If you are training for sports, whether it’s competitive or recreational, you may be thinking about taking vitamins or supplements to enhance your performance. These aren’t supplements for health, exactly. They are vitamins or supplements to make you stronger, faster, leaner, or maybe to heal a sports injury. No matter the reason, if you are active in sports and want to see improvement, you are looking for something above and beyond the vitamins and supplements that will just make you healthy.
If you go to the health food store, you will find shelves and shelves of vitamins and supplements that promise almost everything you can possibly imagine. But just how many of these products are worth buying and how many are really just rip-offs? While some of these products are genuine, the majority of them are from companies that manufacture supplements and vitamin combinations in order to make money. For most of these companies, the bottom line is profit. This means that they make their supplements for a little cost as possible and mark them up as much as they can. Combine this with some slick advertising and you have a product that promises much more than it delivers.
Wild exaggerations have been made about products that may only help the user to achieve minimal or no results. The rule of thumb here is that the wilder the manufacturer’s claim, the more likely it is to be untrue. The real vitamins and nutritional supplements that will help you make physical gains aren’t so exciting. They don’t come in really neat packaging and they don’t work miracles. However, they do work. These are the vitamins and supplements that will help you achieve success, not overpromise unnatural results.
The first supplement to take is the standard multivitamin. Taken regularly, it will do more for you than any other products combined. Even if you do decide to take extra doses of vitamin C and E, you should still take the multivitamin everyday to make sure that you are getting enough of all the other vitamins you aren’t loading up on.
- Extra multi-minerals can be taken before or after training. These should help replace any minerals lost through sweat and muscle contraction.
- Liver tablets are a great endurance supplement. The vitamin B properties of liver help the body use its glycogen more efficiently.
- Chromium is good for keeping blood sugar stable throughout the day and keeps energy high. If you are on a special diet, it also helps with junk food cravings.
- Amino acids like L-Carnatine helps maintain lean body mass if you are trying to burn fat. L-Carnatine has been shown to transport long-chain fatty acids into the muscles where they are oxidized and most efficiently burned.
There are also protein powders, but these should only be consumed when you can’t possibly consume the amount of calories that you need in order to reach muscle building goals. Be careful with these, however, if you stop exercising or don’t exercise enough, the extra calories from protein powder will go right to the waistline.
Of course, these are vitamins and minerals that can improve your performance, but what if you get hurt? There are vitamins and supplements for that, too.
- Proteolytic enzymes taken between meals speed healing by destroying free radical that are released during an injury.
- Protein, in the form of free form amino acids, helps to repair and strengthen connective tissue, ligaments, and tendons.
- Calcium plus magnesium repairs bones, connective tissue, and also is very important for the entire skeletal system.
- Vitamin B complex, in addition to the vitamin B already in a multivitamin should be taken during any stressful situation.
As you can see, there isn’t any great mystery to taking vitamins and supplements. Any other promises that manufacturers make are just that, empty promises. If you find that you need more help than what standard over-the-counter supplements can give you, it is best to consult a doctor, preferably one who specializes in sports medicine. They will be able to tell you if there is another product out there that can help you, or if your Olympic dreams will just have to wait.