There's a lot of information out there regarding sports nutrition; putting it all together into a practical plan is sometimes daunting. Key word here is practical. I love seeing advice from nutritionists or sports coaches talking about how so & so is unhealthy yet the make it so complicated that they themselves become obese. Or they'll give you examples of what to eat quoting advice pertaining to sedentary people. Athletes have different nutritional requirements than sedentary people.
I'll try to break things down in a practical way that you can use to live a healthy lifestlye. Lets get this out of the way: having a well balanced diet is the foundation to your athletic performance. That is a whole post in itself (ie. eating whole foods, fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, healthy proteins etc). With that said, supplementation is definitely worth while.
There are guys who say you should ONLY get your nutrition from whole foods. Maybe that would be possible if you didn't work, didn't train hard, etc. But the fact of the matter is, you can get the precise nutrients needed to perform in a convenient way to supplement your diet that will actually IMPROVE your performance and be healthy in the long term. Why not maximize your training effects by supplementing with natural sports nutrition products?
It is a scientific fact that you will perform better and be able to train harder with proper nutrition. If adding simple electrolytes to water will help keep you hydrated and allow you to train longer, imagine what a truly scientific recovery shake can do for you.
That doesn't mean you ONLY consume supplements. It just means that it can be beneficial to SUPPLEMENT your diet with well researched natural sport supplements. There are a few different types of activities and each require specific nutrition to recover the right way.
In a spectrum of activities you have pure endurance on one end and pure strength/power on the other end. We started off helping Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Mixed Martial Arts, Surfing, CrossFit, Endurance Events and Paddling athletes. These were all activities that I participated in that I needed to recover from (that's why I started the brand -- to help my own recovery).
All of these activities that I mentioned would fall somewhere in the middle being classified as mixed sports. Power lifting would be an example of a pure strength/power sport in which very little aerobic conditioning is used. There are many products out there for gym-rats, but not many for our kind of athlete.
Mixed sports (sports that require all three energy systems) are the activities that we specifically designed our products for. These are sports that require muscle glycogen replenishing carbohydrates, electrolytes, anti-oxidants and amino acids to rebuild muscle. They have a complex set of nutritional requirements not satisfied by the typical 40-50grams of whey protein that power lifters prefer. And often, these athletes are on the go, training two even three times a day. They need to replenish nutrients quickly and recover before the next training session.
Once you classify the activities, the next point is sporting goals. (From this point on, we will assume you are a mixed sport athlete and not just a pure strength athlete). Is your goal to maintain your leanness/muscularity or is your goal to gain muscle or is your goal to lose fat? These are all different goals that an athlete might have in mind. As you will see in the next section, it is important to match your nutrients to your goals.
Check out Part 2 of the series Putting it All Together.