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What Supplements Are Best For Sports Athletes?

What are the best supplements now for an athlete to use if they want to beat their competition? Find out what other people from the messege boards think ...

By: Topic Of The Week


TOPIC: What Supplements Are Best For Sports Athletes?

The Question: Let's be honest: Most of the athletic training community is behind the times when it comes to nutrition and supplements for maximum performance. The biggest "supplement" in the minds of coaches and trainers is Gatorade, a glorified sugar water. The bodybuilding community on this site is decades beyond when it comes to using supplements to get results.

So help them out. What are the best supplements now for an athlete to use if they want to beat their competition? What should they use pre-game? What about post-game? What should they use if they want to get bigger and/or stronger? Give the exact products and/or stacks that will work best and EXPLAIN WHY they work.

Also, what would you tell an athlete or their parent who believes that all supplements like creatine are "unsafe steroids with side effects"?

Show off your knowledge to the world!

The Winners:

      Prizes:
        1st place - 75 in store credit.
        2nd place - 20 in store credit.
        3rd place - Free Bodybuilding.com hat.

To use your credit, e-mail Will @ will@bodybuilding.com for more info.


1st Place - ravadongon

Before beginning with supplements we must make sure the athlete's diet is adequate. This is a major influence in the athlete achieving peak performance, as bodybuilding supplements will only be able to aid a rigid, well structured diet.


Tips For A Well Structured Diet

Here are some tips:

Stay Hydrated

    Why?

    • Our bodies are made up of 55-65% fluid
    • To avoid heat illness and cramping an adequate amount of water must be consumed

    Tip:

    • Carry a sports bottle with you at all times and continue to refill it throughout the day.

Consume Adequate Calories And Carbohydrates

    Why?

    • Food is your fuel
    • Is the body's chief form of energy, stored as glycogen in our muscles (and liver)

    Tip:

    • Complex carbohydrates including whole grain breads, cereals, pastas, fruits and vegetables should make up at least 50% of an athletes diet.

Eat Adequate Amounts Of Protein

    Why?

    • Performs many metabolic functions in the body
    • Essential for rebuilding and repair of our body's tissue

    Tip:

    • Consume adequate amounts of meat, beans, fish, poultry, nuts, peanut butter, eggs and dairy products.

Regular Meals And Snacks

    Why?

    • Maintain blood glucose and energy throughout the day and through practice

    Tip:

    • Eat regularly (every 2-4 hours).

Avoid Fad Diets And Choose Supplements Wisely

    Why?

    • A lot of products and diets have little (if any) scientific data backing them
    • Can actually be damaging to an athletes performance

    Tip:

    • Avoid fad diets, choose supplements carefully by selecting ones that you need and know are effective and treat off days as refueling days.

This leads me to this week's topic: What Supplements Are Best For Sports Athletes? Here are the winners in this category: supplements for those who want maximum performance out of themselves on the sporting field:


The Best Supplements For Sports Athletes

Creatine - Learn More

    What Does It Do?

    • Increases amount of ATP (adenosine triphosphate) that is stored in muscles
    • ATP - stored form of energy (between 2nd and 3rd phosphate groups) used by the body during cellular respiration to provide energy for the demands of contracting muscles.

ATP: Energy's Currency!
If one has ever wondered just how we are able to summons the energy to perform a number of activities under a variety of conditions, the answer, in large part, is ATP. Without ATP, ones body would simply fail to function. Learn why ...
[ Click here to learn more. ]

    Why Should I Take It?

    Improved performance in strength/power dominated sports, such as football and short distance running, as well as in more endurance associated sports, such as long distance running.

    If you are prepared to pay more money, CEE (Creatine Ethyl Ester HCL) is a good option. CEE is more potent and better absorbed by the body than creatine monohydrate and will negate the bloating effect experienced by creatine monohydrate (Learn more about CEE).

    Kre-Alkalyn is also very good for those prepared to spend a little more, and is cheaper then CEE (Learn more about Kre-Alkalyn).

    How Much Should I Take?

    Follow packet recommendations. Normally 1 serving twice a day is sufficient. On training days it's recommended that you take a serving of creatine pre and post workout.

    Alert For Disbelievers Or Those With Obnoxious Parents!

    If you believe creatine is a steroid, you're WRONG. Creatine is a natural substance occurring in our bodies. Too many articles have illustrated this. Here's a quote from an article, so you can see:

    "Unlike steroids or drugs, creatine is 100% natural and occurs naturally in many foods; therefore, it can never be banned from any sports or international competitions (unless they banned eating meat). Many foods especially herring, salmon, tuna and beef contain some creatine." (Learn more).

Glycerol - Learn More

    What does it do?

    • Causes greater fluid retention than drinking water alone
    • Hyper hydration before exercise can reduce, delay or eliminate the negative effects of dehydration.

    Why Should I Take It?

    Dehydration, by even the slightest amount, can impair you performance. Because glycerol causes greater water retention, it will keep you hydrated for longer during your sport, so you can always perform at your best.

    How much should I take?

    Again follow packet recommendations. Usually it will say take around 1-2 hours prior to training.

    My Choice:

    PBL Liquid Muscle - Learn more.

Vitamins And Minerals - Learn More

    What does it do?

    • Essential for bodily functions
    • General health and wellbeing

    Why Should I Take It?

    This is the most important supplement of all. Athletes engaged in strenuous sports, have a higher demand for vitamins and minerals, so athletes engaged in those sorts of sports will probably need to take more than one serving each day as well as adding additional single nutrients like Vitamin C and Vitamin E which help boost recovery from workouts.

    How Much Should I Take?

    Follow packet serving recommendations. Normally it will be somewhere around 1-2 servings per day, preferably taken with a meal.

    My Choice:

    AST Multi Pro 32X - Learn more.

Protein - Learn More

    What Does It Do?

    • Contains Amino Acids - building blocks used by body to construct and repair muscle tissue
    • Prevents Catabolism - muscle wasting

    Why Should I Take It?

    The agreed amount of protein athletes require is generally around 1-1.5g/lb (bodyweight); the supplementation of whey/egg/casein protein is an easy and cheap way to achieve this.

    With the right choice of protein combined with the right daily regimen of use you can get the most from your training and notice that recovery is better and performance is at a higher overall level.

    How Much Should I Take?

    For best results take 1 serving of whey protein when you wake up and when you eat.

    Egg protein can be taken any time during the day. Casein protein, will best aid you before going to bed (1 serving), if you choose to supplement with it.

    My Choices:

Glucosamine Sulfate - Learn More

    What Does It Do?

    • Helps re-build cartilage - shock absorber in the joints of your body
    • Prevents joint problems before they start

    Why Should I Take It?

    Life in general and sports in particular cause a fair amount of wear and tear upon the joints of your body. When too much wear and tear occurs you can become sidelined with an injury that will keep you from being able to perform at a high level.

    How Much Should I Take?

    Follow packet serving recommendations. Normally it will be somewhere around 1-3 servings per day, preferably taken with a meal.

    My Choice:

    NOW Glucosamine Sulfate - Learn more.

Flax Seed Oils - Learn More

    What Does It Do?

    • Increased lubrication of joints
    • Better utilization of fats
    • Improved mental functioning

    Why Should I take It?

    The reason Flax Seed Oil is such a valuable supplement is because it contains Essential Fatty Acids, which are very important to the human body.

    How Much Should I Take?

    You need to consume at least 2 to 3 thousand milligrams of Flax Seed each day. An easy and convenient way to do this is by taking it in the capsule form.

    My Choice:

    Optimum Flaxseed Oil Softgels - Learn more.


The Bottom Line

Pre-Workout Supplement & Diet Plan:

    1-2 hrs prior - 1 serving of Glucosamine Sulfate

    1-2 hrs prior - 1 serving of glycerol

    1-2 hrs prior - Medium Digesting Protein - (Ex: 1 serving of egg protein powder (Optional))

    1-2 hrs prior - Low GI carbohydrate source - (Ex: Oats or Beans)

    1 hr prior - 250-500mL of water

    15 min prior - 1 serving of creatine (Read pack recommendations)

    15 min prior - 250mL of sports drink (Ex: Powerade or Gatorade)

    15 min prior - At least 250mL of water

Post-Workout Supplement & Diet Plan:

    ASAP - 1 serving of whey protein

    ASAP - High GI carbohydrate source - (Ex: 500mL of sports drink/dextrose)

    ASAP - 1 serving of creatine

Now you no longer have an excuse for not playing at your best!


2nd Place - Audioslave


The Best Supplements For Sports Athletes

Glucosamine Sulfate:

    Take it from me, sports are hard on the joints. Glucosamine Sulfate has been shown to relieve joint pain and rebuild cartilage. Take care of your joints while you can before it's too late.

    Recommended Products: TKE Joint Boost With MSM, AST ProFLEX 750.

9 Natural Testosterone Boosters & Anti-Estrogen:

    Supplements like Tribulus became big after the prohormone ban. Yet no natural testosterone booster will deliver the results of prohormones or steroids, but they are still effective. Estrogen can inhibit gains, which makes it a good product for males.

    Recommended Products: Nutrex Vitrix, Biotest Tribex, Ergopharm 6-OXO.

Nitric Oxide:

    NO2 increases blood flow which makes one look more vascular and help with the absorption of nutrients to muscles.

    Recommended Products: MRI NO2, BSN Nitrix.

Amino Acids:

ZMA:

    ZMA creates a better sleep which helps with recovery. This in turn will help with gains. It seems that many athletes need more zinc because they are more deficient in it. This is important because zinc is involved in testosterone, estrogen and GH production.

    Recommended Products: SNAC ZMA, Twinlab ZMA Fuel.

Creatine:

    Creatine restores phosphates, increasing energy. Creatine also increases strength, recovery, and size. Creatine responders will experience great results with the supplement. This supplement is best used for fast, short, fast twitch athletics, as opposed to slow, long endurance, slow-twitch sports. Example would be sprinting compared to long distance running.

    Recommended Products: AST Micronized Creatine, Dymatize Creatine Monohydrate, EAS Phosphagen.

Protein Powder:

    Protein powder is another essential supplement to athletes. It definitely is not easy getting a minimum of 1 gram per body pound of protein. Protein will help build muscle tissue. Extra muscle equals a better performance in sports and a better and stronger physique.

    Recommended Products: AST VP2, PrimaForce Substance WPI, Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey.

Meal Replacements:

    It is important for active athletes to eat a lot of food. With the amount of calories they burn and the energy they need it's hard to get in enough meals throughout the day. A good meal replacement like Lean Mass Matrix or Micellean supply healthy fats, carbohyrates and protein.

    Recommended Products: Prolab Lean Mass Matrix, VPX Micellean.

Multi-Vitamin:

    This may well be the most important supplement of all for athletes. Being deficient in just one vitamin or mineral is not good and can effect one's gains. A multi-vitamin is highly recommended for an athlete or average person.

    Recommended Products: Optimum Opti-Men, AST Multi Pro 32X.

Gatorade (Or Similar Sports Drink):

    Believe it or not Gatorade "the glorified sugar water" is an important drink or "supplement" for any intense performance or exercise. Sodium is important an important mineral to all serious athletes. I wrote this a little while back:

    Everyone is so into getting big or losing weight during their workouts that sometimes they forget the importance of the little things that help keep them healthy, and one of those things is salt.

    The most important and only mineral necessary during prolonged exercise is sodium, which is found in salt.


Fluids & Salt

Everyone should already know that athletes or anyone who exercises consumes enough fluids to help keep them hydrated, but how many of them take in the right amount of salt?

Well, below is a study from Switzerland, which shows that if you exercise for more than 3 hours, you should consume fluids and salt.

"During a four hour run, female competitive distance runners took in drinks with different concentration of salt. Ninety-two percent of those who took in plain water with no additional salt developed low blood levels of salt, which could kill them.

Taking in fluid without also taking in adequate amounts of salt dilutes the bloodstream, so that the concentration of salt in the blood is lower than that in brain cells. This causes fluid to move from the low-salt blood into the high-salt brain causing the brain to swell, which can cause seizures and death.

Taking in extra salt during prolonged exercise increases thirst so you drink more fluids, and prevents blood salt levels from dropping so low that you become tired, develop muscle cramps, and can even die." - Read More ...

There you go, low concentrations of salt can lead to seizures and even death! Obviously it is the athletes that are in risk of low concentrations of salt since they are the ones who lose salt through their sweat.

But What Actually Happens Inside Your Body When You Don't Get Enough Salt?
Your adrenal glands let out high amounts of aldosterone that constricts arteries and raises blood pressure. Your kidneys will let out huge amounts of renin, which also contracts arteries and raises blood pressure.


The Other Side of Salt
There is also the argument that high salt levels is what causes heat attacks or strokes. Some studies for people, who are not athletes, have concluded the following:

The Skinny On Salt!
The lesson here is one of moderation. Salt is not the enemy, and by no means should it be eliminated from the diet. On the other hand, everyone should be aware of the role that sodium plays in a balanced nutrition program, to make sure that ...

Five long-term follow-up studies have been done on the effects of salt intake and heart attack. Two of these studies suggest that a low salt intake is harmful. The other three studies show that a high intake of salt is associated with strokes or heart attacks.

Most data will show that lowering salt in your diet will lower blood pressure in some people with high blood pressure, but not in most.

Doctors who feel that a low salt diet will lower high blood pressure base this belief on the INTERSALT project, which showed that people with high salt levels in their urine have high blood pressure. This study was done on people who do not exercise on a regular basis.

Conclusion Of Sodium:
Since people who exercise regularly lose salt through sweat they are harmed by too little salt because aldosterone and renin raise blood pressure. Not enough salt will also slow down recovery, make you tired and increase your risk of injury. Too much salt harms people who do not exercise because too much salt will increase blood volume, which raises blood pressure.


Supplement Stacks

Bulking Stack:

    Multi-Vitamin - Take in morning with breakfast.
    Whey Protein Powder - Upon wakeup, pre workout, post workout.
    Creatine - When using monohydrate load for the first 5 days at around 20 grams and then maintain at around 5 grams.
    ZMA - Take about 30 minutes before bed on an empty stomach.
    Meal Replacement - Use whenever you are unable to eat a meal.

Cutting Stack:

    Multi-Vitamin - Take in morning with breakfast.
    Whey Protein Powder - Upon wakeup, pre workout, post workout.
    ErgoPharm 6-OXO - Take 3 capsules in the morning and 3 in the evening.
    Amino Acids - Take 3-6 grams before cardio workout.

What would you tell an athlete or their parent who believes that all supplements like creatine are "unsafe steroids with side effects"?

I would tell them to educate themselves. So many people jump to conclusions when they hear an uneducated statement about supplements. It is time for the ignorant to begin researching. I think it is important for parents to have knowledge of what their children are using.

A teenager can make a safe supplement like creatine unsafe by using too much or not drinking enough fluids. This is why it is important to do research on anything you put into your body.

Unfortunately in the world we live in and the media that surrounds us with lies, it is difficult to spread the knowledge to everyone. All you can do is try your best to educate them on the subject of supplements.


3rd Place - big calves


Supplements And Sports Athletes

    Most of the coaches, and so called professional trainers don't have a clue on how supplements can help an athlete. Most of them have wrong, ignorant information which confuses the athlete and in time can bring the athlete down from reaching full potential.

    In this article I will discuss the most important/helpful supplements for athletes.

Pre-Game Supplements:

    This is pre-game. You are nervous, thinking about how you will do. Here are some good supplements that will help you in accomplishing your goal. Before we go into supplements however, we need to make it clear that water is the most important supplement you can have. It will hydrate you give your body its full potential.

Glycerol:

    It is a must have for almost all sports. It helps keep important fluids and electrolytes balanced in your body. It will keep you hydrated, so you loose less water while doing a sporting event. Also dinking it while you play will help keep the thirst down, and water levels balanced in your body.

Creatine:

    Creatine is one of the most popular sport supplements and has made its way into the average high school players' locker. Why is it so good you ask? Well, it increases the amount of ATP that is stored in muscles. ATP provides energy to muscles during contraction, so having more ATP means more power and durability to your muscles. As you can tell by now creatine will help in almost all sports, because after all it helps your muscles.

    Learn More About Creatine...

Caffeine:

    You want energy before your event. Well 200-400mg caffeine will do just that. It is a stimulant, and when not abused, is a helpful pre-game supplement that will help your body to the max.

    For the next few hour(s) you will have incredible energy, no lazy feeling, and you will be able to push yourself to the max and exceed other competitors.

    Learn More About Caffeine ...

Caffeine: Helpful Or Harmful?
If you have ever had a cup of coffee, a soft drink, a cup of tea or a piece of chocolate, you have sampled one of the most common and widely used drugs in the world, caffeine.
[ Click here to learn more. ]

Amino Acids:

    Amino acids will help you metabolize protein and break down foods. They aid in the building of muscle cells. They also help maintain muscles, and although most protein powders have amino's in them I recommend buying pure Amino's. They will help your body work with protein and build muscle.

    Learn More About Amino Acids...

Whey Protein Powder:

    In most sports, bigger is better. Protein builds muscles. Muscles make you stronger and give you an big advantage over your competition. Protein powder is pure protein and is useful but protein from food is best. Of course you can't always have big amounts of meats and protein powder makes sense. It is especially good before and after your event.

    Learn More About Whey Protein...

Vitamins:

    Vitamins are essential to your body. They help your body perform better. Face it you need them, and that's why they are in food. But you can't get all of them from food, so that's where vitamins come in. I would recommend a multi-vitamin; filled with all the vitamins you need.

    Just remember Zinc and Calcium compete in the blood stream and calcium always wins. So thats why you don't take ZMA and calcium together. I would recommend buying multi's, take them in the morning, and then take Zinc or ZMA at night for best results.

    Learn More About Vitamins...

Carb Loading:

    If you are participating in an event where you use a lot of energy, carb loading may be for you. A day or two before the event you rest up, and eat a lot of carbs such as rice, pasta and also salads (Lance Armstrong does that before cycling). The idea is that it fills up your muscles with extra energy, so you have an added advantage next to your competitors with average energy stores.

    Learn More About Carb Loading...

Post-Game:

    This is after your event. Hopefully you've won by following my advice, now it's time to 'feed' your body and rest. Here I will list the best supplements for after your game that will help your body to 'heal up.'

Whey Protein:

    I already explained the role of protein above. Right now you muscles are tired and hungry. Whey protein gets absorbed fast, which is why you need it for post-game.

    Learn More About Whey Protein...

Dextrose & Carbohydrates:

    First off, dextrose is sugar that dissolves fast. That's what you want right now, your body is beat up and hungry. The dextrose will help your muscles. Now you need cabs too. Simple carbs will be needed for fast absorption. Why carbs you ask, well just look at the word 'carboHYDRATEs'. Carbs are used for energy, and you will need fast absorption for after your event.

    Learn More About Dextrose & Carbohydrates...

Rest/Sleep:

    Although not a supplement, you need it. Resting/napping will help you rebuild your body after the exhaustion you put it through. When you sleep, your body releases HGH (Human Growth Hormone) to repair the body and help build muscle.

    Learn More About Sleep...

Different Stacks, Different Goals:

    I will show some stacks that will give you the best results for specific goals. I explained how each supplement works, now I will give a supplement stack explanation and how to use it.

    Learn More About Goal Setting...

Muscle Building:

    So you want to get a little bigger? Maybe get bigger/stronger legs for sprinting, or that massive body for the football team. Well I will show you the stacks that will help you achieve your goal.

    Learn More About Muscle Building ...

Creatine/Whey Protein/Amino Acids:

    That right there is the best combo for getting big. Along with a balanced diet, and a good lifting routine it will help you get huge. First off the creatine and the amino acids will give you an extra boost, while the protein will add to your daily intake of food. That my friend is the recipe for getting big. Rest and sleep are also essential but we have already covered that.

    Learn More About Amino Acids...

Cutting Fat:

    So you want to get a little faster for the track team, and feel that dropping those unwanted pounds and beer belly will help? Well this stack is going to help you do just that.

    Learn More About Cutting Fat...

Caffeine/Fat Burner/Multi Vitamins:

    This will help you burn fat. Guaranteed! Why you ask? Well, let's go into the supplements. Caffeine is not only an energy booster, but a stimulant that speeds up metabolism. So you will have a fast metabolism, and energy for cardio.

    The fat burner is a product that has different vitamins and ingredients such as green tea that boost your metabolism for fast, safe fat loss. The multi's are a must, because you will be eating a bit less, and you don't want to sacrifice your vitamin intake. Remember to do cardio and soon that beer belly will be gone.

    Learn More About Fat Burners...

Parents & Supplements:

    Parents can sometimes be stubborn or ignorant or both. No matter how hard you explain they won't listen. The supplements I have listed above are safe, but if they don't believe it show them articles for the whey protein and how it's made. Most parents are ok with vitamins and all the other supplements except for creatine.

    When someone says 'creatine' parents freak out. WHY? Well, creatine works, and has a reputation of dehydrating people. So parents know that it works and has side effects, not a lot different than steroids in their minds so don't blame them.

    Just show them that creatine is found in meat and show them how tuna, steak and red meat are filled with creatine, and explain that it's just like vitamins; instead of eating 5 oranges per day, you take Vitamin C.

Getting The Nutrition You Need On Your Parent's Budget!
Find out how to put on 20 pounds of lean muscle in under three months. Find how to eat healthy and cheap!
[ Click here to learn more. ]

That should help, and soon you will be number one in your event, and you will be a step above all the others. Remember, knowledge is power.

- Jon Ivanov


What Supplements Are Best For Sports Athletes?
topic@bodybuilding.com

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