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Endurance workout formulas are helpful for building muscle mass and endurance in your workouts. Most of these formulas also improve energy so you'll feel more energized and physically capable during your workout. In addition, many of these formulas are created to help your body endure the rigors of a workout by using energy more effectively and balancing ingredients so your workout can last longer.
These products are typically low in carbohydrates and high in energy boosters like sugar and other important nutrients. Endurance workout formulas should cut down on lactic acid and ammonia burn as well, which will give you more energy and prolong your workouts, too. If you're looking for something to take your workouts to the next level of fitness and strength, try endurance workout formulas before you exercise.
When you are training hard but don't have the time or inclination to prepare meals that support your workout schedule, meal replacement powders, such as Labrada Lean Body or Fitness Labs NutraFit, provide a variety of nutrients specifically geared toward enhancing athletic performance in a quick and easy high-protein shake.
Many meal replacement protein powders contain 25-50 grams of protein, usually a blend of fast-digesting protein (whey) and slow-digesting protein (casein) resulting in a time-release effect. They also have BCAAs and glutamine to prevent the breakdown of muscle tissue during and after workouts. Most meal replacement powders also include 15-30 grams of carbohydrates to keep your blood sugar stable and provide energy.
Providing another option, protein bars such as the Balance Bar provide 14 grams of protein and adhere to the 40-30-30 ratio of 40 percent of calories from carbohydrates, 30 percent from protein, and 30 percent from fats. These bars can serve as meal replacements during the day when you are on the go and don't have time or the equipment to mix up a shake. But keep in mind that although you can mix up meal replacement powders in the blender with ice, many brands work just as well if you mix them with water and stir vigorously.
Most meal replacement powders and bars are free of trans fats, artificial colors, and artificial sweeteners such as aspartame. But check the labels if you have food allergies—some flavors contain milk and nuts, so you may need to shop around to find the brand and flavor that meets your needs.
If you're a runner, cyclist, soccer player or are active in any sport that requires sustained energy for hours at a time, supplementing with endurance workout formulas may help you reach your athletic goals. Endurance workout formulas focus on different aspects of athletic performance. Some types can help you maximize your workout and others are for energy and recovery before and after a workout.
Pre-workout: While you might be tempted to skip a meal before a workout to avoid an upset stomach, studies show that a light meal, meal replacement powder drink, or protein bar 1 to 2 hours before training will increase your endurance and promote a better workout. Aim for at least 10 grams of protein containing a minimum of six grams of essential amino acids. BCAA mixes are also excellent.
Mid-workout: If your workout is less then one hour, stick to water and choose a post-workout supplement to promote recovery. But if your workout extends beyond one hour, a high-glycemic protein bar or drink will help sustain energy and may stave off muscle cramps and fatigue.
Post-workout: This may be the most important supplement that you take, because how you feel after one workout will impact your desire and ability to embark on the next workout. Ideally, consume a drink with 50-100 grams of carbohydrates and about 25 grams of protein within 30 minutes of finishing the workout to increase the amount of amino acids in the body and promote protein synthesis. And don't delay that drink—studies have shown that if you consume a carbohydrate/protein drink within 30 minutes of a workout, your amino acid level is 25% higher than if you wait a few hours.
And be sure to have a meal that is about equally balanced between carbs and protein about 2 hours after a strenuous workout if possible, to maximize recovery. A meal replacement powder is one easy way to get the best muscle-building elements in a post-workout meal.
You have heard the term “amino acids,” but if you are an endurance athlete, it's worth learning a few things about branched chain amino acids (BCAAs), which are a subset of amino acids. They include three essential amino acids: leucine, isoleucine, and valine.
What makes the BCAAs different? They help the body process protein, which is what allows you to build muscle and preserve a lean body mass. In addition, studies have shown that working muscles call on BCAAs as an energy source. So the more you exercise, the more you could benefit from supplemental BCAAs.
BCAAs may also help you recover after tough workouts more quickly. One study found that adult men and women who took 5 grams of BCAAs (the amount found in 20-25 grams of a whey protein supplement) reported less muscle soreness and fatigue immediately following a strength training workout, compared to exercisers who took a placebo supplement. And Dieters should be taking BCAAs, which can be burned for energy. They spare muscle while on calorie-restricted diets
But amino acids and BCAAs aren't just for athletes. A study of men and women 65 to 79 years old showed that BCAA supplements improved leg muscle strength, which declines with age. Maintaining strong muscles as you get older may reduce the risk for falls and other injuries.
If you are training for an athletic competition or embarking on a fitness program to lose weight and improve your health, supplement your diet with a tasteless amino acid called glutamine.
Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in the body, and it is critical for many body functions. It regulates cellular metabolism and the balance between the body's acid and base levels, which helps neutralize lactic acid. Glutamine is also the key building block of protein and muscles.
Glutamine levels fall after exhaustive exercise or periods of stress so supplementation is ideal for bodybuilders and athletes engaged in strenuous exercise. It's also beneficial for overall health as it aids in keeping immune and digestive systems healthy.
Perhaps the most exciting news for bodybuilders and those fighting the aging process is glutamine's effect on growth hormone. Growth hormone is one of the body's most anabolic (muscle building) hormones. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported a 430% increase in growth hormone after taking glutamine. In turn, growth hormone may promote greater muscle growth and the preferential use of the body-fat stores for energy.
A study at Louisiana State University Medical College gave 2 grams of glutamine to nine healthy athletes in the morning 45 minutes after a light breakfast. Blood levels of growth hormone rose 430% above initial levels 90 minutes after glutamine supplementation.
Glutamine is available in powder or capsule form. Other natural sources of glutamine include whey protein and meal replacement protein powders.
Glutamine seems to be one of the miracle body building supplements that can create a variety of healthful reactions in your body, from building muscle to helping build up your immune system. Glutamine encourages the secretion of human growth hormone, which helps build muscle and muscle strength. It also helps burn up body fat while increasing muscle.
Glutamine is necessary throughout your body, and it can be depleted during heavy workouts, which is another good reason to use this nutrients with your other body building supplements. Some of your other body building supplements may have some glutamine in them, so check to make sure before you calculate the dose that's right for you. Most bodybuilders take between 10 and 15 grams a day, morning, noon, and night. The optimal times are after a morning workout and when you go to bed.
If you're always on the lookout for helpful workout supplements that can enhance your muscle tone and size, then think about nitric oxide workout formulas to help boost your workouts. Nitric oxide helps relax and open up blood vessels, which stimulates blood flow, and it helps deliver more oxygen to the muscles, which means it helps remove more wastes from the muscles, as well.
Nitric oxide is available in powders, or in table workout supplements, as well. It can also lead to faster, stronger muscle pumps during your workout, which helps stimulate and maintain optimum muscle growth. Most manufacturers recommend taking three nitric oxide tablets twice daily, and taking them about 30 to 60 minutes before your workout on days you train.
Meal replacement powders can increase your body's metabolism in a variety of ways. One of the keys to increasing metabolism, and thus increasing fat burning in your body is to work out, but another is to eat small, healthy, and well-balanced meals every three to four hours. By doing this, the body always has nutrition to burn, and if you eat high-protein, healthy foods, you'll convert less food to starch and sugar, and turn more energy into muscle.
Meal replacement powders can help you manage a healthy lifestyle, and they can take the place of a small meal every three to four hours throughout the day, so it's easier for you to manage your diet and nutritional needs. You mix your meal replacement powders with water, milk, or juice to create a full meal replacement that you can drink on the run or between other, more traditional meals. Meal replacement powders are formulated to be high-protein, moderate-carbohydrate, and low-fat, which makes them the perfect meal replacement when you're on the run. They promote fat burning and a healthy metabolism, and ensure you won't consume too many calories even if you're eating more often throughout the day.
Amino acids are essential to life, and they are present in every cell in our bodies. They combine to create protein formations, which are the building blocks of muscle, tissue, and hormones. There are three types of amino acids, which are:
Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) are a group of three essential amino acids, and they are the principal source of fuel for the skeletal muscles. This is why they are important to athletes as sports supplements. The three BCAAs are: valine, leucine, and isoleucine.
Nitric oxide is a vasodilator, which means that it relaxes and opens the blood vessels to promote better blood flow to your muscles. Better blood flow promotes muscle development because your muscles are getting more of the nutrients they need, faster. That's how supplements, such as Nitric Oxide Boost by Fitness Labs or NO-Xplode by BSN, promote muscle-building and also help with recovery after tough workouts or competitions.
The term “perpetual pump” in bodybuilding circles refers to the ability to maintain a rock-hard muscular appearance all the time, not just immediately after a workout. Some evidence suggests that nitric oxide supplements may contribute toward a more muscular appearance by maintaining the increased blood flow to the muscles even when you're not working out. Generally, an enhanced muscle pump lasts several hours after a workout.
Not all nitric oxide workout formulas are alike, so you may need to try a few to determine what works best for you. Most of these supplements contain a combination of various amino acids such asarginine, L-citrulline and L-norvaline. Some contain creatine, and some contain caffeine. But consult your doctor if you are being treated for either high blood pressure or low blood pressure, because nitric oxide might interact with blood pressure medications.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|