Effective Supplementation For Improving Sports Performance;
I am going to start by saying that if something really works very well then it’s probably illegal. If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is!
If you are in a sports team, or in the Army or competing in something where you are tested, then when you think about improving your performance, you also need to make sure that any supplement you are taking is tested for sports purposes and completely clear of banned substances.
There can be a huge, huge risk when you’re competing for your livelihood, or even just doing something with work. You do not want to get popped for a banned substance that you weren’t aware was within your supplement.
Always go for tested for sports supplements, if that’s something you need to be considering.
My second point would be to always avoid proprietary blends. Proprietary blends are compounds mixed together, a method used by supplement companies because they don’t have to specify the amount of each ingredient within the blend.
Therefore, oftentimes although they might be using products that work, there might not be enough of those products inside of that blend to actually make a difference. This is quite common in a lot of pre workout supplements.
Now enough of the doom and gloom. Let’s get into what actually works!
Number one; Caffeine is one of the most effective supplements for sports performance that is out on the market.
Now you do need to be careful because dependency is a real risk. For it to work for sports performance you should think about decreasing your daily consumption, so that when you take it for performance purposes it’s going to have a greater effect.
Caffeine works by improving your energy, surprisingly enough, the amount you need is around two to six milligrammes per kilo of body weight. Ideally take it around 45 minutes before your exercise or before your sport, in order for it to be fully absorbed.
Now, be aware that caffeine does have a half life of four to six hours, which means four to six hours later, there’s still half of it within your system. So be aware of this and don’t take it too close to bedtime. If you are competing before bedtime, just be aware of how this might negatively affect your sleep.
Now what does caffeine exactly do for sports performance? Well, it increases your muscle fibre excitability, which makes it easier for your muscle fibres to be used. It reduces your reaction time, increases your alertness and improves your decision making especially when sleep deprived!
It also increases the amount of force and strength you’re able to use, improves your endurance performance, lowers your rate of exertion, increases your muscular endurance so that you’re able to work for longer and spares muscle carbohydrate energy.
Absolutely loads of benefits for performance and strength purposes. So get some caffeine in your basket! Get it tipped, you can just take coffee if you like, or you can get caffeine powder or tablets to help you with the amount that you need.
Number Two; Creatine Monohydrate. This joins caffeine, as one of the most researched supplements ever. You want to be focusing on just monohydrate, rather than any of the fancy type of creatines that are out there.
I would focus on having the powder as well, because it seems to be digested easier. If you do struggle with digestion of creatine, then I recommend taking it with food. After your sport or after your workout, in order for the best digestive effect.
Amounts that you need would be somewhere between 3 to 5 grams daily, depending on your body weight. If you’re smaller take less, if you’re larger take more.
There are many benefits to using creatine monohydrate: It helps with repeated high intensity efforts with short recovery. It also helps with improving your strength levels and improves the training load that you’re able to use. This in turn improves your training quality.
Improving your training quality improves your strength and improves your recovery. Creatine monohydrate also improves the signalling to the muscles, which means that you get a greater pump and a greater muscle gain.
It is not just for muscle strength and training sports, it also helps improve your muscular endurance, it means that your time to exhaustion is longer so you can go for longer.
It also increases the amount of carbohydrates that you are able to store as readily available energy. So it has loads of benefits for the endurance athletes as well. So again, tick, get it in your basket!
Number Three; If you are in endurance sports and anaerobic endurance sports in particular, you might want to consider sodium bicarbonate. Sodium bicarbonate helps improve your anaerobic exercise because it helps buffer hydrogen ions, which means that it lowers the amount of soreness you feel from lactic acid.
It also improves your time to exhaustion. So, improves your anaerobic performance, buffers hydrogen ions and can lessen the acidic tendencies of the lactic acid buildup from anaerobic exercise.
Again, this is something that you are going to want to test before trialling out because there can be gi effects with it. So don’t just try this on race day. Try it with your test runs and see how you get on with it. The amount needed to create an effect seems to be 300 milligrammes per kilo taken an hour before the run or race.
Number Four; the last thing I’ll mention is beta alanine. Beta alanine is potentially very useful for sprinting sports and so for things like team sports or other sports where you’re being very, very anaerobic. High effort sprint’s with short rest periods, CrossFit, for example might benefit from this in certain situations.
It seems to delay your fatigue, by buffering hydrogen ions through increasing muscular stores of carnosine. You may want to try beta alanine but I’m not suggesting it’s for everyone, potentially just for anaerobic sports.
Quantities to take would be 4 to 10 weeks of 80 milligrammes per kilo of body weight, then followed by 40 milligrammes per kilo of body weight as a maintenance dose thereafter.
There we have it, Ladies and Gentlemen, that is pretty much it when it comes to supplements for sports performance.
Anything else you might want to consider would be gels and liquids of carbohydrates, especially for endurance sports as they provide quick energy, allowing you to keep topped up with carbohydrates when you need them the most – mid-race!!