Safe and Effective Supplements for Athletes

January 7, 2013 | Branson Lee

Must See Nutrition Videos


If you're currently getting started on a workout program, it's likely you are also considering what supplement to take to improve your gains. One thing you must consider right off the bat is your diet. If your nutrition is poor, you will fail to achieve your fitness goals. Check that out before you consider any supplement.

Below are some common supplements that are proven to be safe and effective for athletes. This info will help you determine what supplement to take and how to take it properly.

Protein Powder

Protein is the number one supplement among athletes. Yes, you can and should get most of your protein from your diet. However, sometimes you need a quick and convenient dose after a workout. Some protein powders are specifically designed to be taken before and after workout sessions. By using these, you can optimize your recovery and performance[1].

Aim to take one scoop before and one scoop after a workout—plus more at various points throughout the day (as needed) if you are unable to get a solid source of protein from your diet.

Check out STACK's Protein Guide.

Glutamine

Glutamine is an amino acid that plays a role in muscle growth, recovery and immune system health. Glutamine levels can be depleted after an intense workout, so it must be replenished if you want your muscles to recover optimally. Aim to take about 10 grams each day, either after a workout or before bed.

Learn more about the muscle-building power of glutamine.

Creatine

Creatine is one of the most popular supplements among people who want to increase lean muscle mass[2].  It's the precursor to ATP, which fuels each and every muscle contraction. When ATP runs low, contractions stop and your workout comes to a halt. By making sure that you have a full supply of creatine phosphate in your body, you may get an extra rep during an intense set and improve the quality of your workout. (More about creatine here.)

When using creatine, start with 20 grams per day, divided into four five-gram doses. This is the loading phase and should be carried out for five days. After that, take five grams per day before or after a workout.

Caffeine

If you need a quick boost before your workout session and would like to maximize your energy level, consider caffeine. Caffeine will allow you to exercise at a higher intensity level and can also slightly improve fat burn[3].

Taking 200 mg of caffeine before a workout should be sufficient, but you can adjust this amount based on how it makes you feel. Keep in mind that caffeine can keep you up at night if you take it late in the day. Also, it causes you to urinate more frequently, so make sure to monitor your hydration levels.

Sources

[1] John L. Ivy, Harold W. Goforth Jr., Bruce M. Damon, Thomas R. McCauley, Edward C. Parsons, and Thomas B. Price, "Early Post-Exercise Muscle Glycogen Recovery is Enhanced with a Carbohydrate-Protein Supplement," Journal of Applied Physiology, October 1, 2002, vol. 93 no. 4, pp. 1337-1344.

[2] Mihic S, MacDonald JR, McKenzie S, Tarnopolsky MA, "Acute Creatine Loading Increases Fat-Free Mass, but Does Not Affect Blood Pressure, Plasma Creatinine, or CK activity in Men and Women," Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 2000, vol. 32 no. 2, pp. 291-296.

[3] Astorino, Todd A, Roberson, Daniel W, "Efficacy of Acute Caffeine Ingestion for Short-term High-Intensity Exercise Performance: A Systematic Review," Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, January 2010, Volume 24, Issue 1, pp. 257.

Topics: PROTEIN | CREATINE
Must See
Dwight Howard Stays in the Gym All Night
Views: 4,811,946
NFL Wide Receiver Randall Cobb Outworks Everyone
Views: 28,207,060
Margus Hunt Benches 385 Pounds for Five Reps
Views: 20,334,813

Featured Videos

A Day in the Life of NBA D-League Star Seth Curry Views: 68,298
Kevin Love's Cone Hop Basketball Shooting Drill Views: 6,362
Eastbay Path to the Pros Episode 2: Laying the Groundwork Views: 127,960
Load More

Resources

STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers

Magazine

Latest issues of STACK Magazine

STACK 4W

Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice

Gamer

Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes

News

Find the latest news relevant to athletes

Most Popular Videos

Perfect Dwyane Wade's Signature Euro Step
Views: 1,308,654
What Ryan Hall Eats for Breakfast
Views: 795,225
STACK Fitness Weekly: How To Do a Muscle-Up
Views: 778,612
Greg Nixon's Hill Training Program
Views: 705,718
Roy Hibbert 540 lbs Deadlift
Views: 1,560,472

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

The Best Post-Workout Supplements and Nutrition

EXOS Launches New Line of Supplements

7 Sketchy Marketing Phrases Used By Supplement Companies

4 Muscle-Building Supplements That Don't Work

The 6 Most Promising Weight-Loss Supplements

3 Reasons Why You Should Take a Fish Oil Supplement

Why You Need Vitamin D in Your Diet

2 Safe Pre-Workout Supplements

L.A. Galaxy's Safe Supplementation for Soccer Players

3 Supplements to Boost On-Ice Performance

DHEA Supplements: Should You Take Them?

The Positive Side Effects of Creatine (Besides Building Muscle)

Creatine Supplements: Benefits, Concerns, Types and Dosage

The Truth About Muscle-Enhancing Supplements

3 Tips on Choosing the Best Post-Workout Creatine

HGH Use Among Teens on the Rise, According to Survey

Blueberry Supplements: Better Than Actual Blueberries?

4 Best Supplements for Football Players

Should You Be Taking BCAAs?

What's Missing From the Female Athlete's Diet, Part 2: Iron

Powder Hour: Is It Time to Add Protein Powder to Your Diet?

Should I Take Creatine?

Do Athletes Need Zinc Supplements?

4 Creatine Myths Exposed

5 Rules You Must Know Before Taking a Fish Oil Supplement

Make Sure You're Getting Enough Calcium

6 Supplements That Power Quality Workouts

ZMA: Is This Mysterious Supplement Right for You?

Ask the Experts: Is Caffeine Safe for Athletes?

Can Baking Soda Improve Your Training Gains?

This Just In: Boost Your Workout With Peppermint

7 Rules That Would End PED Use in Baseball Immediately

The Best Time to Consume Creatine

The 5 Essential Sports Supplements

The Powerful Health Benefits of Turmeric

Why Creatine Is the Best Sports Supplement

7 Fiber Supplements: More Than Just For Weight Loss

Fuel for Thought: Gels, Bloks and Beans

Workout Supplements: Do You Really Need Them?

Iodine: An Overlooked Essential Mineral for Female Athletes

Demystifying Popular Smoothie Boosters

The One Thing You Need to Do to Build Muscle

Use Sodium Bicarbonate to Get More Out of Creatine

How to Select a Healthy Protein Bar

Soy vs. Whey Protein

Why You Can't Ignore Pre- and Post-Workout Nutrition