A visit to any athletic training room reveals a variety of tools used to heal the wounds of battle including whirlpools, various adhesives and pads. A recent addition is an area occupied by strength and conditioning specialists. It is in this area of the locker room where discussions of injury prevention predominate.
Improving human performance involves multiple disciplines. Developing a powerful muscular system relies on a variety of fitness activities.
Aerobic or cardiac fitness uses activities like running, biking and swimming. These are designed to build stamina and allow the human body to utilize oxygen efficiently.
Weight lifting and stretch bands are categorized as resistive fitness. These movements are designed to increase power and strength.
Fueling the human body involves a variety of nutrients. The basic components are fat, protein and carbohydrate. It is often the refinement of the nutrition regimen when the picture becomes cloudy.
The use of nutritional supplements that promise to magically transform the human body are often a problem for strength and conditioning specialists responsible for the health of athletes.
Supplements are not subjected to mandatory regulation like drugs.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that provides certification for supplements. The NSF seal of approval means that the contents have met stringent standards and no substances banned by sports leagues are present.
“When athletes inquire about what supplements they can take I tell them to keep it simple and only use those that are NSF approved,” said Mike Wickland, the New York Yankees minor league strength and conditioning coordinator.
Wickland’s advice regarding supplements is certainly applicable for all athletes and he firmly believes that food is the best source of nutrition. “After a workout or a game, I recommend a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with chocolate milk,” advises Wickland.