The world of dietary supplement can be overwhelming at the very least and downright misleading at some times. Here are a few supplements that have have been put to the test through numerous studies to prove their safety and efficacy. After reading this you’ll have a better idea of the sports supplements that work, how to take the right dosage for your needs, and the populations that would benefit the most.
Overview: Creatine is perhaps the most commonly consumed supplement in the sports performance world and for good reason. It is has been proven to increase muscle mass, improve exercise performance, and even offers cognitive benefits.
Dosage: The benefits of creatine monohydrate can be obtained by orally consuming 3-5 grams per day. This amount has proven to be safe for long term consumption with no adverse effects.
Who can benefit: The wide ranging benefits of creatine make it an attractive supplement for a wide variety of individuals including athletes, vegans, and elderly populations. This could be a good choice for you if you’re interested in improving strength, gaining muscle, increasing energy, or improving brain functions.
Overview: Beta alanine is a non essential amino acid that is popular for improving athletic performance. It has been shown to improve time to exhaustion (TTE) and improved sports performance in tested cyclists and rowers. Beta Alanine acts by increasing Carnosine levels in the muscle. Carnosine helps buffer the acid that builds up in muscle during exercise allowing the muscle to perform at a higher capacity for longer.
Dosage: Subjects have shown benefits when consuming between 2-5 grams daily.
Who can benefit: Individuals who participate in high intensity exercise could experience performance benefits by supplementing with beta alanine.
Beta Vulgaris aka Beet Extract
Overview: Beet supplements have gained popularity recently as studies have shown them to be at the root of some major athletic achievements. Beets are a highly concentrated source of nitrates (NO3) that the body converts to nitric dioxide (NO2) a vasodilator. Vasodilators can improve athletic performance by increasing blood flow and allowing more oxygen and nutrients to the muscle. Athletes who supplemented with Beet Juice showed significant improve when compared to athletes who consumed a placebo. These athletes showed an increase in time to exhaustion (TTE) tests.
Dosage: 400mg-500mg consumed 2-3 hours before the time of competition is recommended to ensure optimal effects of the beet juice. Some studies have shown that daily supplementation of beet juice starting 6 days before the competition could provide greater benefit than same day consumption only.
Who can benefit: Athletes who are looking to improve their performance in an event that tests their aerobic capacity may want to give this safe food supplement a try!
*Note: The effects of beet juice seem to have a negative correlation with caffeine so don’t mix your beets with coffee.
Overview: Huperzine is one of the popular new supplements in the category known as nootropics. Whenever our brain is focused on learning something we release neurotransmitters such as Acetylcholine that send out the signal These compounds prevents acetylcholineterase enzymes from picking up the neurotransmitters quickly after they have been released. This means that the mind is able to stay focused on tasks for longer and with greater intensity.
Dosage: It is recommended to begin with with 10mg of Huperzine per day to gauge tolerance.
Who can benefit: Individuals whose sport or activity requires high levels of focus to execute on. This could include weightlifters, powerlifters, golfers, and biathletes just to name a few. These supplements don’t have to be limited to sports performance. Try nootropics to learn a new skill at work and see if they work for you.
Overview: Most of us are no stranger to fish oil and may have taken it for one reason or another. Fish oil has been studied extensively and the benefits range from improved cognitive health, to reduced inflammation, heart health, upregulating anabolic pathways, and even boosting mood. The key desired ingredients are the Omega-3 fats EPA and DHA. Top of the line supplements will have high levels of these fats and represent the quality of the product.
Dosage: Consumption levels of 1-5 grams daily are popular, speak with your doctor and discuss if a fish oil supplement is a good fit for your needs.
Who can benefit: Athletes, the elderly population, expecting mothers and children all can benefit from a fish oil supplement.
4 Myths about CrossFit That Might Surprise You
- I won’t “fit” in.
When you show up to a CrossFit gym, you’ll find a different scene than the one you saw on television. Guess what else? You might be farther along in your fitness journey than other people attending the class…
It’s surprising, but one of the biggest factors keeping people from the gym is not being as fit as they want to be. What a catch-22! So, before you rule yourself out from being able to complete the Workout of the Day (or “WOD” in CrossFit lingo) let’s try to view the situation with fresh eyes.
As CrossFit has grown in popularity you’ve seen the well-muscled men and women of the CrossFit Games. As you watch them run, jump, and hoist tremendous weights overhead you think to yourself “I could never do that.”
So, what do you need to do? Try to reach out to a local CrossFit gym and see what it’s like. Like in the popular romantic comedy, Hitch, when the date doctor played by Will Smith teaches his client to move in for a kiss. The man moves in 90% of the distance and lets the woman come in for the final 10%. That’s where CrossFit is going to meet you. By opening the door, you will have access to a supportive and accepting community.
Your coach will help you “scale” to give a similar workout as those athletes on TV. The difference will be with lighter weights, shorter duration, or fewer repetitions. Everyone has unique strengths and weaknesses, but they are always there for each other.
- CrossFit will make me too big/bulky.
Getting too muscular is a common fear that many women have when they deliberate strength training programs. Developing bigger muscles is a process called hypertrophy. Hypertrophy will occur with a consistent resistance training routine. Training volume, caloric consumption, and hormones all play an important role in the growth of new muscle. Any person you see that appears to muscular may spend as much time training as you do at your full-time job. With that said, it’s one piece of the puzzle and most likely won’t happen on accident.
Most athletes find that lose inches in all the right places even with increased muscle. Clothes fit better, they have a healthy appetite, and even look better naked!
- Don’t a lot of people who do CrossFit get injured?
Do people get injured participating in CrossFit. Yes.
They also get injured while jogging, moving furniture, walking their dogs, and shaving their legs in the shower. Injuries come from a lack of focus, preparation, or by not listening to our bodies. In fact, the injury incidence in CrossFit fits into a category with most other recreational training activities.
The functional movements used in CrossFit model the movements we complete in everyday life. Practicing fundamental movement patterns reduces the risk of injury and helps us become more confident and competent. A quick internet search will show you the tremendous success stories of individuals who have used CrossFit to overcome past injuries and debilitating diseases.
- CrossFit will make me worse at my sport.
If you have concerns, talk to a CrossFit gym who has trainers with experience in your sport of choice; football, baseball, triathlon, golf, and snowboarding athletes all can use the CrossFit method. CrossFit can support their sport with workouts built around the various stages of their competitive season.
CrossFit is “constantly varied functional movements performed at high intensity.” It is a system of general physical preparedness (GPP). Being more prepared can benefit all athletes as they adapt to and overcome the rigors of their sport.
CrossFit is also designed to increase work capacity. Moving loads that are heavier, moving them faster, or moving them farther are all examples of increased work capacity. A football player who can perform more work will be stronger on each play he participates in. Increased work capacity will help an individual and team succeed in any sport!