The world of sports nutrition can be complicated. Not only are there thousands of products to choose from, many of them have different uses and what works for one athlete might not work for another. But to help make it simpler, we split nutrition into four simple need states – energy, hydration, rebuild and recovery. It helps athletes to understand what condition their body is in and what nutrition they need to help improve their performance. Here’s how we break it up…
From all out sprints to big collisions – carbohydrate fuels all the high intensity movement that’s common in team sports. However, research suggests that some team sport athletes don’t actually take on enough carbohydrate before or after competing – but it’s crucial to get it right. Following a food first approach, the Blue Fuel app will recommend a range of pre-match or pre-training meals and snacks tailored to you. And, depending on the length and intensity of your session, it may recommend carbohydrate gummies before/during a session to help your performance.
“As little as a 2% loss of body mass from sweating can rapidly decrease reaction times and physical performance.”
This need state refers to the fluid and electrolytes that help regulate fluid balance. When we sweat, we lose electrolytes – the most important being sodium. We need to replace these electrolytes to rehydrate properly. You could do this by loading up before exercise, taking on electrolytes during and/or as part of a rehydration protocol post-exercise. The hydration need state is often considered the most important to get right. And the good news is that it’s pretty simple to do. However, many athletes get it wrong, which can really affect their performance. In fact, as little as a 2% loss of body mass from sweating can rapidly decrease reaction times and physical performance.
When we talk about the muscle rebuild need state, we are referring to protein intake. The main role of protein is to build and repair tissue. But it also has other important jobs like making enzymes, hormones, other body chemicals, and helping to supply energy to working muscles during exercise. An athlete may want to focus on muscle rebuild/high protein intake when they haven’t expended much energy, but may have muscle damage (for example, after strength sessions). Total protein intake is also important, so consuming protein between meals (e.g through our Rebuild Protein bars) can help you hit these goals without adding unnecessary calories or sugar.
Some athletes just assume that ‘recovery’ means protein. However, recovery as a need state actually means replenishing all of the other need states at once – it helps you return to your baseline and go again. Here’s a summary…
Energy – replenishing your glycogen stores after a particularly tough training session/match.
Hydration – rehydrating with fluids and electrolytes to aid fluid retention and restore fluid balance.
Rebuild – taking on protein to aid the maintenance and building of muscle mass.
Finally, there’s one extra need state we should mention – immunity. Immune function has been shown to be low in athletes following intense exercise, so consuming carbohydrate and certain micronutrients can help boost this. Blue Fuel Recovery Powder has been formulated specifically to hit these need states and to ‘kick-start’ the recovery process before your next meal.