Top 7 Athletic Supplements That Should Be a Part of Your Diet
Taking the right supplements can improve your sports performance. Check out these 7 athletic supplements that should be a part of your diet.
No matter what sport you play, you need to be taking athletic supplements if you want to improve your game. There's only so much strength training and conditioning you can do to become a better player. Taking supplements before, after, and even during these activities, though, takes your efforts to the next level.
Supplements give your body the energy it needs to work hard on and off the court (or field). They help your muscles perform, recover, and get stronger.
But the thing is, you can't start taking supplements for athletes at random!
You have to educate yourself about how supplements work and use them according to their specific function to get the best results. It's not something to guess and check; it's an integral part of your training routine that has to be done correctly.
The following is a guide on the top ten supplements you should be taking, with insights on when to use them and how they work.
Protein is arguably the most popular athletic supplement. It's something that everyone agrees on and anyone can learn how to use. The main reason for taking protein is to help your muscles rebuild and get stronger after a workout or match/game.
However, you can do this with many different kinds of protein. Beyond the "standard" whey protein products out there, there are also:
- Casein protein
- Egg protein
- Pea protein
- Sweet potato protein
- Brown rice protein
Even hemp-based protein is available for athletes. Not to mention, there are endless flavors of protein to choose from and many manufacturers add vitamins and minerals to their protein blends.
As great as protein powder is at rebuilding your muscles, it works even better when you take it with BCAAs - Branch Chain Amino Acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of muscles. Your body produces them on its own when you finish exerting energy in a workout or a game.
But, when you take BCAAs, the rebuilding process happens much faster. Your muscles get all the amino acids they need in a short amount of time, which lowers how sore or tired they feel.
You can mix BCAAs into your protein drink or take them on their own. They work best post-workout.
Most of the supplements on this list are for post-workout purposes. But, pre-workout should be taken as the name implies - before you go into a training session or a game.
Pre-workout is basically a concentrated form of caffeine meant to "wake up" your muscles and create a pump. It helps your body perform better because you feel alert and can access the mind to muscle connection easier.
Some pre-workout formulas are actually made without caffeine. They have the same pump up feeling in your muscles, but it's a nice option for those who already get enough caffeine from drinking coffee or tea.
Up next on the list of supplements you should be taking is creatine. This helps the body maintain energy during a long workout or a match. It can also enhance the recovery process after you're done exerting energy and your muscles start to rebuild themselves.
Creatine is best taken before or during a workout, but, it can still provide benefits if you choose to take it after your workout is complete. After an athlete has been taking this long-term, they may start to notice higher levels of endurance while training/competing, which can also lead to more strength and better performance as a whole.
Glutamine is a non-essential amino acid. It's an amino that the body already produces, however, it's important for athletes to get as much of this amino as they can. Giving your body more glutamine than it already has helps it better regulate your body.
When you work out or play a match/game, you're increasing the level of ammonia in your body. This contributes to how sore or "tight" your muscles feel unless you have enough glutamine to balance the acids in your system.
Using glutamine is ideal when you're conditioning and training twice a day or going into a long tournament and need to perform your best. The best time to take it is after your workout or match.
Another supplement worth having in your collection is magnesium. Magnesium plays a critical role in the amount of energy you feel throughout the day.
If you're in a state of calorie deficiency or following an intense workout routine, magnesium can give you the boost of energy you need to perform your best. This goes for both your physical performance and mental focus.
Being deficient of magnesium makes you more prone to injury and it gets in the way of the "head game" you have to play as an athlete. Including this supplement in your diet, though, keeps you focused, alert, and ready to go day in and day out.
You can take magnesium at any time of day.
7. Fish Oils
Last but not least, fish oils. This supplement can also be taken at any time, although it's typically best to use before you complete your workout for the day.
Fish oil supplements are packed with omega-3 fatty acids. Whether you're taking them as pills or in liquid form, the omega-3s are providing your body with support in the recovery process - particularly to help fight inflammation. Omega-3s give you a better chance of fighting off an injury and to speed up the natural recovery process that happens in muscle tears.
This supplement is also a good energy boost before a workout and it can increase the rate of protein synthesis in the body (speed up muscle growth).
Discover How Athletic Supplements Can Enhance Your Performance
It's one thing to read about the best athletic supplements, and another to feel the difference they can make. Whether you're training in the offseason right now or you have a big game coming up, it's worth investing in a few supplements to help you perform your best.
For other ways to improve your training regimen and athletic skills as a whole, click here.