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Sports Medicine / Fitness

Choosing the Right Sports Nutrition for Exercise

By David Norris | Updated: Thursday, 03 June 2021 13:58 UTC
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Choosing the Right Sports Nutrition for Exercise
Choosing the Right Sports Nutrition for Exercise

It can be difficult settling on the right nutrition for anyone, let alone athletes. This is especially true when it comes to supplements, which will be our main topic today.

If you’ve spent any amount of time on the internet, you will have noticed that the supplement industry is choke-full of clever marketing tactics and influencers looking to sell you different supplements. It can be hard to separate fact from fiction in such an environment.

Nutrition supplements are, of course, very good for your health, and they can boost your performance during exercise. That said, you need to be careful that they’re not costing you more than they are benefiting you.

This article will look at some key considerations you should make when looking for supplements to boost your sports and exercise performance.

What is a supplement?

In this case, we’ll have to go with the FDA’s definition: Basically, according to the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act, or DSHEA, a dietary supplement is any product consumed orally that contains a dietary ingredient to supplement your diet. It can be minerals, vitamins amino acids, herbs, metabolites, glandular, or organ tissues.

Are dietary supplements regulated?

The short answer is no. The FDA doesn’t test any dietary supplement or take it through an approval process before it hits the market. This is why you have to be very picky about which manufacturers you get your dietary supplements from, as some of them are very unscrupulous. In case you want to know more about the law surrounding supplements, especially for assignment writing in school, you can check out this resource.

This is also why you should do your research and know what to consider before buying a supplement.

How to choose nutrition supplements for athletes

The case is even more serious for athletes. They have to be super careful about the supplements they buy so they don’t get ones with banned products in them. The good news is that third-party testers offer certifications to give athletes peace of mind, such as Informed-Sport and NSF Certified for Sport.

What to look for when choosing sports nutrition supplements

With the basics covered, here are some useful things to consider the next time you’re out shopping for sports supplements.

Use your eating habits, rather than ads and influencers, to make decisions

Ads are surprisingly convincing, and they get more so every day. Ditto for influencers. But don’t forget that, ultimately, these people are just looking to sell their products and don’t know, or particularly care, what’s best for you.

Another problem is that a lot of athletes see supplements as a quick way to ensure they have a balanced diet. That’s not how you’re supposed to do it. You should still make sure to eat a balanced diet, as this will cover up to 90% of your diet requirements. With that said, supplements should be for those things that you are sure are lacking in your diet.

There are many different kinds of supplements

There are all sorts of supplements on the market, including usual suspects like minerals and vitamins and unusual ones like herbal supplements and ergogenic aids. They also come in all forms, including gummies, bars, liquids, capsules, tablets, and powders, to name a few. This is something you should consider when buying supplements. Are you looking for supplements to ensure a balanced diet or ergogenic aids to boost your performance? Also, what form is best for you?

Read the label

The label says a lot, and you should get used to reading labels on your supplements. The first thing you should look for is whether it says Nutrition Facts or Supplement Facts. There are differences between the two, from what is listed to what servings are required.

Take serving size for example. You need to find out how much a serving should be in pills, scoops, etc, as well as what percentage of your daily recommended value that serving covers. Don’t buy supplements whose servings exceed your daily recommended dose.

You should also check if the product includes a proprietary blend. Most supplements with these do not disclose the amounts of the ingredients used in the proprietary blend. This can make it difficult to determine how much of the supplement to take.

Prefer supplements with third-party testing certificates

Since supplements are not regulated, the best way to tell if you can trust a product is to get one that has been tested and certified by a third party. When it comes to supplements for athletes, the gold standard is NSF Certified for Sport. Informed-Sport is also a good option. Check for NSF certification on the product to be sure. That way, you don’t increase your risk of being disqualified for inadvertently consuming an unknown substance.

Consider any prescriptions you might have

Another consideration you need to make is whether you have any prescription drugs and how those supplements might interact with them. In this case, it’s best to consult with your doctor.


And with that, we come to the end of the article. If you follow the tips above, you should be able to buy the right supplements for your needs and your budget. Ultimately, however, don’t forget that what matters is that you eat a balanced diet and do plenty of exercises. That’s the foundation on which everything is built.

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