What is Sports Nutrition?
Historically, sports nutrition has focused on the role diet and nutrition play on sports and exercise performance. Typically, this has focused on the quantity and balance of nutrients consumed in an athlete’s diet, with the aim of striving towards optimum sports performance. For example, looking at macro and micro-nutrient requirements for competitive gain, as well as considering timings of food and fluid consumption around training sessions and competition.
Today, with the growing awareness of the importance exercise plays in supporting healthier, more active lives, the use of sports nutrition is much more mainstream. People of all ages and abilities are embracing nutrition to optimise their own physical and mental performance.
Alongside this growth is the acknowledgement that optimal health of the whole body is a pre-requisite for anyone looking to maximise their sporting performance. This is the basis of Functional Sports Nutrition. Functional Sports Nutrition effectively combines the knowledge of two very different fields of nutrition within a sporting model: the practical, quantitative and food-based sports nutrition and the integrative, qualitative and body-systems approach of nutrition and functional medicine.
Why should you use Sports Nutrition?
Functional Sports Nutrition recognises the bio-individual/genetic needs of each person and the connectivity of all body systems, meaning that to reach peak performance, whole-body health is required.
This requires a focus on an athlete’s mind-body health and how all the body systems such as digestion, immunity, detoxification, antioxidant, endocrine, nervous, musculoskeletal and psychological interact and affect physical health and performance. By taking a more personalised approach you are more able to maximise performance and recovery, reduce the risk of injuries or illness and signs of overtraining in the long term.
Functional sports nutrition is an integrative, science-based approach that uses both diet and supplements to support health and performance. These include those used as ergogenic aids, such as sports drinks, protein, creatine, caffeine and other new products based on research. It also considers supplements that may nurture individual health, such as vitamins, minerals, essential fats, antioxidants, probiotics, herbs and whole-food extracts.
Regardless of your fitness goals or athletic discipline functional sports nutrition will help you achieve health and vitality enabling you to reach your goals.
How do I use Sports Nutrition effectively?
Sports nutrition can play an important role in our overall health and wellness. Whether you are a serious athlete or just enjoy daily exercise and want to improve your health and fitness. In addition, with our 24 /7 busy lifestyles it is not always easy to get all the nutrients we need in optimal amounts. This is where supplements can be helpful, but they should always be seen as additions to a healthy, nourishing diet.
With so many sports nutrition products on the market it can be difficult to know what to choose. Here are some simple tips…
Firstly, what is your training / exercise goal? Are you looking to improve strength and power? Get lean and toned? Improve speed, endurance or stamina? Support recovery and prevent injury? Keep the body energised through training? Once you identify your goals you will find it easier to select the products that will benefit you most.
If you are going to take a sports nutrition product, does it actually contain ingredients supported by science? There is no point choosing a product where the ingredients don’t deliver or are in such low levels they are unlikely to make any difference. So, read the ingredients and how much are present in a product.
If you want to nourish your body and optimise performance it makes sense you will want to choose premium products without any unnecessary fillers, sweeteners or preservatives. Look for a company that has invested in product quality and safety – this includes ensuring products are approved by Informed Sport meaning they are screened for banned ingredients.