Sports Nutrition Tips

Read these 27 Sports Nutrition Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Exercise tips and hundreds of other topics.

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Why Smoking would be stupid if you want to get in shape

When you do Cardio-Respiratory (or really any kind of) exercise, you breathe. When you inhale, your lungs fill with oxygen. That oxygen then is sent into your blood, re-naming the blood 'oxygenated blood'. That oxygenated blood then travels throughout the body, dropping off oxygen to muscle fibers that need the oxygen. Once the oxygenated blood drops off its oxygen stores, it is then re-named 'de-oxygenated blood'. The de-oxygenated blood then tarvels through the rest of its body course until it gets back to the heart. Hoo-ray!

And now insert Smoking:

When you inhale, your lungs fill with oxygen. Oh wait, you're smoking, so your lungs fill with toxins. That toxic-oxygen then is sent into your blood, re-naming the blood 'oxygenated blood' (full of toxins). That toxi-nated blood then travels throughout the body, dropping off toxins into muscle fibers that need the oxygen...which are instead getting toxic chemicals. Once the toxi-nated blood drops off its toxins and tiny bits of oxygen stores, it is then re-named 'de-oxygenated blood'. The de-oxygenated blood then tarvels through the rest of its body course until it gets back to the heart. It is then again filled with toxins, because of smoking. Boo!

With all that being said, please reconsider smoking. It will destroy your muscles and your body. Smokers are literally sending toxins to the muscles instead of oxygen! If you want to see good results, don't smoke!


Hospital IntraVenous Fluids (IV)

One of my cleints told me that one of the INtraVenous fluids used at the hospital is essentially 'Gatorade without the sugar'. Interesting. Now, if we think carefully about this then many things will become clear as to how drinking sports drinks can aid us during exercise.

When i've been to the hospital before and gotten an IV, I feel better. It calmes us down, relaxing our bodies and giving our bodies the fluids they really need. We are able to function even though we are ill or in pain. Remember what happens when the IV gets taken out? Yeah, not fun. Sometimes we get dizzy, feel more sick por disoriented, whatever. That is what an IV does for us when we're ill, so I wonder about during exercise...

While playing sports or exercising our bodies hit a point when they cannot go anymore, and we may begin to feel light-headed or dizzy/sick. This happens even when we drink water, because we regardless have hit a point to where our bodies have said "No More!", and if we don't stop we might pass out or be sick. When we drink sports drinks, we are actually able to function much better and exercise for longer because our bodies are getting the proper nutrients. We have the correct fuel to keep the engine running. Just as we feel sick in the hospital and we get an IV and feel better, sports drinks help us to avoid that feeling and push ourselves farther than normal. If you want to have a real intense workout or know that you are going to need to perform real well for a big game, definitely utilize a sports beverage such as Gatorade.


Post-Workout Consumption

It seems to me that there are 2 kinds of people when it comes to eating after a workout: The 'Non-Eaters' and the 'Immediate Eaters'. The 'Non-Eaters' will not really eat anything after a workout, but instead later in the day will treat themselves (to sweets/alcohol/chips/etc.) because they feel they deserve it since they exercised. The 'Immediate Eaters' finish their workout and simultaneously consume a protein bar and a post-workout shake within 5-10 minutes after their workout. On the right track, but let's analyze how that can have more of a positive effect on your workouts.

For the first thirty minutes after a workout your body is still ready to exercise; your muscles have been innervated, they are ready to fire (workout) when you say so, and are not ready to begin repairing yet. After thirty minutes, your muscles relax and begin to repair themselves. This is when one would want to consume protein, because protein aids in the muscle rebuilding process. So, if you consume your post-workout protein beverage 30 min to 1 hour after your workout, you will be helping your muscles rebuild during their primetime rebuilding process and maximizing the benefits of the protein you're taking.

After 2-3 hours, you should consume a regular meal (with protein in it) to continue aiding in the muscle rebuilding process. Do not 'treat' yourself to sweets or alcohol or whatever, for your muscles will still be crying out for protein and you will be feeding them sugar or alcohol or heavy carbohydrates...they want protein. Remember 'You Are What You Eat'? That is especially true on the days you exercise. If you can eat properly after a workout and stay away from 'treats', your results will come faster than you expect.


When taking Ibuprofen

Be careful! Ibuprofen of any kind can be harmful to the lining of your stomach, especially those who are at danger of getting or already have an ulcer. Regardless, anytime you plan to take ibuprofen, make sure you eat a large meal before taking it. This will decrease the likelihood of upsetting your stomach and the chance that the ibuprofen could damage your stomach lining. Please utilize this advice next time you take Ibuprofen!



Ever worked out and decided not to drink any water? Go try it: you'll feel less energetic, get lots of cramps in your abdomen, have no energy, and want to go in the corner and curl into the fetal position. Sound like fun? No. Let's talk about why it is a glorious and spectacular idea to hydrate yourself (and by hydrate, I mean the utilization of water, or such things as Gatorade).

Our bodies are made of 65%-70% water. As we go about our days, notice how sometimes you have to go to the restroom? Well, ya do, and you're losing water. You also lose water when you sweat, or when you spit, or when you blow your nose or you sneeze. Therefore our bodies need water during the day so that we can fuction properly. We should be drinking at least 1/2 our weight in ounces of water a day.

In regards to sports and/or exercise, when we sweat we absolutely lose water. We need to replenish those liquids otherwise our bodies won't be able to continue exerising - and you'll probably vomit or pass out. Not such a good thing...

Your muscles also go through more hypertrophy (muscle cell expansion) because of lots of water! That means the more water you drink, the bigger your muscles can get. That is another topic entirely, but do know that if your goal is large muscles, drink tons of water during your workout.

How much water should I drink after a hard workout?


Yes, in general sports nutrition being lighter is actually a bad thing. Weigh yourself before and after a vigorous workout. If you're one pound lighter afterward, you've sweated away about 16 oz. and should replace it by drinking 16 oz. (1 pint) of water.

When should I drink sports drinks instead of water?

Sports Drinks - the healthy way

Gatorade is thirst-aid! Many people prefer sports drinks to water because they taste better and it's easier to drink them more often in a sports nutrition diet.

If the sports drink contains a small amount of carbohydrate, sodium, and potassium, the drink will effectively hydrate the person. The following facts are important to consider when using a sports drink for sports nutrition:

- Sports drinks should contain between 14 and 19 grams of
carbohydrate per eight-ounce serving (six to eight percent). A drink with more than ten percent carbohydrate may cause slow absorption, nausea, cramps, or diarrhea. A drink with five percent or less sugar solution may not provide enough additional sports nutrition energy to increase exercise length.
- Carbonation causes stomach bloating. Dilute carbonated drinks to half-strength.
- The correct sodium level for sports nutrition supplement drinks is 100-110 milligrams per eight ounces. Sodium content in sports drinks can range from eight to 116 milligrams.
- Fruit juices have 10-15 percent carbohydrate and need to be diluted. Mix one part juice to seven parts water.
- You do not sweat out vitamins; there's no need to buy sports nutrition drinks that include vitamins.
- Water is adequate for exercise under one hour. However, if the exercise is intense or lasts more than an hour, a sports drink will be beneficial.
- If you're participating in a sports event lasting four hours or more, you need a sports nutrition drink that contains from 110 to 120 milligrams of sodium.

Do I have to worry about drinking water when training for strength?

Dehydration Impairs Strength

It's the advice you get when you're sick, but it's valid when you're working out. Make sure your sports nutrition diet includes plenty of fluids. Dehydration hinders aerobic performance, and a new study indicates it can also impair maximal strength.

How can I prevent muscle cramps?

Sodium for Muscle Cramps

Get salty! If you're doing heavy exercise in hot weather, you may find muscle cramps become a problem. Often, this can be solved by adding a little salt to your sports nutrition diet, especially if you ordinarily avoid salt. Your body can lose up to 2,000mg of sodium in hot and severe conditions! Sports nutrition drinks and a sports nutrition supplement with sodium work too. If the cramps persist, check with a doctor to rule out serious conditions.

Do I need fat in my diet?

Dietary Fat

Don't fight the fat when it comes to sports nutrition. Between 20% and 30% of your caloric intake in your sports nutrition diet should be fat to aid metabolic processes as well as for energy. Favor monounsaturated fats, which do not have the negative cardiovascular effects attributed to saturated fats.



Yes indeed, not a bad idea at all. Caffeine before a workout can give you a nice boost for your workout. The caffeine gets your brain working faster and your heart pumping quicker, giving your body the ability to do more faster. You may have more energy than usual. Don't have a large amount of caffeine, as well as not utilizing this everyday for your body may get used to the stimulus. This trick should be used seldom, when one desires to have a real good workout with a tasty beverage alongside.

Can I drink fruit juice instead of water while exercising?

Fruit Juice

Grab that OJ for sports nutrition! Fruit juices are not easily absorbed during activity, but are good to drink as part of your sports nutrition diet after a hard workout, to both help with rehydration and replenish glycogen.

How much protein should I eat?

How Much Protein?

To be a pro, eat a high-protein sports nutrition diet! The RDA for protein is .8 gram per kilogram of body weight (.36 g per pound). This is for sedentary people. Active people require more protein in their sports nutrition regimen.

Endurance athletes need 1.2-1.4 g/kg (.55-.64/lb). Strength athletes need 1.4-1.8 g/kg (.64-.81/lb). You can safely eat 2 g/kg (1 g/lb), but more than that is unlikely to be absorbed and utilized, though this varies with the individual.

Does glucosamine help sore joints?


Starting to feel like your 80-year-old aunt, except she can run a 5K? If you have sore joints from the effects of repeated sports injuries, you may have the beginnings of osteoarthritis. Consider taking the sports nutrition supplement glucosamine, which may help repair damaged cartilage, especially over the long term. Also effective for connective tissue rejuvenation are the sports nutrition diet supplements chondroitin sulfate, chicken collagen, and MSM.

What is carnitine and should I take it?


Carnitine as a sports nutrition supplement aids fat metabolism, which is important to endurance athletes and others who work out long and hard. However, it is classed as a nonessential amino acid, which means the body manufactures it from other amino acids. There is a theory that the body does not manufacture enough for strenuous exercise and a carnitine sports nutrition supplement can help.

Studies on supplemental carnitine for increasing performance are inconclusive, but there is no sound evidence that including it in a sports nutrition diet can help athletic performance, and it has little value for weight loss.

If you want to try it anyway, make sure it's L-carnitine. D-carnitine can be dangerous. Follow instructions on the label.


Don't Skip Meals

People sometimes think that a good way to lose weight is to just skip meals. They believe that less calories consumed is automatically better. Well the thinking of 'less calories' is on the right track, but the skipping meals is mightily not. When meals are skipped the body begins to go into starvation mode, meaning that yes fat is taken and burned to give you energy, but the stomach also begins to slow down its digetsion process the longer you wait to eat between meals. The stomach then is not able to metabolize food (and gather nutrients from that food) as rapidly, meaning that the next time you eat your body will not metabolize the food as well as before (aka - burn as many calories). Do this once in a while, no problem. If you do this for days or quite often, your stomach funcion will begin to start dysfunctioning and you may gain some abdominal pains.

For best results for great metabolism and function of your stomach, eat small snacks/meals throughout the day often. Don't skip meals unless you have to.

What is water intoxication?

Too Much Water

Don't buy up the water supply at Costco till you read this. Hyponatremia, or water intoxication, is not common, but it can kill you. It is chiefly a problem with ultradistance runners, who may drink too much water without sufficient sodium, which can cause excess fluid to build up in the brain and lungs. Of course, too little water is a much more common sports nutrition deficiency and you should drink plenty during exercise.

As with any diet, balance is the key to a sports nutrition diet. For strenuous exercise up to an hour, just water is all right. For exercise of 1-4 hours, you should use sports nutrition drinks with electrolytes, but over 4 hours you may need to add more salt than found in most sports drinks.

Don't neglect solid foods in your sports nutrition diet. Try eating some pretzels in the last half of a long race.

How can I add protein without buying expensive powder?

Inexpensive Protein

Your sports nutrition diet doesn't have to break the bank. If you want to add extra protein to your sports nutrition diet, an inexpensive source is nonfat dry milk powder, which you can add to your sports nutrition shakes, smoothies, or other food. Of course, a good quality commercial protein powder is the best choice if you want really good control over your dietary choices.

Are patented supplements the best ones for me to take?

Patented Supplements

Don't judge a sports nutrition supplement by its patent. Patents are issued to protect products and processes in the marketplace and do not endorse a sports nutrition product's effectiveness. Natural sports nutrition diet products cannot be patented. If a sports nutrition supplement or other product is patented, that is no guarantee it will work for you.

Can I take herbs without worrying about side effects?

Herbal Supplements

Don't trust your hippie neighbor who says he's got a natural jump shot performance booster, man. Herbs have many uses, but their active ingredients are natural drugs.

Before you take a herbal sports nutrition supplement to improve your sports performance, control weight, improve health, or anything else, check with your doctor or pharmacist to make sure the herb won't conflict with something else you are taking or that it doesn't have any risks you're not aware of. Start with a small amount in your sports nutrition diet, in case you have a negative reaction. Take one preparation at a time so you will know what does or does not work. Most sports nutrition herbs are fairly innocuous, but the smart play is to use caution.

How important is it to drink water when I´m not working out?

Everyday Hydration

A sports nutrition diet doesn't stop at the gym. For proper sports nutrition, you have to stay hydrated all the time, not just when you're working out. Put a water bottle on your desk and sip it all day long. Staying well hydrated will also help you reach your goals if you're on a program such as the P90x weight loss program.

Can I be confident my supplements are pure?

Supplement Purity

Don't believe what you read, believe what you eat. With the increasing popularity of dietary supplements for health and athletic performance, new sports nutrition supplement manufacturers and suppliers start up constantly. These sports nutrition diet supplements are not regulated and often do not contain the amount of product listed on the labels. Purity can be an added concern. Buy from established sports nutrition companies, and don't just go for the cheapest--it's not always the best.

When should I take creatine?

Creatine Usage

Another for the list of don'ts if you're a teenager. Don't take a creatine sports nutrition supplement if you are under 16, since you body has plenty of creatine at this stage anyway. If you are a competitive athlete between 16 and 18, take it only under a doctor's supervision and prescribed sports nutrition diet.

If you are a healthy adult (free of liver, kidney, or metabolic problems) who has reached a plateau in training, and your doctor approves, and you want to try creatine monohydrate, do not exceed recommended sports nutrition dosages. Expect weight gain, and be careful of overtraining injuries if you suddenly feel stronger. Taking more creatine supplements than recommended will not help and may hurt.

Also, always drink a lot of water when you're taking creatine. Take it with a carbohydrate source, like grape juice, or in a balanced pH mix, which is much better. In your sports nutrition diet, cycle off creatine during off season or periods of lighter training.

What should I eat before a marathon?

Pre-Marathon Meals

In an ideal sports nutrition diet, with or without a sports nutrition supplement, you should eat 2 grams of carbohydrate for every kilogram of body weight (divide your weight in pounds by 2.2) 2 hours before a marathon. Experiment with pre-run sports nutrition and your long training runs to see what works for you.

Can I eat energy gels while working out?

Energy Gels

Are you gellin'? If you like energy gels as a source of sports nutrition, drink a lot of water with them as they are concentrated sports nutrition carbohydrate sources. These are for use during sports nutrition diet consumption only and have no real benefit in a normal diet.

Should I take supplemental minerals?

Mineral Supplements

A mineral sports nutrition supplement may be helpful, especially if you don't eat a lot and aren't in serious training with an intense sports nutrition diet. But don't supplement over the RDA. Too much can be toxic. A good multi-vitamin/mineral supplement if probably the best choice for most people.

Is a vegetarian diet acceptable for athletes?

Vegetarian Diets

Should you eat all rabbit food? A well-balanced vegetarian sports nutrition diet will neither help nor hinder sports performance. While the meat vs. veggie sports nutrion debate rages, there are still many elite athletes who are vegetarian.

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Nicholas Frank