Getting Things Straight
Food supplements are special products that we can use whenever there is alimentary lack or extra food needs in our diet. They can also be used for food completion or amplification with vital nutrients received from our daily diet. Food supplements act only as extra nutrients added to our typical diet, and they cannot replace nor have other healing or magical properties. With an improper diet regimen, it is guaranteed you will come across the consequences of lacking macro (proteins, carbohydrates, fat) and/or micro (minerals, vitamins, trace) nutrients. So the question is how can supplemental products help a spearo or a free diver?
Systematically trained athletes have a much higher need for additional nutrients. Athletes in training are subjected to intense daily practice following a special diet plan. Often stressed, it’s key that the healing process is accelerated so a lot of training can be achieved, and with greater intensity. Some people use approved drugs, or even forbidden ones, that require even greater amounts of nutrition from vitamins and minerals. It is extremely clear and essential that hard training athletes need something more than the recommended daily amount for the average person.
Common Food Supplements and Usage
The most popular food supplements used from time to time by athletes, free divers, and spearos alike is protein, whether in powder or other various forms.
Protein is a structural element of all body cells and participates actively in enzymes, hemoglobin, and hormone synthesis.
Who would be helped by Protein Supplements?
People with an increased need for protein that can’t be achieved with a normal diet are the best candidates. Increased needs can apply to people training in aerobic and anaerobic exercise, using anabolic or hormone drugs, teenagers that exercise hard, anyone that is overtraining or following a weight loss diet. In all these cases, a protein supplement would insure that the needed amount is provided without extra calories or saturated fat.
What to check when choosing a protein supplement:
Five Basic Factors
1. Origin of protein: whey protein, egg, or milk considered the best
2. The persistence of protein at 100gr of product (PER)
3. The persistence of net protein utilization (NPU)
4. The biological value on retained nitrogen
5. The chemical score of protein
Another critical factor is the extra nutrients that may be included. Protein supplements with super doses of vitamins or minerals might look promising, but could possibly have effects on other organ functions.
How much protein do we need on a daily basis?
Athletes in stamina sports, like spearfishing, have to take 1.5 to 1.8 grams per body mass/kg per day. Athletes of high intensity sports need even larger amounts because (2-2.2g) for the high destruction and resurrection of muscle tissue. Take caution, because increased doses may become toxic for the body and can cause damage to the liver and kidneys.
When is the best time to take protein?
Up to 20-30 minutes after the end of diving or at the end of practice, or between two meals. In any case, the overall intake of protein each time, must be 25-30g. Also calculate the amount of existing protein in the liquid that we use with the protein powder (for example one glass of milk contains 9g of protein).
What kind of protein is best when there is a set goal?
Most of the powder protein supplements with 80% protein are more easily adaptable than some with 90%. Proteins with even lower percentage (50-70%) are considered ideal for muscle development and recovery because of the high degree of carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals but can increase body fat if a very strict diet is not followed.
Are all proteins supplements ingested the same way?
Whey isolated type powders have better assimilation rate and so it’s recommended to use them immediately after the end of a practice session. Egg or Casein proteins have slow assimilation and we can take them between meals or before night sleep.
Creatine isn’t a stimulant drug; it’s not doping, and under certain circumstances can increase performance. Creatine supplements are available in various different types: pure powders, with carbohydrates, caramels, effervescent tablets, beverages, injections, and pills. The most common is water soluble monohydrate creatine. Lots of research shows that the use of creatine supplements can help in various ways:
1. Increases the levels of phosphocreatines before exercise
2. Accelerates the recovery rates after exercise and the reassembly of phosphocreatine in the muscles, which means smaller surface time and decrease in your chance of a black out
3. It’s an active nutrition aid for everyone that’s trained in anaerobic exercise, like hypoxic apnea training
4. Can also help aerobic athletes while training in special interval high impact training
Correct Usage and Adverse Side Effects
For best results, start with an overloading creatine cycle, especially monohydrate of 5 to 7 days with 20-30g per day. Next is the phase of conservation that lasts 15-20 days. During that period, use 5-10g per day combined with 60-70 carbohydrates using mainly dextrose for better immolation. Stop usage for 1-2 months.
As noted previously, the usage of creatine is not doping so it is not prohibited. According to the latest research, creatine can improve performance and endurance. But if we overuse it by taking amounts beyond recommended limitations, it can become a source of several problems.
1. Reducing the ability to heal and recover - the main reason intermittent usage is recommended
2. The increase of body’s creatine at toxic levels can create serious kidney damage
3. Decrease in stamina
4. There several scientific claims that combine the overuse of creatine with serious heart problems, faster tumor growth, muscle failure, and many other health issues.
Carnitine is a natural element in cells that has a major role in everything associated with the usage of substrate of lipids. Carnitine is the element responsible for fat redeployment in cells, starting in the transportation of fat cells to mitochondria, the in-cell energy producers. So that energy creation aspect of carnitine makes it extremely important for spearos and freedivers. Athletes in endurance sports use carnitine to protect their glycogen inventories so they will not run out during a training session or competition. Carnitine usage combined with proper training and diet can help athletes decrease their body fat while retaining their glycogen levels without any effect in performance. Additionally, it seems that carnitine usage minimizes the amino acid expulsion, reducing the catabolism of amino acids due to hard training. This way helps the optimum performance of immune system, as well.
Liquid L carnitine is considered the best way to ingest. D and DL are not considered as digestible.
Carnitine usage has to be used with breaks. In other words, one month’s use has to be followed by a month period of nonuse. In different cases, continuous use will soon become ineffective as well as harmful. Side effects may appear. According to the majority of researchers, the highest dose per day is set to 1000mg or 1g of L type. This amount has to be separated in two equal doses. We have to use it several hours before diving or practice giving enough time to our body to absorb the essence.
To be continued...