Monday, 7 January 2013

A Guide to Sports Supplements

What Are Sport Supplements?

Sport supplements are simply highly refined food derived from natural sources. They come in a variety of formats including powders, liquids, tablets, capsules and even snack bars. Because of this they offer athletes of all levels a quick and often convenient way to meet the bodies demanding nutritional needs while participating in any form of physical activity.

Without eating correctly and ensuring your body receives the required nutrients you are severely limiting your body’s ability to grow and develop through training.

Do I Need To Use Sport Supplements?

When you first start training whether it is for bodybuilding, general fitness, weight loss or any other sport using supplements is not compulsory for progress, the bodies basic nutritional needs can be achieved through ensuring a correct diet.

However using supplements can often offer a faster and more convenient way of ensuring your body receives all the necessary nutrients, especially if you live an active lifestyle and find it hard to eat enough in a day to cover your needs.

The use of supplements really comes down to personal preference and if you feel that your diet cannot provide you with an adequate supply of minerals to promote growth while you train.

Which Supplements Should I Use?

Browse through any supplement store and you will come across a wide range of sports nutritional supplements and aids, which will help with all types of training goals. Many or these are tailored towards professional and intermediate level athletes and are not necessary for beginners. The most popular supplements for beginners include the following:

Protein Powders

Protein is used by the body to build muscle and as a result remains one of the most popular bodybuilding supplements available today, and for good reason. There are various forms of protein available including Milk, Soy, Whey, Casein and blends (consisting of mixed proteins). Whey Protein remains the most popular type of protein. Whey Protein is a highly refined by-product from the Dairy Industry that is high in protein and low in carbohydrates and fat. Supplement manufacturers take this, add flavourings and process it, more often than not into a powder format for sale. You can then simply add milk or water to the powder to make a nutritious high protein shake very quickly.

Meal Replacements Products

(MRP's) are exactly what you would expect. A powdered supplement similar to protein shakes which are intended to replace your meal with a highly nutritious drink that is tailored towards aiding muscular growth and recovery. MRP's differ from Protein Shakes in that they often contain carbohydrates, fats and additional vitamins etc. MRP's usually come powdered in tubs, or in sachets.

Weight Gain Formulas

These are very similar to Meal Replacement Products but usually contain many more calories in the form of carbohydrates and good fats to help promote growth.


Creatine is a protein that is made naturally in the body, but can also be found in meat and fish or taken in higher doses as a supplement. It's available on its own, but you'll also sometimes see it in meal replacement shakes and other supplements. Creatine is like a back-up generator for your body and is ideal for those who lift weights or do other high intensity training.

Fat Burners

Fat burners are tablets or capsules that aim to help your body utilise more fat for fuel, thereby assisting the process of fat loss as part of a weight management plan. However, the ingredients in these formulations can vary wildly: from nutrients with good supporting evidence for their effectiveness, to those without, and even to substances that are banned from sport.

Which Brand Should I Buy?

Despite the numerous marketing claims from different supplement brands within the industry, Sport Supplements are largely the same from company to company. The brand of supplement you choose is really down to personal choice be it taste, price or just recommendations from friends.
However make sure you remember that supplements are called supplements for a reason, they are used to supplement your existing diet and should not be used to cover 100% of your body’s needs, and you will still need to fuel your body with a substantial whole food diet.
There are no quick answers in bodybuilding, weight training, fitness, weight loss or any other sport for that matter. Sport Supplements will help you if used correctly along with a carefully structured training and diet regime. It is important to remember that Sport Supplements are not the easy answer! You can take all the Weight Gain Formula in the world, but unless you put in sufficient effort in the gym, your muscles aren't going to be growing. Used correctly Sport Supplements can complement your training and accelerate your progress.
I hope you have found this blog useful and that it has given you a basic understanding of Sports Supplements. Look out for my next blog: A Complete Guide to Protein

“making your fitness goals a reality”

1 comment:

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