Nutrition, Pharmacology, and Training: A Systematic Approach

It is a great error to simply throw substances together. Some work against one another while others work together to strengthen the body. Particularly nutrition supplements are required at certain periods within the training cycle, and not others. No one substance should be used for any length of time (longer than 3 weeks without a break), as this causes adaptation to the supplement and a loss of effect.

That is why all the pharmacological plans for Soviet athletes are based on the intermittent principle - three weeks on, one week off; this cycle for each component of the whole complex is repeated not less than three times during an evolutionary hard work training cycle. The same principle is preserved in planning a precompetitive stimulatory and post competitive restorative programs. As it was shown by Soviet pharmacologists, there was about a 30-40% loss of the pharmacological effect of the supplementation complex, if the number of the pharmacological substances composing the complex exceeds six. So, the intermittent step-wise time-scheduled scheme has been designed to take into consideration dose-time relationships of the various supplements.

There is no single safe and natural medicine or supplement which will create super athletes overnight. Before using a sport supplement, there are a number of questions to be answered:

• What is the goal of supplementation program (i.e., structural, energetic, adaptogenic, protective, restorative, etc.)?

• In what doses are supplements effective and what is the athlete's individual sensitivity?

• In what part of the training cycle should supplements be used?

• How can supplements be combined for maximum effect?

• What is the current state of body homeostasis?

The last question is of particular practical importance. As it was reported from the Soviet Union (Silber et al., 1988) the anticipated effect of a pharmacosanation complex depends strongly on the state of the athlete's steroid hormone homeostasis (i.e., cortisol and testosterone), hence the importance of adaptogen supplementation.

The East European competitors have had a competitive advantage and have made great headway because they were taking sport supplements (including anabolic steroids). This was not done at random; rather, it was done under the careful supervision of scientists and pharmacologists. Several hormone tests have been developed to assess anabolic status, including tests for evaluation of homeostasis. This combined with adaptogenic protection added precision to the athletes nutrition, training, and pharmacology programs.