The Foundations Of Athletic Performance
Athletes are known for pushing the body past limits in the name of increasing athletic performance. Surveys have found that about two-thirds of adult athletes take some form of a dietary supplement to improve training. While eating well and getting enough sleep are crucial steps for proper recovery, some supplements can also help. What supplements are safe for increasing athletic performance?
Pump the iron
No, this doesn’t mean lifting more weights. Research has shown that up to 52% of female athletes are iron-deficient. Low iron levels can have a significant impact on athletic performance, making people feel sluggish and depleted. If dietary changes don’t improve levels, some athletes may want to consider taking an iron supplement. However, too much iron can have adverse effects, so always check with a doctor before taking iron.
Some studies have shown a link between fatigue and low levels of coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10). A lack of this enzyme can also have an impact on developing neurodegenerative diseases, fibromyalgia, heart failure, and diabetes. For athletes that are having trouble with energy levels, a CoQ10 supplement may help.
Many athletes prefer taking creatine to increase muscle mass and improve strength. Although people can get creatine from seafood and red meat, many choose to get an extra boost in supplement form. Researchers have found that combining creatine with caffeine, taurine, and amino acids can increase focus and help combat fatigue in athletes.
Drink a cup of joe
Most people know that a morning or afternoon cup of coffee can serve as a quick pick-up. The same is true for athletes. Caffeine has been shown to improve endurance and even speed. In some studies, caffeine has also been linked to decreased soreness, which means athletes can return to training more quickly.
The building blocks of protein
Protein is essential for building muscle. The building blocks of protein, branched-chain amino acids, help give muscle energy. Many athletes take amino acids after a workout to increase muscle growth and prevent muscle breakdown. While these supplements are helpful, the results will come from a cumulative effect of exercising, eating right, and proper supplementation.
Are supplements safe?
In general, these over-the-counter vitamins and supplements are safe ways to increase performance. However, some supplements can interact with specific medications or can be harmful if taken unnecessarily. Always check with a healthcare provider or pharmacist regarding taking a new supplement.