If you are interested in or heavily involved in endurance activities, you know the importance of good nutrition to build your body, promote stamina and develop your speed. While most people get the protein and vitamins they need from their daily food consumption, endurance athletes have special nutritional needs.
Supplements may be able to provide you with the edge that you are looking for and compensate for elements that you do not receive from food. It is important, however, that all supplements be researched and taken according to the manufacturer’s direction. In some cases, over consumption of supplements can be harmful, so pay attention to all guidelines.
There are many common nutrients ingredients that support the activities of endurance athletes. For example, iron, calcium and whey protein each provide benefits to runners. Two of the most popular choices, however, are caffeine and creatine.
Caffeine is a valued supplement for many athletes. In fact, recent studies have shown that more than two-thirds of Olympic athletes use the benefits of caffeine to enhance their performance.
The most recognized advantage of caffeine is its ability to heighten mental alertness. This is great in the morning to get you moving, but it works equally well in the evening to stimulate performance after a hard day. Another benefit, perhaps of most importance to long-distance runners, is that caffeine improves the body’s ability to use fat as fuel. In doing so, it conserves glycogen, which is essential for high functioning in the last leg of a marathon.
Caffeine, when used in combination with carbohydrates, has been shown to aid in recovery as well. Researchers discovered that athletes who consumed a combination of caffeine and carbohydrates following a workout had 66 percent more glycogen in their muscles after four hours than athletes who consumed a drink with just carbohydrates.
Moderation is key to determining the amount of caffeine you should consume. The recommendation is about 550 milligrams per day which is equal to roughly five cups of coffee.
Creatine as a performance enhancement supplement has been used by athletes to improve muscle strength, size and power. These are terms that are not often used when considering a supplement for endurance athletes, however.
Creatine aids in muscle recovery. When used correctly, it can benefit endurance runners as well. While using creatine before or during a race event is not recommended, it can provide runners benefits during training.
Long distance runners use interval training to build running speed and performance. This is where creatine can help. During high-intensity training sessions, it can improve speed and efficiency. It can also decrease the amount of recovery time needed. These improvements during training translate into improvements on race day.
ProLine Sports Nutrition can give endurance athletes the edge they need to perform at optimal levels. Visit our website today for more information on specific products and ongoing promotions.
Whether you are an amateur, professional or elite endurance athlete, ProLine Sports Nutrition has the information and supplements to help you perform your best.
Check back soon for part 2 of this series on supplements for runners!