Written by: Marian Alonso-Cortés (dietist-nutricionist)
Published on: February, 2023 - (Updated on May, 2023)
When we train or do a sport and we have specific goals, (like improving our time, competing in a race or going up a level in a particular sport) there are three main areas you need to take into consideration: training, diet and rest (recovery).
Which nutrients and food supplements are necessary for improving your sports performance?
When it comes to training, there comes a time when, if you want to improve, you need to follow the guidance of a professional who can adapt your routines, your repetitions, the length of your sessions, etc.
But diet and food supplements also play an important role in sports performance for several reasons:
1. We need a sound nutritional base to ensure our body works at its best capacity. Some examples are:
- Calcium and magnesium: help keep bones healthy and help ensure normal muscle function
- Iron: helps reduce tiredness and fatigue
- Vitamin C: helps the immune system and the nervous system function correctly, and helps protect cells against oxidative stress
- Vitamins B1, B2, B6 and B12: help ensure normal energy metabolism and healthy functioning of the central nervous system
2. In addition to essential nutrients, other components can also help us build a strong foundation of health, such as:
- Adaptogen substances* (for reducing stress): Rhaponticum carthamoides, Schisandra chinensis, Withania somnifera, etc.
- Amino acids, such as glutamine and L-arginine to strengthen our antioxidant system, production of cellular energy and muscle maintenance
- Glucosamine, cartilage, plants, such as Boswellia serrata for maintaining healthy joints, bones and muscles
3 vital tips on what you should eat before and after exercise
At times, when we start to exercise, no-one explains what we should do to prepare our body, apart from warm-up exercises or stretching, which help, for example, muscles and joints. The inside of our body also needs to “stretch”, in other words, it needs the right food and nutrients to ensure we get the most out of our training.
Make sure you follow these 3 vital tips to prepare yourself before you exercise:
- It’s advisable to avoid eating food that’s difficult to digest, such as food high in fat, or very spicy food, just before you exercise.
- We should not overwork our digestive system as our body will have other functions to take care of, like breathing, pumping blood correctly, etc.
- Fluid intake is very important at this stage. Components such as caffeine can also help improve concentration and make you more alert.
During training or a competition, our energy reserves (glycogen) are reduced and our muscle fibres suffer. This is also why it’s important to replenish all your body’s nutrients in order to re-establish the right balance. Here are your 3 tips for after training or exercise:
- The hour immediately after exercise is important for recovery. Good hydration is essential.
- High biological value protein shakes that are easy to digest and absorb are a favourite amongst sportspeople, as they prefer to drink rather than eat after exercise.
- Then, once you get home, that well-earned rest: healthy food that’s low in fat and high in proteins, complemented with carbohydrates, accompanied by “core” nutrients to get your body back on top form and ready to face the next day.
Food supplement plan for sportspeople
- 4Life proposes this general plan for sportspeople:
Do you want to get the most out of your body’s transformation? The 4Life Transform range gives you information about these and other products that will help you achieve and surpass your goals.
If you would prefer to discover other products from the Immune System Company, 4Life’s shopping section contains all the information about each product.
If we think of the famous phrase mens sana in corpore sano (a sound mind in a sound body), we can understand it as meaning a healthy mind balances the body, but also vice versa, just think about how good you feel mentally and how much your mood improves after exercise.
That’s why, at 4Life we encourage you to include exercise as a key part of your routine and enjoy all the benefits it can bring you, physically, and also mentally.
(*) Adaptogens are natural plant-base substances that regulate bodily functions and strengthen organic systems compromised by stress. Definition by SEFIT (Spanish Society of Phytotherapy).