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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The low-down on sports supplements

The path to getting fit and healthy can be long and arduous, and there’s a tendency to look for shortcuts. For people looking to lose weight, or get in better shape, sports supplements are a tempting offering. Just like anything else, supplements should be used in moderation, but if used wisely, can help you towards your goals a bit faster. Here’s how.
Keep it balanced
This may not come as a surprise, but even the latest and greatest nutritional supplement will not work without a balanced diet and exercise. The key word is supplement; it’s used in conjunction with a healthy lifestyle, and not as a replacement. Nothing will ever replace healthy eating and exercise, but sport supplements can help you along the way.

What’s in them?
There are many different kind of supplements out there, but at their core they are designed to give you more energy and stamina. Depending on the supplement, it may include ingredients such as vitamins, minerals, amino acids, herbs, or a combination of these.

How should they be used?
The key to taking any type of sport supplement is knowing why you’re taking them. A vague reason like, “getting more energy”, is not enough. You need to know exactly what it does, and how that lines up with your fitness goals. For instance, if you’re looking to lose weight and stay lean, a supplement like creatine, which adds muscle and bulk, would not be exactly useful.

How they help
The biggest benefit of supplements is that they help you get the most out of your workout. If, for instance, you have an especially rigorous workout, a recovery drink/supplement can supply carbohydrates and amino acids that replace and rebuild the muscle fibers that are broken down during this training session. Sport supplements can also help keep your body healthy and better able to withstand the rigors of training. Even with a healthy diet, you may not be getting enough nutrients that help you recover (think iron, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids). Some studies have shown that these may help reduce post-exercise soreness and boost recovery times.
As you can see, sports supplements can help you towards a healthy lifestyle, as long as you’re smart about what you’re taking. Exercise and healthy eating are irreplaceable, but supplements sure can help.

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