5 Vital Supplements for Every Athlete

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No matter how intensely you work out or how disciplined you are about your nutrition, there are still areas where you can benefit. From enhancing cardiovascular endurance and boosting strength to revving energy levels and supporting immunity, these supplements can help take your fitness to a whole new level.

1. Protein
Protein is one of three macronutrients (along with carbohydrates and fats) that we need to consume in large quantities to provide our body with the energy it needs to function. We also need protein for tissue repair, immunity and to preserve muscle mass.

What are the benefits for athletes?
“Protein is a foundational product for all athletes,” explains Scott Herkes, a Certified Fitness Nutrition Coach and franchisee of the Max Muscle stores in Bettendorf, Iowa and Moline, Illinois. “If people are training and not getting enough protein they won’t have as much muscle recovery, which allows them to get stronger and leaner.”

How to take it: At a minimum athletes should use protein post-workout, but it can be consumed any time of day. For a combination of fast-absorbing whey protein and isolates plus dairy-based casein, which is absorbed more slowly but stays in your system longer, try MaxPro Elite Protein.

2. Creatine
Creatine is a compound produced in the liver, kidneys and pancreas that helps supply energy to cells. Creatine is converted into phosphocreatine and stored in the muscles that your body can use for energy during high-intensity exercise such as sprinting and weight lifting.

What are the benefits for athletes?
“Your body goes through about 2 grams of creatine a day naturally,” says Herkes, “you have to replace that with diet or a combination of diet and supplements.”

Strength-building athletes should be able to increase the number of reps performed at a certain weight, as well as notice a decrease in recovery time. Endurance athletes will also notice a difference in performance since creatine helps to replenish adenosine triphospate (ATP).

How to take it: Creatine builds up in your system over time, so Herkes recommends taking a 5g daily dose for three weeks. This will give the product time to saturate the muscles enough to provide some benefit to any athlete. Try Max Creatine or CX3.

beta-alinine
3. Beta-Alanine

Beta-alanine is a naturally occurring non-essential amino acid that is necessary for the production of carnosine inside muscle fibers. Boosting carnosine allows muscle fibers to soak up more hydrogen ions from lactic acid buildup and remain in an optimal pH range. By keeping muscle fibers in an optimal pH range, they are better able to maintain more strength and endurance during a workout and reduce lactic acid burn.

What are the benefits for athletes?
A study published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism found male athletes who were randomized to the group given a beta-alanine supplement were able to maintain higher intensity workouts due to reduced fatigue and increase lean body mass. Beta-alanine supplementation is beneficial to both strength and endurance athletes.

How to take it: Beta-alanine also builds up in your system over time. Research has shown increased carnosine concentration up to 65 percent after only four weeks of beta-alanine use. Try Max Muscle’s Max CarnoSyn, the only patented and scientifically proven form of beta-alanine for human performance. Skin tingling, or parasthesia, has been noted by some athletes.

READ MORE: Your Complete Workout Stack

4. Branched-Chain Amino Acids
Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) refer to a group of essential amino acids, including leucine, isoleucine and valine. Our bodies can’t produce essential amino acids, so they must be consumed as part of our diet.

What are the benefits for athletes?
“After about 90 minutes, your body has used up all of its carbs for energy, and then starts to use protein from your muscle,” explains Lisa S. Bashford, a Physical Therapist Assistant and Sports Nutrition Specialist. “Athletes work hard for their muscle,” Bashford says. BCAAs allow our bodies to use food for energy for a longer period of time and prevent muscle breakdown. A 2009 study found that long-distance runners who were given BCAA supplements experienced a reduction in muscle soreness and less fatigue after intense training.

How to take it: Take as directed on the product packaging. Try Max Muscle’s Pro BCAA.

READ MORE: Protein and Nitrogen – The Keys To Recovery


6. Multi-Vitamin

Harvard School of Public Health calls a daily multivitamin a great nutrition insurance policy. Available in many formulations, a good multi should contain 100 percent of the Recommended Daily Value of vitamins and essential minerals necessary for good health, including B-vitamins, vitamin A, C, D, E and others.

What are the benefits for athletes?
While a healthy diet should provide all of the vitamins and nutrients we need, not many people eat a perfect diet every day. “Many of us do not know if we have a particular vitamin insufficiency unless a doctor orders blood work,” says Bashford. Athletes use a great deal of dietary nutrients during workouts and recovery. A good multivitamin helps replenish what we may be lacking or what our bodies consume.

How to take it: Take as directed on the product packaging. For a great multivitamin, try Max Vit-Acell.

By Karen Morse

Find These Products and More at your local Max Muscle Nutrition store!