- 1 What is endurance sport?
- 2 What are sports supplements?
- 3 Effective supplements for endurance athletes and their effect
- 4 Supplements for endurance athletes summarized
Do you practice an endurance sport, but are you not yet familiar with supplements for endurance athletes? Then this is the article for you! When you exercise, all processes in your body are involved in expending energy, building muscle, and repairing small muscle tears. After exercise, your body always needs time to recover and rest, especially when you participate in intense sports.
Supplements for endurance athletes can come in handy when you do long training sessions. However, it is important to know which supplements you need for optimal results and that is exactly what we are going to explain in this article. Read on to learn more about effective endurance sports supplements.
What is endurance sport?
Endurance sports are sports in which you are active for a long time and where your heart rate is often higher than during shorter training sessions. With endurance sports, you can think of running, cycling, cross-country skiing, and skating (the Elfstedentocht, for example).
While practicing an endurance sport you need a lot of stamina. In this way, your muscles remain only slightly below the so-called “anaerobic threshold”. This threshold means that your muscles receive just enough oxygen and that the lactic acid can be broken down quickly enough. With supplements for endurance athletes, you can give your endurance a helping hand. It has a favorable effect on the respective threshold.
After all, the anaerobic threshold is the limit at which your muscles start to acidify. Your body then no longer receives enough oxygen to break down the lactic acid in your muscles. Since as an endurance athlete you always stay below this limit, not too much lactic acid accumulates in your muscles to acidify and your muscles can therefore function properly for longer.
However, endurance sports require a lot of practice and balance. If you go just too hard, your muscles will quickly exceed the threshold and acidify. If you go too slow, you will not build up your heart rate sufficiently. It, therefore, takes a lot of training to perform an activity for a long time. Fortunately, certain supplements for endurance athletes can help quickly get your body in the right condition to start an endurance sport.
What are sports supplements?
Supplements for endurance athletes are products that supplement your daily diet. They can come in pill form, powder form, as capsules, or as drinks. In many cases, athletes do not need additional sports supplements to meet their daily nutritional needs.
An exception, however, is endurance athletes, because they usually train for more than a few hours at a time. This leads to their bodies benefiting from getting these extra nutrients. In other words, by using endurance sports supplements.
Your body doesn’t always absorb nutrients as well when it gets them from your food. This works differently with supplements for endurance athletes. Because the substances are concentrated in the capsule or pill, they enter your bloodstream more easily. However, don’t assume that supplements will make you very muscular and strong without strict workouts and a good diet. That is not true. Supplements simply support the daily intake of nutrients.
Effective supplements for endurance athletes and their effect
Whether you are an endurance athlete or not, you should not just use all kinds of different supplements. This not only hinders the objectives you want to achieve; it can have the opposite effect. An excess of vitamin C is peered out, but an excess of vitamin E can lead to unpleasant physical complaints. Therefore, only use supplements for endurance athletes that you know your body can use well. That is why we have made a list below with effective endurance sports supplements. According to many nutritionists, these supplements for endurance athletes are the most important to use.
1. Sodium Phosphate
Sodium phosphate is normally a drug prescribed by pharmacies if you have a lack of phosphate in your body, or to bind calcium. It also has another useful effect for endurance athletes. Sodium phosphate ensures that your red blood cells can transport more oxygen so that your muscles will not suffer from acidification as quickly. This improves the “aerobics performance” so that you can continue your exercises for a longer period. With supplements for endurance athletes, it is recommended to take 3-5 grams of sodium phosphate for 3 to 6 days before a sporting event or competition starts.
2. Caffeine as an endurance sports supplement
You probably know caffeine from coffee and black tea. It activates hormones in your brain, making you feel more active and energetic. Also, the hormone that makes you sleepy is blocked thanks to caffeine. Caffeine, therefore, works well in supplements for endurance athletes. It is not surprising, for example, that supplements for marathon runners often contain caffeine. As an added plus, caffeine helps speed up fat burning, so you’ll notice faster results when you’re trying to lose weight. If you want to use caffeine during an endurance sport, it is recommended to take a caffeine supplement about 60 minutes before the start of the sport. That is when the operation is at its peak. For a 70-pound person, between 200 and 400 mg of caffeine is recommended.
3. Creatine Monohydrate
Creatine is normally associated with building muscle. However, it can also come in very handy when you are building your stamina. After all, creatine ensures that your muscles recover faster from acidification so that you recover faster during the breaks during interval training. Then you can perform better during the further course of the training and maintain a high pace for longer. Is buying creatine supplements something you are considering? Then take about 3 to 5 grams of creatine per day. Because you do endurance sports, you do not need to take this substance in larger quantities. You may gain a little more weight in the beginning, because your body retains more fluid. For most, this subsides over time.
4. Supplements for endurance athletes with beta-alanine
Beta-alanine is a beta-amino acid that can help you improve your endurance during exercise. When you exercise, your body builds up hydrogen ions, which affect the pH value of your body. Ultimately, a buildup results in fatigue. When you take beta-alanine supplements for endurance athletes, these acidic substances help to maintain your body’s pH level and thus delay fatigue. It is recommended to take this substance in small doses of 800mg per day for a total amount of 3 to 5 grams. If you take too much at once, you can experience tingling limbs. And that is of course not nice when practicing an endurance sport!
5. Protein Supplements for Endurance Athletes
Almost everyone is familiar with proteins. This is one of the macros that your body needs to continue to function properly. However, when you exercise, your body needs more protein for the following reason: protein helps your body to repair and increase muscle size.
During exercise, considerable pressure is exerted on your muscles. This causes all kinds of small tears in your muscles. These tears eventually also lead to the phenomenon known as muscle pain.
When your body does not get enough protein, it will take more time to repair your muscles. This can eventually lead to injuries. In addition, proteins create extra muscle mass during repair, so that your muscles grow larger and can handle more ballast in the future.
When you exercise for a long time, your body uses protein as well as an additional source of energy. It is therefore important to have both sufficient carbohydrates and proteins in your diet before you start a long marathon, for example.
Your body needs about 1.3 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. With supplements for endurance athletes, this is more likely to be 1.8 grams per kilogram of body weight. So feel free to take a protein shake before or after exercise.
6. Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)
In English, it is a bit more pleasant in the mouth (Branched-chain Amino Acids), but they are just as important to the Dutch! When your body gets tired during exercise, the tryptophan substance will travel to your brain. Although this in itself is not a problem, tryptophan causes the release of serotonin – a neurotransmitter. This neurotransmitter makes you feel sleepy and relaxed, which is exactly what you want to avoid during a long workout.
BCAA amino acids follow the same pathway as tryptophan, so a higher level of BCAAs in your blood prevents too much tryptophan from traveling to your brain. In this way, you indirectly prevent too much serotonin from being released in your brain and you will be able to sustain your workout longer.
As an added benefit, BCAAs can help counteract the acidification of your muscles. This allows your muscles to sustain a sport for a longer period. You need about 3-5 grams of these supplements for endurance athletes each time you exercise. You can take this before or during your workout.
Finally, you have glutamine supplements. This is also an amino acid and it is most abundant in your body. Still, it doesn’t hurt to take a little extra if you practice an endurance sport. After all, when you exercise, your body breaks down glutamine. If you have too little glutamine in your body, your body switches to the breakdown of muscle, which is of course not the intention.
Therefore, when you take extra glutamine supplements for endurance athletes, your body can live longer on the glutamine in your body and it prevents your muscles from being broken down. In addition, glutamine helps to strengthen the immune system. From research has shown that 81% of athletes 200 did not suffer from infections after a workout – in contrast to 49% in the test group. This allows you to train even longer!
It is recommended to take about 20 grams of glutamine per day for optimal results.
Supplements for endurance athletes summarized
Endurance sport is a type of sport in which you exert yourself for a long time. Running or cycling are examples of this. It is important in endurance sports that you build up good endurance so that your body remains in top condition.
Supplements for endurance athletes can help to improve your sports performance and to ensure that you can sustain an intense workout for longer. Dietary supplements and sport, therefore, go hand in hand!
Nevertheless, it is not a good plan to just take all kinds of supplements. That is why we have put together this list, consisting of seven endurance sports supplements that are ideal for you as an endurance athlete.
Among the most effective supplements for endurance athletes are, for example, glutamine, protein, caffeine, and sodium phosphate. Each supplement has its method of use and effect and can most likely be used in combination with other supplements. However, we do recommend that you always be careful with the use of supplements and that you inform your doctor about whether certain supplements can be counterproductive in combination with medicines.