Are you also a fan of winter sports? Then you are probably as excited about winter months as we are. Skiing, cross-country skiing, ice skating ... These and many other sports are a great way for endurance athletes to stay active during the winter.
But all these activities represent a physical effort and demand endurance, which in turn requires proper nutrition. Exercise on snow is further hindered by cold and high altitude, which represent an additional challenge for your body and increase the need to supply it with the best nutrients.
In this blog, you'll discover the best 5 dietary supplements to properly face the challenges represented by winter sports.
1. Energy bar
Carbohydrates are your body's main source of fuel. They are extremely important during high-intensity exercise, no matter the sport you practice.
And keep in mind that the cold and high altitude increase glucose consumption, which in turn increases your body's need of carbohydrates. If you want to learn more about the intake of carbohydrates during exercise, check out this blog.
An extremely nutritious and tasty way to provide carbohydrates to your body during intense exercise is with a proper energy bar, which represents a great source of fast energy.
While a great-tasting supplement is always appreciated, the taste itself becomes even more important in winter conditions because low temperatures and high altitudes often cause a loss of appetite.
What energy bar do we recommend?
2. Isotonic sports drink
In cold winter temperatures, hydration is often overlooked, but staying properly hydrated is as important as during summer activities.
Low temperatures may reduce your sensation of thirst, but they also increase your need to intake fluids, as cold air contains less water than warm air and you lose more water with breathing. You also lose electrolytes with sweat, and you need to replace those as well.
This is where the isotonic sports drink comes into play.
An isotonic sports drink provides you with carbohydrates for energy and water with electrolytes for hydration. A good isotonic sports drink will contain ingredients that have high absorption rates and don't cause digestive issues.
This way you can stay fully hydrated by replacing the minerals you lose with sweat and preserve the glycogen in your muscles and liver, which will greatly increase your endurance.
What isotonic sports drink do we recommend?
3. Recovery drink
After any intense exercise, you must take care of proper muscle recovery.
For optimal recovery, you need to ingest a meal with electrolytes, carbohydrates, and protein within 30 minutes after exercise. This will allow you to rehydrate, refill your glycogen stores, and feed your muscles.
Examples of recovery meals are:
- white bread with Greek yoghurt and jam,
- ricotta with banana and honey,
- chocolate milk.
But the thing is, none of these meals contains the exact combination of nutrients you require. Furthermore, having such a meal at your disposal within the limited time frame required by optimal muscle recovery may be difficult.
For this reason, athletes use dietary supplements to trigger optimal recovery after exercise. The best supplement to do this is a recovery drink.
What recovery drink do we recommend?
4. Vitamin D
During the winter months, the sunrays in Europe are too weak to enable vitamin D synthesis, which may lead to vitamin D deficiency.
Vitamin D plays a key role in several areas:
- bone health,
- muscle function,
- immune system.
A good way to obtain vitamin D is by consuming foods, such as fat fish (salmon, mackerel), egg yolks, fortified dairy products, and mushrooms. Unfortunately, food these days is generally poor in vitamin D. That's why we recommend you supplement it.
What vitamin D supplement do we recommend?
Athletes who train at high altitudes must be mindful of their iron intake, as the needs for iron increase due to the formation of red blood cells. For this reason, iron depletion and iron deficiency are very common in winter sports.
Iron is crucial to sustain several processes in your body:
- oxygen flow,
- immune system,
- muscle function,
- and many more.
To prevent iron deficiency and allow your body to function properly, it's a good idea to supplement iron, especially for female athletes.
What source of iron do we recommend?
Due to its low temperatures, winter is a specific part of the year. Snow and cold can often reduce your sensation of hunger and thirst, which may lead to nutritional deficiencies.
Same as other endurance sports, winter sports require proper nutrition to allow your body to function at its best and preserve its health and endurance.
Take care of your energy levels with energy bars or isotonic sports drinks. The latter also allows you to take care of proper hydration, another crucial element of sports nutrition.
After any intense exercise, taking care of proper muscle recovery is essential if you want to preserve your performance over a longer period of time. The best way to do it is with a recovery drink.
Especially during winter, vitamin D depletion and deficiency are very common. Since it is difficult to get enough vitamin D from food, a high-quality supplement is a great choice.
Another common issue in winter sports is iron deficiency. Especially female athletes should supplement iron.