3 Key Principles for Optimizing Athletic Performance
No amount of training can compensate for a poor diet when it comes to improving body composition and athletic performance. However, for those following a healthy diet plan and exercising regularly, properly timed supplements can provide a competitive edge in performance and recovery. The following nutrition principles are important for the weekend warrior and elite athletes alike.
1. Perfect Protein
Protein is comprised of amino acids, the building blocks your body uses for building muscle. Protein requirements are typically higher for athletes. Minimum protein intake for many athletes is calculated as 1 gram of protein for every pound of muscle mass per day. Protein recommendations can be higher depending on activity and training needs. Protein powders added to blended smoothies can be an easy and quick addition to a healthy diet to boost daily protein intake.
Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAA) are specific amino acids (leucine, valine, isoleucine) that promote an increase in muscle mass. It may be one of the most important supplements for those following a low carb diet. BCAAs allow the body to breakdown fat and build up muscle at the same time. These amino acids not only protect muscle mass but also provide signals to the brain to decrease hunger and to the adipose tissue to encourage fat loss. BCAAs can be particularly helpful for building lean muscle mass as we age. BCAAs can be dosed between meals to decrease food cravings or before and after workouts to help build lean muscle mass.
Electrolytes are the essential minerals in the body that regulate hydration and muscle contraction. Staying well hydrated with electrolytes can prevent muscle fatigue and cramping. Electrolyte replacement is most important when exercising in temperatures above 85 degrees or when exercising for more than 1 hour. Consider increasing your electrolytes if you notice that you are getting frequent muscle spasms, a stitch in your side or a gcharley horseh when working out.
3. Eating carbs—timing is everything.
Recently, the most popular diet trend includes some variation of a glow carbh menu. Although this can be an effective fat loss strategy, the savvy athlete knows that carbohydrates are vital fuel for the muscle. For those athletes that are trying to decrease body fat while building muscle, the timing of carbohydrate intake is of the utmost importance. Consider having a carb rich meal equivalent to 30-40 grams of carbohydrate after a workout. This is equal to a large sweet potato or two pieces of fruit. For convenience many choose a specially formulated recovery shake within the first hour after a workout. This timing will most effectively signal the hormone insulin. Insulin signals the muscle cell to use these carbs as fuel to build bigger and stronger muscle cells. This nutrition biochemistry translates into a faster stronger athlete.
Another important carbohydrate for athletes to consider is D-Ribose. D-Ribose is a special kind of sugar that is not metabolized the same way as other sugars. D-ribose is a sugar that converts to pure energy and does not get stored as fat. Instead D-Ribose can be used during an athletic event as a quick energy boost and to prevent muscle fatigue. It is also helpful for recovery in the muscle cell preventing muscle soreness and pain.
4. Putting the plan into action
At NaturoMedica, we offer pharmaceutical grade and NSF Certified for Sport®* nutritional formulas designed specifically for optimizing athletic performance. One of our qualified physicians can help you design an optimal nutritional program to meet your training needs. An example of a nutritional plan for building muscle and decreasing fat would be as follows:
- 7:00am: Mix 1 scoop Exos Aminos in 8oz of water. Take 2 capsules of Klean Electrolytes.
- 7:30am-9am: Work-out with mix of cardio interval and weight training. Chew 2-4 Klean Endurance tablets during work-out to give you an extra boost of energy.
- 9:30am: Drink 1 Klean Recovery Shake. Take 2 capsules of Klean Electrolytes.
- 10:30am: Mix 1 scoop Exos Aminos in water and drink.
- 12:00pm: Lunch
- 3:00pm: Protein shake with Klean Isolate protein powder, almond milk, fruit, and sweetener.
- 6:00pm: Dinner
- 8:00pm: Mix 1 scoop Exos Aminos in water and drink.
*NSF Certified for Sport® products:
- Klean Electrolytes™: a blend of minerals in capsule form to help replenish electrolytes and retain hydration.
- Klean Endurance™: a chewable orange/vanilla flavored D-Ribose supplement used to restore and replenish vital energy.
- Klean Isolate™: a pure whey protein isolate free of artificial flavoring or sweetener.
- Klean Recovery™: a milk chocolate flavored recovery drink in a 4:1 carbohydrate to protein ratio designed as the perfect post-workout recovery drink.
- Exos Aminos (Thorne): a blend of branch chain amino acids that promote muscle recovery, metabolism and increase and maintain lean muscle mass.
*NSF Certified for Sport®
A program created to ensure that sports supplements are safe and free from banned substances. Supplements that carry the NSF certification have extensive product testing and have been evaluated at every aspect of development. This protects athletes, coaches and consumers against adulterated products. An NSF Certified product can be trusted to meet label claims and are of high quality. These strict regulations have leading sports organizations like the NFL, MLB, NHL and PGA to support the use of products that are NSF certified.