What Supplements Should An Athlete Take?
by Benjamin Bunting BA(Hons) PGCert
Written by Ben Bunting: BA(Hons), PGCert. Sport & Exercise Nutrition, L2 Strength and Conditioning Coach.
Supplements are common place amongst weightlifting and other resistance training activities, but on the whole all athletes can benefits from identifying and using the appropriate supplement to acheive their goals.
When you exercise, your body is working at maximum effort to make sure that you can continue performing at your highest capacity. Your heart is pumping to keep your blood moving and get that oxygen where it needs to go.
You will be sweating, which means that you are not only losing water, but you are losing essential minerals too.
There’s a reason why so many athletes keep to a strict diet regimen: they need to make sure that they are giving their body as much help as they can to keep pushing themselves further, keep increasing their endurance and keep building their muscle mass.
As a result, many athletes look to supplements to make sure they are getting everything they need.
Supplements have been booming in popularity in recent years as the science behind them continues to evolve.
However, for every supplement manufacturer out there that takes the time to build a great blend for athletes, there’s another that is rushed together under a generic wellness umbrella selling nothing more than an 'off-the-shelf' formula. You need to find the product that is right for you.
In this article, we will cover the following points:
- Know What You Need It For
- Iron And Other Minerals
- Vitamin D And Other Vitamins
- Plant Extracts
Know what supplements you need and why as an athlete
There are so many different fitness and sports supplements out there, and the key to finding one that works for you will know what exactly you want to get from it.
A supplement that gives you a burst of energy for some high-intensity exercise may not be the right fit if you are looking at building your muscle mass and general endurance.
For example, there has been a lot written about whether caffeine helps with athletic performance.
The general consensus is that it is a great all round supplements for a variety of sports and endevours. It can improve vigilance and team sports performance.
Alternatively, creatine may be great for maximizing muscle growth and strength but it is not an optimal supplement to use for enhancing aerobic exercise performance.
Iron And Other Minerals
Iron is one of the most important minerals in the human body. It is used in the production of hemoglobin and myoglobin, which means that it plays a crucial role in how our body gets oxygen to the muscles.
If you are not getting enough iron, you may feel fatigued, and you may find that it takes you longer than it should to recover from an injury. These are obviously two scenarios that are critical for athletes to avoid. As a result, any good sports or athletic supplement will contain iron.
But iron is not the only mineral that you should look for in a supplement. Zinc is a crucial mineral for sports and athletic performance, and it is also one of the minerals that we lose when we sweat.
That means athletes and anyone living in a hot climate needs to make sure that they are replenishing it where they can.
Low levels of zinc have also been linked to low levels of testosterone, which could impact your athletic performance.
It has also been shown to play an important role in your immune system. And then there’s Boron.
Boron is an increasingly popular choice for supplements as it has been shown to help reduce inflammation, as well as aiding in your body’s immune response and your central nervous system.
Vitamin D And Other Vitamins
Vitamin D is one of the most used ingredients in athletics and sports supplements, and for a good reason.
First, it is difficult for anyone to get as much vitamin D as they need to because very few food sources contain it, and lots of people work indoors not withstanding the low levels of sunlight during the winter months.
Vitamin D can help to give your immune system a boost, which is obviously more important than ever right now in the pandemic.
It can also help to improve your mood, your anabolic response, and your memory. A lot of people turn to supplements to keep their vitamin D levels up during the dark winter months, and it is essential to athletic performance.
There are plenty of other vitamins which are an invaluable addition to any athletic supplement. Vitamin K2 has not only been linked with reducing inflammation, but it plays a crucial role in combatting the decline in testosterone levels.
A good athletic supplement doesn’t just deliver a big dose of the major vitamins. It provides a balanced mixture of what your body might be lacking and the necessary components to a healthy body.
Plant Extract Supplements for Athletes
With each passing year, we are learning more about how the ingredients found in our natural world can help to make our bodies healthier and reach higher levels of fitness.
That is why you are not going to just see a list of vitamins and minerals on the ingredients panel of supplements. You are going to find names like Fenugreek, a herb that has been linked to increasing the levels of testosterone in your body as well as potentially reducing your body fat. It has also been shown to help your libido.
Military Muscle also contains Urtica Dioica, which is more commonly known as stinging nettle.
The extract of this plant is an anti-inflammatory, it is loaded with goodness, including potassium, vitamin C and calcium, and it helps you to maintain your testosterone levels.
Supplement for Athletes Conclusion
While there are some vitamins and minerals that are always going to be a helpful addition to your wellness plan, anyone looking to improve their athletic performance should research more targeted supplements.
Not only that, you should make sure which ever supplement you take that the doses match those found in clincial studies to acheive maximum results.
Vitamins, minerals, and extracts that are focused on muscle repair and increasing the flow of oxygen in your bloodstream can make a real difference, and there is evidence to show that boosting your testosterone levels can give you multiple benefits.