Sunday, August 24, 2014

Supplements & Squash

Scroll down the page for the start of the post..

Today I'm going to discuss dietary supplements. I am not a physician and you should always consult with one before taking supplements. For some reason when I copy when I copy and pasted my fact sheet to this it didn't work perfectly so you'll need to scroll down a bit to see the stat of this post. I discuss a number of issues about supplements and after all my research I have concluded that the convenience of supplements can be very handy in squash tournaments and when travelling, but if you eat a balanced and healthy diet you likely won't need to use any supplements. Although some people will have deficiencies in certain areas of their diet and may need the use of vitamins or supplements to meet their recommended daily intake.

Currently I only take a daily multivitamin, likely more out of habit then necessity and glucosamine which is rumoured to help regenerate cartilage. I'll still have the odd protein bar if I don't have much of a break between a bunch of lessons. Back when I was training and competing I would use stuff like protein powders, sports gels and bars and found some of it useful depending on how hard I was training and how much rest time I had. It had more to do with the convenience factor, but it was also expensive to use this stuff regularly when I was a student.

We are all looking for an edge in our training. We want to recover faster and provided our body with the guest fuel to perform at our best and to win more! For some sports it seems like this is so important that they will take illegal supplements and I am glad that there have been very few of these reported incidents in squash. While I think we all know that many body builders, cyclists, baseball players, and wrestlers have or maybe do still dope. When there has been so much controversy in a sport it takes away the credibility of it. Even Victoria's own, Ryan Hesjedal just admitted to doping a decade ago and we are all aware of Lance Armstrong's issues. This post is not about those types of supplements and I just wanted to clear that up. In my fact sheet I post a link where you can find out what is banned and clean on the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) website. Even some asthma inhalers and nasal sprays are on the banned list. So if you're representing your country at an international event (or playing in the Canada Winter Games) it is important to check any products you may be taking. This could include prescribed medicine for a common cold. Ok, that's it..time to let you check out my Squash & Supplements fact sheet. Let me know if you learned anything. 


What are supplements? (1)

A supplement is a product taken orally that contains a dietary ingredient that is intended to supplement the diet. Supplements may include vitamins, minerals, herbs, amino acids and other substances. Supplements may also be extracts from plants or foods. They are typically sold in tablets, capsules, soft gels, powders, bars or liquids. Any product that is sold as dietary supplements must be clearly labeled as such.

When to supplement the balanced diet? (1,3)

Those on a restrictive diet, either a weight loss program, do not consume foods from all of the food groups or consume low (or high) carbohydrate diets are at a greater risk of micro-nutrient deficiency.

Supplementing in squash(1,3)
When involved in regular training and competition, it is important to main a balanced diet and replace the macro and micro-nutrients that are become depleted during exercise. Consuming a supplement after training can enhance the regeneration process and can help maintain muscle mass.

When to supplement the balanced diet continued

Macronutrients recommendations for athletes involved in regular, moderate to intense exercise
Carbohydrates – the diet should consist of 55-65% carbohydrates in order to maintain and restore muscle and liver glycogen stores. This works out to 5-8g/kg per day. If you are required to consume a large number of daily carbohydrates and are having difficulty doing so, supplementing them (with high concentration mixes) with bars, gels and drinks can be very effective (1)
Protein – daily recommendations range from 1.2-1.7g/kg of body weight. These recommendations can generally be met without the use of any supplements (3). The timing of intake encompassing exercise has many benefits including improved recovery and a greater increase in fat-free mass (1)
Fat – intake should range from 20-35% of total dietary intake (3)

Check to see if a supplement or product is legal in your sport at the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) website (2)

How do I know if a supplement is safe? (1)
  • Supplements are rigorously regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
  • The FDA requires manufacturers and distributors of any new dietary ingredient to submit a pre-market notification 75 days prior to the product being introduced
  • Dietary supplement companies are required to report any customer complaints on potential adverse effects to the FDA

Questions to consider when considering a dietary supplement (1)

If you have any questions consult with a physician or sports nutritionist
  • What is the scientific rationale behind the supplement/product?
    What data backs up the claims made? Is their proof cause and effect?
  • Were the studies done on similar athletes/subjects?
  • Who conducted the studies? Was it the company that manufactured the product?
  • Are the results statistically significant?
  • Were the results published in a peer-reviewed journal?
  • Have the findings been repeated?
  • Is the supplement safe and legal?
  • Are there any potential short or long-term side effects?
  • What is the proper dosage and time to use a supplement?
  • Which method (bar, gel, powder or liquid) and product is the most effective for me?
How a supplements effectiveness is rated?

Apparently Effective – supplements that help people meet general caloric needs and/or the majority of research in relevant populations show is effective and safe. For  best results, it is recommended that athletes stick to supplements that have and Apparently Effective rating (1)
Possibly Effective – supplements with initial studies supporting the theoretical rationale but require more research to determine how the supplement may affect training or performance. Those that wish to experiment with Possibly Effective supplements should understand that you may or may not experience the claimed benefits (1)
Too Early To Tell – supplements with sensible theory but lacking sufficient research to support its current use. It is recommended that athletes avoid using these supplements as there is not enough scientific data to back up these products (1)
Apparently Ineffective Supplements - athletes should avoid supplements that lack a sound scientific rationale and/or research has clearly shown to be ineffective (1)
Supplements & Their Effectiveness in Training

Apparently Effective Supplements
Protein – useful (as a supplement) for those that have a rigorous training regiment and have trouble ingesting enough protein. It is recommended that athletes consume 1.4-2.0g of protein per kg of body weight per day (1)
Essential Amino Acids – Ingesting 3-6g before and/or after exercise stimulates protein synthesis (1)
Sodium – increasing salt intake during intense training in the heat has been shown to help maintain fluid balance (1)
Creatine Monohydrate – useful for increasing muscle mass and high intensity training. Although it is the most effective nutritional supplement available to athletes to increase high intensity exercise-capacity and muscle mass during training, Note: squash players should be cautious because using this creatine because it adds bulk (and weight) which can decrease speed and aerobic fitness (1)

Possibly Effective Supplements
Post Exercise Protein and Carbohydrates – theoretically, ingesting protein and carbs immediately following exercise (as opposed to 2 hours later) can enhance training adaptations (1)
β-Hydroxy β-methylbutyric (HMB) – supplementing the diet 1.5-3.0g per day of calcium HMB during training has been typically reported to increase muscle mass and strength among untrained subjects starting training. Additional research is still necessary to determine potential benefits in trained athletes (1)
Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA) – supplementation has been reported to decrease exercise-induced protein degradation and/or muscle enzyme release (which is an indicator of muscle damage)
Sodium Phosphate – research suggests that supplementation (of 4g per day for 3 days) improved the oxygen energy system in endurance tasks (1)
Zinc- studies indicate that supplementation during training minimized exercise-induced changes to the immune system (1)
Note: although some of these supplements could have health benefits, these ratings are based upon their benefits (or lack of) for exercise performance

Supplements and their effectiveness in training continued…

Too Early To Tell (1)
Magnesium – most studies suggest that supplementation does not affect exercise performance unless there is a deficiency
Potassium – although potassium loss during intense exercise in heat has been anecdotally associated with muscle cramping, it is unclear whether potassium supplementation decreases the incidence of muscle cramping
Vitamin E – most studies show no effects on performance at seas level, but at high altitudes, supplementation may improve exercise performance
Vitamin K – there is some evidence that suggests supplementation may affect bone metabolism in postmenopausal women
Beta Carotene – it is unclear whether supplementation affects performance
Apparently Ineffective – although traces of the following vitamins and minerals are essential for the maintenance of health, additional supplementation does not enhance exercise performance for any of the following (1): Calcium, Iron, Selenium, Vanadyl Sulfate, Boron, Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Thiamin, Robofalvin, Niacin, Pyridoxine, Cyano-cobalmin, Folic Acid, Pantothenic Acid and Vitamin C

Timing of a supplement

Before Exercise (1)
The timing and composition of meals consumed play a role in optimizing performance, training adaptations and preventing overtraining. It takes about 4 hours for carbs to be broken down and stored as muscle and liver glycogen therefore it is recommended that pre-exercise meals be eaten 4-6 hours prior to performance. A light carb snack 30-60 minutes before exercise can help to make sure there is enough  carbs available towards the end of the exercise sessions while also increasing the availability of amino acids

During Exercise (3)
It is recommended that during prolonged exercise, athletes consume 30-60g of carbs in a mixture of 6-8% (such as a sports drink)

After Exercise (1)
Following intense exercise, athletes should consume carbs and protein (e.g., 1g/kg of carbs and 0.5g per kg of protein) within 30 minutes after exercise. Athletes should also consume a high carb meal within 2 hours following exercise. This nutritional strategy has been found to accelerate glycogen resynthesis


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