
  • Glutamine.

Some bodybuilders also take nutritional products for weight loss, and meal replacement supplements according to their specific needs.

Protein supplements

Some of the major proteins that are common to serious athletes and bodybuilders alike include:

    • Whey protein.
    • Soy protein.
    • Milk protein.
    • Rice protein.
    • Hemp seed protein.
  • Egg white protein.

Which protein supplement an athlete uses will often vary based on the nature of the bodybuilder (if they are vegetarian) and their stage of development.

How can I take protein supplements?

Protein supplements are quick and easy to prepare. For convenience and taste you can simply mix the protein powder with milk, juice, or even water.

When should I take protein supplements?

Generally you should consider taking protein supplements immediately after your workout (whey isolate). You can also take them before starting your exercise or muscle-building programmes, usually slow release proteins are more effective here. There are also some proteins that you can take before going to bed. So, there are various types of protein supplement you can take depending on where you are in your exercise routine or at specific time of day.

Using Glutamine

Glutamine is important especially for serious athletes and bodybuilders. Did you know that you may suffer from a weakened immune system if you have a deficiency of glutamine?

To support your immune system and muscle tissue, you may want to consider taking  glutamine supplements. Medical science has shown that that glutamine can help to reduce healing times for patients following surgery, and can also aid with muscle repair and tissue growth for athletes.

Creatine boosts energy for bodybuilders

It is a commonly known fact that creatine helps to increase energy which is especially useful for athletes and bodybuilders.

Good quality creatine supplements are a great source of energy for bodybuilders who are often engaged in punishing workout programmes.

Bodybuilding supplements and your diet

Often there are misunderstandings regarding the role of nutritional supplements in bodybuilding. Some believe that such sports supplements can replace a regular diet, especially breakfast, lunch and evening meals. However, this is not a healthy way to maintain good wellbeing.

As an active bodybuilder you should remember that your nutritional supplements should go hand-in-hand with your regular diet. You should never skip or replace daily meals with sports supplements. Instead you should build a nutritionally sound diet plan, which can include supplemented with the right nutritional products.

So, take a good look at the bodybuilding supplements we’ve mentioned here to help increase your performance as a bodybuilder. Once you’ve incorporated them in to your diet plan you will find yourself more energetic and much stronger in the gym.

Wikipedia: Bodybuilding

Others who have found this information about bodybuilding supplements for beginners useful include:

www.cflaw.ca
Criminal Lawyer Toronto: Caramanna, Friedberg LLP is a leading criminal defence law firm located in Toronto, Ontario. The firm specializes in providing expert legal advice and protecting the rights of individuals facing criminal and quasi-criminal charges in the Ontario courts.

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Basketball Nutrition

Basketball Nutrition & Sports Supplements for Basketball Players

basketball-nutrition-and-sports-supplements-for-basketball-playersJumping, repeated short fast sprints and explosive breaks are the main elements of play in the exciting game of basketball. This all means that basketball players need to utilise both aerobic and anaerobic energy systems.

Looking at these energy systems and in particular basketball nutrition and hydration in a more structured way can really help to improve overall athlete performance and post-event recovery.

As any good athlete knows, to be successful you also have to think tactically and show good technical ball skills throughout a game.

Depending on the level of competition and local circumstances, basketball players will probably need to train for at least one session per week at one end of the scale, to two sessions per day at the other, professional/elite end of the spectrum.

Whilst the common conception is that basketball players are renowned for their towering height, in reality it is a game for athletes of all shapes and sizes. What is common is that they tend to have low to medium body fat levels which helps to improve speed and agility on the court.

Remember that basketball is not only a game of high- intensity running, but it is also a sport that requires concentration, fast decision-making and ball-handling skills, which are all adversely affected in some measure by dehydration and low blood glucose levels.

As fast sprints are essential in the make-up of any successful player it is important that muscle tone and strength are maintained at optimum levels, which normally means sticking to a diet that has the correct levels of carbohydrate in it.

In order to maintain the energy levels required to allow you to perform on court at your optimum, you need to ensure that diet your is low in fat and high in vitamins and minerals – which means eating lots of fresh fruit and vegetables.

Hydration

It is also important that you stay correctly hydrated, and in order to achieve this, fluids should be consumed before, during and after routine training and competitive games.

You should also be aware, however, that body fluid losses will vary depending on effort levels, training and competition times and venues.

For example, if playing on an indoor air-conditioned court, you may find that you don’t sweat as much as if you were playing on a badly ventilated court, or outdoors in the hot sunshine.

At the same time, although hot playing conditions will result in appreciably higher body fluid losses, you should also be aware that you could still lose significant amounts of body fluids when playing in air-conditioned venues.

The trouble with conditioned environments is that, due to the cool conditions, your body can get confused and you are unlikely to feel the need to replace these fluid losses.

Taking all this into account, rather than relying on your sweat rate or feeling of thirst to determine fluid needs, a much more reliable method of assessing body fluid losses is a “weigh-in” before and after the game or training.

For each kilogram of body weight lost, you should be encouraged to drink approximately 1.5 litres of fluid, either in the form of water or a specially formulated sports drink.

Basketball nutrition

Good nutritional plans can help basketball players optimise their performance so it is important to be aware of what to eat and drink before training or competition – and in what amounts.

Your aim should be to begin any exercise session or competitive encounter well hydrated, which means drinking regularly throughout the day before your activity.

You should be looking to get into the habit of taking a drink of some kind to accompany all intake of food, whether it be a meal or simply a snack.

Then, immediately before the training or competition begins, you should aim to consume between 200ml and 600ml of fluid.

This not only helps with personal hydration, but also prepares your stomach to accepting fluids throughout the game.

Pre-event nutrition

Your pre-event/pre-training session meal needs to provide fuel three to four hours prior to the game, so it really needs to include some carbohydrate and a source of protein. Here are some useful suggestions you may wish to consider:

  • Chicken or tuna salad sandwiches.
  • Baked potatoes with a low-fat filling. Try to avoid adding butter.
  • Pasta with a low-fat sauce.
  • Toast or crumpets.
  • Fresh or dried fruit.
  • Rice pudding, try adding your favourite fresh or dried fruit.

Pre-event snacks

Your pre-event snack should ideally be eaten one to two hours beforehand to provide fuel right through training or a game.

It needs to be high in carbohydrate, low in fat and tried and tested by you in training so as to avoid any unwanted surprises.

Some suitable pre-event snack ideas could include:

  • Jam, honey or banana sandwiches.
  • Toast or crumpets with your favourite topping, say jam or peanut butter.
  • Sports nutrition bars.
  • Scone with jam.
  • Rice pudding with fresh or dried fruit.
  • A bowl of your favourite breakfast cereal with low-fat milk.

If you are not comfortable with eating solids before a match, specially prepared liquid meal supplements, a fresh fruit smoothie or sports drinks are all possibilities.

Nutrition and hydration during competition

So what about nutritional intake during competition? Well, indoor environments, coupled with high-intensity exercise, can lead to considerable sweat losses – especially in larger players – but the frequent breaks during a game of basketball provide the perfect opportunity to take on-board fluids.

And while water is a must during training and for hydration during the day, sports drinks during a game can promote improved performance because they not only deliver fluid, they also deliver some carbohydrates to the brain and working muscles.

Sports drinks can also be more palatable than plain water, they also help to deliver some salts which can increase thirst – therefore encouraging fluid intake – and help to replenish salts lost through sweating.

Remember that basketball is not only a game of high- intensity running, but it is also a sport that requires concentration, fast decision-making and ball-handling skills, which are all adversely affected in some measure by dehydration and low blood glucose (energy) levels.

Sports drinks are ideal as a means of topping up energy levels during the game and/or training.

The recovery phase

After a game or an intense training session it is essential that you recover body carbohydrate and fluid stores before the next session.

The recovery process is vitally important and there are no two ways about it; basketball players need to recover properly, especially if they want to keep their body fighting-fit and in the best possible shape.

There are three golden rules to successful basketball player rehabilitation; and we refer to them as the three R’s:

  • Refuel

    Refuel muscle glycogen (carbohydrate stores).

  • Repair

    Repair muscle tissue (for maintenance and development).

  • Rehydrate

    Rehydrate to replace fluids and salts lost through sweat.

Bodily carbohydrate stores (glycogen) must be quickly restored to allow performance levels to be maintained – the optimum time to restore muscle glycogen stores is during the first hour after training or competition and this is when you need to consume carbohydrates.

If you do not replenish glycogen stores adequately however, recovery may well be affected leading to unwanted fatigue and poor performances may then follow.

We’d suggest that a recovery snack similar to the following should ideally be taken within half-an-hour of finishing a game or training session:

  • Fresh fruit, natural yoghurt and fluids.
  • A chicken or tuna salad sandwich and fluids.
  • Fresh fruit smoothie.
  • Instant-soup, bread roll and perhaps some fresh cheese.

Players should always look to pre-prepare their own snacks – as there may be only crisps, pies, greasy burgers and hot dogs available at the venue!

A more substantial meal must then follow the snack, within three to four hours of completing the activity and this could comprise:

  • Baked beans on toast.
  • Whole grain rice with a low-fat chicken sauce.
  • Pasta with a low-fat sauce.
  • Jacket potato with low-fat fillings.
  • Noodles, salad with lean beef and fluids.
  • Grilled chicken breast with potato and fresh vegetables.

Rehydration

Rehydration is also vital after exercise.

Being weighed before and after your activity provides a good measure of fluid lost and, assuming that 1kg of body weight lost is equivalent to 1 litre of fluid, for every litre of fluid lost, it needs to be replaced by approximately 1.5 litres.

This fluid replacement should be consumed over a few hours after exercise, or, if a game finishes late at night, some fluid afterwards and more the following morning.

So what about alcohol intake?

It should be in moderation, if at all. Excess consumption can impair recovery and effective rehydration, and can have a negative impact on your recovery, fitness and general basketball performance.

Want to get involved in basketball?

If you’re not currently involved in basketball as a recreational activity or at a competitive level and are keen to learn more about taking part then read on. Here we’ve brought together a number of useful links to basketball organisations that may be able to help you.

  • Basketball England

    Founded in 1936, Basketball England (then commonly referred to as the EBBA) is the governing body for all Basketball in England. A non-profit making organisation it is an association of member clubs and players.

  • The British Basketball League

    The British Basketball League (BBL) represents the highest level of the professional game in the UK. There are thirteen franchises in major towns and cities across the nation, spanning Plymouth in the south-west all the way up to Glasgow north of the border.

  • British Wheelchair Basketball

    British Wheelchair Basketball (formerly the Great Britain Wheelchair Basketball Association) is the governing body for wheelchair basketball in the United Kingdom. BWB is a registered charity and is the representative body of wheelchair basketball in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

  • Basketball on Wikipedia

    Basketball is a sport played by two teams of five players on a rectangular court. The objective is to shoot a ball through a hoop 18 inches (46 cm) in diameter and 10 feet (3.048 m) high mounted to a backboard at each end. Basketball is one of the world’s most popular and widely viewed sports…

Want help with nutrition?

Get in touch now for more information about basketball nutrition and the use of sports supplements to help improve your on-court performance. Our team of sports scientists and nutritionists are always happy to help.

Boxing nutrition guide

Boxing Nutrition

Boxing Nutrition & Sports Supplements for Boxers

boxing-nutrition-and-sports-supplements-for-boxersAs much of the energy expelled in the sport of boxing is of the fast, explosive kind, boxers need a clearly defined aerobic foundation that will allow them to optimise their performance throughout a fight.

Additionally, because there are several different weight divisions in boxing, there are a whole range of nutritional and dietary programmes that can be put in place that will help a boxer gain a performance advantage over their opponent.

If you are a competitive boxer you will probably need to train around three times a day in the build-up to a competition or fight, and each session should include weight training, running, sparring, technical skill work and conditioning, such as work with a medicine ball and skipping.

To optimise your nutritional intake it is imperative that you consume foods that are full of beneficial nutrients such as carbohydrates, iron, protein, vitamins and minerals

Making the weight

In an attempt to maximise your power-to-weight ratio, which is crucial in paving the way to success in this sport, you should seek to reduce/optimise your bodyweight just before a competition.

Although boxers generally have large kilojoule (energy) needs due to the demands of their punishing daily training schedules, the fact is that you will often have to limit your nutritional consumption in order to make the weight leading up to a competition.

This means that you have to be very careful with your choice of both fluids and food if you are to recharge, replenish and repair muscle sufficiently between training, while at the same time maintaining a low intake of energy.

It is a delicate balance but can be perfected with practice.

Boxing nutrition

As a boxer, when seeking to optimise your daily nutritional intake it is imperative that you consume foods and nutritional supplements which are full of beneficial nutrients such as carbohydrates, iron, protein, vitamins and minerals.

Fatty snacks, such as chocolate and crisps, and carbohydrate rich foods or fluids that are free of nutrients (soft/fizzy drinks, for example) should really be avoided, or be indulged only occasionally.

As there are several different weight categories in boxing, strict dietary measures have also to be employed prior to a fight.

Prior to competition your goal should be to achieve a slow mass and body fat reduction for around eight to ten weeks, thus increasing your power to weight ratio which should help to optimise your fight performances and potentially give you a substantial advantage over your opponent.

If you have not achieved your weight category limit 24 to 48 hours before the weight-in, you will need to undergo a “low residue” diet with very slight fluid restriction so that you can shed the remaining pounds.

As there are usually between four hours and a day between the weigh-in and the bout itself there is usually ample time to consume and replenish food and fluids without impairing your performance.

However, be very careful with your state of hydration when attempting to make the weight; if you lose vast quantities of liquid and therefore become too dehydrated you risk serious problems, not only as far as performance is concerned, but to your health in general.

Preparing for boxing competitions and tournaments

Amateur boxing tournaments vary considerably in length and format and sometimes boxers may be asked to compete on a daily basis; although most international tournaments require competitors to fight every alternate day.

Be aware that if you are a title contender you may have to step into the ring four or five times if you are to eventually win the tournament, and, in view of the fact that each bout is of three rounds, lasting three minutes – if it goes the distance – with a one-minute rest between rounds, it can be a very arduous schedule.

On the first day of competition you will be required to weigh-in, along with every other competitor, but on subsequent days only those who are actually competing on that particular day will have to go through the process again.

During the course of a competition you need to be careful to balance your nutritional intake, even after weigh-in so that you can make the weight for the next bout.

Note that usually a minimum of three hours must elapse between the end of the weigh-in and the start of your fight so you will have some time to refuel and rehydrate where necessary.

Beware pizzas, chocolate, fizzy drinks!

Due to the strict weight classifications and the need for boxers to carefully control their weight, some fighters build up unhealthy food consumption habits of the “feast and famine” variety.

When not preparing for a specific boxing competition or bout they often indulge themselves on fatty, high energy foods such as pizzas, chocolate, fizzy drinks and alcohol.

They then artificially restrict their consumption of high-kilojoule foods aiming at speedy weight loss in the run-up to their next fight.

For the sake of your long term health you should try to avoid this “feast and famine” ritual by maintaining your weight as close as possible to that required in competition.

This more balanced approach will ensure that you reach your desired body mass safely without having to turn to extreme measures before the weigh-in, which can be detrimental to your performance and also potentially harmful.

Hydration for boxers

It is also crucial that boxers get their body fluid balance right.

Despite the dangers of dehydration it is still not uncommon to find competitors training in sweat-suits or heavy, non-breathable garments in order to encourage perspiration… avoid this approach.

Ideally you should drink regularly throughout your training to make sure that you stay correctly hydrated from the first training session to the last.

It is also important that you follow the routine of weighing yourself prior to and after training sessions or bouts to measure how much body mass you have lost.

This loss in body mass is an excellent indicator of the fluid you will have lost and failed to replace.

To rehydrate your body correctly you really need to replenish your fluid levels, to do this you should look to drink between 1.25 and 1.5 times the amount of fluid lost.

Recovery phase

After an intense training session or boxing competition it is essential that you recover body carbohydrate and fluid stores before the next session.

The recovery process is vitally important and there are no two ways about it; boxers need to recover properly after fights or training sessions, especially if they want to keep their body at fighting-fit and in the best possible shape.

There are three golden rules to a boxers successful rehabilitation; and we refer to them as the three R’s:

  • Refuel

    Refuel muscle glycogen (carbohydrate stores).

  • Repair

    Repair muscle tissue (for maintenance and development).

  • Rehydrate

    Rehydrate to replace fluids and salts lost through sweat.

Bodily carbohydrate stores (glycogen) must be quickly restored to allow performance levels to be maintained – the optimum time to restore muscle glycogen stores is during the first hour after a fight or training and this is when you need to consume carbohydrates.

If you do not replenish glycogen stores adequately however, recovery may well be affected leading to unwanted fatigue and poor performances may then follow.

Want to get involved in boxing?

If you’re not currently involved in boxing as a sport and are keen to learn more about taking part then read on. Here we’ve brought together a number of useful links to boxing organisations that may be able to help you.

  • British Boxing Board of Control

    The British Boxing Board of Control (BBBofC) is the governing body of professional boxing in the United Kingdom. It was formed in 1929 from the old National Sporting Club and is headquartered in Cardiff.

  • The Amateur Boxing Association of England

    The Amateur Boxing Association of England, or England Boxing is the national governing body for boxing. It is responsible for the governance, development and administration of boxing in clubs and competition. It also represents England as a member of the International Boxing Association (AIBA) and the European Boxing Council (EUBC).

  • The British Amateur Boxing Association

    The British Amateur Boxing Association (BABA) was established in October 2008 to manage the World Class Performance Programme for the GB Boxing team that competes at the Olympic Games. It oversees the men and women’s Podium and Podium Potential squads.

  • Boxing on Wikipedia

    Boxing is a combat sport in which two people engage in a contest of strength, speed, reflexes, endurance and will, by throwing punches at each other, usually with gloved hands. Historically, the goals have been to weaken and knock down the opponent…

Want help with nutrition?

Get in touch now for more information about boxing nutrition and the use of sports supplements to improve your speed, power, strength and stamina for better fight performances. Our team of sports scientists and nutritionists are always happy to help.

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Cricket Nutrition

Cricket Nutrition & Sports Supplements for Cricketers

cricket-nutrition-and-sports-supplements- for-cricketersThe game of cricket is very much misunderstood by many of us in terms of what skills and physical attributes are required to play the sport.

The popular conception is that the game is slow and requires very little in the way of physical capability, especially when compared to other popular sports such as football and rugby.

This, however could not be further from the truth as cricketers, at club, county and international levels are required to posses an extraordinary level of skill, strength, speed and, above all else, agility, especially if they want to perform at the top of their game.

If you wish to optimise your cricketing performance then your emphasis should not just be on the way you train: a vital component in performing at your best, as well as looking after your body, comes down to your diet, your nutritional intake and getting the balance right.

Cricket training schedules

Cricket is one of those sports that requires an athletes body to be in tip-top condition, and for that reason the training schedules can be extremely demanding.

However, the frequency and intensity of training sessions can vary depending on whether you are a novice just starting out or, at the other end of the scale as an elite/professional cricketer.

Training requirements are also determined by your personal goals and the ultimate objectives of the session itself.

if you wish to optimise your cricketing performance then your emphasis should not just be on the way you train: a vital component in performing at your best, as well as looking after your body, comes down to your diet, your nutritional intake and getting the balance right

Typically though, a weekly training programme for a professional cricketer will consist of two forty five minute to one hour sessions of moderately paced running, cycling or any other endurance activity that works the body at approximately 50 to 60 per cent maximum heart rate.

These training sessions should also incorporate some form of resistance training.

As the cricket season draws ever closer, skill and agility sessions should also be incorporated in to the weekly training sessions, which usually feature batting and bowling practice in the nets, as well as fielding skills.

Reduced body fat

Historically, like many similar sports, cricketers came in all shapes and sizes, however there is now a keen emphasis on staying trim and lean, which means that the average cricketer has to be fitter and stronger than they ever have been.

It is fair to say that the modern cricketer is placed under more physiological demands as they are now required to train harder and promote a much reduced body fat profile.

A lower body fat composition is important for any cricketer because it allows players to be more agile, supple, faster and have increased stamina.

A leaner, fitter physique will also benefit cricketers during summer competitions as they will often be more tolerant of the heat, especially if they are lighter in weight.

Anaerobic, aerobic and resistance training

In terms of preparation, cricket training should ideally look to combine both anaerobic and aerobic training components as well as resistance training.

This is because the skills that are now essential to be successful in the modern game require both anaerobic and aerobic fitness.

For instance, bowling, batting and fielding utilises the bodies anaerobic energy systems whilst players are also required to bend and squat during games which means they need good aerobic fitness as well.

Cricket nutrition

As with all sports, however, if you wish to optimise your cricketing performance then your emphasis should not just be on the way you train: a vital component in performing at your best, as well as looking after your body, comes down to your diet, your nutritional intake and getting the balance right between the two.

Good nutrition for cricketers and improved performance really do go hand in hand, so taking the time to properly understand what you eat and drink and how this impacts on your performance will ultimately mean you will reap the rewards.

Nutrition during training sessions

When it comes to training sessions and your nutritional requirements, it is always important that you select and consume the correct foods to sustain you through your training sessions, and also encourage rapid recovery afterwards.

Like most sports, nutrient-dense meals and snacks are the best option – foods such as wholegrain cereals, fresh fruit and vegetables, sports snacks, lean meat including chicken and fish are all ideal.

The timing of the meals and supplement snacks is also important as it will aid rapid recovery between sessions and will keep you alert and energised for the duration.

Match nutrition

Unlike many sports, cricket can matches can sometimes last several hours, sometimes played over a number of days, meaning that players need to take on-board food before, during and after a match or session.

On the first day of a match however, professional cricketers do not know whether they are batting or bowling until about 45 minutes before the first ball is bowled.

This means that players need to prepare nutritionally for a match assuming they will be required to play on the first day, even if they don’t.

During a match it is vital that players stock up on nutrients and maintain good levels of hydration.

High carbohydrate, low fat foods and fluids are recommended as the best things to consume during this stage of the match with fresh fruit smoothies, rice or pasta with a plain sauce as well as sports bars are all proven to be good nutritional sources of energy.

Fluids and hydration

Maintaining the correct levels of hydration by replacing fluid losses with an isotonic sports drink or cool water also needs to be a priority.

Post match recovery

After a match or an intense training session it is essential that you recover body carbohydrate and fluid stores before the next session.

The recovery process is vitally important and there are no two ways about it; cricketers need to recover properly, especially if they want to keep their body fighting-fit and in the best possible shape.

There are three golden rules to a cricketers successful rehabilitation; and we refer to them as the three R’s:

  • Refuel

    Refuel muscle glycogen (carbohydrate stores).

  • Repair

    Repair muscle tissue (for maintenance and development).

  • Rehydrate

    Rehydrate to replace fluids and salts lost through sweat.

Bodily carbohydrate stores (glycogen) must be quickly restored to allow quality performances to be maintained – the optimum time to restore muscle glycogen stores is during the first hour after a match or training and this is when you need to consume carbohydrates.

If you do not replenish glycogen stores adequately however, recovery may well be affected leading to unwanted fatigue and poor performances may then follow.

Alcohol

Cricket is also renowned for its links to alcohol and the odd celebratory drink, and whilst this is a good, traditional aspect to the game, it has to be remembered that as a player you shouldn’t drink alcohol straight after a match as it can detrimentally affect rehydration and recovery rates.

If you want to enjoy the celebrations, firstly have a drink of water before touching the alcohol and then finish with more water to ensure that you have got the correct amount of fluid that your body needs.

And always remember…don’t overdo it… everything in moderation!

Want to get involved in cricket?

If you’re not currently involved in cricket as a recreational activity or at a competitive level and are keen to learn more about taking part then read on. Here we’ve brought together a number of useful links to cricket organisations that may be able to help you.

  • The England and Wales Cricket Board

    The England and Wales Cricket Board is the governing body for all cricket in England and Wales. The ECB provides support for the game far beyond the boundaries of just international and first class cricket.

  • The International Cricket Council

    As the international governing body for cricket, the International Cricket Council (ICC) provide a world class environment for international cricket, deliver ‘major’ events across three formats provide targeted support to members and promote the global game.

  • Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC)

    The Marylebone Cricket Club – better known, throughout the cricketing world, as MCC was founded in 1787 and is the world’s most famous cricket club. The MCC’s role remains as relevant as ever. From guarding the game’s Laws to safeguarding its Spirit, and from promoting cricket to young people to looking after Lord’s, MCC is committed to the good of the game.

  • Cricket on Wikipedia

    Cricket is a bat-and-ball game played between two teams of 11 players each on a field at the centre of which is a rectangular 22-yard long pitch. The game is played by 120 million players in many countries, making it the world’s second most popular sport. Each team takes its turn to bat, attempting to score runs, while the other team fields. Each turn is known as an innings…

Want help with nutrition?

Get in touch now for more information about cricket nutrition and the use of sports supplements to help improve your speed, fitness and endurance for better match performances. Our team of sports scientists and nutritionists are always happy to help.

Cycling nutrition guide

Cycling Nutrition

Cycling Nutrition & Sports Supplements for Cyclists

cycling-nutrition-sports-supplements-for-cyclistsFuel for any endurance sport depends a great deal on the availability of carbohydrate, which is a key nutritional component in the diet of any road, track or off-road cyclist.

A nutritionally varied, high quality diet will also help to provide cyclists with protein; and vitamins and minerals which all help to contribute to general good health and a high standard of cycling performance.

Of necessity, part of the cyclists training diet will be consumed whilst on the bike, so items of food and drink must be convenient, easy to carry and easy to handle, with the likes of bananas and other fresh fruits, nutritional sports bars and specially prepared sports drinks and gels being favoured by many.

Hydration for cyclists

So much for the training diet as a whole, but equally important are the fluid needs of cyclists, who are very often limited in the amount of fluids they can carry and therefore fail to drink enough.

Consequently it is very important that you keep well hydrated by drinking water or sports drinks throughout the day.

During training, you should ideally aim to drink frequently and if you are training out on the road pick-up refills regularly at any refreshment points along the way.

Specially formulated sports drinks are a particularly good way of supplying both fluid and carbohydrate at the same time and are therefore highly recommended.

Pre-competition cycling nutrition

In the run up to a competition, cyclists should ideally consume a carbohydrate rich meal around two to four hours before the start of the event, or, if it is a particularly early start, a lighter snack one to two hours previously, with a larger high carbohydrate meal the night before.

Also, you should look to top up glycogen levels around an hour or so before the race consuming bananas, sports nutrition bars or a liquid meal replacement drink.

A nutritionally varied, high quality diet will help to provide cyclists with protein; and vitamins and minerals which all help to contribute to general good health and a high standard of cycling performance

In addition, to optimise your performance you need to begin the race in a fully hydrated state, so you should ideally look to drink the equivalent of half to a whole bidon (bidon is a term used in cycling to describe a water bottle) of fluid with your pre-event meal, and another half a bidon immediately before the off.

In case you are wondering what is best to eat at your pre-event meal, some of the following may appeal to you:

  • tuna salad sandwich
  • fresh pasta with a low-fat sauce
  • beans on toast
  • breakfast cereal with low fat milk
  • liquid nutrition supplement

Keeping your body fuelled for action

In longer events to achieve optimum performance it is essential that you eat and drink during competition, and as a cyclist you are fortunate that you can carry on your bike both nutritional snacks and drinks that will help you remain sufficiently hydrated and maintain energy levels.

If you are competing in one of the longer cycling races, you should consider eating easily digested carbohydrate-rich foods, such as jam sandwiches or sports bars, in order to prevent fatigue.

In common with all cyclists you will probably not want to carry any unnecessary weight, so you may prefer to rely on sports drinks or gels, which are both a very efficient way of combining fluid and carbohydrate.

In those road races over longer distances you will, of course, almost certainly have the opportunity to take on fluid at a number of feeding stations along the route, but do check beforehand if this option exists.

To maintain good levels of hydration your aim should be to drink at least one to one-and-a-half bidons every hour.

Post-competition nutrition

Immediately after the race always make certain that you continue your fluid intake and stock up with more carbohydrate to replace lost fluids and energy.

Once again sports drinks and gels are ideal, while natural yoghurt and milk-based drinks provide additional protein and other nutrients.

That done, follow up with a substantial meal which provides yet more carbohydrate and protein from foods such as rice, pasta, bread, lean meat including poultry and fish, while at the same time maintaining a high fluid intake.

Suggestions for cyclists

Nutrition for cyclists is important and if approached in the correct way can help to improve your performance. Here we have put together a number of simple dietary suggestions that you may wish to consider.

  • Tried & Tested

    Never try anything nutritionally new on a race day. If you want to experiment it’s always best that you do it in training. You don’t want any surprises!

  • Take Your Own Food

    Always be prepared with your own supply of fluids (water, sports drinks) and carbohydrate-rich foods for before, during and after racing – just in case they are not available out on the course.

  • Stay Relaxed

    If thre’s a lot going on or it is hot try to stay relaxed and in the shade while waiting for your race. This will help conserve energy and minimise fluid losses.

  • Stay Warm

    If it is cold always keep well wrapped up and stay warm. This will improve performance, keep muscles warm and help minimise the risk of injury.

Sprint and track cyclists

Sprint and track cyclists have different nutritional needs from their road racing counterparts.

For example, track cyclists generally have lower carbohydrate requirements, although their carbohydrate intake must always be sufficient to fuel and refuel repeated efforts in training.

Another difference is that energy rich sports bars are less likely to be used by track competitors, with the emphasis instead on ensuring nutrient rich options from all food groups.

Their nutritional requirement can be met by moderate servings of lean meat, low fat dairy products or vegetarian choices such as tofu, nuts and legumes.

If convenient, you might also like to try other products, such as whey protein powder.

Hydration

Unlike the road racers, track cyclists do not carry bidons so it is essential, especially for longer races, that you start well hydrated and use the time between heats to rehydrate if necessary.

Consider cool water or specially prepared, energy rich sports drinks.

Carbohydrates

Neither are carbohydrate stores a limiting factor in sprint track events.

So large carbohydrate packed pre-race meals are not as necessary!

Pre-event meals should also be consumed nearer the start time – say about two hours – and should be low in fat and fibre and easily digested.

It is advisable to try it out various meal options in training to find out what works, and what doesn’t work for you.

Multiple cycling events

When you intend to compete in multiple cycling events staged over a single day it is important that you take stock of your total energy needs.

Small, frequent snacks – sports bars, dried fruit, bananas or sports drinks are convenient – and will help with refuelling, rehydration and recovery as well as preparation for the next event.

Afterwards, if it is not possible to eat an hour after finishing, you should have a sandwich or a milk drink on the way home and follow this up with a good tasty meal containing lean meat or fish with vegetables and rice or pasta.

Training

If you are a competitive track cyclist you will often need to travel to and from your club velodrome for your training, so make sure that you have adequate provision of fluids and appropriate foods and snacks to keep your energy and fluid levels topped up.

Try not to rely on the food which can be obtained at the velodrome; it may not be suitable for your requirements… think pies, pasties, confectionery, fizzy drinks and the like.

Recovery phase

After an intense training session or cycling competition it is essential that you recover body carbohydrate and fluid stores before the next session.

The recovery process is vitally important and there are no two ways about it; cyclists need to recover properly, especially if they want to keep their body fighting-fit and in the best possible shape.

There are three golden rules to a cyclists successful rehabilitation; and we refer to them as the three R’s:

  • Refuel

    Refuel muscle glycogen (carbohydrate stores).

  • Repair

    Repair muscle tissue (for maintenance and development).

  • Rehydrate

    Rehydrate to replace fluids and salts lost through sweat.

Bodily carbohydrate stores (glycogen) must be quickly restored to allow performance levels to be maintained – the optimum time to restore muscle glycogen stores is during the first hour after competition or training and this is when you need to consume carbohydrates.

If you do not replenish glycogen stores adequately however, recovery may well be affected leading to unwanted fatigue and poor performances may then follow.

Want to get involved in cycling?

If you’re not currently involved in cycling (road, track or off-road) as a recreational activity or at a competitive level and are keen to learn more about taking part then read on. Here we’ve brought together a number of useful links to cycling organisations that may be able to help you.

  • British Cycling

    British Cycling is the national governing body for cycling as recognised by the UCI – the international federation for the sport. It works across all levels and six disciplines of the sport (BMX, mountain bike, cyclo-cross, road, track and cycle speedway), from providing the support and encouragement people need to get riding their bikes for the first time, to being home to the hugely successful Great Britain Cycling Team.

  • The National Cycling Centre

    The National Cycling Centre was Britain’s first indoor Olympic cycling track, and since it opened in 1994, has become one of the World’s finest and fastest board tracks.

  • The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI)

    The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) is the world governing body for sports cycling and oversees international competitive cycling events. The UCI is based in Aigle, Switzerland. It issues racing licenses to riders and enforces disciplinary rules, such as in matters of doping. The UCI also manages the classification of races and the points ranking system in various cycling disciplines including mountain biking, road and track cycling, for both men and women, amateur and professional. It also oversees the World Championships.

  • Cycling on Wikipedia

    Cycling, also called bicycling or biking, is the use of bicycles for transport, recreation, or for sport. Persons engaged in cycling are referred to as “cyclists”, “bikers”, or less commonly, as “bicyclists”…

Want help with nutrition?

Get in touch now for more information about road and track cycling nutrition and the use of sports supplements to help improve performances on the track, on and off the road. Our team of sports scientists and nutritionists are always happy to help.

Guide to Football Nutrition

Football Nutrition

Football Nutrition & Sports Supplements for Footballers

football-nutrition-and-sports-supplements-for-footballers

The game of football or soccer as it is also known, is played by many millions of people all around the world and is recognised as one of the most physically complex sports there is, combining the need for high levels of skill, spatial awareness, game tactics, speed, physical power and endurance.

Did you know that in a typical football match a professional footballer can cover up to 10 to 11 kilometres, sprint for about 800 to 1200 metres, accelerate 40 to 60 times, and change direction every five seconds?

Such alternating fast and slow running patterns can easily deplete important leg-muscle fuel stores, known as glycogen.

Football nutrition

Studies have shown that a professional footballer spends more than two-thirds of a typical match at 85 per cent of maximum heart rate and can deplete up to 90 per cent of their muscle glycogen – more than enough to cause significant athlete fatigue and dramatically reduce their ability to accelerate and run at speed.

Combining the right kind of training techniques with a well balanced nutritional programme is therefore essential if players are to optimise their footballing performance.

Football training programmes need to be demanding in order to build up the necessary levels of skill, strength, speed, agility and fitness; which means lots of energy, carbohydrate and fluids.

Sports science research has discovered that on average, footballers require between five and eight grams of carbohydrate per kilogram of body weight per day in order to fuel training and fitness sessions, as well as preparation for games; making carbohydrate rich foods such as wholemeal bread, breakfast cereal, fresh or dried fruit, pasta, rice, fresh vegetables, natural yoghurt and sports bars a pre-requisite for meals and snacks.

Combining the right kind of training with a well balanced nutritional programme is essential if players wish to optimise their footballing performance

If, as a player, you are failing to meet these nutritional requirements your performance will almost certainly suffer, with mid-week slumps and a progressive loss of form over a season.

If you are a part-time professional or a keen amateur footballer, with a full-time job taking up most of your time, there are the added complications caused by fitting in training and matches; and often good nutrition habits are hard to stick to on a longer term basis.

Popular takeaway foods like curries, pizzas, chips and burgers can be a big danger, but they can also be the answer if the right choices are made.

Recovery nutrition

During periods of particularly intense training it is important that you focus on recovery nutrition as soon as you finish a session.

Your aim should be to consume between 50 and 100 grams of carbohydrate within 30 minutes of finishing, with fluids being an important part of any recovery snack.

The following list will give you an indication of what 50g of carbohydrate looks like:

  • 800ml sports drink
  • Three medium sized portions of fresh fruit
  • Two cereal bars
  • Two 200g cartons of yoghurt (without added sugar or artificial sweeteners)
  • One and a half cups of fruit salad with one tub of low fat unsweetened yoghurt
  • 250-350ml fresh fruit smoothie
  • One large bread roll
  • Two pancakes with a topping of jam or maple syrup
  • Three slices of toast with honey or jam

Maintaining your fitness levels

You should also watch what you eat and drink during the close season to prevent body fat levels from creeping up.

Physically eating less food is one way to counteract this; continued fitness training also helps, and playing another sport will assist in maintaining the status quo.

Football hydration

In football fluid needs are generally fairly high because of the intense “stop-and-go” nature of the game, with opportunities to take a drink during matches being limited, so it is important you are properly hydrated before kick-off, you make full use of any breaks in play such as injury stoppages, as well as half-time.

Specially formulated sports drinks are ideal, not only do they help to maintain correct levels of hydration, they also contain carbohydrate to assist with the replacement of vital energy stores, and small amounts of electrolytes (salts) to replace what has been lost during play.

When playing in hot conditions, extra attention needs to be given in this area, with refreshing fluids, kept as cool as possible, on hand to drink at every opportunity.

As dehydration adversely affects physical ability, skill, and decision-making function, it goes without saying that it has to be avoided at all costs.

Following a game or intense training session athlete fluid losses should always be carefully assessed – weighing before and after games will give a good indication of the amount of fluid loss, and is considered the best method – the lost fluids should ideally be replaced as quickly as possible.

Pre-match nutrition

What a player eats and drinks before a football game can also have a big impact on performance levels.

A pre-match meal is best consumed three to four hours before kick-off and it should ideally be high in carbohydrate and low in fat.

This should then be followed up with high-carbohydrate, low-fat sports snacks nearer kick-off time.

Consider the following as a typical footballers pre-match menu:

Three to four hours before kick-off: A bowl of rice or pasta with a low-fat sauce washed down with 400ml of fruit juice

Two hours before: A 200g low-fat yoghurt and small portion of dried fruit (40g)

One hour before: 500ml sports drink to assist with hydration needs

Match nutrition

As we’ve already identified, there are genuinely very few opportunities for eating and drinking during a game, so you should make the most of the 15-minute half-time break to consume fluids, and a sports drink is the best option, providing not only liquid but also vital carbohydrate, which is ideal at a time when rehydration is the main priority.

Post match nutrition and recovery

After a match or an intense training session it is essential that you recover body carbohydrate and fluid stores before the next session.

The recovery process is vitally important and there are no two ways about it; footballers need to recover properly, especially if they want to keep their body fighting-fit and in the best possible shape.

There are three golden rules to a footballers successful rehabilitation; and we refer to them as the three R’s:

  • Refuel

    Refuel muscle glycogen (carbohydrate stores).

  • Repair

    Repair muscle tissue (for maintenance and development).

  • Rehydrate

    Rehydrate to replace fluids and salts lost through sweat.

Bodily carbohydrate stores (glycogen) must be quickly restored to allow performance levels to be maintained – the optimum time to restore muscle glycogen stores is during the first hour after a match or training and this is when you need to consume carbohydrates.

If you do not replenish glycogen stores adequately however, recovery may well be affected leading to unwanted fatigue and poor performances may then follow.

Carbohydrate-rich foods are key in helping to quickly replenish lost muscle glycogen stores. It is equally important during weeks of heavy training.

During this post match recovery time it is also vital to include some form of lean protein source to aid muscle tissue repair and growth.

A snack of, for example, a chicken salad roll taken with a sports drink, or a bowl of breakfast cereal with dried fruit and milk could also be consumed within 30 minutes of finishing a football match, or, indeed, a training session, helping to replace lost carbohydrate, protein and fluid.

The next meal, preferably within three to four hours of the final whistle, should see a resumption of your normal eating patterns, with carbohydrate, protein and fluids again the essential ingredients.

Want to get involved in football?

If you’re not currently involved in football as a recreational activity or at a competitive level and are keen to learn more about taking part then read on. Here we’ve brought together a number of useful links to football organisations that may be able to help you.

  • The Football Association

    The Football Association, also known simply as the FA, is the governing body of football in England, and the Crown dependencies of Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man. Formed in 1863, it is the oldest football association in the world and is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the amateur and professional game in its territory. The FA sanctions all competitive football matches within its remit at national level, and indirectly at local level through the County Football Associations. It runs numerous competitions, the most famous of which is the FA Cup. It is also responsible for appointing the management of the men’s, women’s and youth national football teams.

  • Scottish Football Association

    The Scottish Football Association (also known as the SFA and the Scottish FA), or Comann Ball-coise na h-Alba in Scottish Gaelic, is the governing body of football in Scotland and has the ultimate responsibility for the control and development of football in Scotland. Members of the SFA include clubs in Scotland, affiliated national associations as well as local associations. It was formed in 1873, making it the second oldest national football association in the world. It is not to be confused with the “Scottish Football Union”, which is the name that the SRU was known by until the 1920s.

  • The Football Association of Wales

    The Football Association of Wales is the third oldest association in the world, having come into existence in 1876. The association has governed football in Wales continually since that date. The FAW is a member of FIFA and UEFA and is one of the five associations (together with FIFA, The FA, SFA and IFA) that make up the International Football Association Board, the guardians of the “Laws of the Game”. The FAW in addition to its administration responsibilities for football in Wales also has the responsibility of running the international teams, of which there are eight, namely “A”, “U21”, “U19”, “U17”, Semi-Professional, Womens, Women’s “U19 and Women’s U17”.

  • The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA)

    The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), is the administrative body for association football in Europe and part of Asia. It is one of six continental confederations of world football’s governing body FIFA. UEFA represents the national football associations of Europe, runs competitions including the UEFA European Championship, UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, and UEFA Super Cup.

  • The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA)

    The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA – International Federation of Association Football) is the international governing body of association football, futsal and beach soccer. FIFA is responsible for the organisation of football’s major international tournaments, notably the World Cup which commenced in 1930 and the Women’s World Cup which commenced in 1991.

  • Football on Wikipedia

    Football refers to a number of sports that involve, to varying degrees, kicking a ball with the foot to score a goal. Unqualified, the word football is understood to refer to whichever form of football is the most popular in the regional context in which the word appears: association football (also known as soccer) in the United Kingdom and most of the non-English speaking world…

Want help with nutrition?

Get in touch now for more information about football nutrition and the use of sports supplements to help improve your speed, power, fitness and endurance for better performances in training and on the pitch. Our team of sports scientists and nutritionists are always happy to help.

Sprinting Nutrition

Sprinting Nutrition & Sports Supplements for Sprinters

sprinting-nutrition-and-sports-supplements-for-sprintersThe 100 metres, 200 metres, 400 metres, 4 x 100 and 4 x 400 metres relays are generally regarded as the main competitive sprint events in track and field athletics.

Additionally, you could also include in this grouping the 100 and 400 metres hurdles, as they all rely primarily on the generation of explosive speed and power from an athletes anaerobic energy reserves.

For a sprint specialist their power- to-weight ratio is of critical importance, so athletes should aim to maximise strength while maintaining low body fat levels.

If you are a junior athlete or still in the early stages of your sprinting career there may be periods when it is desirable that you promote continued strength and power development, however this is less of a priority if you are a more experienced athlete and have been in the sport for some time.

Sprint training

As a competitive sprinter it is usually necessary to train throughout the year, with your off-season containing a considerable amount of weight-training, with approximately a third of your total training schedule being completed in the gymnasium.

sprinters need to maintain low levels of body fat whilst at the same time eat the quantity and variety of foods to meet their nutritional demands and expedite rehabilitation and recovery between races and training sessions

For the rest of the time you should focus on refining your running style, technique and method with a multitude of sessions on the track and drill practice to improve such aspects as leg speed (cadence), extension, knee lift, arm action, overall form and sprint starts.

As the start of the athletics season approaches your sprint training emphasis should switch to high quality sprint sessions of variable periods, punctuated with appreciative amounts of recovery time.

Sprinting nutrition

As for the nutrition necessary for your training efforts to be of the greatest benefit, you must eat enough carbohydrate to meet your training requirements, however, you do not need to reach the intake levels of endurance athletes.

As a sprinter you have to maintain a low body fat level while at the same time eat the quantity and variety of food to meet your nutritional demands and expedite rehabilitation and recovery between races and training sessions.

In other words your diet must be nutrient-rich, and the best way of achieving this is by eating plenty of pasta, bread, cereal, rice, starchy vegetables, fruit and sweet dairy items, particularly on the days of more rigorous training, but less so when your load is lighter or when you have a day off.

Moderate measures of lean meat, skinless chicken, eggs, reduced-fat dairy products, tofu and lentils – in small amounts – should also be part of your daily nutritional intake to provide sufficient levels of protein.

Be careful with energy-packed food such as pastries, cakes, chocolate, fizzy drinks and takeaways

Ensure you keep such foods to a minimum, ideally as a treat only.

Appropriate snacks including sandwiches, fresh fruit and yoghurt and reduced-fat milk drinks should also be included before and after training sessions as they are nutritious fuel-filled foods and will help optimise effort and performance levels and also aid post training recovery.

Power to weight ratio and body fat

Successful sprinters need low body fat levels while at the same time having high measures of muscle and strength; the good thing is that in male athletes this usually occurs naturally as a result of the gradually improving training effect on the best genetic stock.

Some male sprinters, however – and you may be one – need to reduce body weight in the run-up to competitions in order to enhance their power to weight ratio, while female sprinters regularly have to manipulate food intake and training to achieve their optimum body fat levels and power to weight ratio.

As a sprinter, if you do need to reduce your body fat percentage you should focus on excess energy in your diet, especially unnecessary fat, sugar-rich foods and drinks, and any alcohol.

Such an approach will aid weight loss whilst not having any detrimental effect on the nutritional quality of your diet… in fact it could well improve it.

Pre-race nutrition

Carbohydrate loading is important prior to competition in several areas of athletics, however, because sprints do not drain an athletes glycogen stores, it is not really needed in such events.

Instead you should carry on following a sensible nutritional regimen similar to that followed during training except with a slightly lower intake of energy, the need for which declines at this time.

On the other hand, if you are a junior athlete taking part in multiple events all through the day, energy requirements will be high, so you have to perform a difficult balancing act between taking in the right amount of fluid and fuel while at the same time making sure that you are free from digestive discomfort.

If you have a problem in finding that right balance it might be a good idea to consult a professional sports dietician.

In order for all sprinters to avoid hunger yet at the same time not run the risk of a stomach upset, the sensible start to the day of the competition is a usually a carbohydrate-filled meal of your personal choice.

Eat something you enjoy as this will be easier to consume but is also more likely to put you in a positive frame of mind.

If you would like some guidance on what to eat, then the following list of foods which are acceptable to eat three to four hours before fitness training or competition may be of assistance:

  • crumpets with honey or jam and flavoured milk
  • breakfast cereal with low fat milk
  • fruit salad with fruit-flavoured yoghurt
  • bread roll and cheese or meat filling and a banana
  • baked potato with cottage cheese filling and a glass of milk
  • pasta/rice with sauce containing reduced-fat ingredients (lean meat, tomato, vegetables etc.)
  • baked beans on toast

Nearer to the start of competition – one to two hours before – the following foods would be acceptable

  • beakfast cereal with milk
  • fruit-flavoured yoghurt
  • milkshake or smoothie
  • cereal bars
  • sports bars (ensure to check for protein content and carbohydrates)
  • liquid meal supplement
  • fruit

In the event that there is less than an hour between your events you would be advised to stick to:

  • formulated sports drinks
  • fruit cordial
  • carbohydrate sports gels
  • sports bars

It is possible that suitable food and drink may not be stocked at a competition venue and therefore it would make sense for you to take along your own food supplies.

It is also recommended that as a sprinter you try out a competition day routine during training so that you are confident it works well for you… you want to avoid any surprises on the day.

Sprinting hydration

As an athlete optimum hydration is essential if you are to train and compete effectively.

Specially formulated sports drinks are ideal, not only do they help to maintain correct levels of hydration; they also contain carbohydrate to assist with the replacement of vital energy stores, and small amounts of electrolytes (salts) to replace what has been lost during training or competition.

When training or competing in hot conditions, extra attention needs to be given in this area, with refreshing fluids, as cool as possible, on hand to drink at every opportunity.

As dehydration adversely affects physical ability, form and decision-making function, it goes without saying that it has to be avoided at all costs.

Following a competition or intense training session athlete fluid losses should always be carefully assessed – weighing before and after will give a good indication of the amount of fluid loss, and is considered the best method – the lost fluids should ideally be replaced as quickly as possible.

The recovery phase

After competition or training has been completed, it is always advisable for sprinters to follow the correct recovery procedure as, in many instances; this stage is just as important as the initial preparation stages, especially during periods of intensive training or competition.

There are three golden rules to a sprinters successful rehabilitation; and we refer to them as the three R’s:

  • Refuel

    Refuel muscle glycogen (carbohydrate stores).

  • Repair

    Repair muscle tissue (for maintenance and development).

  • Rehydrate

    Rehydrate to replace fluids and salts lost through sweat.

Therefore your ideal recovery meals and snacks must contain carbohydrate (for fuel replacement), some protein (for muscle repair and/or gains) and plenty of fluids to replace sweat losses.

Want to get involved in sprinting?

If you’re not currently involved in track-and-field athletics and sprinting in particular and are keen to learn more about taking part then read on. Here we’ve brought together a number of useful links to athletics organisations that may be able to help you.

  • UK Athletics

    UK Athletics is the National Governing Body for the sport of athletics in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Athletics is the nation’s favourite Olympic and Paralympic sport. It is responsible for developing and implementing the rules and regulations of the sport, including everything from anti-doping, health and safety, facilities and welfare, to training and education for coaches and officials and permitting and licensing.

  • England Athletics

    England Athletics develops grass roots athletics in England, supporting affiliated clubs to prosper, developing more and better coaches, recruiting and supporting volunteers and officials. England Athletics provides and supports competition opportunities at an international (England representative), national, area and county level.

Want help with nutrition?

Get in touch now for more information about sprinting nutrition and the use of sports supplements to improve your speed, explosive power, strength and fitness for quicker times and improved performances. Our team of sports scientists and nutritionists are always happy to help.

Protein

Protein – Essential Sports Nutrition

protein-essential-sports-nutritionProtein is an important nutrient for everyone and should form an essential part of any healthy and well balanced diet, but even more so for competitive athletes, sports enthusiast or simply those of us who enjoy exercising to stay in shape.

Without sounding melodramatic, protein has been described by many nutritional experts as an essential nutrient, a key component in any diet but especially important for highly active and energetic athletes.

Even though there is still a lot to learn about this highly beneficial nutrient, scientific research is beginning to reveal many of the key factors that surround it and how it can be used to create performance improvements across a whole range of sports.

For example, such research now allows us to calculate average recommended consumption levels, measure protein metabolism during exercise and recovery, and to monitor protein balance in athletes specifically.

Athletes and protein

It is well recognised that endurance athletes (marathon runners, long distance swimmers, road cyclists) typically require more protein to cover a small amount of the energy expelled during training sessions.

They also need to consume more protein to help speed up the process of muscle repair and recovery after exercise is completed.

Similarly, strength athletes who are required to build muscle mass and increase capacity also require greater levels of protein – although they should ideally consume it prior to, or during the very early stages of their intensive resistance training and exercise sessions for best effect.

Protein requirements tend to be higher for all competitive athletes – it really only tends to be when to consume protein, and not how much that varies between sports.

Additionally, younger athletes who are still growing will also have elevated protein requirements.

What is protein?

Proteins are an essential nutrient required by the human body for building connective tissue, muscle cells and cell membranes, and maintenance and repair.

Regulatory proteins also act as transport vehicles or enzymes.

Based on amino acids, proteins are considered to be one of the primary building blocks of body tissue and form a key structural element in all cells present in the human body, especially muscle.

In addition to acting as a source of fuel, proteins can also improve sporting performance, build muscle and aid subsequent athlete recovery by repairing damaged tissue.

Amino acids

Proteins comprise amino acid based polymer chains linked by peptide bonds.

They are made up of many different sequences that contain over 20 different amino acids.

Some of these amino acids act as a minor fuel source during exercise whilst others, eight to be precise, are essential and must come from the diet.

Sources of amino acids include meat, milk, fish and eggs, whilst protein specific sources include fruits, pulses, whole grains, legumes, soy, nuts and seeds.

During the digestive process, proteins are broken down by hydrochloric acid and protease actions in the stomach into smaller polypeptide chains.

This digestive process is very important for the synthesis of those essential amino acids that cannot be created by the human body alone.

There are three primary types of amino acid and they are, essential amino acids, non-essential amino acids, and conditional amino acids.

Essential amino acids

The human body is unable to synthesise essential amino acids and so they must be obtained directly from foods that contain them.

Sources of essential amino acids include histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine.

Non-essential amino acids

Non-essential amino acids are synthesised by the body during the breakdown of proteins or directly from essential amino acids.

Sources of non-essential amino acids include alanine, asparagine, aspartic acid, and glutamic acid.

Conditional amino acids

Conditional amino acids are generally not considered essential, except under certain circumstances.

Sources of conditional amino acids include arginine, cysteine, glutamine, glycine, proline, serine, and tyrosine.

Protein consumption levels

In common with many other nutrients, there is not really any set rule as to how much protein you should consume as it depends on a number of factors.

For instance, because athletes come in many different shapes and sizes, protein consumption is more often than not recommended on the size of your body as opposed to the sport that you play.

Your Body Mass Index (BMI) should also be taken into consideration.

The following table provides a useful break-down of the estimated protein consumption for athletes – it is important to remember however that these are purely guidelines and all are based on exercise events taking place four to five times per week for 45-60 minutes.

Estimated Protein Consumption
ProfileProtein consumption (g/kg/day)
Sedentary men and women0.8 – 1.0
Elite male endurance athletes1.6
Moderate-intensity endurance athletes1.2
Recreational endurance athletes0.8 – 1.0
Football, power sports1.4 – 1.7
Resistance athletes (early training)1.5 – 1.7
Resistance athletes (steady state)1.0 – 1.2

What to eat

Although quantities of protein consumed need to be taken in to account when developing your diet plan, once you become familiar with certain protein rich foods you will be able to incorporate these into your diet in order to achieve your recommended/required levels.

For instance, for breakfast you could have 2 slices of wholemeal toast, 2 tablespoons of jam, 1 banana and 2 bread rolls each with 50g of chicken and salad which would all provide sufficient protein.

Similarly for dinner/snack you could have a stir fry with 2 cups of pasta incorporating 100g meat and a handful of fresh vegetables along with a small portion of jelly and custard, and a yoghurt, a piece of fresh fruit and a cereal bar… washed down with a glass of fruit juice.

Vegetarian sources of protein

In many instances people believe that meat, poultry and dairy products are the best way to top up your protein levels and whilst these are considered extremely protein rich foods, you should also recognise that vegetarian foodstuffs can also be very good sources of protein.

Cooked pasta, cooked kidney beans, nuts, wholegrain cereal and wholemeal bread are all excellent sources to consider.

Post-event and recovery nutrition

Even though protein is a significant nutrient to be consumed during training or competition, it is highly recommended that you also incorporate a protein-carbohydrate snack or meal shortly after a workout too.

Not only does the protein element help to repair and rebuild muscle tissue, it also provides carbohydrate fuel to restore muscle glycogen levels which is an important part of the recovery phase.

There are no two ways about it; athletes need to recover properly after training or competition, especially if they want to keep their body in the best possible shape.

There are three golden rules to successful athlete rehabilitation; and we refer to them as the three R’s:

  • Refuel

    Refuel muscle glycogen (carbohydrate stores).

  • Repair

    Repair muscle tissue (for maintenance and development).

  • Rehydrate

    Rehydrate to replace fluids and salts lost through sweat.

Generally, if you consume protein immediately after exercise or competition it helps to enhance muscle intake and the retention of amino acids.

It also offers a more balanced protein diet as whatever you use, you put back.

Protein and supplementation

Even though many athletes can acquire all the protein that they need from a good, well balanced and mixed diet, it may still be the case that additional supplements are required – especially for elite athletes, bodybuilders, strength and power athletes or those on challenging training programmes.

Often the best supplements to select are ones that offer a mix of both protein and carbohydrate in a single product, although there are a number of specialist high protein based products available.

Protein powders

Protein powders come in different forms and include whey, casein, egg, rice and soy.

Essentially these powders are manufactured sources of edible protein developed primarily as a high quality, convenient source of additional protein for athletes and bodybuilders.

The various types of protein powder can have different performance enhancing effects on individual athletes impacting protein metabolic responses, muscle exercise performance, rates of protein digestion and ultimately amino acid availability.

Want help with nutrition?

Get in touch now for more information about sports nutrition and the use of protein and other sports supplements to improve your performances. Our team of sports scientists and nutritionists are always happy to help.

Vitamins & Minerals

Vitamins & Minerals – Essential Sports Nutrition

vitamins-and-minerals-essential-sports-nutritionWhen it comes to discussing sports nutrition, optimising athlete performance and energy, the main talking point tends to centre on the use of energy dense foods and the best sources for fuel.

Carbohydrates and protein, for instance, are very often to the fore, as both play a key role in the levels of energy and endurance an athlete has and is able to utilise.

However, many of us tend to overlook the fact that vitamins and minerals are also key components of any nutritional programme for athletes and are vital in optimising sporting performance and future physical development.

Many minerals and vitamins are also essential with regards to improving metabolism – although it is important to remember that they are not sources of energy in themselves.

Vitamins and minerals aid metabolism

Generally, vitamins and minerals can improve the performance of an athlete’s metabolism as they help with the break down of proteins and fat into energy, as well as carbohydrates.

So, if you are an athlete and want to convert nutritional components in to energy quickly and effectively, a good source of the correct vitamins and minerals will aid you and allow you to be more efficient in this energy breakdown process.

This can be beneficial for athletes who exert themselves during high intensity training sessions and competitions, as they are able to rapidly convert nutrients and high energy foods in to the fuel required to power their body.

Everything in moderation

Because of the way vitamins and minerals help in the breakdown of carbohydrates for energy, it is only natural that people assume that taking higher doses will help them to convert food sources in to energy more rapidly, and, in turn, improve their performance.

This is untrue, however, as high doses of minerals and vitamins can actually have a detrimental impact on performance, health and general wellbeing.

Like anything, a sensible approach to consumption needs to be exercised, with the phrase “everything in moderation” being one to bear in mind in this instance.

Avoid excessive consumption of vitamins and minerals

Consuming excessive amounts of vitamins and minerals detracts from what they are generally known to do.

For instance, if you take the “normal” amount of recommended vitamins and minerals, they will act like nutrients and help you break down core energy sources.

However, if you exceed the recommended amounts and ply yourself with what is popularly known as a “megadose”, you will see the positive effects turn to negative ones as they start to behave more like stimulants or pharmaceutical drugs which are banned in competitive sports.

Toxic levels are also known to exist in some vitamins – namely D and A – so it is essential that you exercise caution when consuming these.

Also remember that a lack of these vitamins and minerals can be detrimental to your performance – so getting the balance right is of paramount importance.

Too little is bad, too much is bad… somewhere in the middle is probably just right, although you should monitor carefully your intake.

Microminerals and macrominerals

From an uneducated nutritional perspective it is often assumed that vitamins and minerals do not have any components.

In fact, there are many aspects that make up both groups.

Minerals, for instance, can be categorised as either microminerals or macrominerals.

As you would probably assume, macrominerals are essential and are utilised often.

Macrominerals are stored in the body in large amounts and include calcium and sodium as well as chloride, sulphur and magnesium.

Microminerals make-up the smaller grouping and comprise zinc, copper, iron iodine and fluoride, to name but a few.

Essential vitamins

Vitamins and the categories in the vitamin groups are very large and each is known to be perform different functions within the body.

Again, like minerals, there are two different groups that make up the 13 essential vitamins that a human is known to require.

There are water soluble vitamins – nine to be precise – including thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), pyridoxine (B6), biotin (B7) and folacin (B9).

Eight of the water soluble vitamins are B vitamins, with the ninth classed as a vitamin C.

There are also fat-soluble vitamins and these include Vitamins A, D and E as well as K.

Recommended daily allowance for vitamins and minerals

There are various recommended Government guidelines (Recommended Daily Allowances) available that help to identify the correct levels of vitamins and minerals that should be consumed on a daily basis.

The following chart uses the EU Recommended Daily Allowance’s (RDA’s) identified in 2004 for twelve vitamins and six minerals.

Where no RDA’s are specified for vitamin K and for the minerals chromium, copper, manganese, potassium and selenium, we have used the recommendations given in The Thorsons Complete Guide to Vitamins & Minerals.

Daily Allowance of Vitamins & Minerals
VitaminRDARequired forNatural sources
A800μgEyesight, growth, taste and appetiteLiver, cheese, butter, eggs, dark green vegetables
B1 (Thiamine)1.4mgNervous system, muscles, heart, digestionLiver, oats, brown rice, sunflower seeds
B2 (Riboflavin)1.6mgGrowth, eyesight, hair, nails, skinLiver, fish, milk, eggs, nuts
B3 (Niacin)18mgEnergy conversion, red blood cellsLiver, meat, oily fish, sunflower seeds, avocado, nuts,
B5 (Pantothenic Acid )6mgEnergy conversion, muscle fatigue, stressLiver, chicken, eggs, oats, brown rice
B6 (Pyridoxine)2mgBlood, nerves, mental healthLiver, pork, nuts, seeds, brown rice
B8 (Biotin)150μgEnergy conversion, bone marrow, hair, skin, nervesLiver, milk, eggs, brown rice, nuts, bananas
B9 (Folacin / Folic acid)300μgBlood, immunity and resistance to infectionLiver, eggs, seeds, lentils, dark green vegetables
B122μgFoundation of all cells in human bodyAnimal meat (liver), fish, eggs, milk, cheese
C60mgIron absorption, immunity to infection, growth and repair of body tissueFruits and vegetables
D5μgBone and muscle growthOily fish, eggs, sunlight
E10mgBlood health, anti-clottingEggs, nuts, seeds, avocado, green vegetables
KCurrently no EU RDABlood clotting and bone developmentLiver, egg yolk, cheese, green vegetables
MineralRDARequired forNatural sources
Calcium500mgDevelopment of bones and teethMilk, cheese, fish, pulses, nuts
ChromiumCurrently no EU RDA (200μg)Blood glucose controlBeef, liver, egg yolks, cheese, onions, lettuce
CopperCurrently no EU RDA (2mg)Bones, hair, skin, immunity to infectionLiver, shell fish, cocoa, olives
Iron14mgOxygen delivery red blood cellsRed meat, liver, kidney, fish, eggs, cocoa, lentils
Iodine150μgThyroid functionKelp, whiting, haddock, other fish (trace amounts)
Magnesium300mgEnergy conversion, body tissue growth and repairMeat, fish, whole grains, sunflower seeds, cocoa
ManganeseCurrently no EU RDA (2mg)Tissue growth, nervous systemWhole grains, pulses, nuts, cocoa
Phosphorous800mgDevelopment of bones and teeth,
activates B complex for energy
Meat, liver, fish, eggs, whole grains, seeds, cocoa
PotassiumCurrently no EU RDA (2g)Energy conversion, body cells, water balanceMost foods inc. meat, fish, dairy produce, fruit and vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains
SeleniumCurrently no EU RDA (200μg)Infection immunity, liver, heart,eyes, hair, skinLiver, kidney, fish, shellfish, whole grains
Zinc15mgTissue growth, insulin balanceMeat, liver, fish, shellfish, eggs, cheese

Vitamins and minerals for athletes

Despite the different RDA’s specified by governments around the world, it is important to remember that each and every athlete is different, their training programmes and sporting goals will also be specific to them, and as such these “generic” daily allowances may not be appropriate for everyone.

Because of this we recommend that if you want to learn more and determine what your optimum consumption of vitamins and minerals should be, you seek the advice of a nutritional professional.

Such experienced specialists will be able to evaluate you, your sport and personal goals and then advise on how vitamins and minerals can be used to optimise your performances and give you an indication of the daily amount that you need.

It is important that you identify your sport, details of your training programme, competitive calendar and personal goals, as the need for vitamins and minerals may vary depending on this information.

Most of the time, however, vitamin and mineral requirements stay the same, as sportsmen and women generally alter their nutritional intake to meet their energy and recovery needs.

However, extra vitamins and minerals may be required if an athlete needs to lose weight or is placed on a calorie restricted diet plan.

Under such circumstances, the minerals and vitamins consumed can act as additional supplements and boosters.

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