Influencer-Centric Supplements and the Future of Sports Nutrition

“Hard work makes the dream work.”


It sounds so cliché that you hear that all the time when a lot of young and promising athletes come and go trying to break into the big leagues and tournaments. They work so hard to become the best athletes they can be and so when they reach the top of the plateau, they become not only become famous people but also influential figures in their field. What brought them to the top is something many observers, fans, and media alike, want to know. Apart from their God-given athletic abilities, otherworldly skills, and impressive training regimen, there is a part of their lifestyle that gives them an edge over their fellow competitors.


When you talk about protein shakes and other forms of sports supplements, some people might negatively think about ‘performance-enhancing’. Well if you come to think of it, sports nutrition and fitness training are all about enhancing and optimizing the athletes’ skills, capabilities, and even limitations to make sure that they are on the top of their game and at the same time, prolong their career regardless of their health and athletic history. The point is that enhancing performance in sports is not cheating but more like a growth platform for athletes to excel. At the end of the day, sports nutrition and fitness regimen plays a big role in prolonging an athlete’s career.


Sports Stars as Social Influencers


We always put big-name sports stars and other popular athletes on the pedestal as larger-than-life figures. They are celebrities in their own right as they command a lot of respect and attention. When it comes to promoting healthy living, they are the perfect influencers to get more people on board. They are now more accessible than ever before because of their large fandom and social media following. With today’s high-stakes competitive sporting landscape tied to massive media market and big business, many big-name athletes with their multimillion-dollar contracts and endorsement deals are not just looking to prolong their sports careers but also their personal brands as well!



Many of us are living in the moment and social media fuels the 24/7 real-time consumerism that fans look into. What does Stephen Curry eat before he gets into the game? What is the sports drink Cristiano Ronaldo takes before he gets into the pitch during Champions League fixtures? What is the usual fitness regime that Serena Williams usually follows to prepare herself for the rigors of the ATF Tour? These are some of the things we usually ask and look for in their social media feeds. That is what the billion-dollar sports nutrition, beauty, and personal care industry are looking to leverage. There is big money to be made to promote a “healthy lifestyle” so that you will see these athlete preparations segment common in social media that is often tied to the influencer-athlete-fitness guru’s personal and business brands.



Evolving Trends


Back in the old days, classic pre-game meals and even nutrition to a certain degree were closely guarded secrets. Some of our greatest sports icons even followed quirky and oftentimes superstitious rituals to give them a psychological edge over their opponents. They eat certain food and drink when they face particular opponents and heated rivals. Their individual exploits, greatest sporting moments, and these fun factoids all make up their legendary status in the game they played.


You may think our greatest sporting idols would go the healthy route when it comes to their food cravings. Apparently not! The world’s fastest man Usain Bolt cannot run without his Chicken McNuggets. Swimming god Michael Phelps packs 12,000 calories per day thanks to his rich egg diet of omelet, French toast, and pancakes to win all those gold medals. If you want to “be like Mike” then might as well eat like Mike. Basketball GOAT Michael Jordan can’t go on dunking someone and sinking game-winning shots without his usual steak and potatoes fix.


Nowadays, there is a shift towards more “healthy” options often tied up with the growing reliance on sports analytics to determine which type of food and drink athletes should take that will have an optimal effect on their core physical performance and statistical objectives. Young people are hooked up with social media and it's not a surprise to see their favorite athletes all over Instagram or Facebook promoting their own line of health and sports nutrition products. 


Product-placement in the octagon, TV broadcasts, and social media are increasingly tied to health products (UFC)


We no longer second guess what top athletes consume daily. However, some sports organizations are not there yet as they depend on their own demographics on what they advertise and officially endorse. That’s why you usually see a lot of alcohol and fast food ads and television commercials in most major team sports. On the other hand, the UFC and the mixed martial arts market in general targeted the health and wellness sector by having energy drinks, nutritional supplements, and other related brands prominently featured.


Dana White has even hired a PR firm to teach over 300+ UFC fighters on how to amplify their social media presence while also promoting the UFC brand and their partner brands. He’s leveraging the popularity of its athletes to act as their influencers.


The ‘Next Frontier’


Esports is considered the new frontier of sports competition even though there is an unhealthy lifestyle stereotype attached to this emerging genre for some people. It is a competitive environment where young people trying to become the next big thing. With online media as the new face of mass marketing and advertisement, it is perfectly natural that a segment of the health and fitness market would try to squeeze in the video game and esports industry.


In fact, many successful esports teams are now adopting sports nutrition and fitness regimen to keep their athletes physically-fit and mentally focus on every competition they participate in. Their performance is constantly monitored in line with their own nutritional requirements and physical demands.


Many so-called performance ‘energy drinks’ are lining up to get a crack in the gaming market (Trendhunter)

Even leading gaming Youtubers are advocating for a healthier lifestyle even though their niche requires to be sitting in front of the computer for an extended period of time. However, it remains to be seen if these energy drinks and caffeine inducers are really good for one’s health in the long term.

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