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How You Can Use Supplements to Boost Your Sports Performance
Whether you’re a weekend warrior, a high performing athlete or you just want to put on your best physical performance next time you hit the gym, sports supplements can help you smash your goals and beat the competition.
We all know that our energy requirements drastically increase during and shortly after exercise. Yet many people don’t realise that the same can be said when it comes to vital nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and other beneficial compounds.
These essential nutrients can help your body to reduce stress, speed up recovery, reduce inflammation, boost blood flow, improve energy levels and avoid injury so you can keep performing at your best.
To help you understand the benefits of natural sports supplements better, we’ve put together a quick guide to help.
When you’re finished reading, you’ll understand exactly which tried-and-tested sports supplements can help you crush the competition.
We’ve included the benefits of taking sports supplements and how to choose the right sports supplement for you. Then we get more into the science by exploring exactly which sports supplements we recommend and why.
What are the benefits of sport supplements?
Although we’d always recommend that you focus your attention on getting the calories, vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and other healthy compounds you need by eating a high-quality and nutrient dense diet, sometimes this isn’t easy to achieve.
Sometimes we’re just too busy to spend hours in the kitchen. Or we can’t afford to buy the most beneficial wholefoods. Or we just don’t feel like eating a healthy food and we’d rather treat ourselves to something special.
This is when sports supplements can come into play. They can help give your body that missing piece of the nutritional puzzle and help maximise the benefits of all that hard work you’ve been putting into your sport.
You won’t need to switch your entire diet or spend your time trying to create a workout, specific snack or complicated meal just so you can benefit from one particular nutrient. Nor will you have to sacrifice eating that gorgeous chocolate brownie because you need to eat something more ‘sensible’ instead.
Simply by taking a supplement in tablet form or stirring a nutritious powder into your juice, smoothie or other sports drink, you can access these nutrients right away and get on with the rest of your day. This means optimal convenience and optimal performance in one. It’s a win-win.
You might also:
Increase your strength
Boost your endurance
Speed up your recovery
Boost your metabolism
Get a better night’s rest
Protect your bone and joint health
Optimise your energy levels
As you can see, sports supplements are a great way to support both your body and mind so you can take your performance to the next level and achieve those fitness and sports goals in a quick and convenient way.
How to choose the right sports supplements
Choosing the right sports supplement isn’t always an easy task. There are hundreds of different brands and dosages available and it’s not always easy to find one that’s of a high enough quality to meet your needs. Many also contain ingredients, additives, fillers and other bulking agents which help keep prices down for the manufacturer and don’t offer any benefits to you, the customer.
You need to find a high-quality supplement that provides the perfect blend of nutrients for your sport whilst being affordable and easy-to-use.
We understand that it’s not always easy to choose, so here are a few tips.
- Purchase from a reputable supplement brand (like ours!) so that you know that you are getting a high-quality supplement.
- Always read the labels. You want to check that the supplement is free from fillers, additives and other synthetic ingredients that don’t add any health benefits and could even harm your body.
- Check that your supplement is suitable for your diet and lifestyle. This is especially true if you’re vegan, lactose-intolerant, coeliac, or suffer from any allergies. Many supplements contain ingredients which you might prefer to avoid.
- Do your research and consider what you’re hoping to achieve by taking a sports supplement.
- Find what works for you. Just because your friends at the gym are raving about one particular supplement, that doesn’t mean you should too. Again, do your research.
- Check for contraindications before taking your sports supplement. Read the label and check if there are any reasons why you shouldn’t take a supplement, such as being pregnant or breastfeeding.
- If you have any worries or doubts, always speak to your GP for advice.
The six best sports supplements for athletes
There are many sports supplements which can offer great benefits to athletes from various sports backgrounds. However, there are a few tried-and-tested supplements which come highly rated by the sports industry and are also backed by science. Here are our top six.
1. Sour Cherry Extract
Sour Cherry extract (also known as Montmorency Cherry extract and Tart Cherry juice Extract) has grown increasingly popular over the last few years. This is thanks to its ability to prevent muscle damage during exercise, reduce muscle soreness and shorten recovery time.
One study discovered that, runners given Sour Cherry extract seven days before a workout experienced three times less pain and discomfort during strenuous exercise.
These same results were also seen in another study which tested the benefits of Sour Cherry extract in relation to muscle strength and damage following a single episode of resistance exercise. Those who used it lost 4% less muscle strength after a workout than the control group.
Additionally, Sour Cherry extract is rich in the hormone melatonin which helps regulate optimal sleep-wake cycles, as well as proanthocyanidins which help your body produce more serotonin and further promote restful sleep. Both help you get a better night’s sleep and further boost your recovery.
We’ve created an optimised blend of Sour Cherry extract (Montmorency Cherry extract) and other beneficial compounds in our popular winning supplement Cherry & Beet.
Containing concentrated Montmorency Cherry extract, concentrated beetroot extract, anti-inflammatory black pepper and turmeric, and energy-boosting vitamin B6, it provides everything any athlete needs to optimise their sports performance naturally.
2. Beetroot Juice extract
Beetroot juice is a natural performance enhancer which can help improve your muscle function and improve your cardiovascular fitness.
This doesn’t only boost performance for sports which demand more intensive periods of exertion. One randomised study found that beetroot juice can be highly beneficial for endurance athletes such as distance runners, ultrarunners and cyclists too. This makes it an excellent all-rounder for all fitness fanatics.
You can find beetroot juice extract in our popular supplement Cherry & Beet, which combines concentrated beetroot extract with a potent blend of turmeric, black pepper and vitamin B6 to help ensure you have the energy you need to perform at your best.
3. Glucosamine HCL & MSM
Glucosamine and MSM are both supplements which can help reduce inflammation, boost joint health and improve mobility and range of motion. This is especially beneficial for those who need optimal mobility for sports performance as well as those with a more sedentary lifestyle.
Glucosamine is found naturally in plants, animals and humans. It helps lubricate and cushion your joints to keep them healthy, helps heal injuries, supports the health of your tendons and ligaments and provides a range of other health benefits including an improvement in gut health. Glucosamine in supplement form is usually taken from shellfish, although synthetic versions are available.
MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) is a form of organic sulphur; one of the most common minerals in the body. Like glucosamine, it can help reduce inflammation, support your joints and also boost your immune system, keeping your fighting fit for longer. It works by helping your body to release toxins and excess fluids that can worsen muscle soreness and stiffness.
When taken together, both these supplements can help support optimal joint health and boost sports recovery.
If you’re looking to support the health of your joints and ensure you stay in the game for as long as possible, check out our powerful supplement Easy Move. Boasting glucosamine, MSM, turmeric, ginger, ginseng, horsetail and many more natural compounds that promote optimal health, it will help you meet the toughest of sports challenges.
4. Krill Oil
Krill oil is an excellent source of the essential omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. These can help reduce the effects of stress on the body, boost immune function and help boost muscle recovery and growth.
Unlike many other sources of omega-3, it also contains two compounds called astaxanthin and phospholipids, both of which can boost cardiovascular health, reduce blood pressure, and protect your joints from damage.
Benefit from this powerful supplement by taking our high grade Antarctic Krill Oil supplement. Sustainably sourced, it’s also better than many other omega-3 supplements because it doesn’t leave a nasty fishy aftertaste in your mouth or cause your breath to smell.
5. L-Glutamine powder
L-glutamine is a type of amino acid and one of the building blocks of protein. It helps protect your body from various stressors such as prolonged exercise, trauma, stress, and can help you retain muscle, recover faster, feel more rested and get prepared for the next workout.
If you’re an endurance athlete such as a marathoner, ultramarathoner or triathlete, it’s likely that you will need extra glutamine as this is one of the first amino acids that the body uses to power brain and body function and often the first to become depleted.
L-glutamine also helps support the immune system and helps keep those white blood cells working optimally and helping to prevent post-workout illness. This makes it a great all-rounder for any type of exercise recovery.
If you’re looking for a simple way to supplement with L-glutamine, why not try our high quality L-glutamine amino acid powder? It comes in a convenient powder which you can throw into your post-workout smoothies and so kick-start your recovery the easy way. It’s also suitable for vegetarians and vegans.
6. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is perhaps one of the best-known vitamins, but it’s also one which is vitally important if you’re an athlete or sports person.
Found in fresh fruits and vegetables, it helps promote a healthy immune system, energy production, psychological functions and helps build healthy blood vessels, bones, cartilage, gums, skin and teeth.
Studies have shown that in the days following exercise, vitamin C levels drop below a pre-exercise level and no longer offer such a protective effect on the body.
That’s why it’s so important to fill your diet with fresh produce such as fruits and vegetables, and consider a supplement to support your overall health.
We have created a natural and gentle vitamin C blend called NutriC. This combines the most potent of plant sources to create an optimally absorbed and non-acidic form of vitamin C which is better absorbed and utilised by the body than the synthetic kind.
Packed with acerola cherry, blackcurrant, rosehip, elderberry and parsley, it helps keep your body healthy no matter what demands you might place on it.
Taking a targeted natural supplement is a great way to improve your sports performance and feel at your best.
Whether you’re looking to protect your body from injury, boost your strength and stamina, speed up recovery, kick-start your metabolism and recover faster from those workouts, sports supplements can be a great way to do it.
If you’d like to know more about the high-quality, responsibly-sourced supplements we’ve created for sports enthusiasts and athletes alike, please visit the Muscle and Sport page on our website.