Sports nutrition emerged in the United States in the 1940s as a niche interest of bodybuilders, a way for them to obtain the nutrition they needed in a convenient format. For many years that’s the way it stayed, with few outside of the small community of dedicated enthusiasts having much interest in the sector – even though from as far back as the 1930s scientists knew that what you consumed could affect your sports and exercise performance.

Things began to change in parallel with the growing awareness of the role that exercise can play in supporting a healthy lifestyle. As more and more men and woman took up going to the gym two or three times a week, started going for a morning jog or joined a five-a-side football team, demand for products that could help them keep going a little longer, or recover a little quicker, started to grow.

Sports nutrition burst out of the confines of simply serving bodybuilders to meet this need. Innovative new businesses grew to provide consumers – men and women, young and old – with safe, effective ways of supporting healthier, more active lives. The sector is now growing rapidly, developing ever more new ways to help people run longer, lift more, swim further or do whatever sport they want to do just that bit better.

Today, sports nutrition is used to allow sportspeople to consume the nutrition they need, at the right time, in the most convenient format. These supplements are all about ease for the users – so, for example, if you’re in the middle of a marathon and need some extra energy, you could quickly swallow one of the carbohydrate gels being passed around by supporters on the side-lines, as opposed to the alternative of running with a tin of baked beans or a tupperware of pasta. Both would provide the same benefits (i.e. more fuel for your body) but the gel makes your life a lot easier.

“It’s important to remember that sports nutrition products should be used in conjunction with a nutritious diet and as a way to supplement your active lifestyle.”

Who should use sports nutrition?

Anyone! If you’re leading an active lifestyle and want to achieve some added benefits, then sports nutrition is from you. Visit our ‘Categories of sports nutrition’ page for more information.