Since the dawn of time professional athletes have been looking for a golden mean, which would help not only to work on their figure, but also to make systematic progress. One thing we can be sure of – so far nothing has proven more effective than proper training combined with a balanced diet. Despite appearances, this second element is not less important. However, we are talking about professionals, but what does it look like in the case of recreational exercisers? What role do the increasingly popular dietary supplements, commonly known as nutrients, play in the daily diet?
When practicing any sport on a regular basis, diet is an absolutely essential factor. In order to finally start seeing the effects of the many hours spent training, it is equally important to provide your body with the right nutrients. It is them that give you the energy to act, so without them there is no question of a properly performed training session. Regardless of whether you exercise professionally or as an amateur, healthy eating habits are of fundamental importance. However, it is worth considering what role the individual components play when it comes to the proper functioning of the body.
The most important building block is of course protein. Proteins, apart from the fact that they contribute significantly to the growth of muscle mass, also help maintain it. Protein is undoubtedly the key to success for both professionals and amateurs. So where can you find this ingredient? There are two types of protein – animal and plant. The former, as the name suggests, come from animals, so you can find them in meat, fish, milk or eggs. The nomenclature is not confusing also in the case of plant proteins. They are found in rice, beans and peas, for example.
However, these are not the only ways to provide the body with this necessary building material. The alternative is dietary supplements, specifically protein supplements, well known by anyone who has ever been in contact with the gym. Although they are probably the most popular supplement among athletes, they should not be treated as a substitute for a balanced diet, which does not change the fact that when used properly they are a valuable addition. The demand for protein increases with the intensity of workout sessions, so the daily dose of supplements should be regularly consulted with a professional trainer or nutritionist.
Carbohydrates are another extremely important ingredient from the point of view of recreational athletes, as our bodies store them in the form of glycogen and use them for energy production. And this in turn translates into a much better workout, which in the long run results in impressive effects. Carbohydrates – just like protein – can be found in products of everyday consumption. They can be found in large quantities in pasta, rice or wheat bread. It is also worth reaching for fruit, such as bananas, grapes and pears.
When it comes to carbohydrate supplements, a good solution is the so-called gainers, which in addition to “carbohydrates” also contain protein. In this way, they help build lean muscle mass. In addition, these preparations are rich in various minerals and vitamins. The best choice for people practising sports where endurance and physical strength count above all will be carbo supplements. They support muscle work and increase performance.
Of course you can’t forget about the notorious fats. Apart from providing energy, they have a positive effect on digestion and make it easier for the body to assimilate individual ingredients. In the daily diet, unsaturated fatty acids are key – without them there is no way! Nature has not given our body the ability to produce them, so we must take care to systematically provide them with food. The largest amount of them can be found in vegetable oils from seeds or nuts and in fish products.
Vitamins and minerals – are an integral part of the life of every athlete, both professional and amateur. They influence practically all reactions taking place in our body – from muscle work to proper psychophysical condition, therefore it is worth reaching for fruit and vegetables which are a reliable source of microelements. Vitamin C can be found in parsley, for example, vitamin E can be found in sunflower oil, and the popular beta-carotene is of course found in carrots. Another way to enrich your diet with essential vitamins and minerals is to take supplements. As with all supplements, however, they should only be used as a supplement to your diet.
Finally it is worth taking a closer look at the supplements most commonly used by physically active people. The most popular among athletes (also amateurs) is currently creatine, which is good for practicing almost every sport discipline. It makes it easier to maintain intensive training and accelerates regeneration. It is impossible not to mention caffeine. The first thing that immediately comes to mind is coffee, without which a large part of society cannot imagine the morning. However, caffeine also comes in the form of tablets, which are becoming more and more common – thanks to them you can quickly gain new layers of strength and energy before training.
So there are plenty of ways to make sure you feel good and your body functions properly during sport, not necessarily competitive sport. If someone cares about getting real results, diet is as important as training, and supplements can serve as a valuable appendix to it. However in the case of amateur athletes it must be remembered that their demand for all kinds of ingredients is incomparably lower than that of professionals. Therefore, it is worth approaching this topic maturely and, for your own good, do not catalyze the body with monstrous doses of “supplements”.
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