|Sports nutrition can be a complex topic. Identifying which products and solutions suit your own personal needs can sometimes be confusing. Fuel aims to de-mystify the subject and help you make to choose the right nutrition for your sport.|
What are Amino Acids ?
Amino Acids are the simplest form of protein that exists. They are the literal building blocks of every protein structure in the body. Tissues such as muscle, skin and tendon have a complex blend of amino acids building their core structure. Hormones such as insulin and growth hormone are formed from chains of amino acids.
Many people find they are unable to maintain a sufficient supply of amino acids for their own body’s requirements. It could be that their diet is restricted, such as through vegetarianism or a stressful lifestyle. Possibly their needs are much higher than can be met by an average diet, as can be the case for serious athletes.
What are Electrolytes ?
Dictionary Definition : Physiology. Any of various ions, such as sodium, potassium, or chloride, required by cells to regulate the electric charge and flow of water molecules across the cell membrane.
When we exercise we sweat. Depending on the climate, whether we are indoors or outdoors and on our own personal sweat rate we can loose quite a lot of liquid and salts.
Potassium, magnesium, calcium and sodium are all electrolytes lost through sweat.
Without replacing these electrolytes during and after exercise, we may experience muscular and overall physical fatigue, decreased endurance and muscles cramps.
So some energy drinks contain electrolytes to replenish those lost when you sweat.
To sum up – if you are exercising indoors, in a hot climate or general sweat a lot, then try using an electrolyte drink rather than your normal sports drink.
What is Carbo loading ?
What is carbohydrate loading?
We’ve all been told to eat a large bowl of pasta the night before a bit race or training session, but why ? Does it work ? Are there better alternatives ?
The first place to start is to understand the basics of carbohydrates .
There are two types :
Complex (or starches). These include grains and vegetables.
Simple. Sugars and sweets including fruit and dairy produce.
Carbohydrates are your muscles’ main source of fuel. Stored carbohydrates are called glycogen. Your muscles can only store small amounts of glycogen, and they can’t borrow glycogen stores from other areas. Normally, this isn’t a problem. But if you start exercising at high intensity and continue for more than 60 to 90 minutes, your muscles will run out of glycogen, greatly affecting your stamina and performance.
So how can we make our muscles store more ?
Well carbohydrate loading is an option. It will gradually force your body into storing more glycogen.
By eating significantly more carbohydrates you will fill your muscles with excess glycogen that can be used as fuel. This will delay the onset of fatigue.
In addition to this, tapering your exercise a short while before an event will stop you using up your glycogen. This allows the carbohydrate loading to make sure you are pushing your glycogen limit.
Should I carbo-load ?
This is quite a good question. Carbohydrate loading is not necessarily for everyone. The best guide would be if you are doing a session or race that lasts more than 90 minutes then “loading” might improve your overall performance.
Short races (5km runs, short distance swimming etc) do not really need carbo loading and would probably be wasted are you normal glycogen levels would be enough to fuel your muscles.
Things to watch out for
Sadly, as with most things there is a down side to loading. It’s up to you to decide what’s best for your event. Carbohydrate loading helps your body store extra water and so weight gain mighty be an issue. Also paying attention to high fibre foods before an event is advisable as it may cause discomfort, gas and/or cramps.
|What is Creatine ?|
What is Creatine ?
Creatine is a natural constituent of a normal diet. Muscle foods such as steak and sushi are often quoted as being high in Creatine. However, vegetarian sources do exist, juniper berries being a particularly good example. Creatine is found in high concentrations in human muscle where it plays an important part in the energy production process. Normally this Creatine is provided from the diet but the body does have the ability to manufacture Creatine from the amino acids Arginine, Glycine and Methionine.
It appears that because of the changes in people’s dietary habits they are receiving less Creatine in their diet and have a sub optimal store of Creatine in the muscle. This is especially so for vegetarian athletes. By supplementing Creatine in the diet it is possible to increase the Creatine in muscle and improve performance. Extensive research has shown that by supplementing the natural intake of Creatine, the amount of Creatine in the body can be increased to about 5g per kilogram of muscle. This increase results in an increase in athletic performance, particularly in repeated sprint type activities, interval training and weight training.
What does Creatine do?
Athletes require a continual supply of energy for high performance activity. This energy is supplied to the muscle in the form of ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate). There is barely enough ATP to fuel more than a second of strenuous activity.
The body manufactures ATP from carbohydrate, fat and protein in the diet. Fat can be used to make a lot of ATP but this is a slow process. The body can manufacture ATP from carbohydrate far more quickly but even the break down of carbohydrate by anaerobic glycolysis cannot provide ATP fast enough for very explosive events.
When the body has a sudden increase in demand for energy it has to rely upon a bank of immediately available energy – the Creatine Phosphate Energy System.
Creatine Phosphate can “donate” phosphate groups in order to re-charge ATP. The use of Creatine Phosphate to recharge ATP during sudden increases in energy demand gives time for Carbohydrate metabolism to be “fired up”. Then during less intense periods the energy from carbohydrate metabolism can be used to pay back into the Creatine bank to recharge the Creatine Phosphate.
There is enough Creatine Phosphate to fuel about 5 seconds of a 100m sprint. As Creatine Phosphate can recycle ATP faster than Carbohydrate metabolism, the athlete can put out more power and accelerate faster when using Creatine Phosphate.
Extensive research has shown that by supplementing the natural intake of Creatine, the amount of Creatine in the body can be increased to about 5g per kilogram of muscle.This increase results in an increase in athletic performance, particularly in repeated sprint type activities, interval training and weight training.
How much to use when?
Most research has been undertaken using 5g doses taken 4 times a day, 20g a day in total. Doses of 5g produce a large rise of Creatine in the blood that “pushes” the Creatine into the muscle. Taking a loading dose of 20g a day for 5 days produces a rapid rise in Creatine stores, and most athletes notice a difference immediately although some take a few days to “settle down”. It is possible to produce the same end result by taking a single 5g dose once a day for 4 or 5 weeks and slowly ramp up stores.
Once Creatine stores are loaded athletes can choose to maintain levels by taking 2-5g a day, or doing a loading day once a week or fortnight. Alternatively you can let your levels taper back down and re-load after 2 or 3 months.
Is there anything else I should consider?
It is important to keep hydrated and there is some evidence to suggest taking Creatine with Carbohydrate may improve the absorption. Many athletes obtain good results taking Creatine with GO Electrolyte sports fuel. Some individuals do not seem to respond to Creatine supplementation, it may be that they already have maximum stores so do not benefit from loading. Taking on board extra Creatine has been shown to significantly increase lean muscle mass, although this may be due to extra water retention during the loading phase and may settle down later on. In sports where weight is a factor athletes need to consider the advantages over the disadvantage of extra weight.
Creatine is recharged to Creatine Phosphate using energy provided by carbohydrate metabolism. Increasing your Creatine stores will effectively increase your ability to use up carbohydrate.
The above article was written by Science In Sport (SIS) and relates to KR10 Creatine.