• Muscle cramps during exercise
    Blog,  Nutrition,  Sports nutrition

    Muscle cramps during exercise

    Muscle cramps during exercise are relatively common and have been investigated for decades but remain a mystery. Scientists have identified potential risk factors, causes and solutions but evidence is not very solid. Exercise-associated muscle cramps Also known as EAMC, these are cramps that happen during or immediately after exercise (1, 2). Muscle cramps occur in a wide range of athletes participating in a variety of disciplines. These are most commonly reported in endurance-type sports and team sports (1) although this could be due to research bias. EMAC are usually a minor inconvenience but they can vary in intensity and duration, with a very small percentage of the population experiencing severe…

  • Fibre in sports nutrition
    Blog,  Diet,  Nutrition,  Sports nutrition

    Fibre in sports nutrition

    In a previous post, I highlighted the relationship between fibre and health. In general, dietary fibre is good for you. However, the role of fibre in sports nutrition is a little more complex. Fibre in sports nutrition When talking about dietary fibre intake in the context of sports nutrition, we need to think beyond health. It is also important to consider weight and body composition, performance during training and competition, and recovery. As a reminder, the recommended daily intake of dietary fibre is 25 grams per day for most adult women and 30 grams per day for most adult men. Regulation of energy intake Dietary fibre intake increases satiety. Therefore,…

  • How to improve body composition
    Blog,  Diet,  Nutrition,  Sports nutrition,  Supplements

    How to improve body composition

    As seen previously, improving body composition can confer a competitive advantage to some athletes. Hence the interest of athletes and coaches on how to improve body composition. In general, improving body composition means decreasing fat mass and increasing fat-free mass or muscle mass (a.k.a. lean body mass). Besides training protocols and periodisation, there are nutrition approaches that can achieve a favourable change. How to improve body composition Body composition can be improved using a variety of nutrition approaches. Broadly speaking, they can be categorised as dietary manipulation (e.g. tweaking energy intake or macronutrient levels) and supplementation. Note that not all research in this area is done on athletes. Some studies…

  • body composition
    Blog,  Sports nutrition

    Body composition in sport

    Body composition in sport receives much attention from athletes and everyone in their teams, from coaches to dietitians. This is because certain levels of body mass and fat levels are regarded as important for performance and/or aesthetics. What is body composition? Generally speaking, body composition refers to the relative amount of different tissues in the body. Most of the time, the main focus is body fat content. However, it is well known that other tissues such as bone and muscle are also important for athletic performance. For example, muscle is essential for generating power (1). Body composition in sport Body composition is important in those sports known as weight sensitive.…

  • Nitrate and exercise performance
    Blog,  Diet,  Nutrition,  Sports nutrition,  Supplements

    Nitrate and exercise performance

    Nitrate and exercise performance is one of the most studied topics in sports nutrition. Nitrate is one of the handful of ergogenic substances with solid evidence behind them. Keep reading to find out what is nitrate, its roles in the body and how it can benefit your athletic endeavours. What is nitrate Nitrate (NO3−) is an anion, i.e. a molecule with more electrons than protons. Nitrate is naturally found in plant foods such as leafy greens and root vegetables, including lettuce, spinach, rocket, celery and beetroot (1, 2). The role of nitrate in the body Some of the nitrate taken in the diet is converted to nitric oxide (NO) (1,…

  • Bounce keto low carb bars
    Blog,  Food,  Gluten-free,  Product reviews,  Snack,  Sports nutrition,  Vegan,  Vegetarian

    Product review: Bounce keto low carb bars

    Bounce keto low carb bars are a snack alternative for health-conscious active individuals following a keto or low carb diet. Bounce This Australian company started out selling single serve packaged protein balls and now has a wider range of products targeted to active populations. Other product ranges include the aforementioned protein balls (whey and plant-based), brekkie bars and milkshake powders for kids. Bounce keto low carb bars These bars are gluten free, vegan, low in sugar, high in fibre and have some protein (but not a lot). They are also free of artificial flavours, sweeteners and other additives. The fat content comes from nuts and MCT oil (from coconut). Bounce…

  • Can magnesium improve exercise performance
    Blog,  Diet,  Nutrition,  Sports nutrition,  Supplements

    Can magnesium improve exercise performance?

    Last week we talked about magnesium and health. This week we answer the next logical question: Can magnesium improve exercise performance? What is magnesium? As a reminder, magnesium is an essential mineral present mainly in bone and other tissues in the body. Magnesium and exercise As seen in the previous article, magnesium is involved in many functions in the body, including energy metabolism, bone development, muscle contraction and relaxation. Magnesium can bind to adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is the energy currency in the body (1). It can also bind enzymes that act on RNA and DNA (2). In addition, magnesium is involved in the balance of other essential elements in…

  • Milk as a sports supplement
    Blog,  Diet,  Health,  Nutrition,  Sports nutrition

    Milk as a sports supplement

    Milk as a sports supplement? Why not! Milk is a relatively inexpensive source of many nutrients, which include protein, calcium, vitamins and minerals. Milks from different ruminants (e.g. cows, goats, water buffalo) have similar nutrient profiles. However, for the sake of this article we will be talking about cow’s milk as it’s the most available and commonly consumed. Nutrients in milk Milk and other dairy foods contain calcium, protein, B vitamins (including B2 and B12), vitamins A and D, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, zinc and iodine. The table below shows average content for some nutrients of different types of plain cow’s milk (data from 1). A glass of milk has 8…

  • Pre-workout supplements
    Blog,  Nutrition,  Sports nutrition,  Supplements

    Pre-workout supplements

    Pre-workout supplements are among the most heavily-marketed products targeted to recreational and elite athletes. In this article we will discuss if they work and if they are safe. What are pre-workout supplements? Also known as multi-ingredient pre-workout supplements, these are products designed to be taken before exercise to enhance performance. They typically contain several ingredients in various quantities which are sometimes undisclosed and marked as “proprietary blends” (1, 2, 3). Common ingredients Common ingredients in pre-workout supplements include caffeine, creatine and beta-alanine (2, 3), branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), nitrates (2), citrulline, taurine, tyrosine and B vitamins (3). Jagim et al. analysed 100 pre-workout products and found that, in average, they…

  • Should you take BCAAs
    Blog,  Diet,  Nutrition,  Sports nutrition,  Supplements

    Should you take BCAAs?

    Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) is the name given to three of the nine essential amino acids. BCAAs are sold as a sports supplement to increase muscle synthesis and recovery. Today we answer the question: Should you take BCAAs? What are BCAAs? BCAAs or branched-chain amino acids are leucine, isoleucine and valine. They are essential amino acids (EAAs), meaning they cannot be made by our bodies and must be taken from the diet. Unlike other amino acids, BCAAs are not metabolised in the liver (1, 2) but in skeletal muscle (2). They can be oxidised and used as energy (2, 3). BCAA supplements are commonly used in athletic populations. Most supplements…