If you are training for sports, be it competitive or recreational, you may be thinking of taking vitamins or supplements to improve your performance. These are not actually health supplements. They are vitamins or supplements to make you stronger, faster, leaner or perhaps to heal a sports injury. Whatever the reason, if you are active in sports and want to see improvement, you are looking for something beyond the vitamins and supplements that will just keep you healthy.
If you go to the health food store, you will find shelves and shelves of vitamins and supplements that promise almost anything you can think of. But how many of these products are worth buying, and how many are really just rip-offs? While some of these products are real, most are from companies that manufacture supplements and vitamin combinations to make money. For most of these companies, profit is most important. This means they make their supplements at the lowest possible price and label them as much as possible. Combine this with some slick advertising and you have a product that promises a lot 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 false. The real vitamins and nutritional supplements that will help you achieve physical gains are not that exciting. They don’t come in really neat packaging and they don’t work wonders. However, they do work. These are the vitamins and supplements that will help you achieve success, not overdo unnatural results.
- The first supplement to take is the standard multivitamin. If you use it regularly, it will do more for you than all other products combined. Even if you decide to take extra doses of vitamins C and E, you should still take the multivitamin every day to make sure you are getting enough of all the other vitamins that you are not getting.
- Additional multiminerals 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 liver’s B vitamin properties help the body use its glycogen more efficiently.
- Chromium is good for keeping blood sugar levels stable throughout the day and keeps energy high. If you follow a special diet, it also helps with junk food cravings.
- Amino acids such as L-Carnatin help to maintain lean body mass when trying to burn fat. L-carnatin has been shown to transport long-chain fatty acids to the muscles, where they are oxidized and burned most efficiently.
- There are also protein powders, but these should only be consumed when you cannot possibly consume the amount of calories you need to achieve your muscle building goals. Be careful with this, though, if you stop exercising or don’t exercise enough, the extra calories from protein powder will go straight to the waist.
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 accelerate healing by destroying free radicals released during an injury.
Protein, in the form of free amino acids, helps repair and strengthen connective tissue, ligaments and tendons.
- Calcium plus magnesium repairs bones, connective tissue and is also very important for the entire skeleton.
- Vitamin B complex, in addition to the vitamin B already contained in a multivitamin, should be taken during any stressful situation.
As you can see, the use of vitamins and supplements is not a big mystery. All other promises that manufacturers make are just empty promises. If you find yourself needing more help than what standard over-the-counter supplements can give you, it’s best to see a doctor, preferably one who specializes in sports medicine. They will be able to tell you if there is another product that can help you, or if your Olympic dreams should just wait.