You train hard, and you want your body to work hard for you in return so you can play a good game, beat a personal record or bring out your inner MVP. To do so, you have to treat and feed your body well. Besides eating your vegetables and showing up to practice, what exactly does that mean? Certain supplements can help you feel like you’ve got this down to the very last drop of sweat.
Proteins are your building blocks, and most experts agree that consuming at least 20 grams of protein after a workout helps your muscles rebuild. Rule No. 1 in nutrition: Get your nutrients from food first, and then fill the holes with supplements. For protein, turn to lean meats, legumes or plant-based proteins such as tofu and quinoa. You might also consider adding protein powder to a post-workout smoothie. A food is considered a complete protein, Cleveland Clinic notes, when it contains the nine essential amino acids that the human body cannot produce on its own.
Your muscles store creatine for energy, and according to the Mayo Clinic, research shows it may benefit athletes during workouts that require short, intense bursts. Think high-intensity interval workouts or boot camp classes. According to a clinical review published in the journal Pharmacological Reviews, creatine helps restore the molecule known as ATP, which your body uses for energy, and it helps stimulate protein synthesis. It’s here for you if you want to build strength and recover with less fatigue.
According to a review published in the journal Amino Acids, beta-alanine can help you improve your exercise capacity. It helps you go the distance by giving you more time before fatigue sets in. Another study found that it works by reducing the lactic acid buildup in your muscles so your body can continue to break down glucose in your muscles. When that stops, you start to get tired.
- Functional Mushroom Powder
Cordyceps works in a similar way to creatine, helping your muscles store more of the molecules your body turns into energy. Research has found that this helps reduce fatigue. Reishi mushroom has also been linked to reduced fatigue, meanwhile supporting your immune system and reducing inflammation. Om Mushroom Superfood’s Fit powder contains cordyceps and reishi mushrooms. Add a few teaspoons to a pre-workout drink. It’s great in coffee and tea, as well, and adds a mild, delicious flavor.
Drinking water during a workout is a no-brainer. However, you sweat out more than water when you’re getting after it at the gym. You also sweat out electrolytes. So, if you only replenish with water during an intense training session or competitive game, you may start to feel fatigued and weak. By adding electrolytes to your water, you’re supporting your endurance and energy when you need it most.
Glutamine is an amino acid. Where beta-alanine helps you during a training session or game, increasing endurance and delaying fatigue, glutamine’s benefits are in the spotlight after your workout. It helps to reduce soreness after intense activity, shortening your recovery time before you have to hit the training floor again.
Ultimately, better performance on the court, field or wherever it is you shine as an athlete is all about giving your body the natural tools to increase energy and decrease fatigue. Different experts will argue their favorites, but these six basic supplements for athletes offer a good start. Use them only as recommended. Consult your doctor or a dietitian about the best dosage for you.
Catherine Conelly is a former beauty and health editor turned freelance writer and digital marketer. She’s written for Shape, Thrillist, PopSugar and StyleCaster. Her work has also appeared on Forbes,
Entrepreneur, the Glassdoor blog, and Adidas Game Plan A.