Broadly there are two categories of athletes. One is the professional and highly trained and competing at the topmost level, while the other is the recreational athlete. These athletes need dietary supplements. But the requirements of the supplements differ from athlete to athlete. Athletes competing at the highest level will have coaches, professional trainers and dieticians to maintain their fitness and competitive edge.
Such athletes will have a routine and monitored diet and supplements to maintain their body in top physical condition. On the other hand, a recreational athlete does not have such facilities and maintains his own diet and supplements intake. It is up to them to maintain their fitness level. But whatever the sport is and whatever the type of athlete, the desire to excel and succeed is present in everyone. Besides natural ability like quick reflexes, perfect vision, etc. not many athletes will be satisfied without making some kind of improvement to better their performance capability.
It means paying attention to improve one’s mental focus and fitness levels. The first solution to this is obviously physical training and continuous practice. All of the athletes will be thinking in this same line of approach. However to edge past them, many athletes go for additional ways to improve their performance through nutritional supplements.
An Athlete’s Needs
The professionals take the supplements to tweak their abilities. The supplements are a part of an athlete’s diet. These nutritional supplements help in improving the performance capability of the athletes and also help to reduce the effect of vigorous workouts and also aid in maintain a proper body weight and physical fitness. The type of supplements needed depends on the type of sport and the goals of the athletes.
For instance, athletes in contact type of sport such as weight lifting, take nutritional supplements that help in improving the muscle mass. For athletes in competitive sports, nutritional supplements for weight reductions and endurance enhancement are the best choice. However, such supplements will work best when combined with an appropriate raining routine and exercise. Healthy diet is also a major factor here. If the athlete does not maintain a proper and healthy diet, he will not be able to achieve the desired level of fitness with only workouts and supplements.
Different Types Of Supplements
Vitamin B and C
There are different types of supplements. Some supplements are best for muscle growth; some are best for enhancing the energy levels while some best suited for recovering from exhaustion and injury. B vitamin supplements are a must for all athletes. Vitamin B helps in breaking down the carbohydrates and fats and release energy and also helps in bodily repairs.
The more the strenuous exercise or sport, the more vitamin B the body needs. Vitamin C is another supplement all athletes should take into consideration. Vitamin C helps in building and repairing of the connective tissue which is quite often injured due to heavy and rigorous exercise. Vitamin C also aids in the various biochemical processes of the body. Professional sportsmen and athletes should normally take two grams per day.
Many athletes also take various protein supplements which help in building of the muscles. The protein supplement should contain all amino acids which are the main building blocks of protein. The protein supplement should also have more number of individual amino acids than the complex proteins so that the proteins do not brake down. Protein has been proven to be the efficient and highest quality of protein. For athletes over 50 years of age, greater amount of tyrosine in the supplement is needed than average as the body cannot metabolize tyrosine normally from phenylalanine.
Dietary proteins should constitute for about ten to fifteen percent of the total amount of calories taken in by the athlete. For athletes like wrestlers, boxers, etc. who are likely to reduce their caloric intake, should consume protein supplement representing above fifteen percent of the total calorie consumption. Carbohydrates on the other hand help in reducing the potential break down of the proteins and should constitute fifty five to sixty percent of the total calorie consumption. Daily protein needs for an endurance athlete normally varies from 1.1 grams to 2.2 grams per kilogram of the weight of the body.
For athletes suffering from lack of energy or fatigue, intake of chromium in the supplements should be increased. Chromium is essential for our body as it helps in increasing the ATP production in our body.
ATP is the packet of energy for our body. Chromium not only helps in producing energy but also helps in regulation of the sugar levels in the blood throughout the entire day so that one does not suffer from frequent energy fluctuations. Normal intake of Chromium should be between hundred micro grams to two hundred micro grams.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids Supplements
EPA/DHA or fish oil or omega- 3 fatty acids is a must for all athletes and also for the general public. These supplements are strong inflammatory agents aiding in the delivery of nutrients and oxygen to the muscles and tissues. The EPA/DHA ratio of the supplement should be one to five.
Athletes who engage in aerobic type of exercise primarily should take L-carnitine supplements. This supplement helps in using the short chain fatty acids to directly produce energy rather than breaking and processing the glucose molecule to produce energy. Five hundred milligrams of L-carnitine is normally required by aerobic athletes.
Co-enzyme Q10 should also be a part of the supplement intake for aerobic athletes. These supplements not only help in increasing the ATP production but also are the best natural antioxidant which aids in removal of unwanted by products of the metabolic processes.
Proper Care In Using Supplements
Nowadays medical professionals recommend the use of nutritional supplements in the regular diet to help maintain fitness levels and healthy bodily activities. It should always be kept in mind that excessive intake of supplements may result in serious damage to the internal organs. Hence it is always advised to consult a trained professional before using supplements.