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Dietary protein began to be consumed in the 1940s and muscle building results were found in resistance and strength training athletes. Protein intake is a part of the nutrient requirements for the regular athlete and is an important component of exercise training, because it can also aid in performance and recovery. Dietary protein intake for well-trained athletes should occur before, during and after physical activity as it is advantageous in gaining muscle mass and strength.

However, if too much protein and amino acid supplements are consumed, it can be more harmful than beneficial; health risks include dehydration, gout, calcium loss, liver, and renal damage and gastrointestinal side effects include diarrhea, bloating, and water loss. A bountiful protein diet must be paired with a healthy, well-rounded meal plan and regular resistance exercise. Yet, characteristics such as the type of exercise, intensity, duration, the carbohydrate values of diet, the individual's sex and age and also the amount of background training and training environment.

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Creatine may be helpful for well-trained athletes to increase exercise performance and strength in concordance with their dietary regimen. Also, the substance glutamine, found in whey protein supplements, is the most abundant free amino acid found in the human body. For well-trained and well-nourished athletes it is considered that glutamine may have a possible role in stimulated anabolic processes such muscle glycogen and protein synthesis.

Other popular supplements studies done include androstenedione, chromium, and ephedra. The findings show that there are no substantial benefits from the extra intake of these supplements, yet higher health risks and costs.

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High energy supplements have shown to increase the performance of physical activity. A study done at the University of Texas saw a 4.7% increase of performance in 83% of participants after drinking Red Bull Energy Drink which was more intense than the compared placebo. The energy drink most dominantly increased the epinephrine and noreprinephrine (adrenaline and its precursor) levels and beta-endorphins in the blood than before consumption. Caffeine, carbohydrates and Vitamin B are factors that may have favored performance increase with no change in perceived exertion.

Caffeine has been known since the 1900s and became popularly used since the 1970s when its power of masking fatigue became highly recognized. Similarly, the caffeine found in energy drinks shows an increased reaction performance and increased good feelings of energy, focus and alterness in quickness and reaction anaerobic power tests. In other words, consuming an energy drink with caffeine increases short time/rapid exercise performance (like short full-speed sprints and heavy power weight lifting.)

Post-exercise nutrition is just as important, if not more important than pre-exercise nutrition as it pertains to recovery. Traditionally, sports drinks such as Gatorade and Powerade, are consumed during and after exercise because they effectively rehydrate the body by refueling the body with minerals and electrolytes. Gatorade was founded in the 1960s, when the University of Florida, Gainesville Gators improved their performance with “Gator Aid.” A drink was made of glucose and sucrose in water and helped the football players' performance. And by the 1970s, many other sports drinks of its kind had been manufactured. However, sports drinks lack protein.

New studies in 2008 have found milk, especially skim milk and chocolate milk may be the new sports drink, as milk leads to protein the synthesis which boosts net muscle protein balance. Milk naturally contains many electrolytes, nutrients and other properties that help to make it a great post-exercise beverage.

When compared to plain water or sports drinks, research suggests that chocolate milk is more effective at replacing fluids lost as sweat and maintaining normal body fluid levels. Athletes drinking chocolate milk following exercise-induced dehydration had fluid levels about 2 percent higher (on initial body mass) than those using other post-exercise recovery beverages, allowing for prolonged performance, especially in repeated bouts of exercise or training.

Differing conditions and objectives suggest the need for athletes to ensure that their sports nutritional approach is appropriate for their situation.Factors that may affect an athlete's nutritional needs include type of activity (aerobic vs. anaerobic), gender, weight, height, body mass index, workout or activity stage (pre-workout, intra-workout, recovery), and time of day (e.g. some nutrients are utilized by the body more effectively during sleep than while awake).

Most culprits that get in the way of performance are fatigueinjury and soreness. A proper diet will reduce these disturbances in performance. The key is to get a variety of food, to get all the macronutrients, vitamins, and minerals. It is optimal to choose raw, unprocessed foods such as oranges instead of orange juice. Eating foods that are natural means the athlete is getting the most nutritional value out of the food. When foods are processed it normally means that nutritional value is reduced.


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