Previously on this blog, we’ve covered nutrition tips for water polo players. Our discussion on diet and nutrition wouldn’t be complete without the mention of nutritional supplements. These supplements often come with enticing claims, but it’s important to bear in mind that, as their name suggests, these should be used in moderation only to supplement a diet and not replace whole foods or meals. In today’s blog, we’ll be covering what nutritional supplements are, why we use them, and how to use them properly.
Health and wellness is a booming industry, which means that someone somewhere in the process is making a profit. As an athlete and the person intending to use the supplement, it’s your job to maintain a degree of healthy skepticism. Some products will boast improved performance or other claims that have no basis in scientific research. Using common sense, you can overlook the marketing hype put out by the manufacturers and find out whether the supplement in question is legal, safe, and effective in addition to learning what its side effects and long term effects are.
Eating a healthy, balanced diet and training hard will be your surefire way to improve your performance and maintain good health. Vegetables, fruit, whole grains, lean meats, low-fat dairy products, nuts, and legumes will provide you with the best combination of important nutrients including carbohydrates, fats, and proteins that you need on a daily basis to train and compete in sports. Water polo is a rigorous sport that burns a lot of calories, and when food is not immediately available, this is where supplements come in hand.
Sports fuels, whether they come in the form of a drink, a gel, or a food bar, can be effective when used as a convenience. Sports drinks often come to mind, and to get the most out of them you need to know how to use them properly. Since your body will burn a lot of carbohydrates, these drinks can help to quickly replace bodily sugars. These drinks work to delay fatigue by topping up blood glucose levels to supply energy to the active muscles. The half-hour after exercise is when the body is most receptive to absorbing necessary carbohydrates.
When using sports fuels and other nutritional supplements, it’s best to use them on practice days so you can safely see how your body responds to them because gastrointestinal problems are a common side effect. Sometimes something like plain water during practice and games and snacks like muesli, bananas, or low-fat yogurt will do as good of a job for less money and a better taste.