05 / Apr / 2022What You Need to Know about Fitness and SupplementsIn this article, we cover a few of the introductory details about nutritional supplements, so you know what to expect before getting started taking them.Estimated reading time: 9.5 minutesIf you’ve ever walked into a commercial gym facility or worked out with peers before, you may have seen someone bring out a container of protein powder, creatine, or a nutritional supplement of some kind. Unless you’ve done some research into fitness or nutrition in the past, or if you’ve always just been a casual gym customer, you may not know the benefits of these supplements, or which ones are right for you.The answer to these questions differs from person to person. In fact, the supplements you should take along with your workout all depend on your diet, your workout and fitness goals, any deficiencies you may have, and many other underlying factors. As a Canadian speciality store located in Sudbury, Ontario, we work closely with our clientele with all their fitness related needs. Although we prioritize exercise equipment, we also offer a range of Nutritional supplements and realize that our loyal customers want to know more about them. In this article, we cover a few of the introductory details about nutritional supplements, so you know what to expect before getting started taking them.In this article:What Is a Nutritional Supplement?Examples and Benefits of Nutritional Supplements Used by AthletesImportant Factors to Consider Before Consuming SupplementsPurchasing Nutritional Supplements at Akfit What Is a Nutritional Supplement?A nutritional supplement is a manufactured product that usually comes in the form of a pill, capsule, powder, bars, or liquid. The purpose of these supplements is to provide nutrients that are either synthetic or extracted from food sources. Nutritional supplements are commonly used by fitness enthusiasts and athletes to enhance exercise, athletic performance, and muscle growth. Some may also use supplements as a way to increase nutrition in their diet or to make up for any nutritional deficiencies. 5 Common Nutritional Supplements used by Athletes and Their BenefitsThere are a lot of options to choose from when it comes to purchasing supplements. They vary in terms of their benefits, form, volume, cost, and quality. However, to help narrow down your search, there are some supplements that are more common than others and are often used by fitness enthusiasts. Protein SupplementsProtein based supplements are probably the most common supplement. You’ve likely seen protein supplements in your daily life used among your peers or other visitors at the gym you frequently visit. This is because protein is a key nutrient you require in your everyday life to increase the health of your bones, muscles, and skin. Your body also needs protein to produce enzymes, hormones, and other chemicals. The recommended dose of protein you should take with your workout highly depends on your age, weight, muscle mass, and the type of workout you are engaging in. But generally, protein is known for enhancing these benefits in athletes:Increased muscle growth.More protein in your diet could make you feel more full for longer, promoting portion control and weight management.Potentially help repair damaged muscles and tissue, making it a great recovery supplement. It may reduce blood pressure, total cholesterol, or other risk factors for cardiovascular diseases.Increased nutrition for those who don’t intake enough daily protein.The average daily recommended intake of protein for those ages 19 years and older is 56 grams for men, and 46 grams for women. However, some athletes, weight lifters, and older adults with chronic illnesses, may need to increase that general intake. Creatine Creatine is a natural compound found in skeletal muscle. It is synthesized in the body from amino acids and is also commonly found in seafood and red meat. This supplement is recommended for use mostly among those who partake in strength training and sports that involve intermittent sprints or high-intensity exercises. This is mostly because creatine produces adenosine triphosphate (ATP) which provides energy for muscles in your body. Creatine can offer athletes the following benefits:Increased muscle availabilityIncreased muscle energyImproves high-intensity athletic performanceSpeeds up muscle growthMay lower blood-sugar levelsMay improve brain functionCould reduce fatigue and tirednessIncreased lean massWhile creatine is considered safe and easy to use, it’s important to understand the purpose you are using creatine for and proper dosage you should take. Studies have shown that, on average, creatine can be taken in doses of 4 - 20 grams per day.With that being said, keep in mind that your body already creates 1-2 grams of creatine a day on its own, and your diet can also add to that amount. Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAA)Branched-chain amino acids can be explained as natural amino acids commonly found in protein heavy foods. While you can get a good source of these amino acids in your diet, some athletes take BCAA supplements for short-term growth. Branched-Chain Amino Acids are a key component of muscle protein synthesis and are most commonly used to increase muscle weight and strength when paired with a strength training program. Foods containing branched-chain amino acids can include beef, poultry, fish, milk and soy proteins, chickpeas, lentils, whole wheat, and brown rice. Some of the most common benefits of BCAA’s include:Increased muscle growthHelpful with muscle painLess fatigue Boosting appetite Preventing muscle wastingIt is important to be cautious of ingesting a high-intake of BCAA’s because they can have a potential negative effect on glucose metabolism and complications of diabetes. For healthy adults, an average daily dose of 4-20 grams per day is considered a safe amount. CollagenCollagen is a protein found in the bones, muscles, skin, and tendons of the human body.As we age (starting as early as our 20’s), our body starts to produce less collagen. By the time you reach your 60s, your body will be producing on average 50% less collagen than your body would in your 20s.When combined with athletic training, collagen is known to improve muscle-joint interaction and strengthen the myotendinous junction. This makes collagen a good recovery protein for athletes who are recovering from surgery or injury, or among those who want to decrease the chance of injury. Benefits of taking collagen can include:Reduced joint painMay speed up injury recovery timeCan boost muscle massCan reduce injuryMay boost athletic performanceMay jumpstart your metabolismIncreases and maintains skin elasticity; reducing signs of agingThe amount of collagen you intake largely depends on your age, health, and diet. It’s important to talk to a doctor before regularly taking collagen. For fitness-related reasons, you can always contact a fitness professional about the benefits it can provide for you. Electrolytes and Hydration ProductsThe proper amount of fluid intake for athletes is crucial for performance, comfort, and safety. The longer or more intense your workouts are, the higher the importance of keeping up with hydration. Electrolytes are commonly found in sports drinks and hydration products. They are chemicals that conduct electricity when mixed with water but also include sodium, calcium, and potassium. In fact, calcium, sodium, and potassium all work together to help the muscles contract properly. So when your body loses electrolytes and becomes dehydrated through sweating, the ingestion of sports drinks are highly recommended. Some of the benefits of sport drinks include:Replenishing key electrolytesEnhance enduranceKeeps you hydratedSome include sugar, increasing energy levelsMany sport drinks produce carbohydratesWhile drinking water is generally enough to properly hydrate yourself, especially for a low-intensity workout. You may want to consider consuming a sports drink with lots of electrolytes if you are engaging in a high-intensity workout and are losing a lot of fluids through sweat. For some, a daily intake of just 1,600 to 2,000 mg of electrolytes is enough to keep hydrated. However, if you workout a lot, or notice any signs of dehydration, then you should definitely raise your daily intake. Important Factors to Consider Before Consuming SupplementsThough the idea of taking nutritional supplements may sound like a fantastic idea to many, it’s important to consider a few key factors before you start incorporating supplements into your fitness routine. Consult Your DoctorThis may not be the case for all supplements, but if you haven’t had a regular health checkup with a family doctor in a while, you may want to do so before taking any supplements. This is because many nutritional supplements could interfere with medications you take or vise-versa. It’s also important to learn from your doctor if you have any nutritional deficiencies. While many over-the-counter products may seem safe, there is always a limit to what you should and can put in your body. Know What You Are PurchasingEven though we have covered some common supplements used among athletes, there are a lot of options on the market, especially online. Not all supplements in the same category include all of the same ingredients. If you suffer from allergies it is absolutely crucial to know what you are buying. There are also a lot of easily available supplements online that aren’t properly regulated, and in some cases, products aren’t pulled from the market until after they are deemed unsafe. Make sure that the supplements you are purchasing are approved by your health authorities. Investing in low quality supplements may also provide less effective results. Know Your Limits and GoalsEveryone’s diet and workout routines/goals are all different, and hence, the intake of a supplement isn’t the same for everyone. Those who engage in heavyweight training and want to build muscle may be more inclined to purchase a protein-based supplement compared to a carbohydrate based supplement. Further, too much of any supplement can be a bad thing. Be aware of all potential side effects of what you are taking and look out for any symptom onset. In fact, too much long-term use of some supplements can actually generate negative effects as well. Purchasing Nutritional Supplements at Akfit: BioSteelAt Akfit, we don’t just sell fitness equipment and offer commercial gym services, we also sell nutritional supplements as well. In fact, our company works closely with BioSteel, offering a range of nutritional fitness supplements. Originally catering to top-performing professional athletes, the BioSteel now caters to everyday sports nutrition consumers. Bio Steel pride themselves on creating high-quality products with a “simple list of clean ingredients engineered to deliver the essential nutrients needed to power physical activity”.You can find BioSteel supplements at Akfit, including protein powder, creatine, hydration mix, plant amino powder, and glutamine, and more. Our fitness professionals are also here to help you, the reader, with any fitness related question, concern, or request you may have, and this includes information regarding nutritional supplements. We highly recommend reaching out to us with your fitness requests, you can always visit us in-store at our Sudbury location, or you can easily book a virtual meeting with us too. If you wish to purchase any of our products online, you can easily request a delivery here as well. Whatever your fitness related goals may be, we are always here to help you reach them!