When supplements are used appropriately, they have the ability to increase an athlete's performance. That being said, not all supplements are suited to every athlete. Using a supplement that does not compliment your training style and goals, can hinder your performance and recovery.
Endurance athletes exert submaximal effort over a prolonged period and require more nutrients to balance the demand placed on their bodies. If you partake in continuous physical activity that lasts anywhere from 1-5 hours or any sports like long-distance running, cycling, or swimming, you’re classified as an endurance athlete. To improve your fitness and reach peak performance, I have listed some of the best performance-based supplements to help you get there below.
Carbohydrates to fuel your training
Carbohydrates are the main source of energy your body and brain uses to function. When you consume carbs, your body breaks them down into smaller sugar molecules known as glucose.
During physical activity, your body uses your stored glycogen for fuel, which helps delay fatigue and allows you to perform at an intense level for longer. Once your body uses up existing glycogen stores, it will require an external source of carbohydrates to continue performing optimally.
The daily carbohydrate guideline for athletes as recommended by The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is: 7-12 grams of carbohydrate per kilogram of body weight per day.
The benefits of supplementing with carbohydrates include:
- Replenishes glycogen
- Boosts energy levels
- Fuels your workout
- Absorbed rapidly by your body
- Aids recovery
The best time to consume: during your workout
Amino acids for energy and recovery
To ensure your gruelling training session doesn’t finish before your will does, add amino acids to your supplement stack for peak performance.
Commonly referred to as the building blocks for protein, amino acids are required by your body to grow and function optimally. Nine out of the 20 amino acids your body requires are classified as essential as your body can’t produce them. This means they need to be obtained through your diet or an amino acid supplement.
The benefits of supplementing with amino acids:
- Maximum energy for optimal performance
- Supports muscle recovery and growth
- Regulates mood
- Supports nutrient absorption
- Helps preserve lean muscle mass
The best time to consume: before or during your workout
L-Glutamine to maintain healthy immune function
When your glutamine levels are on the low end of the spectrum, your athletic performance can suffer due to decreased immune function and muscle tissue breakdown.
Despite your body being able to naturally produce L-glutamine, endurance athletes have a large amount of stress placed on their bodies and often require more of this essential amino acid than they can naturally produce.
The benefits of supplementing with L-Glutamine include:
- Maintains healthy immune function
- Helps your body fight illness and bacteria
- Reduces muscle wasting and catabolism
- Supports muscle recovery
- Supports gut health and digestion
The best time to consume: before or directly after your workout
Multivitamins to promote balance in your body
Endurance athletes, particularly those who train upwards of six hours per week are more susceptible to nutrient deficiencies, iron in particular. Minerals can be lost through sweat which is why athletes who partake in high intensity activity use up their stores faster than the average person.
Vitamins and minerals play a vital role in maintaining energy release needed to support endurance and aerobic exercise. If you’re feeling tired or flat, that might be a sign that you need to nourish your body with more nutrients.
The benefits of supplementing with multivitamins:
- Maintains healthy nutrient levels in your body
- Contains essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and extracts
- Promote balance in your body
- Supports overall health and wellbeing so you can perform your best
- Reduces free radicals formed in the body