The human body requires a certain amount of fuel to carry out day to day activities and what we eat provides the fuel needed to power our bodies. This is not only for the activities we perform or the exercise we do, what is happening on a cellular level within our bodies. Often times our diets are not enough to keep up with the nutritional demands of our bodies. In these cases, individuals may benefit from nutritional supplementation.
What are supplements and what is nutritional supplementation?
Nutritional supplements are products that are added to a regular diet in order to meet an individual’s dietary requirements. These requirements are based on age, gender, level of physical activity, etc. And because these factors are different for each person, supplementation can be implemented in a variety of different ways in order to provide the necessary macronutrients (carbohydratess, proteins, and fats), fiber, vitamins, minerals, etc.
A lot of these supplements are found in pill and powder form. Multivitamis, fish oil pills, soluble fiber mixes (i.e. Benefiber). A multitude of other micronutrients-filled pills/powders are also available to supplement any dietary deficiencies. These supplements, although very important, work on smaller scale in order to improve bodily functions such as joint health, heart health, digestion, skin/hair care, vision, among other things.
Throughout a normal day our bodies rely on carbohydrates, fats, and proteins as our energy and rebuilding sources. Adding exercise further depletes these macronutrients, so it is important to try replace what we have used with the meals we eat. For those who do not receive enough from their regular nutrition, energy bars, protein bars, or protein powders are good forms of macronutrient supplementation. This ensures your body has enough of the macronutrients needed to both perform it’s regular functions and build/repair tissue post-exercise.
With regards to exercise:
- Energy bars, before or after exercise, provide a great source of carbohydrates to either fuel a workout or replace what is lost after one.
- Protein bar/ powders are usually taken after a workout in order to aid in muscle building and recovery.
- *When trying to lose weight,* it is important to maintain protein intake while decreasing total caloric intake. Supplementing with shakes and bars is one way to get the necessary amount of protein without also increasing fat/carbohydrate intake.
By David McCalla