Comments: 2

Sports nutrition

6 Nov 2013 2:39 PM - How to improve your exercise results


Key nutrients for your best sporting performance


The weather is warmer, the days are longer and at this time of year many of us are participating in additional exercise or perhaps even training for fun runs, triathlons and the like.  You may be working with a trainer or have an exercise plan mapped out but don't overlook the importance of additional appropriate nutrients to support all your hard work and maximise your performance.


The following nutrients are critical to sporting performance and exercise

  • Protein is vital for growth and maintenance of all body tissue (but especially muscle and blood) as well as production of hormones and maintenance of a healthy immune system. Animal and soy protein are the best sources of the 8 essential amino acids including the branched chain amino acids.  These have been shown to improve and maintain lean muscle mass as well as aid recovery from intense exercise.   A whey protein powder may be useful to increase your protein intake.  They are generally well absorbed.

  • Carbohydrates are the body's preferred fuel source.  Choose foods with a low glycaemic index which will provide sustained energy.  These include wholegrains, legumes, vegetables and some fruits.

  • Co-enzyme Q10 is a nutrient found in every plant and animal cell and is essential for the production of energy.  Although you can get it from your diet, endurance athletes may require additional supplementation.

  • Iron is vital for well-oxygenated blood.  People who exercise regularly and intensely may have a greater demand for iron due to increased iron losses.

  • B vitamins are essential for energy production and Folate and vitamin B12  are required for cell repair and replication.

  • Herbal tonics can help with endurance, fatigue, physical stress, pain, tissue healing and adrenal support.

  • Water is vital for hydration.  Drink throughout the day, not just when you are exercising.  Electrolyte drinks (beware the sugar) may be useful if you are sweating a lot.

  • Allow recovery time as this is when your body refuels and repairs in order to avoid loss of muscle.

  • Aerobic exercise increases your usage of oxygen which creates oxidative stress and increases free radicals.  A diet rich in fruit and vegetables and green tea will provide antioxidants to help overcome this but a supplement may also be useful.

  • If you suffer from an injury, supplementation with a good quality fish oil high in EPA can help to reduce the associated inflammation and you might benefit from extra protein and zinc for cellular repair and collagen synthesis.  Vitamin C and bioflavanoids are also required for tissue integrity.

  • Glucosamine supplementation has been shown to help reduce the extent of degradation of collagen in cartilage.

  • Magnesium is essential for regulation of muscle relaxation (opposing calcium which is responsible for muscle contraction).  It is also involved in energy production, regulation of electrolytes and oxygen uptake.  Increased intake is required during times of increased physical activity to reduce cramps and aid muscle recovery.

Are you getting enough of these nutrients to support the specific needs of your body or would you benefit from a naturopathic consultation to tailor a personalised nutritional and herbal support plan to help you achieve your best?

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If you are spending a lot of money on the best equipment and trainers, don't overlook your nutrition.  And if you aren't sure where to start, what supplements to take or how much to take call LaVida Health on 03 9620 9503 for an appointment. We will put together a personalised diet and supplement plan tailored to your needs.


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In good health,



Kaye Wright
Naturopath
Melbourne CBD

Comments: 2

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1 Dec 2013,8:41 PM - Megan
Great article Kaye. Too often we focus too much on the exercise/training and how many calorie/kj's we're burning, and not the nutrients required to make us even healthier.

Thanks for great tips!
2 Dec 2013,4:07 PM - Kaye
Thanks Megan. It's important not to ignore nutrition if you want to optimise your sports performance.