Meal Replacement Powders (also known as MRP's or the bodybuilders fast food). Nothing says ‘potential blow out’ like a hungry athlete on the run. When we’re busy, it’s much harder to plan satisfying meals that contain all the essential nutrients needed to complement a tough workout. Good nutrition is vital for faster recovery times, a strong immune system, stronger muscle growth and maintaining strength. Meal replacement supplements are a fast and effective way of maintaining balance, without exposing your best laid training plans to the hidden simple carbohydrates and saturated fats so often found in the food that’s readily available to busy people.
Of course, food in its best form is packed with the vitamins & minerals, proteins & carbohydrates that the body needs. The only trouble is, with the over processed foods of today, reduced ratio of raw to cooked food and depleted soils, many people are found deficient in the nutrition department. For instance, digestive enzymes are powerful tools used by the body to digest and absorb the nutrients from food. Without them, it’s common for people to suffer from digestive disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or have a reduced capacity to absorb nutrients. The best meal replacement supplements are packed with digestive enzymes and fibre that not only increase digestive health, but also enable the body to absorb as many nutrients as it can from the formula. Many people who undertake rigorous training programs need a high calorie diet and it can be just downright difficult to train with all that food in your system. For many athletes, meal replacement supplements are an easy way to complement a balanced diet (and here we should note that meal replacements are a supplement to a healthy diet, not a healthy diet within themselves). A study by the Human Performance Laboratory of Ball State University in Indiana1 showed that a using a protein/carbohydrate supplement before and after training encouraged protein synthesis soon after and that metabolic and hormone responses are altered also.
Meal replacement supplements are usually sold in powder or bar form and come in a variety of flavours. Some are sold as convenient sachets of individual serves, while others come in bulk containers. The ratio of protein to carbohydrate varies a great deal, so it’s worth checking this first. Depending on your needs, you may require a higher carbohydrate ratio to increase energy levels & bulk, or a lower carbohydrate level if you want to keep weight down adding only lean muscle. They stack well with almost all other supplements including pre workout supplements, intra workout supplements & post workout supplements. Using a shaker bottle along with the powder makes them especially convenient for people on the go.
Meal Replacement Supplements are commonly presented & sold as Complementary Medicines or Formulated Supplementary Sports Foods in Australia. Meal replacement powders & supplements are not a sole source of nutrition and should be used in conjunction with an appropriate physical training or exercise programme. Not suitable for children under 15 years or pregnant women. Should only be used under medical or dietetic supervision. Always read the label prior to use.
1. Kraemer WJ, Volek JS, Bush JA, Putukian M, Sebastianelli WJ. ‘Hormonal responses to consecutive days of heavy-resistance exercise with or without nutritional supplementation.’ J Appl Physiol. 1998 Oct;85(4):1544-55.