The whole family gathers around the TV every 2 years to watch the Olympics, both summer and winter, to marvel at the unthinkable feats that athletes perform. It makes us wonder, how do they do it? The short answer, as we are always told by the athletes and others alike, is hard work and perseverance, never giving up.
While that is most of the reason, that ideal of working hard to get to the top can seem daunting for some. That’s why so many of us turn to additional sports supplements for help along the way.
A Brief Intro to Sports Supplements
Ever since experiments were conducted in the 1940s on the advantages of taking supplemental protein for enhancing muscle mass, the idea of taking additional protein has been on athlete’s minds. With the introduction of isolated protein powders in the 1970s and 1980s, the usage amongst athletes became widespread to try to get an edge on their competition. However, all this is nothing new.
Ever since the very beginning of the Olympics, in Ancient Greece, athletes would eat certain herbs or meats to boost performance. Even since the reintroduction of the games in 1896 to today, athletes have been taking caffeine to enhance performance.
However, there is always a good to the bad, a yin to the yang. Before getting your hands full with sports supplements while at your local gym equipment store, let’s take a look at some of their pros and cons.
Give You Energy
There are times when we just need that extra boost to get over the hump of our workout. Sports supplements with substances such as caffeine, B-vitamins and carbohydrates are all used to enhance performance and give you the juice to power through that second wave.
Caffeine is an energy stimulant which can improve strength and energy levels while B-vitamins are crucial to maintaining those levels and avoiding fatigue. Finally, carbohydrates are our body’s favourite source of fuel, perfect for long, gruelling workouts. If you’re looking for a sports supplement, get one with these substances included in the mix for a stronger, better workout.
Help Your Body Recover
Have you ever woken up the day after a tough workout and felt sore all over? If not, then just think of it as a hangover for your muscles and joints. Our muscles are fibres and the more they’re used, the more they loosen, rip and tear. That’s where sports supplements come in.
After you’ve purchased your top-notch treadmills, bikes, benches, and weights from the gym equipment store and have worked out until you dropped, you need something to get back on your feet. The protein-rich powders in sports supplements are what our bodies use to rebuild our muscle fibres to be bigger and stronger next time around.
Keep You Full, But Not TOO Full
If you’re someone with a massive metabolism, you know full well the struggle of trying to lose weight when your body is dying to go to an all-you-can-eat restaurant right after your workout? Lucky you, you have a protein-infused shake waiting for you at home to relieve that never-ending growl coming from your stomach.
In a 2016 study, participants given a high-protein diet gained 2.4lbs (1.1kg) more muscle and lost 2.9lbs (1.3kg) more fat than their low-protein counterparts. A protein shake’s ingredients fill you up much faster than, say, stuffing your face with ice cream so as to keep you full while also letting your body know when to stop. That is to avoid when you do eventually have an “off day” and eat like crazy after a workout only to realize you can barely breathe. (It’s okay, it happens to all of us.)
Unlike the rest of our food and drug products which are inspected regularly through Health Canada’s Food Inspection Agency through the provisions of the Canada Food and Drugs Act, sports supplements are subject to little if no inspections by public health officials.
Needless to say, this raises a few eyebrows and can lead to prohibited substances being found in sports supplements sold from abroad. Chemical additives such as synthetic food dyes have been found in sports supplements sold on store shelves. Other chemicals such as silicon dioxide which are used to keep the powder from sticking together may be harmful in large quantities when inhaled.
Too Much Protein!
But protein is good for you, right? Yes, but everything is only good in moderation. The recommended daily intake for the average adult male and female is 55.5g for men and 45g for women according to the British Department of Health.
By regularly consuming well over the amount of protein you need in a day, you may be at a higher risk of constipation, increased bowel movements, nausea, cramps, bloating, reduced appetite and more. When it comes to putting things in your body, know your limits. If something is “good” for you, it’s only up to a certain point.
Potential Side Effects
What the cashier at your local gym equipment store selling sports supplements may not tell you is that the potential health risks of overindulgence may be greater than you think. Sports supplements, for all their initial charm, may be hiding a dark secret within.
Consuming an excess of protein has been linked with worsening kidney problems as well as increased risk of developing osteoporosis later in life. Meanwhile, creatine, another common substance in sports supplements, has been linked to weight gain, anxiety, nausea, and kidney problems.
The Verdict - Should You Take Sports Supplements?
Although you might think based on this article that the answer will be no, the truth is far less straightforward. Sports supplements are only dangerous when consumed in excess. By finding a reliable brand that you know isn’t taking you for a fool by inserting placebos or knowing when you’ve added a few too many protein cups into your shake, you’ll be alright.
While sports supplements such as protein powders may be a cost-effective solution to replenishing both your muscles and your belly, others with highly specific vitamins such as vitamin B-12 supplements can just as easily be replaced by a serving of beef, tuna, clam or fortified cereal.
Whether or not your sports supplements are a cost-effective solution is up to you and knowing what and where to buy your ideal supplements to complement your exercise regime is key to finding that perfect balance.
A Gym Equipment Store Catered to Your Needs
If you’re in the market for quality, affordable gym equipment, look no further than Fitness Avenue. As a local, Canadian business, we’re dedicated to bringing Canadians the best of gym equipment and accessories alongside top-notch service through our online gym equipment store. Everything from treadmills to ellipticals to squat racks to weight plates and pilates, we’ve got you covered.
Browse through our broad array of gym equipment at www.fitnessavenue.ca today and discover our exclusive limited-time offers on premium-sourced gym equipment. While sports supplements may or may not be right for you, at the end of the day, the difference is the work that you put in. With our reliable, durable fitness equipment, make the most of your exercise routine and get the body you’ve always dreamed of. The sky’s the limit for you.