Types of Sports Supplements

Protein Shake

Protein Shake

There are hundreds, if not thousands of sports supplements available around the world in different markets. They are all aimed at helping the user in increasing their looks, power, stamina and overall performance.

Choosing the right product can be quite a difficult task in itself so below we are going to break down some of the various types available.

  • All-in-one formula Supplements – as the name suggests, these contain a wide variety of ingredients that ensure the user is not depreciated of any mineral or vitamin. Good for overall development and have many vitamins, creatine, carbohydrates and proteins.
  • Amino Acids – includes BCAA, HMB and Glutamines.
  • Protein Bars – a handy snack with all nutrients included.
  • Protein Powders – slow digest powders for mixing with liquid to make a drink.
  • Anabolic Formulas – to help improve muscle development and strength.
  • Weight Gainer Supplements – high in calories, carbs and protein to build quick muscle.
  • Fat Burner Supplements – help with the removal of body fat.
  • Energy/Endurance Supplements – a useful supply of constant energy when needed for exercise or sports.
  • Creatine – includes CEE and Ethyl Ester for prolonged energy.
  • Creatine Monohydrate – the most common form of creatine available.
  • Testerone Booster Supplements – males over 25 years old produce less testosterone as they did before, this helps increase those levels.
  • Vitamins & Minerals – there are many vitamin supplements available for various needs such as muscle growth or fat loss. Multi-vitamins give a broad dose of most vitamins and minerals in one capsule.
  • Recovery Supplements – designed to help your body recover lost nutrients after exercise such as proteins, glucosamine and glutamine.

The above list covers the main categories that sports supplements fall into and all are available in varying forms for convenience. Their main aim is to build muscle and size for increased strength and power, reduce body fats for weight loss and to improve endurance.

It is important to take these supplements in the correct dosages as there is a potential risk to your health by consuming too much of some of the particular ingredients.

An Introduction to Sports Supplements

Supplement Store

Supplement Store

Sports men and women are always looking to find ways in which they can improve their performance to keep bettering themselves and be more competitive against others. A major method which is often turned to is by consuming sports supplements.

These supplements are designed to provide a perfect balance of nutrients, vitamins and minerals that help with developing muscle and health. The sport supplement industry is a multi-million dollar business which provides a massive number of supplements for differing effects and needs from sports person to person. However, not all supplements are necessarily beneficial, so below we will take a look at what to look for depending on your needs.

In basic terms a sports supplement is consumed in addition to your standard diet and is intended to complete your nutritional intake deficiency on a daily basis. They consist of amino acids, minerals, vitamins, herbs and other botanical substances and provide these in a complete single product to ensure that your body gets a balanced amount of each that your daily diet may not provide. These are essential ingredients to help build muscle, stamina and other attributes that are needed to perform at the top of your chosen sport.

When looking for sports supplements to take, ensure that the product has the correct type of ingredients that you require for what you want to achieve. Below lists some of the most common and important ingredients to look out for:

  • Caffeine – for increased alertness and reaction times.
  • Glutamine – nutritional supplement for overall performance.
  • Ribose – clear evidence exists that shows increased athletic performance increases after taking Ribose supplements.
  • Proteins – required for muscle development.
  • B Vitamins – essential for overall body functions.
  • Creatine – good for high intensity exercise such as sprinting and weight lifting.

There are many more ingredients available across the sport supplement range and B Vitamins can be further broken down to thiamine, B6, B12, folate and riboflavin for example. The sheer number of combinations from sports supplements is staggering so ensure you do some research into the correct supplement for your sport before you start using them for your benefit.

Sport Supplements for Increased Performance

Sport Supplement

Improved Performance

If you are looking to improve your overall performance for sport or personal preference then taking sports supplements can be very beneficial to you. Below we look at some of their main ingredients and the benefits.

  • Proteins – this supports muscle growth and is a favourite with body builders. Protein can help improve recovery times and build muscle strength as well as mass when combined with regular exercise.
  • Glucosamine – this plays a role in the repair of cartilage and helps with maintenance by stimulating cells of cartilage building blocks.
  • Ribose – this ingredient restores a person’s energy levels in the heart and skeletal muscles at a fast rate and can help with muscle growth.
  • Creatine – this improves an athlete’s high power performance during repetitive exercises. However to be effective, creatine does require high intensity workouts to be effective.
  • Glutamine – helps sports men and women by preventing muscle breakdown and to improve their immune systems. Offers a reduced risk of infection and illness for athletes and can also help with maintaining muscle mass.
  • B Vitamins – these should not be taken by people that are limiting their calorie intakes or on restricted diets; however they are important as B Vitamins convert proteins and carbohydrates into energy. They are also beneficial for the production of cells and cell repair so therefore anybody that lacks B Vitamins may be at risk of any damaged muscles not mending themselves properly. This can also result in slowing the rate at which muscle mass increases.

As with all sports supplements, it is important that the individual taking them does so in line with the advised dosage guidelines. In addition they should be taken along with a balanced diet and hydration levels must be kept up to help the body’s development.

If used sensibly, sports supplements can be a useful aid to help improve your athletic performance.

Why you should be careful when taking Sports Supplements

Sport Supplements

Supplement Pills

With the sports supplements industry worth millions of dollars and the business becoming increasingly popular among sports athletes, you might think that performance enhancing products are closely regulated and relatively safe. Well you may be shocked to realize this is not the case.

Any product classed as a ‘sports supplement’ or ‘dietary supplement’ are not required to meet any standards set out from the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and so there are not any regulations which ensure a guarantee or the safety of a product sold as a sports supplement.

This means that the supplements on the market are not held to any particular manufacturing standards and may not necessarily be pure or even safe to consume. The supplements are not required to meet the same safety procedures that we expect of food ingredients or prescription drugs. Furthermore, the manufacturers are not required to prove any claims that they make to improve a person’s performance or health, nor do they have to meet any safety testing prior to being sent to market.

Many people find this set-up to be quite strange, however details for each product’s ingredients can quickly and easily be found from many resources such as the Internet. Therefore benefits of the products can quickly be accepted or dismissed by the user from simple research.

A sports supplement product can only be removed from the market if they can prove that the product is in fact harmful to its users or causes medical problems. However, because of the above points any health problems that arise from using these products are only discovered after the product has been sold on the market.

It is therefore wise to choose a sports supplement that has been sold for a long period of time and has already been used successfully by many athletes.

Sport Supplements- Endurance

Sport Supplement

Endurance Supplements

Acclaimed to improve endurance and the ability to train harder with less effort, caffeine is favored among endurance athletes and individuals who seek a pre-exercise energy jolt. Similar to other ergogenic aids, caffeine’s effects can be different depending on the individual. If you sparingly drink coffee, you may feel the jitters and a terrible case of “coffee stomach.” Like with any dietary trials, take caffeine during your workouts so there won’t be any unforeseen effects on competition day.

Caffeine also has the distinction of being a diuretic and augmenting dehydration. Dr. Larry Armstrong of the University of Connecticut, has concluded that caffeine’s diuretic effect is minimal–especially among habitual coffee drinkers. If you would rather to refrain from pre-exercise caffeine, eating a proper meal before training is a proven method of amplifying endurance and performance. Research indicates athletes who had at least 400 calories at breakfast, 3-hours before endurance training, were able to exercise 27 minutes longer than those who did not eat breakfast (136 minutes versus 109 minutes). If you plan to exercise for more than 90 minutes, you can generate improved endurance by consuming carbs (i.e., sports drink, gel) during training.

Ephedra (also called ma huang) is a stimulant banned by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). Ephedra is frequently found in decongestants, cold medications, diet pills and Ripped Fuel[R]–a popular sport supplement used to shed weight and improve energy.

For additional information on the effects of ephedra, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Web site (www.cdc.gov) to see the multiple of medical issues and deaths connected with ephedra. For the most part, athletes and individuals should be careful with sport supplements containing ephedra and should not take more than 24 mg. of ephedrine a day.

Sport Supplement- Creatine

Sport Supplement

Creatine Supplement

Favored by strength trainers and athletes who execute repeated bursts of short, violent exercise (e.g., weight lifting, sprints, ice hockey), Creatine is considered to improve recovery from one session of exercise to the next. Case in point, some body builders describe improved  results from their training sessions when they use Creatine. Enabling the athlete to repeatedly lift heavy weights, they activate muscle growth, thus achieving more strength and muscle mass. However, not all athletes react to Creatine with the same results–some athletes report little or no positive reaction.

Athletes who intake Creatine should be aware that greater than recommended doses are not necessary. If you are a parent who is unsure whether creatine is safe for your student athlete or not, you will be appeased to learn medical research reports creatine is safe. Until now, Creatine, consumed in the recommended doses, has yet to be linked to medical issues. However, thanks to poor quality control in the sport supplement industry, a prudent proverb when taking Creatine (like with any other sport supplement) is, “Consume at your own risk.”

Albeit, I do not encourage the use of Creatine by student athletes. I recommend exercising intensely, prudently, and implementing a properly planned sports diet (i.e., eating a good breakfast and lunch to fuel the student for a vigorous afternoon workout) to attain desired athletic performance.

Sport Supplement- Protein

Sport Supplement

Protein Supplement

If you are amazed by photos of shredded body builders in muscle magazines, you probably believe protein bars, powders, and shakes are linked to increased muscle mass. This is far from the truth. The key to gaining muscle mass is lifting weights, not consuming excessive protein. Of course, athletes who want to build muscles require adequate protein. However, the required protein is easily consumed through normal foods, such as milk, eggs, meats, fish, beans, soy and nuts.

The safe and proper amount of protein recommended by the American College of Sports Medicine, American Dietetic Association and the Dieticians of Canada is 0.5 to 0.6 gm of protein per pound for endurance athletes and 0.7 to 0.8 gm of protein per pound for strength athletes. Therefore, a 200-pound body builder who requires 140 to 160 grams of protein per day can easily intake that amount by drinking a quart of milk (40 gm protein), eating a 6-oz. can of tuna (40 gm protein), and an 8-oz. chicken breast (65 gm protein). Taking added protein from sport supplements is not necessary, can be costly, and replaces the carbohydrates required to provide fuel for vigorous training.

Vegetarian athletes who don’t consume proper beans, tofu and other plant proteins could benefit from protein supplements. For these athletes, consuming a protein sport supplement is more beneficial than not taking enough protein.