When it comes to sports nutrition there are three nutritional steps to helping your body get the most out of your training. Whether you are an athlete or just an individual looking to stay in shape and live a healthy life, physical fitness and the nutrition to prepare and refuel your body are essential. In the following I will introduce the three key nutritional steps of sports nutrition; being energized, staying hydrated, building strength and recovering from your workouts.
When preparing for a workout having the energy to actually perform and to get you through the workout is the first step. Vitamin B-6 and B-12 are an aid in energy production. A carbohydrate source can provide energy to the muscles. Selenium can play a key role by protecting your cells against harmful free radicals. Electrolytes can help to replace the sodium and potassium the body loses during exercise. A natural amount of caffeine from green tea extract can also give you a boost of energy. Rhodiola rosea extract can provide mental focus and helps to maximize physical endurance during those tough workouts. Energy bars that contain carbohydrates and protein are also great for a pre-workout snack to give you boost of energy.
The next step is hydration. Hydration is key to keeping your body from breaking down and becoming dehydrated during a workout. You should always hydrate before, during and after a workout. A good recommendation would be to consume 16 ounces of liquid before activity, 8-16 ounces after and about 4 ounces every 15-20 minutes during the workout. Water is always a great source of hydration and finding a great sport drink to go along with that will benefit you even more because they provide electrolytes, energy production and protection against harmful free radicals produced from exercise.
Strength and Recovery
The third step is strength and recovery. This step provides for building strength, increasing lean muscle mass, improving muscle definition and supplying your body with nutrition to recover from the workout. Protein is a great source to help in this process. Protein is essential in the diet for growth and repair of muscle tissue and proper functioning of the body. You can obtain protein from meat, poultry, eggs, fish, beans, nuts, protein shakes and protein bars. A great fact to know is endurance athletes need about 0.53-0.63 grams of protein per pound of body weight. Athletes looking to gain muscle mass may need up to 0.81 grams per pound of body weight. Protein should be consumed within 30 minutes after each workout to repair muscle breakdown caused by exercise and promote protein synthesis. Glucosamine chondroitin is also a great supplement to help protect, lubricate and cushion cartilage in the recovery of sore joints caused by exercise and improves flexibility.
Preparing and refueling the body are essential to helping you and your body function properly before, during and after exercise. Remember to perform these three steps and provide the nutrition needed to boost your energy, stay hydrated, build strength and recover properly.
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