The Competitor’s Guide to Performance Supplements
Harnessing Nature to Push the Limits of Human Experience
Sometimes, it’s like the more we learn about the human body, the less we know about it. Every year, discoveries are made that send the scientists, sports nutrition experts, and coaches all back to the drawing board to rewrite the “rules” and deliver ever-more complicated products.
Following the path of common sense, many are turning back to nature not only to survive, but to excel. A working understanding of your body is all that’s needed to begin to leverage natural supplements for greater strength, endurance, and experience. And we’re talking about everybody here, from free divers to ultra marathon runners to mountain climbers, and everybody in between.
So what is a performance supplement?
Natural supplements can take many forms, like the crushed powder of a dried mushroom, to carefully-extracted essential oils. They interact with the body in a wide array of different ways, and they have a wide range of outcomes. The general effects of these supplements tend to support health and wellness, and with the right knowledge, can be leveraged to naturally enhance athletic performance.
Look, there’s no secret to getting stronger, faster, or better. It’s a lot of hard work and discipline. It’s having a plan, and sticking to a routine. It’s in the routine where sport supplements can be applied. With some supplements, it makes sense to keep a steady supply moving through your veins. It can give you an edge over someone who isn’t doing that. Other performance supplements simply work because they equip and enable you to keep hitting the bricks, day in and day out.
In this article, we’ll survey some topics related to performance supplements, and provide an overview of those which we have found to be the most effective.
- Do sports supplements actually work?
- How can supplements improve performance?
- What supplements do athletes take?
- What supplements should you take when working out?
- What are the best supplements for sleep?
- Stevia vs. sugar in performance supplements
- Are organic supplements worth it?
- What supplements help to boost performance?
Do sports supplements actually work?
Yes! There are supplements on the market for any edge you might be looking for. Whether you want to improve your speed, add muscle mass, or decrease your body fat, there is something out there for you. There’s a few levels of safety when it comes to supplements, though, and the ones you should always stick to are the ones in the ‘green’ category. If a supplement is green, that means its effects are well-supported by scientific evidence and it is safe to use. Nothing less should ever go into your body. The reason that sports supplements are proven to work is because they’re made up of natural ingredients that benefit specific areas of your body and its performance.
How can supplements improve performance?
Supplements improve performance by optimizing specific bodily functions. For example, a marathon runner looking to run faster, which means they would incorporate both vitamin D and caffeine into their diet, since these two substances have been correlated with energy and speed*. In a cyclist’s case, if they want to improve endurance, they would incorporate supplements that serve as anti-fatigue agents, which means that you can work harder for a longer period of time. It’s all about knowing what supplements target what area of performance and using that knowledge to your advantage.
What supplements do athletes take?
Here are some supplements that athletes swear by:
- Caffeine - this substance as a supplement helps provide energy to the body because it stimulates the nervous system.*
- Electrolytes - these are negatively and positively charged ions already present in your body that regulate bodily fluid and control nerve impulses. By adding them in supplements, you boost hydration and therefore boost your performance.*
- Taurine - this assists in brain, eye, and muscle health, but athletes concentrate mostly on the muscle health. In order to have productive workouts, muscles need to be in a good, hydrated place conducive to blood flow.*
- Vitamin K2 - this helps encourage blood flow throughout your entire body, but namely to your heart. By keeping your heart beating strong during a workout, you get even more out of it.*
What supplements should you take when working out?These are some supplements you should consider when working out:
- Electrolytes - These are great for maintaining hydration levels both during and after a workout.*
- Branch Chain Amino Acids - BCAAs aid in muscle density and can speed up recovery time after an especially grueling workout.*
- Vitamin/mineral supplements - these can support the condition of your body’s cells, which promotes both muscle growth and performance quality.*
What are the best supplements for sleep?
Melatonin - this is a substance that your brain already makes to help you sleep, but taking a supplement can only assist in this process. It helps you fall asleep and improves your quality of sleep.*
Magnesium - this helps quiet the mind and body, which makes it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep.*
Valerian Root - this herb has been used since ancient times to both fall asleep and stay asleep. It can be consumed in either capsule form or steeped in tea, which can be especially relaxing.*
Stevia vs. sugar in performance supplements
Stevia is made from a plant that’s native to Paraguay and Brazil, and it’s a great substitute for sugar when it comes to everyday eating and performance supplements. It has a similar sweet taste, but less of the negative effects. It can help support blood glucose levels, but doesn’t come along with the same crash that sugar does a few hours after you consume it. It also doesn’t carry the high amount of calories that sugar does - which means that you won’t lose your gains.
Are organic supplements worth it?
Yes! Organic supplements are always the better choice over synthetic or isolated vitamins because they contain nutrients that are already found in food, in your body, or both. Inorganic supplements contain synthetic nutrients, and those will never match organic, natural ones when it comes to how your body absorbs, retains, or utilizes them.
What supplements help to boost performance?
GABA, or Gamma-Aminobutyric acid, is a naturally occurring amino acid that works in the human brain as a neurotransmitter, AKA a chemical messenger. This specific neurotransmitter decreases activity in your nervous system, which may prevent the feeling of anxiety, stress, or fear*. It might also help in preventing seizures.*
*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. Protekt products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
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