Nutrition science is evolving at a rapid pace, forcing fitness consumers to invest considerable time and effort in keeping up with the latest recommendations. These are some of the top sports nutrition trends to look out for in 2018:

Personalization of Sports Nutrition

In 2018, personalized nutrition is a requirement for anyone who wants to optimize their physical activity. Consumers expect personalized meal and fitness plans. Sales of ready-made meals tailored to individual preferences will increase and delivery services will get as hyper targeted as possible with their offerings – people will choose meal delivery kits that fit their specific fitness goals (increase muscle mass, lose body fat, etc.). Similarly, “one-size fits all” fitness programs will cease to exist, as people demand customized workouts tailored to their preferences and fitness goals.

Nutrient Timing

Though the concept of nutrient timing isn’t new for professional and endurance athletes, mainstream awareness of meal timing is increasing. Your body is depleted of nutrients after a workout, so consuming healthy carbs and high-quality protein within 30-45 minutes of exercising is key. Healthy carbs replenish your body’s glycogen stores, which supports muscle recovery. Consuming 20-40 grams of high-quality program helps muscles repair and rebuild by stimulating muscle protein synthesis.

Rest and Recovery

There’s a major difference between rest and recovery. Rest is time spent sleeping or not training, while recovery is multifaceted and involves far more than just muscle repair. Recovery is physical, chemical and mental – it includes all of the techniques and activities done to maximize repair. This can be everything from hydration, nutrition, compression, posture, heat/ice, stretching, and massage to stress reduction. A balance of both rest and recovery, combined with proper nutrition, is critical for anyone that exercises.

Plant-Based Proteins

While whey has historically dominated the protein market for professional and everyday athletes, more opportunities are emerging for plant-based proteins (soy, rice, pea), and will continue to increase as plant-based diets become more popular. Studies show that plant proteins can be just as effective for muscle growth as animal proteins, dispelling the myth that you need to eat animal protein to build muscle. Focus on consuming high-quality proteins that deliver all of the amino acids your body needs for muscle growth. Soy, a complete plant-based protein, delivers the full complement of essential amino acids that your body cannot produce on its own.

Transparency and Clean Labeling

Ingredient transparency has never been more important to consumers, and this will increase in 2018. Fitness consumers want to know exactly what’s in their protein powders, sports drinks and supplements. Beyond that, they want to know where the ingredients came from and how they made their way into the product. Many consumers are wary of excessive additives and product labels with lengthy ingredient lists.

Dana Ryan

Dana RyanPh.D., MA, MBA – Director, Sports Performance, Nutrition and Education

Dr. Dana Ryan is the director of Sports Performance, Nutrition and Education at Herbalife. She is also the Chair of the Fitness Advisory Board. She completed her doctorate in Physical Activity, Nutrition and Wellness at Arizona State University. She earned an MBA from USC and a Master’s in Kinesiology from San Diego State University. Dr. Ryan is also certified in nutrition for optimal health, wellness and performance. Before joining Herbalife Nutrition, she taught exercise physiology and related courses at California State University, Los Angeles (CSULA), and conducted research at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA),* on the impact of community-based nutrition and physical activity programs on heart disease risk. A passionate athlete, Dr. Ryan enjoys all water sports, especially rowing. Her favorite Herbalife products are Herbalife24® Liftoff®, Herbalife24® Rebuild Strength and Enrichual Hemp Facial Serum.

*The University of California does not endorse specific products or services as a matter of policy.