Did you know that the sports nutrition and supplements industry was valued at nearly $16 billion in 2019? This number is expected to increase at a rate of 10% per year in the next decade. Sports supplements gain popularity as more and more athletes realize how effective they are for increasing workout performance.
But you don’t have to be a professional athlete to use sports supplements. Some of them can be used by regular fitness junkies who go to the gym a few times per week and are looking to build more muscle.
Keep reading to learn more about sports health and nutrition. You’ll discover a few essential supplements that will boost your fitness performance and recovery.
When you talk about sports nutrition, most people automatically think of proteins. This is normal because proteins are the building blocks of cells. Every human being needs a decent amount of protein to grow, repair damaged tissue, and survive.
There are also a lot of misconceptions when it comes to proteins. Some people think of it as anabolic steroids. Others think of them as performance-enhancing drugs. These ideas are far from reality. Taking proteins means supplementing your body with more nutrients to help you build more muscle and perform better.
You are getting proteins daily from your food. A protein supplement will only bring more nutrients to help you reach your fitness goals. There are multiple types of proteins out there. Let’s take a look at a few of them.
This is one of the most popular types of protein. It’s extracted from cows’ milk and it’s easily absorbed by the body. You can find it as whey protein concentrate or whey protein isolate. It’s usually in powder form and can have different flavors.
Egg protein is also quite popular among fitness junkies and athletes. An egg has a high protein content. Scientists have managed to find a way to extract it and put it in powder form. Unlike whey protein, egg protein is slow-releasing and that’s why it’s best taken before going to bed at night.
Casein is a milk compound. It’s less popular than whey, but equally useful. It also has a slow-releasing mechanism, so taking a combination of egg and casein protein will supply your body with plenty of nutrients.
Soy protein is increasingly popular these days. It has a smaller protein content in comparison with whey and egg protein, but it’s still effective for athletes and fitness junkies. One of the advantages of this type of protein is that it’s easy on the stomach, so it can be used by almost everyone.
The next sports supplement that you need to know about is creatine. This is usually found in animal meat and it helps your body build more muscle. Athletes need a small amount of creatine per day as this supplement is very powerful on its own.
Creatine is best combined with other types of supplements such as whey protein. This substance has been the subject of hundreds of clinical trials and research studies for decades. It’s probably one of the most researched sports supplements and all studies prove its effectiveness when it comes to building muscle.
As a rule of thumb, you should take approximately 3-5 grams of creatine per day. This is usually sufficient to increase your fitness performance and help you build more muscle or lose weight effectively.
BCAA stands for branched-chain amino acids. This is a combination of amino acids that help your body build more muscle over time. Remember that amino acids are the building blocks of the protein cell. When life started on Earth, it started with amino acids in deep waters.
They eventually formed a protein cell, small organisms, fish, and so on. Some of the most popular BCAA available on the market today include leucine, isoleucine, valine, and others. Having a generous supply of these branched-chain amino acids in your bloodstream will make it easier for your body to build muscle and repair tissues.
BCAA are usually taken as pills. The dosage varies depending on multiple factors, but taking a few grams of BCAA per day is usually a good place to start. These elements should be combined with protein and creatine for the full beneficial effect.
Zinc is one of the most underestimated sports supplements out there. Many people seem to forget that zinc plays a vital role in testosterone production. If you have enough zinc in your body, your testosterone levels will remain elevated.
At the same time, zinc is a significant contributor to sperm production. Low levels of zinc in the body could reduce sperm motility and density. It might also affect your sexual performance. That’s why you should consider taking a zinc supplement, especially if you’re a male.
Also, keep in mind that this mineral is not stored in the body. You cannot get more now to have for later. Athletes and fitness junkies need to supply their bodies with a steady amount of zinc. If you take too much now, it will become toxic and it can affect your health.
Most experts agree that about 10 mg of zinc for men and 8 mg of zinc for women is a safe dosage. Zinc is usually taken as pills, preferably with food. You can also take zinc from foods, but it’s difficult to reach your recommended daily intake from certain foods alone.
For example, some of the most popular foods that contain zinc are oysters, red meat, poultry, and beans. If you don’t eat these foods very often, supplementing with zinc pills is probably the best option.
Vitamin D3 is also known as the “sun” vitamin. That’s because its bloodstream levels increase if you spend a lot of time in bright sunlight. Your skin metabolizes vitamin D3 from sunlight exposure and uses it to boost your immune system and cognitive function.
But that’s not all. Vitamin D3 is also beneficial for athletes and fitness junkies. A decent dose of vitamin D3 can improve skeletal muscle function and even increase testosterone production in men. This will give you a clear advantage of other fitness enthusiasts who don’t take D3 supplements.
Why should you take it as a supplement? Why not just sit on the beach, get a tan, and a healthy dose of vitamin D3? Well, vitamin D3 is required by your body year-long and it can be really difficult to metabolize it from the sun during winter times.
Since most people work indoors now, they rarely get a chance to see the sun. if they go out, a small amount of skin is exposed to sunlight, making this absorption route ineffective. That’s why you should go for a vitamin D3 supplement, especially if you work in an office for 8 hours a day.
Omega 3, 6, and 9 Fatty Acids
These are essential nutrients that keep you healthy and well. Omega 3, 6, and 9 are a group of fatty acids which contribute to the health of your heart. They are also involved in energy production, food metabolism, brain health, and flexibility.
You can get these nutrients if you eat a lot of seafood, but that comes with some drawbacks. For example, you need to eat a large amount of fish every week and that can become too much at some point.
At the same time, too much seafood will increase your arsenic and mercury levels. This can lead to heavy metal toxicity and it comes with bad symptoms. It’s better to simply take a few pills containing omega 3, 6, and 9 fatty acids and you solved the problem.
When it comes to athletic performance, these nutrients keep your heart healthy. They improve your endurance and help your body repair damaged tissues faster. If you don’t have sufficient amounts of omega fatty acids in your bloodstream, you might develop issues with your tendons and ligaments.
Speaking of tendons and ligaments, many athletes also supplement with collagen protein because it works wonders for your joints. As you probably know already, collagen is a substance that increases flexibility. Women inject it under the skin to reduce wrinkles and erase aging signs.
At the same time, collagen is also an important component of tendons, ligaments, and joints. Since most athletes and fitness junkies work out regularly, these tissues tend to get damaged. Having more collagen in your bloodstream helps your body repair these joints, so they don’t hurt or lose flexibility.
Collagen protein is usually sold in powder form. It can be flavored and it blends perfectly with your whey protein and creatine. Most people are required to take just 10-15 grams of collagen per day to reap its benefits. However, it must be taken for a long period of time to see significant results.
Apart from improving flexibility and joint health, collagen protein also improves skin elasticity. It can help your heart too and maintain bone density in people of all ages. Best of all, collagen protein powder is dirt cheap and it can be bought from most supplements stores.
Even if you are not a fitness junkie or you don’t work out at all, you should still take multivitamin supplements. It’s nearly impossible to get all your vitamins and nutrients from food alone. A multivitamin and multimineral supplement helps you reach your RDI with little to no effort.
Remember that your body is a living organism. It requires something to produce energy and survive. Vitamins supply the necessary resources to keep you alive and healthy. They also fight foreign substances such as viruses, bacteria, and microbes.
Without vitamins, your immune system will become increasingly weaker. Some of the most popular and effective vitamins are vitamin C, vitamin A, and the B vitamin complex. They boost your immune system, ensure you have good eyesight, and maintain the health of your nervous system.
Make sure that you buy a multivitamin complex from a trustworthy source. Getting the cheapest product is better than nothing, but shop around and see how you can get the most for your money. Most brands sell multivitamins that last for 1-2 months, so you can reap their beneficial effects.
This is a less known supplement, but still important, especially if you’re a bodybuilder or professional athlete. Nitric oxide is made by every cell in your body. It plays a vital role in the health of your veins and arteries. This substance helps your blood vessels remain flexible as well as dilate and contract when required.
If you take a nitric oxide supplement, you will see improvements in blood circulation. This means that more blood is traveling to your muscles when you work out. If you get a higher supply of blood, your muscles get more oxygen and nutrients.
Supplementing with nitric oxide is a good idea on top of other supplements. Experiment with whey protein, creatine, and other sports nutrition products before trying nitric oxide. This will help you evaluate its benefits better.
Believe it or not, caffeine is used as a sports supplement. That’s because it can suppress hunger and improve fat oxidation. This means that you will be able to lose weight faster and remain lean for longer periods of time.
You can take a caffeine supplement to experience these positive effects. Some supplements have caffeine mixed in as well as green tea extracts. Green tea is known for having a significant caffeine content, so it makes sense to use it as a sports supplement.
Now You Know More About Supplements and Sports Nutrition
All this information related to sports nutrition might seem overwhelming at first. However, you don’t have to take everything at once. You should enjoy the journey and take one supplement at a time. Experiment with it and see its benefits on your own body.
Once you have tried a supplement, add another one and see how you feel. Try different flavors and combinations of supplements to reap their maximum benefits. For example, this isolate whey protein supplement is very popular right now.
It has a distinct chocolate flavor and at 20 lbs, it can meet your protein intake requirements for a few months. Try it now and see how you feel!