Joe Welstead, cofounder of Motion Nutrition, looks to the future of sports nutrition.
Sports nutrition has evolved so much over the last decade. Just 4 years ago as an athlete preparing for Commonwealth Games, I found it incredibly frustrating that all supplements were full of cheap artificial ingredients. Clearly, these products were made with no regard to the user’s long-term health. Today, you can buy the most amazing organic protein powders and pre-workouts with incredible nutritional profiles – the exact products I dreamed of as a professional swimmer.
These are great improvements to product quality. But has sports nutrition seen any meaningful change?
The real change in sports nutrition is yet to come. The greatest change to happen in sports nutrition since the early ages of 1990s’ bodybuilding has nothing to do with the latest muscle-fuelling protein powder – organic or conventional, vegan or dairy. It can not be summed up by a single new product. The future of active lifestyle supplementation is not about incremental physical gains. Neither is it about being a fraction of a second quicker or about lifting half a kilogram heavier. And it certainly has nothing to do with weighing any less (or any more).
The biggest change to happen in sports nutrition in decades is a shift in mindset.
It is the coming of age of holistic health and long-term brain health. It is a new approach rooted in mental and emotional wellbeing: a stable foundation from which we can build our best physical performance. This is the future.
Consider the immediate benefits of exercise.
How do you feel after a great workout? High on endorphins, that’s right! Your brain is giving you all kinds of happy signals, thanking you for providing stimulating movement in an otherwise often sedentary day. Regular brain-stimulating movement will make you feel better, think sharper and lead to better long-term health.
Physical activity not only improves your mood, it tangibly improves the structure, function and connectivity of your brain for long-term health. Yet this year in the UK alone, 225,000 people will develop dementia – there’ll be a new case by the time you’ve finished this article.
It’s time for real change.
It’s time sports supplements – the very products designed to provide convenience and improve the results of your training – respect and address the health of your brain in equal measure to your physical performance.
High quality food should provide sustenance to perform well, while promoting a long, happy, healthy, disease-free life. In equal measure, high quality sports nutrition should supplement any required aspect of your diet.
When is the last time you considered a plateful of food as the fuel to your brain? So focused are we on our physical requirements that rarely do we look at food in this light. Yet our brain burns through at least 20% of our daily energy and has some very specific nutritional requirements.
Ask yourself: are you fuelling yourself for stable mood through your work day?
Could you unknowingly be triggering poor emotional responses to stressful situations? Are there ways to improve the stability of your mood, and the level of your focus?
Can nutrition improve memory and fight off neurodegenerative diseases? Can food address stress levels, anxiety and quality of sleep?
To all of these questions, nutritional science has answers.
And as a leader in the field of active lifestyle nutrition, it is our duty to shine a light on these answers and deliver tangible solutions. This is exactly what we have done with our new range of brain health supplements: Power Up and Unplug.
We dove into the field of brain performance in the hope of improving everyday mental performance. We wanted people (you) to be better at whatever it is that they (you) do. But over the last year of research, we discovered that by providing the brain with the nutrients it requires to operate at its optimal capacity, you are also allowing the brain to increase its natural defence mechanisms. When successfully nourished, the brain’s capacity to deal with oxidative stress increases dramatically. In other words, a healthy brain will not only perform better, it will also live longer.
What does a healthy brain mean in practice?
A healthy brain means better mood. More meaningful interactions. Clearer thoughts. Better performance at work. Better performance in sport. Improved memory. Deeper sleep. A healthy brain means improved energy levels and a healthier, happier you all round.
The biggest change to happen in sports nutrition in decades is our understanding that it is the combination of a healthy body and a healthy brain that creates the foundation for successful physical and mental performance.
And we’re leading it.