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Boost Your Performance with the Best Supplements for Athletes

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By Captain's Crew May 30, 2019
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Professional sports players are not the only type of athletes.

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In fact, there are many different levels of athletes. Anyone who performs an athletic exercise can be considered an athlete. And these athletes, from beginners to professionals, actually face similar physical challenges during their exercises (yes, a first-time runner and Mo Farah could actually experience the same physical challenges- just at different levels of intensity).

The best supplements for athletes work for athletes at all levels. Some supplements can help reduce muscle soreness and fatigue. Others improve recovery time and reduce inflammation.

Before we dive into a discussion of these supplements, let’s first look at the different levels of athletes and the physical challenges they face.

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What is an athlete?

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines an athlete as “a person who is trained or skilled in exercises, sports, or games requiring physical strength, agility, or stamina” (1). But really, many different people fall under the category of athlete.

In reality, an athlete is someone who exercises or participates in physical activities. Athletes can be professionals or beginners.

And in this post, we are going to address every category of athlete. This guide provides relevant information for athletes at all levels.

 

What types of challenges does an athlete’s body face? 

As we discussed earlier, there are many different levels of athletes. Let’s look at some of the main categories and the challenges these athletes can face:

Endurance

Endurance is one type of exercise that athletes participate in. Endurance athletes are found at all levels of ability and training. Endurance sports are those that require the athlete to work almost at maximum energy for a sustained period of time. Running, cycling, swimming, and jogging are common endurance exercises (2).

Endurance athletes face a variety of physical challenges including:

  • Fatigue
  • “Runner’s stitch”
  • Heat stroke
  • Cardiovascular problems
  • Muscle stiffness/soreness
  • Injury
Strength

Strength athletes are more focused on muscle power instead of cardiovascular endurance. Again, strength athletes are found at all levels of ability and training. Strength exercises require athletes to lift or move heavy objects (usually weights). Bodybuilding and weightlifting are common strength exercises.

Strength athletes face a variety of physical challenges including:

  • Fatigue
  • Injury
  • Difficulty recovering after a workout
  • Damaged tissues
  • Muscle weakness

Now that we are familiar with two common types of athletes, let’s look at the different levels of athletes.

Beginners

A beginner athlete is someone who is just starting to exercise regularly. Beginners are often unfamiliar with workout equipment and unsure about the workout process. Also, an advanced athlete in one category could be a beginner in another category.

Beginner athletes usually face physical challenges related to their limited experience and lack of endurance. Common challenges include:

  • Fatigue
  • Muscle cramps
  • Injury
  • Difficulty recovering after a workout
Moderate

A moderate athlete is someone who has moved past the beginner stage. They exercise on a routine basis and are more confident about their abilities. But, moderate athletes often still struggle with endurance and the number of reps they can complete.

Moderate athletes often face physical challenges when they try to move to the advanced stage too quickly. Common challenges include:

  • Injury
  • Overtraining
  • Inflammation
Advanced

An advanced athlete is someone who has moved past the moderate stage. They exercise frequently and are very confident about their abilities. They are able to sustain an endurance workout for a long period of time or can complete a strength workout in a high weight category.

Advanced athletes often face physical challenges when they push themselves too hard. Common challenges include:

  • Injury
  • Overtraining
  • Muscle pain
  • Inflammation
  • Vitamin deficiencies
Professional

A professional athlete is someone who is paid to participate in an athletic event. These athletes train very hard and perform at a high level. They often dedicate their lives to the athletic event.

Professional athletes, like advanced athletes, face physical challenges when they push themselves too hard. Common challenges include:

  • Overtraining
  • Injury
  • Muscle pain
  • Inflammation

As you can see, the challenges faced by athletes are similar across all levels. But, these challenges can be more severe depending on the athletic category you are in. Beginners might fatigue faster than other levels because they have not yet built their endurance. Professionals might face more injuries since they are competing at a faster and more intense level.

Also, as strength athletes increase their weight levels or their number of reps, they might face more muscle pain, inflammation, or injury. Endurance athletes can also face more injuries and inflammation as they increase their speed and distance.

It is important to know how to deal with these physical challenges so you can continue to perform and improve at any athletic level.

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What supplements help with these challenges?

There are thousands of athletic supplements on the market, so how do you know what to choose?

It is important to identify the physical challenge you are facing and learn which supplements can help with this issue. That way you can target the physical challenge and treat it with the supplement that will provide the best results.

cap Pre-Workout Challenges

Lack of energy

Many athletes struggle with a lack of energy before a workout. Caffeine is one of the best pre-workout supplements to boost energy (3).

okblu Pros:

  • Provides a quick boost of energy
  • Can delay the feeling of fatigue

Cons:

  • Caffeine is a diuretic
  • Caffeine can make some people feel “jittery”

 

Vitamin deficiencies

Endurance athletes especially struggle with Vitamin D deficiencies. But many athletes are also deficient in Vitamins B, C, and E (4).

Vitamin B

okblu Pros:

  • Help rebuild muscles

Cons:

  • Vitamins don’t directly enhance muscle growth or increased endurance

Vitamin C

okblu Pros:

  • Boost immunity
  • Helps reduce oxidative damage

Cons:

  • Vitamins don’t directly enhance muscle growth or increased endurance

Vitamin D

okblu Pros:

  • Improves bone density
  • Reduces inflammation

Cons:

  • Vitamins don’t directly enhance muscle growth or increased endurance

Vitamin E

okblu Pros:

  • Supports cardiovascular system

Cons:

  • Vitamins don’t directly enhance muscle growth or increased endurance

 

Lack of muscle strength

Muscles can fatigue quickly and many athletes don’t have the muscle strength they desire. Creatine can help reduce muscle fatigue (3).

okblu Pros:

  • Improves muscle strength
  • Increases ATP production

Cons:

  • Can cause muscle cramping or other side effects
Fatigue

Fatigue is part of exercising. But many athletes want to delay the onset of fatigue. Beta-alanine is one supplement that can help reduce fatigue.

Beta-alanine

okblu Pros:

  • Improves performance
  • Delays fatigue

Cons:

  • Some people experience a tingling sensation after consuming this supplement

man running

cap Post Workout Challenges

Injury

Many athletes face injuries due to overtraining. Unfortunately, most supplements can’t prevent injuries. But, Calcium can help prevent stress fractures, which are a common athletic injury (4).

Calcium

okblu Pros:

  • Can help prevent stress fractures
  • Can improve bone strength

Cons:

  • Won’t directly improve athletic performance
  • Can’t complete prevent injuries

 

Inflammation

Inflammation is an issue faced by all levels of athletes. Omega 3 Fatty Acids are one of the best supplements to help reduce inflammation.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids

okblu Pros:

  • Can help reduce inflammation
  • Lower blood pressure and can regulate heart rate

Cons:

  • Many supplements have a fishy aftertaste
  • Not as effective when compared to consuming fish

 

Muscle Pain

Muscle pain and soreness are some of the most common physical challenges athletes face. A few different supplements, including Protein, BCAAs, and Glutamine .

Protein

okblu Pros:

  • Help repair muscles
  • Help reduce muscle pain

Cons:

  • Some protein supplements are filled with artificial ingredients

BCAAs

okblu Pros (5):

  • Aid in recovery
  • Help reduce muscle soreness

Cons:

  • Not a replacement for protein-containing food

Glutamine

okblu Pros:

  • Delayed catabolism of muscles
  • Aids in recovery

Cons:

  • Some people experience GI issues related to this supplement

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What are the main recommendations to choose the right supplement?

We now know the main supplements for athletes. But how do you choose the right supplement for you?

Regardless of your athletic level, it is important to pick supplements that (6):

  • Are safe
  • Provide benefits
  • Help you reach your athletic goals
Beginners:

Beginner athletes might need supplements to aid with fatigue and recovery. Caffeine and protein are important for this level of athlete.

Moderate:

Moderate athletes need to be aware of any vitamin deficiencies they are experiencing. Protein is also still essential for their recovery.

Advanced:

Advanced athletes need supplements that can help them train at a higher level. They should consider supplements (like creatine and beta-alanine) that can improve their muscle strength.

Professional:

Professional athletes need to take an extra measure to ensure that their supplements are allowed in their sport. These athletes need supplements that can help them perform at a high level and recover quickly. Depending on their sport, any of the supplements mentioned in this guide could be helpful for professional athletes.

 

protein powder

What are the ingredients of an ideal supplement for athletes?

Unfortunately, there is not a one-size-fits-all supplement for athletes. However, we believe these are the best supplements for athletes:

  • Protein
  • Creatine
  • BCAAs
  • Vitamin D
  • Omega 3s
  • Glutamine
  • Beta-Alanine
  • Caffeine

 

What are the best supplements for athletes?

There are many different types of athletes and each faces unique physical challenges. But, most athletes deal with fatigue, muscle pain, and delayed recovery at some level.

So, we researched the best supplements that can help improve athletic performance and boost the recovery process.

We considered athletes’ needs at all levels, ingredients, and quality before making our selections, so now let’s look at some of the best supplements for athletes on the market.

 

ProSupps Powder Energy Drink is a pre-workout energy boosting supplement that instantly kickstarts your body by providing a powerful boost of energy and strength. Its efficient formula consists of 400mg caffeine matrix, creatine HCL, TeaCrine and Nitrosigine, a mix that successfully delivers increased output and sustained pumps.

Pros:
  • Variety of flavors
  • Tested ingredients
  • Instant effect
Cons:
  • The caffeine content may affect sleep

 

ancora

This pre-workout supplement is made with only premium ingredients and one goal in mind: to provide users with the right mix of amino acids and creatine for optimized energy and an enhanced recovery. The 175 mg of caffeine from natural sources promote mental alertness and focus and the 3g of creatine improve muscle strength and endurance in all levels of athletes.

Pros:
  • Trusted brand in sports nutrition
  • Tested for banned substances
  • Noticeable effects, good taste
Cons:
  • Some customers experienced a slight crash after 1h from use

 

ancora

Legion Pulse Post Workout supplement is designed to give athletes a maximum recovery after their workout by including ingredients scientifically proven to help you build muscle, improve recovery, and reduce soreness, such as creatine monohydrate. It is naturally sweetened and is free of artificial food dyes or fillers.

Pros:
  • Vegetarian and vegan friendly
  • 5g of creatine monohydrate for improved strength and anaerobic endurance
  • Scientifically proven ingredients with clinically effective dosage
Cons:
  • Some customers claim the taste of stevia is too strong

 

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Alpha Gx7 Pre-Workout Powder contains a blend of ingredients designed to help users reach their peak performance without the side-effects that many similar products usually generate. The 2000mg of Beta-Alanine per serving boost the carnosine levels and overall performance. This workout powder helps you increase your training intensity, work harder and obtain the maximum results from your workout.

Pros:
  • Great taste and immediate results
  • Taurine and caffeine provide instant focus and drive
  • Clarity of ingredient label
Cons:
  • Some experienced muscle cramping

 

ancora

Protein is an important supplement for all athletes. Protein supplements can help aid in muscle building and recovery. Your body breaks down protein during workouts, so it is important to use protein as a post-workout recovery supplement. The Syntha-6 supplement is a whey protein powder that comes in a variety of flavors. This supplement can be used as a post-workout recovery drink or a meal replacement. It supplies 22g of protein in each serving.

Pros:
  • This supplement comes in a variety of flavors
  •  Protein can help with muscle building and post-workout recoveries
  • This supplement contains 22g of protein per serving
Cons:
  • This is a whey protein so it is not vegan
  • Some people experienced stomach pain after using this supplement

ancora

Our choice

All the supplements we reviewed could help athletes at any level and, as we found throughout this article, each plays an important role in helping you reach your fitness goals. However, ProSupps Powder Energy Drink takes the lead on our personal list of recommendations.

This energy drink can be helpful for all levels of athletes, beginners, moderate or professionals, providing just the right amount of creatine, niacin and caffeine that help athletes reach their full energy potential. Moreover, the rich content of beta alanine increases stamina and  promotes a faster recovery recover after workouts.

One thing you should always keep in mind, regardless of the supplement you choose, is that you combine it with the right diet, since no supplement can replace a healthy and good meal!As with everything in life, it’s all about creating the right balance for your unique needs and desires.

 

Wellness Captain
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