As you walk into your local sports nutrition or health store, you will find a plethora of sports enhancement supplements. Deciding which products to take can be overwhelming and learning how to implement them into your daily routine can feel daunting.
While most performance enhancing nutrients can be found in a well-balanced diet, studies have shown that there are a few products that can increase productivity.
Whey protein (and any protein supplement for that matter) should always be taken post-workout, right before bedtime and as soon as you wake up. Breaking up your protein intake throughout the day is a more effective way to consume this supplement due to your body’s protein absorption rate. Our bodies can only take in, absorb and process so much of each nutrient at a time. The same is true for vitamins and minerals.
The average exercising adult should consume .8 grams of protein per kg of body weight per day. Athletes who are participating in strength and endurance training should take in 1.2 – 1.7 grams of kg protein per kg of body weight per day.
Glutamine should also be taken before bed, upon waking up and 30 minutes to an hour after workout. Before bed is the most beneficial. Studies have shown that taking 5 grams of glutamine before bed can significantly raise growth hormone levels.
Glutamine supplementation can result in increased muscularity, strength and immune function.
Creatine should be taken pre- and post-workout. Creatine is a great supplement for increasing muscle mass (through increased exercise intensity), creating better muscle contractions, enabling faster ATP (energy) synthesis, and more. This supplement should, however, be used with caution.
Our bodies naturally make creatine. When athletes “load” creatine, the body will oftentimes stop making creatine naturally. This can sometimes lead to a creatine dependency. The best way to avoid this is by taking small amounts of creatine over a long period of time.
Consult a Sports Nutritionist
Before taking any sports nutrition supplements, consult a sports nutritionist. While sports supplements can help you achieve great results, they’re not right for everyone. Supplements should be used as their name indicates – as a supplement – not meal or natural nutrient replacement. A balanced diet will go a long way in strength and endurance training and many recreational athletes may find this is all they need.