Sports supplements : who are they for?
Sports supplements : are they really necessary?
Sports supplements are becoming increasingly popular. Once strictly associated with bodybuilders, they are now readily available and consumed by everyday people. But, are they really necessary, and if they are, what should be taken and when? Here’s my advice on three popular supplements.
When it comes to supplements, protein supplements are the most popular. There are different kinds of proteins : meat, soy, whey, dairy, and vegan, but as far as protein supplements are concerned, whey dominates the market. Protein supplements are ideal for those who do not meet their daily protein requirements with whole foods, or for those who want to top off a low protein meal or snack. For example, breakfast is usually the meal that contains the least amount of protein. Protein powder can be added to many recipes such as pancake batter, smoothies or desserts.
Because of their practicality, protein supplements are often used during workouts or as a post-workout snack. They can easily be stored in a gym bag and simply added to water. However, for optimal effectiveness, protein should be consumed with a carbohydrate, such as fruit.
Keep in mind, if you meet your protein needs through your regular diet, protein supplements have no added value. Should you be unsure if your protein needs are being met, a consultation with a nutritionist will set you straight.
Muscle mass and muscle strength
Finally, if increased muscle mass and muscle strength is your objective, studies have shown that resistance training combined with a 30g protein intake before bedtime is an effective method.
Known for improving exercise performance and promoting protein synthesis during exercise, BCAAs (branched-chain amino acids) are found in all healthy sources of protein. Therefore, according to recent studies, there are no added benefits to consuming supplementary BCAAs if your dietary needs are already being met through daily protein sources such as meat, eggs, soy, dairy products, etc. BCAAs are generally consumed prior to or during workouts.
It is interesting to note that many have stated that the sweet taste encourages them to drink more fluids.
The pre-workout supplements
Pre-workout supplements contain sugar and caffeine and are designed to provide an energy boost before a workout and increase endurance and strength. Other active ingredients are added to the blend. These ingredients vary depending on the brand. Always read the label before consuming such products as dietary supplements contain a variety of ingredients, some whose effectiveness has not been proven. A similar effect can be obtained by consuming coffee and a fruit an hour before a workout.
In closing, note that it is important to focus on :
- a healthy diet
- a training program adapted to your needs
- adequate recovery time.
Should one of these elements be overlooked, the expected results may not be achieved. Although supplements may have some benefits, you should first focus on the basics.