Should athletes take supplements?

Blonde volleyball athlete dressed in all back uniform wearing a facial covering passes a volleyball during a volleyball match.

First and foremost, I want to say that the prime recipe for feeling and performing your very best as an athlete is proper nutrition, hydration, and sleep. If you keep these three aspects of your life in check, you are prone to seeing some sort of results while working to better your game. 

Supplements were created and implemented into people’s lives as a way to enhance performance when they are properly added to one’s already nutritious diet and healthy lifestyle. As we know, anyone can buy and take supplements. However, we are going to discuss whether or not athletes in particular should take supplements, and how some of these supplements on the market might aid in not only performance, but recovery as well for athletes. 

Do you need supplements?

Not every athlete needs to take supplements. Just like I mentioned above, supplements are strictly for additive purposes and are not guaranteed to work the same way for you as they may for someone else. When deciding whether or not you should take supplements as an athlete, you may want to first assess whether or not you need them. For example, athletes who play a sport with a higher demand on the body, or perform at higher levels of competition, may benefit more from taking supplements. Or, if you are an athlete who has known deficiencies in certain nutrients, supplements could be of greater use for you. 

What are the benefits of taking different supplements?

Are you someone who struggles to burn enough calories in comparison to the amount of nutrients you are fueling your body with? Or, on the other hand, are you someone who struggles to receive adequate amounts of protein, carbohydrates, and fats in your diet in order for your body to be fueled for exercise or practice? As a former D1 volleyball player myself, I have my own idea of what this may be like. Supplements could be a way for you to enhance your performance so that you can perform at a higher level for a little longer or receive those extra nutrients your body is needing in order to make it through those intense workouts.

Supplements can act as a way for athletes to provide their bodies with enough nutrients in order to suffice for that exercise, practice, workout, game, or whatever type of activity it may be. For someone who may not be able to eat a certain type of food group due to some underlying allergy or medical condition, supplements may be a way for you to add the nutrients received from this food group into your everyday diet. Read on to learn more about the benefits of taking a few different commonly used supplements. And if you are looking for more evidence-based research, check out this article I referenced from the Journal of Sports Sciences which can be found by clicking right here

Vitamin and Mineral Supplements

Have you found yourself not receiving enough of a certain vitamin or mineral in particular, or do you have a known nutrient deficiency in your body? Supplements can be a way for you to address and fix this deficiency. Supplements that are vitamin and mineral based would be the best to use when a food-based solution that contains high amounts of that certain nutrient cannot be taken. And even if you do not have a nutrient deficiency, certain vitamin and mineral supplements can still be that energy boost for you when pushing your body to higher levels during practice, workouts, competition, or so on. These can be in the form of multivitamins, greens, reds, or nutrient specific extracts. 

Ergogenic Supplements

A particular category of commonly used supplements is what we call ergogenic compounds, meaning they are made to increase your capacity for bodily or mental labor by eliminating fatigue symptoms. These types of supplements include, but are not limited to, caffeine, protein, creatine, beta-alanine, bicarbonate, and amino acids. Specifically, during high-intensity exercise, these ergogenic compounds have been found to enhance performance in some clinical studies. Keep in mind, though, that performance enhancement supplements like these ones are proven to show the best results when paired with adequate energy, micronutrient, and macronutrient consumption, as well as proper hydration, per the National Academy of Sports Medicine

Protein Supplements

Protein powders are one of the most useful supplements for athletes in particular. Most of you may know that adequate protein consumption is so crucial for the buildup and recovery of your muscles. Of course, a balanced diet can provide you with enough protein to meet daily intake levels, however that may not always be a feasible option. Protein supplements, usually bought and taken in the form of powders, can be easily mixed with water, milk, or any liquid of your choice and taken while you are on the go. This can be so handy for athletes with busy schedules who may not always have the time and money to buy and make a meal with a heavy protein content. Consuming the right amount of protein is essential for muscle growth, bone health, immune function, and recovery. Click here to read a more specific blog post from Innovative Sports Nutrition about the benefits of Whey protein, one of the most popular protein supplements on the market today. 

Supplements Can Be of Benefit to Athletes

Dietary supplements can have a multitude of benefits for each and every athlete individually. Everyone’s body is different, no two people function the exact same. Therefore, if you are interested in taking supplements, it is best to give them a try yourself. Of course, reading blog posts and articles like this are very helpful when it comes to learning more about the different kinds of supplements out there and the different effects or benefits each of these supplements has on the human body. However, you will never know if taking supplements will work for you unless you give them a try.

If you are interested in implementing athlete-safe, laboratory tested supplements into your everyday life, checkout our selection at Innovative Sports Nutrition by clicking right here

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