5 Supplements to Boost Your Training Results!

There are a huge range of supplements lining the shelves of health food and gym stores these days but which ones should you consider taking to gain that edge to optimize your training results? Read on for 5 Supplements to Boost Your Training Results!

1. Creatine

Naturally stored in the muscle but can be increased by oral supplementation, either by loading protocols (5 days at 20g per day in split doses) or by longer periods (4 weeks) using a much smaller dose (3g per day).

By increasing the phosphocreatine content in the muscle, creatine supplementation can enhance the rapid regeneration of energy during short high intensity exercise, particularly when you have short recovery periods between sets.

Examples of sports where creatine supplementation can benefit performance include high intensity interval training, (HIIT) sprinting, team sports, and resistance training. In fact, creatine boosting is best associated with sports involving increased muscle mass, strength, power or intermittent activity.  Check out this guide to supplementing with creatine.

2. Beetroot juice

This has fairly recently arrived onto the scene. However, it is clear that both acute (2.5 hours pre-exercise) and chronic (6 days) intake of 8mmol (or millimoles per litre) of dietary nitrate can enhance exercise performance via increasing nitric oxide production.

It is becoming clear that beetroot juices improve exercise performance via improving oxygen economy and efficient muscle contractility but what is less clear is the specific scenario in which this enhances performance. Based on the evidence and the way in which beetroot juice works mechanistically, high-intensity or intermittent training sport scenarios may benefit the most. Check out this video that helps explain the benefits of beetroot juice.

3. Vitamin D

Recent interest in vitamin D has exploded. It is now clear that vitamin D may not only play a crucial physiological role but may even regulate both innate and acquired immune function, cardiovascular health, muscle growth and muscle repair.

This new knowledge comes at the same time as research suggesting many athletes are deficient in vitamin D, mostly due to a lack of sunlight and poor dietary intake of vitamin D. This has resulted in vitamin D being one of the most widely used sports supplements to ensure proper immune function and potentially support athletic training.

4. Caffeine

Trimethylxanthine is used by about 90% of adults by way of coffee, tea, cola or energy drinks and perhaps is overlooked as an ergogenic aid, yet it is one of the most evidence-backed supplements out there!

In relation to exercise, caffeine works by reducing the perception of effort, fatigue or pain associated with exercise. It’s also apparent that caffeine has benefits that are applicable across a range of sports such as HIIT, endurance/ultra-endurance, team and racket sports. Furthermore, caffeine may also enhance training by allowing you to train harder for longer and which is particularly helpful when combined with low carbohydrate periods of training.

5. Epicatechins

This novel compound that is found in dark chocolate and can help support endurance training adaptations is still being researched. It has been previously shown that Epicatechin supplementation (of 1mg per kilo of bodyweight) resulted in enhanced fat burning and less reliance on glucose as an energy form.

Furthermore, muscle remodelling following endurance training increased. These results have been produced in rat muscle and more work that replicates this in human skeletal muscle needs to be done.

Trying the above 5 supplements are bound to yield you some level of benefit, feel free to let us know what changes you notice!

Shaun Chapman

Shaun is a Sport Nutrition Consultant and currently works with people wanting to lose weight, cyclists, runners and power lifters. In addition, he has also been a Performance Nutritionist within professional football and still remains a consultant for players and staff. Shaun is also an MSc student at Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge. He is currently researching the effects of Ketogenic diets on weight loss, exercise metabolism, exercise performance and cardiovascular health. In his own time, Shaun is regularly in the gym and has also ran several obstacle course races. He will be participating in the Tough Mudder and Paris Marathons. You can learn more about Shaun, his consultancy work, research and training via his Facebook page (Shaun Chapman: Lifestyle and Sport Nutrition Consultancy).

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