Kim, who plays sports year-round, is just one of many AHS students who have begun using protein and workout supplements out of a desire to maintain their fitness and gain muscle mass. Oakes’s exercise routine includes drinking one shake in the morning and another within 15 minutes of working out.
This use of protein supplements raises questions about their actual effectiveness, as students and teachers hold varying beliefs concerning whether the supplements benefit athletes or instead hinder their performance. Most people already consume sufficient protein in their daily diets, which means that they do not need an extra amount.
Head Swim & Dive Coach Neal Jarvis advises his swimmers against taking protein shakes and supplements, recognizing the extra calories that they can create.
Many supplement users are also unaware of the effects of the substances they consume in terms of how they affect one’s body. However, many studies indicate that creatine does not have an effect on long-term athletic performance or exercise involving muscular endurance. However, high levels of caffeine, combined with strenuous exercise can lead to serious health problems. Since many athletes strive to perform at their peak, the side effects of these protein supplements seem like enough to turn one away. In fact, short term side effects include muscle cramps, nausea and digestive problems, though they vary depending on the product. Creatine, a main ingredient in most workout supplements, is widely used by athletes to enhance athletic performance and build muscle.
Caffeine is a common energy booster, so it makes sense that it would be an ingredient in workout supplements.
That being said, such supplements, including energy drinks, are strongly discouraged for high school athletes. Although there have not been any concrete studies on the long term effects of these supplements, there are indications that they may cause future kidney damage.
There are supplements and beverages that are safe if consumed properly and can produce the results that their makers advertise. Instead of using such supplements, athletes can gain protein through the foods that they eat, as excess protein consumed through supplements can merely turn into calories.
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