On our market there are plenty of diet supplements and products for particular nutrition uses for sports people and active people, as well as all of those who want to nourish their bodies properly or improve their body composition. Unfortunately, the producers of such types of products often present the advantages of their products in a way to interest the widest group of potential buyers. Basing on the content of marketing descriptions may lead to a situation when the used products don't go along the present sports priorities and the needs of the body of a particular competitor. In practice, the key to efficient use of the supplements' potential is the individual approach to the choice of products, as well as to the plan of dosing.
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What is individual approach?
I suppose, every person is able to give the definition of individual approach, at least in a form of statement: “I know what you mean”. But if one had to give the real definition of this phrase and refer it to the matter of supporting sports results, there may occur some problems. The expression of “individual approach” in the context of the choice of supplements is based on the direct and strict match of products to the needs and aims of a particular person. Individual approach in supplementation in practice may be various and it's hard to state objectively how far it should interfere the person's nutrition to be optimal. It's also hard to list all the elements it should contain. For sure, it's important to adjust the supplementation when it comes to the following components:
aim – it should be precise in general and in individual aspects, which concern particular stages of preparing the competitor. For example, during developing strength and resistance endurance, you can use other products than during the time of competitions or pre-competition preparation, when the aim is to e.g. “gain mass”,
the daily intake of macro and micro nutrients. In some cases it's hard to supply all the necessary components in optimal amount with conventional food products. Thanks to the supplements, you can remove these shortages, but you have to know which elements you're lacking in diet,
health condition – nowadays there aren't many “fully healthy” people. Thanks to proper supplementation procedures you can, e.g. support the treatment of some diseases and ailments. Only a medical doctor should recognize the diseases on the basis of the results of blood and urine tests, but a qualified dietitian and well-prepared trainer should also have an insight in the health condition of a competitor based on those tests. These specialists don't have enough knowledge or qualifications to form the recommendations in the matter of the choice of pharmaceuticals, but they may suggest the choice of non-pharmacological products,
financial possibilities – not every competitor has funds, which let him buy all the products, which could help him develop the sports form. You have to remember about that and consider the choice of products in the context of higher and lower priorities.
Verifying the influence of dietary supplements
Unfortunately, the problem of many dietary supplements and products for particular dietary use for sports people and active people is that majority of the properties assigned to them is poorely justified in scientific studies. It's even possible to state that there aren't many products, which definitely work, and in this group there are:
sports food (protein, carbohydrate, protein-carb nutrition, energy gel, beverages and bars for sports people, meal replacements),
“medical” supplements (vitamin and mineral products, especially: vitamin D, iron, calcium and probiotics),
ergogenics (creatine, caffeine, bicarbonate, beta-alanine, beetroot juice).
In case of the remaining supplements and “nutritions”, their potetnial activity is questionable. However, there is still some group of substances, which may be potentially useful, and there are also those, which may not be useful from the sports shape development point of view, but have some pro-health advantages. If you want to verify if a particular product really acts according to the description, you should check the website: examine.com, where you can find a summary of the results of studies for large amount of components found in dietary supplements and products for particular nutrition uses.
Individual approach in practice
If you want to make the perfectly individual choice of products, you should resign from the “routine” approach. For example, if the aim is to increase muscle mass, it does not mean that you should add the carbohydrate-protein nutrition at the beginning only because it's classified as a product “for mass gain”. Products of such kind are just calories in a form of powder, and it makes sense to include them in diet when the factor limiting the increase of muscle mass is lack of energy excess in diet. If such excess already exists and provides some progress in development, adding extra 500 kcal from nutrition will cause the increase of fatty tissue. Individual approach should be preceded with “the case study” - the more detailed – the better plan of supplementation.
The choice of products and setting their doses should be preceded with an interview, which may include (among others):
precising the aim and expectations,
analysis of nutrition from the possible insufficiency point of view,
assessment of health condition on the basis of Q&A concerning the potential diseases, optionally – the analysis of the blood and urine tests results,
assessment of financial abilities – setting the range of money or choosing the supplements with the order of priorities – it's good to highlight the key products, helpful products and optional addition.
The matter of individual approach to supplements and products for particular nutrition uses may have significant influence on the development of sports form. Therefore, it's good to pay proper attention to this matter in order to adjust the means to the aim of a particular person and the requirements of a particular body. Routine recommendations inspired by the marketing descriptions don't always cause the expetced results.