What is sports nutrition, what is it for and is it worth using it
What is sports nutrition for? Certainly not to replace your usual balanced diet. Here, as with vitamins: when a doctor sees a lack of certain vitamins in the body and prescribes a course of vitamins, you do not replace meals with them, but only add them to the diet. Also sports nutrition: it is intended not to replace, but to supplement where there is not enough.
An important point: in this material we are mainly talking about sports nutrition, which is used in cyclic sports.
What you need to know about sports nutrition
In cyclic sports, there are three basic elements of sports nutrition: hydration (replenishment of fluid reserves), energy (fast carbohydrates) and recovery (proteins, carbohydrates and amino acids). During exercise, hydration is the most important element. Fluid in the body, among other things, affects the work of the heart and blood vessels, the transmission of nerve impulses and wear and tear of the joints. How much to drink? Depends on the intensity of the classes, the individual characteristics of the organism and the air temperature. It is logical that a person running a marathon at + 24 ° C will need significantly more fluid than a person doing a recovery workout at + 17 ° C. On average, you should adhere to the rule: 300-500 ml per hour (a couple of sips every 7-10 minutes).
After finishing your workout, you should drink about the same for half an hour. You can also drink plain water, but an isotonic drink with electrolytes is better. It will replenish the salt balance that is disturbed by sweating. However, this does not mean at all that the isotonic is salty and tasteless, usually the opposite is true. Be sure to take a sports drink bottle with you to your workout – this way you will not only take care of your health, but also be able to see how hydration affects the increase in positive emotions from sports.
If you train for more than an hour, your energy reserves in the form of glycogen stored in muscles and liver are depleted. Therefore, a carbohydrate gel will be useful for such a workout. When performing intense exercise, the body’s own reserves of energy are enough for 40-50 minutes. And if you want to train further without losing efficiency, you should stick to the nutrition schedule: one gel every 20-30 minutes. Be sure to read the composition of the gel: if the carbohydrates in it consist of simple sugars (most often these are glucose and fructose), then the number of the indicated grams of sugar must be multiplied by 20 – this is the amount of liquid you need to drink with this gel so that it is properly absorbed and gives you 100% of the energy stored in it. With rare exceptions, all manufacturers of glucose and fructose gels always write this in the annotation, warning their consumers. There are gels without simple sugars (isotonic), which do not need to be washed down with water, since the amount of liquid necessary for their assimilation is already contained in the gel. They are more preferable for running and other sports, where a person is uncomfortable or it is simply impossible to drink about 200 ml of liquid at a time.
It is equally important to allow the body to recover from physical activity. To do this, you need to close the half-hour “carbohydrate window”. For an hour after completing a workout, metabolism remains elevated and the body is more efficient at absorbing carbohydrates, protein and vitamins and transporting them throughout the body. During this period of time it is good to drink a special carbohydrate-protein recovery drink (recovery shakes). After all, glycogen stores in the body require restoration, and muscles need protein as a building material. This does not mean at all that you will “swing” like a bodybuilder – recovery shakes are not for this at all. The muscles simply involved and micro-traumatized during the training process, while recovering, will not destroy neighboring tissues, taking away the elements necessary for recovery from them.
Potential harm to sports nutrition
- Never exercise on an empty stomach. Before training, you must definitely eat – not much and in advance, at least 1.5-2 hours in advance. If you do not have time to eat normally, eat a sports carbohydrate bar or just a bar made of dried fruits and muesli no later than an hour before the start of training. And be sure to drink about 200 ml of liquid.
- If during training you feel weakness in the muscles or just before training realized that you have not refueled (lack of strength, lethargy), then a carbohydrate-protein bar, banana or any other fast-carbohydrate and long-carbohydrate product will help you find strength for exercise.
- As for the carbohydrate, or rather, the metabolic window, its most active part lasts for an hour, but in general, an increase in metabolism after training lasts up to two days. Therefore, during active training, watch out for the protein that will restore you. The consumption rate is about 1.5 g per kilogram of weight, for women – about 1.2 g per kilogram. For those who are gaining muscle mass, these norms may be slightly higher. Remember that too much protein is bad for you too.
- Professional sports nutrition is undoubtedly very important, but you cannot build a training process around it and actively consume all advertised supplements.
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