Athletes everywhere know great nutrition is vital for great performance.

Many professional athletes have turned to superfoods, and articles about Maca, Spirulina and Hemp Protein among others are regularly found in sports magazines. We asked a number of the many athletes we supply about important aspects of their sports nutrition – and how this can help the rest of us get better results from our workouts.

Nutrient-rich proteins

High protein diets and shakes are seen by most athletes as essential for muscle growth and for recovery during and after exercise – but not all proteins are the same. Veg-based proteins like Spirulina and Hemp are digested and absorbed faster than animal proteins (like whey). And they also contain a massive array of nutrients depleted in the body during exercise. That’s why athletes are now turning to superfood proteins to supercharge their performance

The basics

When you exercise your muscles use protein from your diet to recover. To increase strength, speed and endurance, athletes have to exercise intensely enough to damage their muscles. Then when their muscles heal, they are stronger than before the muscles were damaged. Training for sports is requires a workout intense enough to cause the muscles to feel a burn during the workout, feeling sore the next day – then exercising at a relaxed pace for as many days as it takes for muscles to feel fresh again. It’s widely accepted that taking protein during and after intense workouts helps an athlete recover faster. Taking protein before a workout does not increase recovery rate or improve athletic performance.

Supercharged performance

To get protein into their bodies quickly during and after workouts, athletes have switched to vegetable-based superfood proteins. For example spirulina is the most digestible protein food. Naturya’s spirulina contains 65g of protein in every 100g which will keep your protein levels topped up, but it also has many fringe benefits such as a high Vit B12, calcium, magnesium and iron content. It wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t mention hemp protein powder. Often overlooked, it isn’t just about the protein. It’s loaded with Omega 3, fiber, calcium and pumped full of iron and magnesium.

Natural rather than synthetic Iron

Keeping your iron levels balanced is essential to your performance in the gym. Your body needs iron to make hemoglobin-rich red blood cells, which carry oxygen from your lungs to your muscles. If you don’t top up your iron levels, then exercise hard you will burn through your iron reserves and feel fatigued and tired. Keeping your iron levels balanced is essential to performing well in the gym because you will be able to go for longer. And if your protein intake is good you’ll be back and pushing yourself in no time at all.

Some iron supplements can be difficult to digest, unlike iron found in food. So superfoods are a great, easy and tasty way of incorporating more iron into your diet.

Naturya spirulina contains 58 times more iron than raw spinach – so take that Popeye!

The importance of good fats

It is a common misconception that if you are training to be an athlete then you need tons of carbs. While that may be true for short bursts of energy, most of us tend to exercise more than just a sprint. The key to increasing your endurance is to make sure you are eating the right fats, specifically polyunsaturated fats.

By eating a balanced diet based on slow burning foods containing good fats, we can ensure balanced energy throughout the day. A great source of this is cacao. Cocoa is incredibly rich in Omega 3 fatty acids (the good ones). The thing is, your body can’t make omega 3 fatty acids on its own. It depends on your diet for those, and even if you are making an effort to eat lots of fish, avocados, and nuts, you might be falling short of your goals.

Naturya’s Organic Cocoa Nibs and Hemp Protein Powder are loaded with Omega 3 and make for a tasty and easy way of topping up those vital Omega 3 levels.

When we say take it easy we mean it!

Rest is vital for building up energy reserves. Our bodies rely on this reserve at busy times. So find time to relax and rest from your busy stressful lifestyle. By giving our bodies the right nutrients we can keep our batteries charged, and tackle the day ahead.