Written by Jennifer Ho, Sports Dietitian. MS, RD, CD.
Explosive, responsive, all-out efforts. Power sports involve high-intensity motions to propel the athlete into action. Picture the following scenarios. A gymnast working a floor routine and performing multiple flips in a row. An outside hitter approaching the net to jump and swing to spike a volleyball. A center jumping up to the basket to dunk a basketball. A rugby player skillfully maneuvering around opposing players and sprinting down the field. Two tennis players rallying back and forth with strong swings to hit the ball. All of these motions require short bouts of high-intensity effort.
If you’ve read a few of these blogs, or maybe this is your first one, energy systems are mentioned frequently. That is because it is important to know how to properly fuel yourself before adding supplements. Supplements can benefit an athlete’s performance if it is working with a solid nutritional foundation.
In these power sports, there is a continuous mix of the aerobic and anaerobic energy systems. Athletes run up and down the field or court in the aerobic system, and sharp movements - shooting, spiking, tackling - are in the anaerobic system. Due to the higher intensity of these sports, carbohydrates should be the primary fuel source before and during exercise.
With a strong nutritional foundation, consuming a sachet of 2before blackcurrant powder an hour before your training can help you see a difference in your performance. You can also take the blackcurrant powder in a bottle to sip on throughout your training.
Blackcurrants have shown to have vasodilatory effects on blood vessels during exercise. This means that nutrient-rich blood flows to working muscles more efficiently so that you can work harder with less effort. In high-level sports, having that slight advantage can make all the difference.
Training adaptations are an integral component to progressing in any sport. With proper nutrition and recovery, our muscles learn to take on training stressors and adapt when training loads increase. Blackcurrants work by modulating the Nrf2 antioxidant response signaling pathways. If you’re not sure what Nrf2 is, no worries. Let’s discuss what it means.
This signaling pathway is responsible for our bodies’ defense response to oxidative stress.1 When this pathway is activated, it increases the expression of antioxidant genes that elicit anti-inflammatory effects. Consuming blackcurrant over an extended period may also enhance this response.
The wear and tear of frequent training can weaken our immune systems if we don’t look after them. New Zealand blackcurrants are rich in anthocyanins, which help combat oxidative stress by promoting anti-inflammatory pathways. Blackcurrants may play a role in activating neutrophil response to inflammation. Neutrophils are simply a kind of white blood cell.
Not only do the blackcurrants help with energy during training, they also contribute to the recovery process. Integrating blackcurrants into your daily routine will aid performance and training adaptations to keep you moving faster and stronger in your sport.
- Saha S, Buttari B, Panieri E, Profumo E, Saso L. An Overview of Nrf2 Signaling Pathway and Its Role in Inflammation. Molecules. 2020;25(22):5474. Published 2020 Nov 23. doi:10.3390/molecules25225474