Through the years, I have tried and used many different types of sports supplements to enhance performance. I even did two cycles of the anabolic steroid Anavar years ago. For all the money spent, few really ever did what they were supposed to do. There is a mountain of bullshit in this industry, so let the buyer beware. Let me say from the start, the best performance-enhancing substance, bar none, is water. Coaches say, “Hydrate”. I say do that but drink water too! Just a 3% drop in your body’s fluid level will destroy your athletic performance. If you are thirsty in the middle of your event, you screwed up. You should have had that water beforehand.
Other supplements that I have used with success include the sports hydration drink Cytomax. On events over 10K and especially on warm days, this kept my electolytes stable and provided some carbs to utilize. I used to use a product called Muscle Nitro which was great because it was buffered against lactic acid build-up and contains branched chain amino acids. I don’t know that the buffering did much but the BCAA’s did. Over the last 25% of a race or an intense workout, I felt like I could go harder or at least push through the fatigue without a significant performance hit. The BCAA’s are also great for recovery and lean muscle building and are still one of the supplements I currently use for that reason combined with glutamine.
I consider post-workout nutrition to be very important and for that I use Warrior Milk, Muscle Milk or just a cup of plain yogurt and a banana. The sooner after a workout you take this in the better as it gets utilized immediately. You don’t need massive amounts of protein or carbohydrate either to gain the benefits of recovery and lean muscle growth. 20-50 minutes post-workout is considered optimun.
For endurance events, I enjoy using a bit of caffeine. It does add to the pre-race anxiety of not only the race but where you are going to find a place to pee before the gun goes off. When glycogen stores have been exhausted, caffeine has shown to be able to utilize free fatty acids as fuel. With caffeine, you have to make sure you go back to #1-hydrate. Caffeine is a diuretic.
Other supplements I use in addition to a good mult-vitamin is ester C, Stubborn Fat Burner and Estro-X, which are designed to reduce estrogen in the body and aid in the removal of toxins in the liver. I also use whey protein and consider that more of a macro food than a supplement. Anyone training should use whey unless they have a sensitivity to dairy products.
I also use DHEA and its precursor, 7-Keto for its testosterone-producing benefits. Testosterone builds muscle, but decreases with age, especially past 30. I’m over 50. Do the math!
Omega-3 oils are a must for a ton of reasons, including anti-inflammatory properties. Go read what Barry Sears of Zone Diet has to say about Omega-3 fish oils. You don’t have to buy his stuff, but do get pharmaceutical-grade or ultra-refined. Google it.
Two supplements I am experimenting with are Kre-Alkalyn, which is a capsule-form of creatine without the bloat. What is special about this creatine is that it maintains higher blood pH than regular creatine and more of it is utilized (up to 20x), thus you don’t have to take in nearly as much. As far as creatine goes, no supplement has as much scientific research behind it and it is the real deal. The newest thing is beta-alanine which creates the amino acid carnosine in the body. You can read more about it here, and here.
That said, my main focus is on good macro nutrition and water. Supplements that give a tiny ROI or if I don’t notice anything other than being $50 lighter in the wallet are eliminated. You still have to go out and run it, lift it skate it, throw it and have fun, right?