When your sports fitness training is intense, it is important that you nutritionally supplement your workout to ensure that your body gets all the necessary nutrients it needs to thrive. Whether you use supplements, or simply increase your healthy food consumption, you need to make sure that you body is not becoming depleted of any vitamins or minerals, and that you are fueling it with enough energy to successfully complete your workouts.
When exercise, or even physical work, increases to more than 1 hour per day, adequate energy and nutrient intake becomes critical. According to health professionals, the best way to optimize the health and performance of your body is to follow a good nutrition and hydration process, take supplements (carefully), minimize severe weight loss practices, and eat a varied diet in an adequate amount.
Macronutrient Requirements for Exercise
Carbohydrate, protein, and fat are important nutrients required for active individuals. However, the amount necessary varies greatly on your exercise intensity, duration, and frequency, as well as your health, body size, age, and gender.
By eating healthy foods you can help your body generate enough energy to fuel your workout. Consume nutrient-dense carbohydrates and lean protein selections like:
- Whole grain breads and cereals
- Lean meats
Micronutrient Requirements for Exercise
Micronutrients, such as vitamins and minerals, also are important in maintaining your health. They maintain bone health, build and repair muscle tissue, assist with energy production, and protect body tissues from oxidative damage, among other things.
With so many supplements on the market today (and little to no regulation regarding the claims they make on the bottle), it is difficult to know which kind you should take. Here are some general guidelines that should help you in making a choice:
- Take a multivitamin that contains micronutrients in amounts close to recommended daily amounts. This helps you avoid interactions and reaching toxic levels of any one nutrient. Many do not contain the recommended daily value of minerals like calcium. If for some reason you are not getting enough calcium in your diet from dairy or other products, consider taking a calcium supplement as well.
- Use individual vitamin supplements sparingly unless for a health problem or lack of nutrient in the diet. Avoid the 5-10 pills a day routine, as this can lead to toxic effects.
- Select supplements from reputable companies and those that carry the US Pharmacopoeia (USP) or National Formulary (NF) notations.
What you eat and drink can significantly impact both your health and your exercise performance. If you are active, you need to be sure you consume enough energy to maintain a healthy body weight for your activity level and sport. Be sure to get enough fat and carbohydrates, without restricting you fat intake too severely. You may need to supplement your diet with vitamins, but remember to use supplements with caution after you examine your diet.