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Sport Nutrition

Sport Nutrition

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Sports nutrition can be a complicated topic for athletes seeking a balanced way to eat healthy, satisfying meals that also help achieve peak performance. To simplify the role of nutrition and hydration for sports performance, (also see: Simple Sports Nutrition Tips) it’s helpful to break it into its components.

All the energy we need for life -- as well as for exercise -- comes from the food we eat and the fluids we drink.

These nutrients are broken down into three classes:

1. Carbohydrates 

2. Fats 

3. Proteins 

Each category of food is important for health, and we should eat from each group, but the ratios of food we consume is often the topic of debate.

Eating for Exercise

• Energy for Exercise - Fat or Carbs?

Whether your body uses fat or carbohydrate as the main source of fuel depends upon your exercise intensity and duration. 

• Carbohydrates - An Athlete's Main Fuel Source

Carbohydrate is arguably the most important source of energy for athletes because it provides the energy that fuels muscle contractions. 

• Protein Needs for Athletes

Athletes need protein primarily to repair and rebuild muscle that is broken down during exercise. Protein also helps optimize carbohydrate storage in form of glycogen.

• Are High-Protein Diets Good for Athletes? 

Learn how much protein athletes really need for strength and endurance exercise, and why carbs aren't all bad. 

• Nutrition and Athletic Performance

The position statement from the Dietitians of Canada, the American Dietetic Association, and the American College of Sports Medicine. 

Eating and Drinking for Endurance

• Carbohydrates - An Athlete's Main Fuel Source

Learn how carbohydrate provides the energy that fuels muscle contractions. 

• How Fat Provides Energy for Exercise

While less accessible for quick, intense exercise, fat provides the main fuel source for endurance sports. 

• Water vs. Sports Drinks for Exercise

The longer and more intensely you exercise, the more important it is to drink the right kind of fluids. 

• High-Protein Diets Cause Dehydration, Even in Trained Athletes

Research showed that high-protein diets silently caused dehydration in endurance athletes.

Eating for Strength

• Eating for Strength Training and Muscle Building 

Do power athletes really need special diets to build muscle and if so, how much more? 

• Carbohydrates - An Athlete's Main Fuel Source

Carbohydrates are the most important source of energy for all athletes, including those who need strength and power. 

• Protein Needs for Athletes

Power athletes need slightly more protein than other athletes primarily to repair and rebuild muscle, but how much more they need is often overstated. 

Eating for Competition

The Pre-Exercise Meal: Eating Before Competing

Tips for finding a food plan that works for you before athletic events or training. 

The Post-Exercise Meal: Eating for Recovery

While pre-exercise meals can ensure that adequate glycogen stores are available for optimal performance, the post-exercise meal is critical to recovery and improves your ability to train consistently. 

Hydration and Sports Performance

 Water vs. Sports Drinks for Athletes

The longer and more intensely you exercise, the more important it is to drink the right kind of fluids. 

Water Intoxication (Hyponatremia)

Hyponatremia is becoming common as participation increases. As a result, more novice participants are entering endurance events. 

Special Topics in Sports Nutrition

Eating Disorders in Athletes

Athletes are often at higher risk of developing eating disorder such as:

1. Anorexia Nervosa 

2. Bulimia 

3. Compulsive Exercise 

• Vegetarian Athletes Nutrition Tips

Vegetarians must be more careful so to avoid deficiencies of B12, zinc and iron. These deficiencies can affect training performance strength as well as entire exercise. 

• Winter Athletes Nutrition

Below are the tips and recommendations for the Cold weather exercise as well as the winter sports feeding mode. 

• Sodium Chloride (Salt) is highly needed for the Athletes 

To prevent the risk of hyponatremia (low blood sodium concentration), it is crucial for athletes to get enough sodium before exercise, during exercise and even afterward. 

• B-Vitamins and Athletic Performance

For the body to function properly, Vitamins are crucial nutrients. However, there may be a link between the B-vitamins (B-12, B-6, riboflavin, thiamine, and folate) and high level performance athletes. 

Athletes and Iron Deficiency

Iron is an essential nutrient for an athlete. However, studies have normally shown that athletes, especially the female athletes are mostly anemic (iron deficient). 

The Relationship between Sports Supplements and Athletic Performance 

Generally, athletes go for nutritional supplements so as to perform at their level best. 

What are these nutritional supplements and how to do work? 

1. Protein 

Protein is a must nutrient for everyone to function properly. Both athletes and sedentary individuals need to get adequate protein. 

2. Glucosamine 

It's used to treat osteoarthritis and helps in stimulating cartilage. 

3. Ribose 

There is clear prove that an athletic performance benefit of ribose supplements. 

4. Caffeine

This supplement has been used by endurance athletes for many years as a way to stay alert and improve endurance.

5. Ephedrine

Research hasn’t found any improvement in endurance, strength, reaction time, recovery time or anaerobic capacity with ephedrine supplements.

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