Training is all about strength, power, or high-intensity output, and one workout has the effect of completely destroying your muscle fibres. Diet and supplementation are essential to get you back in the game and take your training to the next level. In this article, we’ll list the 7 best supplements for athletes.
1. Whey Protein
All athletes need protein to repair muscle tissue – whey protein isn’t just for increasing muscle mass. Muscle fibres are built with the amino acids in your protein molecules.
The benefits of whey protein on sports performance have been backed up by strong scientific evidence. If you want to recover fast between your workouts and be able to reduce the time to complete your WODs, you should really be taking a protein supplement before and after workouts.
No matter what sports we’re talking about, whey protein should always be the first on your supplements list.
2) Vitamin D3
You might be surprised to see Vitamin D3 occupying a second place on a list of supplements but you really should pay attention to this all-in-one supplement. Science literature has shown vitamin D3 to be absolutely essential for overall health.
This vitamin is not only important for strengthening the immune system (by fighting free radicals) but also for increasing calcium absorption in the bones. The high-intensity movements put a lot of pressure on the bones and the joints. Fragile bones will eventually lead to injuries and impair your development. Vitamin D3 contributes to a healthy bone structure.
But wait – Vitamin D3 benefits don’t end here! Research with athletes has shown that this powerful vitamin boosts your power output by increasing fast twitch muscle fibre contraction (1) . And to top it off, it also affects serum testosterone levels (2). Adequate levels of vitamin D mean more lean muscle mass and less body fat.
Whilst not a fashionable supplement, Beta-alanine is one of the most promising and well supported by scientific literature. Inside the body, this amino acid bonds with L-histidine to form carnosine, a dipeptide responsible for neutralizing the acidity increase in muscle cells, caused by the breakdown of lactic acid into lactate and hydrogen ions.
This will delay the time until you become fatigued and let you work out longer. According to a meta-analysis published in 2012, beta-alanine appears to be most useful in activities lasting between 60 and 240 seconds (3).
The benefits of omega-3 fatty acids are countless: it improves cardiovascular health, has a positive effect on mental awareness and brain mood, fights inflammation, improves your lipid profile, provides useful fuel to the body and – get ready to be amazed – stimulates protein synthesis (4).
Omega-3 should be a must for every athlete who really wants to get better and better every time.
Glutamine plays a crucial role in the maintenance of a capable immune system. Glutamine is the main fuel for lymphocytes, macrophages and neutrophils, important cells from the immune system (5). Science shows that after strenuous exercise your defences are low mostly because your glutamine levels are also running low. Glutamine supplementation gives the body all the tools it needs to fight infections.
Glutamine also can stimulate protein and glycogen synthesis and contribute to the removal of ammonia, a metabolite generated during workout.
6) Glucosamine & Chondroitin
As we said before, the demanding functional fitness workouts put a lot of pressure over the bones and especially over the joints. It’s not uncommon to hear people complaining about how high intensity training has hurt their shoulder or wrist joints.
This can easily be avoided by taking a supplement containing glucosamine and chondroitin, two ingredients that have been well studied with regards to strengthening joints.
ZMA contains zinc, magnesium and vitamin B6. The two minerals are known for their important role in tissue repair and calming down the nervous system to help you sleep better. Vitamin B6 takes part in the energy production processes.
Besides this, if your testosterone levels are below normal, ZMA will raise them back to normal, therefore contributing to muscle growth.
1 – Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2009 May;41(5):1102-10
2 – Horm Metab Res. 2011 Mar;43(3):223-5
3 – Amino Acids. 2012 Jul;43(1):25-37
4 – Clin Sci (Lond). 2011 September; 121(6): 267-278
5 – Amino Acids. 1999;17(3):227-41
Our articles should be used for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to be taken as medical advice. If you’re concerned, consult a health professional before taking dietary supplements or introducing any major changes to your diet.