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SUPERFOODSby Dave Foreman
Sports nutrition has always been an area that I have steered clear of in the past. I always said that I knew enough to be dangerous. I am a firm believer in not pretending to be something you are not. And for the past 46 years, I would not consider myself an expert on this subject. But as with everything in life, we can learn.
I grew up playing sports. I played basketball, baseball, soccer and golf as a youth, but never sawthe need to uses sports nutrition supplements. If I look back, the number of supplements available in the 70s and 80s wasn’t nearly as complex as it is today. We now have supplements that will help you kick start your workout, maximize your workout and performance, speed your recovery and maximize muscle gain. Let’s take a look at what is available to help you with your workouts.
The Importance of Supplementation Supplements play a role in preparing your body for your workout. Pre-workout supplements will provide your body with: energy, focus, muscle building, fuel, muscle pumps, protection and more. Here are some of my favorites:
Nitric oxide (not the nitrous oxide that dentists use) is a naturally occurring compound in the body. When it is produced, you will have increased blood flow because it expands /relaxes your blood vessels. This helps to improve the flow of blood to your extremities, deliver critical nutrients to your muscle and fight muscle fatigue. You should look for combination products that support the production of nitric oxide. The key nutrients used are usually forms of L-arginine such as L-arginine HCl, L-arginine alpha ketoglutarate and L-citrulline.
I wrote briefly about creatine in my last issue of this newsletter. To just refresh your memory, creatine helps improve muscle energy, muscle power output, muscle strength and performance, and will also help with mental focus. Creatine is used in muscle tissue for the production of phosphocreatine, an important factor in the formation of ATP, which is the source of energy for muscle contraction and many other functions in the body. Although the body produces creatine, it is not in the amounts necessary to support those in high intensity sports and training, and this is why supplementation is needed. Creatine supplementation has been shown to improve performance in short-duration, high- intensity exercise (weight lifting, cycling, sprinting, etc.). Dosing of creatine is important. First, you need to consume about 20 grams per day for the first three to five days. Once you have taken your “loading dose”, using about 5-10 grams per day should give you the added benefits you want. Just remember to make sure to consume plenty of water when using creatine combination formulas, as they may put a burden on your kidneys.
Protein consumption is critical for pre, during and post-workout schedules. If you are protein-deficient at any point of your workout, it will have a negative impact on your performance. Formore details on protein, please read my past article on protein on vitaminshoppe.com. For our purpose here, I justwant to point out that your body needs to be in a positive level of protein (not deficient), or your body will use its muscle for energy. When this happens, your muscle mass, metabolic rate, endurance and recovery will all decrease. Maintaining enough protein in your diet or supplement program will assure you of getting the most from your body. Look for hydrolyzed or free amino acid formulas that provide the full balance of all amino acids. If you use an incomplete protein, you will become amino acid deficient, which will lead to other health issues.
More Key Training Supplements
• Rhodiola - helps improve endurance and the body’s ability to adapt to the stress put on it from physical activity.
• Cayenne - this is an oldie but goodie. Cayenne pepper stimulates circulation and will help improve blood flow in a very short period of time. It will also provide an added energy boost without the harmful effects that most stimulants have.
• Carnipure®L-Carnitine - improves fat metabolism and energy production. It appears to work best if taken prior to or during your workout, however, recent research shows that Carnipure L-Carnitine also supports muscle recovery post-exercise.
• Magnesium - Magnesium is one of the minerals thatmost Americans appear to be deficient in. It will improve circulation and help decrease muscle fatigue if taken prior to your workout.
• Ribose - Ribose is a type of sugar used by the body to make the energy-containing substance adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which gets depleted during intense exercise.
• Green Tea - One of my all-time favorites. Green tea will provide the extra energy and antioxidants that will help protect and repair your body from the effects of your workout. Instead of drinking those other energy beverages, try the safer alternative of green tea.
• Celadrin - This supplement should be part of your daily routine and not limited to just your workout days. Using Celadrin in supplement form and topically will help decrease inflammation that is caused by your exercise.
Don’t forget to Warm Up
I firmly believe that the most important part of your workout is what you do before you start. This might sound crazy (it does even to me), but if you don’t take the proper steps to prepare your body for the physical challenges it is about to face, you will not get the performance you are seeking, and you will most likely cause damage. The last thing we want to happen to our body while working out is to have it break down. In keeping with my “your body is like an automobile” metaphore if you start up a racecar and don’t let it warm up properly, when you step on the gas you will not get the desired power and functionality youwould expect. Worst case scenario: you could cause damage to the engine. The same holds true for your body. Warming up your body is just as essential as warming up your car. In summary, you need to prepare your body for your workouts.Without proper stretching, warm-ups and supplements, you are more likely to not get the performance from your body that you are seeking. Or, in the “worst case scenario” you may injure yourself. Make sure to include these supplements as part of your pre-workout regimen and enjoy the improvements in your body’s performance and composition.