Sports Nutrition

Performance optimization and remedy for bodily and mental aches

Supplements
Supplements
7 MAY 2015
by

The prevalence of obesity is worrisome to many here in Qatar. Besides, the type and quality of food and fluids are irksome for many sportsmen and sportswomen in the country. So many residents started programs of exercise on weekdays or at their weekends.

It is highly important that the athlete, beginner and expert alike, watches carefully for his or her food intake to make the most of sporting activity and to avoid adverse effects of malnutrition and dehydration (that could result in death). Generally speaking, sports nutrients such as food supplements, carbohydrates, fats, and dietary protein should be dealt with in a careful and scientific way to optimize sports performance and to lead a healthy life in general.

Notwithstanding the fact that many advanced and clinically approved substances are of abundance everywhere in Qatar, one should be cautious before purchasing or consuming such substances without prior prescription from a sports nutritionist. One has also to consult with a health care provider to ensure safety before gorging on some energy drinks on the market, as these fluids may ingredients that could cause undesirable results to body and mind. If you opt for exercise, you have to proceed with patience and consistency.

Sports nutrition is the study and practice of the amount of food and fluid that an athlete must consume in order to maintain performance and endurance, as well as recovery of damaged tissue. Although the term can apply to a wide variety of sports regimens, it is mainly concerned with endurance activities (swimming, running, biking) and strength sports (bodybuilding and weight lifting). The substance in question includes supplements as well as organic dietary material such as carbohydrates, fats, proteins in general and dietary proteins in particular.

Energy

Energy is defined by the amount of substance burned to produce an effort. Scientists calculate energy by a unit called calorie. A calorie is the amount of energy or heat required to increase the temperature of 1 gram of water to 1 degree Celsius. Although the term has been in use in the circles of nutritionists, it applies to many energy fields such as electricity, gas and wind power. There is a misconception as to the calculation of calories in nutrition pamphlets and labels, since these use calories to mean kilocalories (a kilocalorie equals 1,000 calories).

Nevertheless, some fact-sheets by major food outlets and renowned restaurants realize this fact and inform their customers of the aforementioned misconception and that they use the term calorie for the sake of simplicity.

Supplements

Sports nutritionists regard supplements as a staple for every athlete to help rebuild lean tissues and increase performance in a short time. Supplements such as energy drinks and steroids give quick and satisfactory results with minimal side effects.

Whey Protein

Whey protein is considered a natural supplement and is found mainly in unprocessed milk. Athletes need this supplement to regenerate damaged lean tissue. Milk and chocolate milk rose to prominence as natural substitutes for energy drinks since 2008. Research studies found some evidence that chocolate milk contains electrolytes like sodium, found in most energy drinks, in high but safe levels.

Creatine

Simply put, creatine is the essential simple component that the body excretes to optimize performance in strength and endurance. It is also considered a good and legal steroid. Creatine is naturally found in the body; however, amateur and professional athletes allow themselves to consume synthetic creatine to help optimize their performance and accelerate repair of damaged tissue, especially the lean one.

Certain studies show that overuse of synthetic creatine can be harmful in the long run, although more research should be conducted to substantiate such claims. Adverse effects of abuse and/or overuse of creatine include, but are not limited to, early and extreme fatigue and hormonal disorder.

Taurine

Merriam-Webster defines Taurine as a crystalline acid that is synthesized in the body from cysteine and methionine. Taurine is similar to amino acids but is not a component of proteins, and is involved in various physiological functions such as rebuilding damaged lean tissue and cell membrane stabilization. Taurine is also the main ingredient in most energy drinks such as Power Horse, Red Bull, etc. The substance itself contains multi-electrolytes that help maintain great sporting performance and have rapid as well as long effects. Professional athletes prefer to have several intakes of these energy drinks throughout pre-, intra-, and post-workout stages so that they keep their muscles cooled down.

Energy Drinks

Gatorade and Powerade are the two prominent drinks for athletes, despite the presence of various other products on the market. Both drinks contain a sizable amount of electrolytes (such as sodium), needed to maintain performance among aerobic and anaerobic athletes. Aerobic athletics pertains to burning calories and workout of muscles with the use of oxygen like when running, swimming, biking, etc. Anaerobic sports contain explosive movements of the muscles over a short period and are represented by a wide variety of strength sportsmen and women such as bodybuilders and sprint performers.

Most, if not all, modern-day energy drinks carry health warnings on their cans: "Consumption of more than two cans in a day may be harmful to your health. Not to be used by pregnant women, breast feeders, children under the age of 16, people with heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, allergy to caffeine, and athletes during exercise."

Throughout the years, practice has proved that caffeine is substantial for rapid and fast exercise and studies show that performance of soccer players increase by 2 percent after a 1- or 2-gram intake of caffeine. Luckily, today's energy drinks comprise a sizable amount of natural caffeine.

Steroids

Anabolic or illegal steroids are common among athletes who consume large amounts of them because such substances help increase muscle mass in a short time and results can be fast and satisfying. The substance is commonly associated with the male hormone, testosterone. However, it is proved that throughout the years steroids are harmful and are involved in considerable changes of hormones and gender issues.

Other nutrients

Fats

Many athletes opt to avoid fats in their daily diet because they assume that they can compensate for fat loss with intakes of carbohydrates and protein, especially dietary protein. However, fats are essential in any diet as they help with endurance and pain control. They are also irreplaceable as they help transmute and dissolve vitamins and mineral in the body system.

Fats are naturally found in butter and other fatty products such as meat and fish oil. They can be divided into two types: saturated and unsaturated fats.

Saturated fats are solid in figure at room temperature and contain a single bond among carbon atoms on the molecular level. Athletes who tend to overuse saturated fats risk their health as they suffer from high blood pressure and heart issues due to amounting level of LDL (bad) cholesterol in their blood vessels.

Unsaturated fats can be found in certain unprocessed foods like dairies and legumes. This type of fat is fluid at room temperature and contains two bonds among its carbon atoms. Use of this type commonly increases level of HDL (good) cholesterol.

Carbohydrates

Most athletes ask themselves if a no-carb, low-carb, or carb-friendly diet is the best choice. In fact, there are many varieties on the market, in particular the market for sports nutrients. Carbohydrates can be categorized into three categories: simple, complex and dietary fibers.

Simple carbohydrates are found in natural form in fruits and sweeteners such as white sugar, brown sugar, molasses and maple syrup. They are sweet by nature and cause a sugar rush in the blood. However, their effect lasts only for a short period after which the body feels dizzy and fatigue occurs. If no exercise is practiced, the body turns sugar into fats and weight gain happens. Athletes are advised to have their sugar intake before or during workout to avoid complications. It is also advisable that sugar intake should not be at night or before rest.

Complex or starchy carbohydrates are found in meat, fish and dairy products. Unlike simple carbohydrates, starchy ones tend to take a longer time to be digested and the body can benefit from them in an ideal way. It is recommended that athletes take a sizable and medium meal one to four hours before workout to gain the maximum benefit from their digestion and to help in regeneration of tissues. It is also worthy to note that this type of carbohydrates gives a feeling of satiety once it is consumed; that is why athletes usually do not consume such type at night or during their resting periods as this type causes irritation and indigestion. Moreover, consumption of this type before the workout should be accompanied with rigorous and vigorous activity to avoid any health problems. Additionally, only minimal intakes are advised for the average person.

Dietary fibers are found in cereals, brown rice and legumes. Contrary to the two other types, the body cannot digest fibers but they help with the digestive health of the athletes. It is also worth noting that fibers are low in calories.

Some athletes opt to eliminate carbohydrates from their daily diets by consuming a carb-free diet that is full of protein to lose weight. However, a diet too low in, or without, carbohydrates can leave the athlete felling sluggish and tired. This could also deprive the sportsperson of important sports nutrients and may cause dizziness and digestive complications, among other symptoms.

Other Supplements

Protein is the most comprehensive ingredient of an ideal diet for the athlete. Natural protein sources include fish, red meat, and dairies. Vegan and vegetarian athletes replace meat products with legumes as they seek a balanced diet. Most importantly, athletes should consider variety in their meals. Fruits and vegetables are also natural sources of carbohydrates. Fruits have more carbohydrates than vegetables. Therefore, an athlete should consume more fruits than vegetables. As for vegetables, the darker the vegetable, the better. In general, dark-green vegetables contain more nutrients than pale green ones.

Intense routine exercise results in rapid loss of lean tissue and early or extreme condition of fatigue. Replenishment and compensation of damage in tissues and optimization of performance can be achieved through intakes of vitamins (like vitamin E) and other antioxidants such as minerals, which are vital for the regeneration of body cells.

Water intake is of extreme importance for the average sportsperson and the professional athlete. Stating hydrated keeps the body functioning and maintains balance in amino acids. In addition it helps the body get rid of free radicals. In Qatar, water is sold as a natural mineral water and most water-filling companies treat water with Ozone. Generally speaking, the amount of sodium ranges between 3 and 9 milligram per liter. This range is not harmful for the typical athlete since sodium is needed to enhance metabolism, to keep water in the body, and to maintain body and mental functions.

Sports Nutrients in Qatar

Many residents here start gaining weight despite the fact that they keep a healthy diet and exercise occasionally. It is no secret that maintaining a balanced diet and exercising regularly can help reduce weight gain as well as acquire the perfect shape for men and women. There are many culprits responsible for people leading unhealthy lifestyle. Age, gender, body mass, and weight are all factors determining how a person eats and drinks. Many sports outlets in Qatar understand that we are more eager than ever to make informed and balanced food choices.

These outlets post nutrition information on packages to help clients stay informed about what they are consuming so that they can lead a healthy life and prepare well-planned and well-balanced meals. Furthermore, some food outlets started to sell sports nutrients specifically intended for children to help them absorb other nutrients, such as illuma Growing-up Milk™.

Although some ingredients in sports nutrients, along with their nutrient values, may vary subject to otherfactors, advanced outlets maintain standardized product formulation.

It is noteworthy that the country's health ministry is waging a campaign against food outlets that sell illegal steroids and placebos for bodybuilding. These substances could fool many residents in Qatar, regardless of their expensiveness. In 2008, the ministry required that all food outlets replace the soda drinks with natural juices without added (refined) sugar. Residents should also be on guard regarding some unknown ingredients in the food they purchase. They also have to replace unnatural substances in their diets with natural ingredients abundant in the local market.

Conclusion

Regardless of your age and whether you are a mild exerciser or a vigorous professional athlete, you can optimize your performance in sports by beginning to look for the right ingredients which end up in your stomach. Sports nutrition is the basic study of the science on food and how this can benefit or harm performance in sports, fitness and wellbeing.

If you opt to consult a sports nutrition expert, then you are doing the right action to maximize the benefit from your exercise and to maintain a healthy body functioning without any hurdles, pains, or ailments.