If you search for ‘supplements’ in Google, you will literally find hundreds of products to help you get as big as a bodybuilder or as strong as a powerlifter. What if those goals are not your own? What if you are interested in boosting your athletic performance, general fitness or overall health or are simply a weekend warrior looking to get the most from your workouts.
Not everybody wishes to spend their lives in a gym, your preference for athletics may be a few hours playing tennis or soccer games, an afternoon hike, mud run or maybe a little bit of home training. You are not a professional athlete but that doesn’t mean you don’t take physical fitness seriously and this means you wish to improve your performance, no matter how it is measured.
If this sounds like you then you are in luck, you don’t need Google to find the best supplements to reach your goals as I have got together the top 5 here.
Recommended Dose: 3-5g Per day.
You have probably heard of creatine being one of the most effective performance supplements on the market in terms of improving high-intensity work capacity, muscle mass, strength and body composition, this is very true and why creatine tops the list.
Creatine supplementation works by increasing phosphocreatine (PCr) stores in the muscle tissue, allowing a quicker regeneration of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), a source of energy for the body. This is very important in any physical activity that needs a rapid energy source during high-intensity explosive exercise, this is why creatine is so important for exercise and performance.
You do not want to run out of energy when jumping pits or up 15 foot walls, even if you’re not into mud runs, creatine has been shown to also improve performance on the field as well. Research has demonstrated improvements in power outputs, muscular endurance and sprint performance in sports like soccer, hockey, rugby and football.
Recommended Dose: 1.8 – 2.7 mg per pound of bodyweight (200-400mg per 150 pound individual) an hour before exercise.
If you are looking to shave seconds off of a 5K time or improve passing accuracy on the soccer field then caffeine has been suggested to help you achieve just these sort of things. Caffeine is a well-documented ergogenic aid in performance based research and has been used in sports dating back to the 1920’s.
Many of us consume caffeine because of its ability to increase our alertness (how else can you make it through a workday?) however this jack of all trades stimulant can also help reduce the perception of effort, increase fat oxidation and stimulate the release of endorphins during workouts.
Recommended Dose: 3-6g Per day
Imagine if you was in a highly intensive exercise situation like rock climbing or bench pressing 300 pounds, you want to get out a decent amount of reps or be able to climb the highest, the fastest, enter beta-alanine.
During high intensity activities, your body accumulates hydrogen ions, causing a drop in your pH levels, ultimately resulting in fatigue. Beta-alanine has been shown to increase intramuscular carnosine content, increasing the body’s ability to buffer hydrogen ions and delay fatigue.
Beta-alanine supplementation can help improve your exercise performance and training volume which will ultimately leave you achieving much higher goals than you ever expected.
Bonus Tip: Hydration when it is hot out
Many activities are played outdoors in high heat and humidity or poorly ventilated gyms. Maintaining optimum hydration levels is critical for best performance.
If you are restricted to water breaks, be sure to consume 16-24 oz. of fluid prior to any activity and a further 8 oz. right before play.
After the competition, aim to get another 16-24 oz. of fluids for every pound of bodyweight you lost sweating.
Recommended dose: 20-25g whey protein
Physical activity does put stress on the body, and that stress only increases the longer, harder or more frequently you engage in any exercise. Recovery becomes much more critical as training increases, protein is absolutely essential for complete recovery.
Protein is very rarely used as an energy substrate (fuel) during shorter duration activities like lifting at the gym, 3 on 3 basketball games or shorter races. It is still essential however for repair, construction and maintenance of muscle mass.
Consuming protein after a workout will increase protein synthesis rates and help you recover faster too so you are ready to go after your next big event.
Recommended Dose: 2g (EPA-DHA)
Fish oil is a fantastic source of omega-3 fatty acids which are huge players in the recovery process. the anti-inflammatory properties of EPA and DHA , two essential fatty acids found in fish oils can help reduce post-exercise muscle soreness which is often felt hours or days after strenuous exercise.
Omega-3’s are also critical for the building and maintaining of muscles which may help you recover faster and train harder.
These are all 5 of the best supplements you can take on the market today which will massively improve athletic performance.
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