Top 3 Sports Nutrition Myths
Sports Nutrition Myths Interesting Facts
Athletes have always coveted peak physical performance. Whether that was Roger Bannister breaking the 4 minute mile or more recently Eliud Kipchoge breaking the sub 2 hour marathon. Athletes have always pursued to do the unthinkable and take human performance to the next level within the laws of the respective sports of course. Over the years, many athletes have looked to nutrition to try and unlock their true potential for performing in their sports and have experimented with many different combinations of diets and supplements. Today, we will discuss the top 3 sports nutrition myths that are still widely practiced today but unfortunately, do not quite live up to expectation in the science.
THE VIDEO: The Top 3 Sports Nutrition Myths – Interesting Facts
Sports Nutrition Myth 1- Carbo-Loading
One of the most widely utilised and praised sports nutrition practices out there is that of “carbo-loading”. Carbo-loading refers to the idea of consuming a large starchy meal the night before or the morning of competing in a sports event in the hopes that it will provide the individual with more energy, improving performance. Unfortunately, however, the research simply does not support this practice. A lot of research has in fact revealed that for people who compete in sports events less than 90 minutes in duration, such as a rugby or football match, carbo-loading yielded no significant improvements in performance compared to those who did not carbo-load before their event. Counter to this, some research has indicated that for those who compete in events longer than 90 minutes in duration, such as running a marathon/half marathon, carbo-loading before the event, did yield some improvements in performance but there were no significant trends. Since then, there have been more recent studies that have shown that compared to carbo-loading before an event, consuming electrolytes and simple sugars during competition, such as isotonic sports drinks and gummy sweets, can offset the need for carbo-loading as it is immediately available for use and has the added benefit of not leaving you feeling bloated before the event. To summarise, a one off carbo-loaded meal will not improve sports performance. Consistent consumption of high levels of carbohydrates can allow your body to adapt and become more effective at storing glucose so you will be able to produce energy quickly for a longer period of time thus, giving you the opportunity to improve your performance.
Sports Nutrition Myth 2- Protein/Anabolic Window
If we go into any gym on any given day, we can expect to see someone either drinking a protein shake before, during or after a workout. This is what is referred to as “Chasing the anabolic window”, which states that in the immediate 30 minutes to 2 hours post exercise, consuming a high protein substance with fast release sugars will elicit greater muscle gains and replenish glycogen (carbohydrate) stores that were used during exercise. The general principle behind this theory is 100% accurate in that consuming protein is essential to aid in muscle gain and consuming carbohydrates is needed to replenish glycogen stores that were lost. However, the notion of consuming these nutrients as soon as possible after training to elicit greater results is a lie. The research is not conclusive on consuming protein and carbohydrates post workout yielding greater results compared to consuming them later on in the day. The general principle when consuming these nutrients should be in regard to consistency of consumption. If protein and carbohydrates are consumed consistently across the day then, there is not a need to consume protein and carbs immediately after training. On the other hand, if one were to train fasted, this can increase the rate of protein breakdown during the session so here, it would be advisable to consume protein immediately post workout. Overall, we need to fuel what we do appropriately, don’t chase something that doesn’t exist. If muscle gain is the goal, eat enough protein across the day and refuel the carbohydrates relative to how hard we are training.
Sports Nutrition Myth 3- Creatine is a steroid
Creatine is a naturally produced compound in the body. It is composed of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen and oxygen and can be found occurring naturally in red meat, pork, poultry and fish. Our bodies use creatine in the production of energy, through the ATP-PCr system to be exact. This system is our immediate source of energy when we perform any activity that uses quick bursts of strength or speed and lasts a short amount of time. Creatine is categorized as a Class A supplement on the ABCD World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) supplement classification model. This is the lowest ranking category and is defined as supplements where: “Literature backs the claims of this supplement to enhance performance”. Other Class A supplements include caffeine and beetroot juice, which we all know are extremely safe when consumed responsibly, as with anything.
So is creatine bad for you? Depending on who you ask, the side effects of creatine you will come across include kidney damage, liver damage, dehydration, muscle cramps and digestive problems to name a few. Despite this negative press, the International Society of Sports Nutrition regards creatine as extremely safe, concluding that it is one of the most beneficial supplements available. The bottom line… Creatine has been used for more than a century and has over 500 studies supporting its effectiveness. It is one of the cheapest, most effective, and safest supplements available. Creatine is NOT a steroid.
To conclude, there are many things that an individual can do to improve their physical performance, including manipulating their nutrition based around the needs and demands of the sport. However, before you start to follow any advice that you’ve heard through the grapevine or read online, such as the sports nutrition myths we’ve listed in this blog, you must ensure that you do the appropriate research first. This will ensure that rather than wasting your time chasing a pipe dream, you will actually improve your own performance and get the results that you desire.
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