Quick Review of Some Leading Sports Supplements
What they are and when to use them.
As you know amino acids are the building blocks of protein, which in turn are the building blocks of muscle. Research has shown that the branched chain amino acids (BCAAs), play an integral role in muscle development and maintenance as well as for muscle repair following workouts or training. The three BCAAS; valine, isoleucine and leucine, are essential amino acids indicating that the body can’t make them and they must be obtained from the diet.
WHEN: BCAAs are best taken both before and after exercise for muscle maintenance and recovery.
WHO: Body builders, weight lifters, tri- and team sports competitors, athletes who weight train and endurance athletes.
Sports Supplements – CARNITINE
Also known as levocarnitine or l-carnitine, it is a non-essential amino acid, which means it can be made in the body or consumed in the diet (red meat being the main source).
Carnitine plays a vital role in metabolizing fat into energy and is a popular supplement among athletes and gym goers, as it assists with stamina and performance, with many claiming it increases their metabolic rate. There is also evidence that carnitine supplementation may reduce post exercise plasma lactate levels hence leading to improved muscle recovery after exercise.
WHEN: Take evenly throughout the day, as well as prior to a work out.
WHO: Athletes and bodybuilders seeking to get lean and ripped, weight conscious individuals.
Sports Supplements – CREATINE
Creatine is made in the body from three amino acids arginine, glycine and methionine, it is known as a ‘muscle volumiser’, increasing the space and improving the environment inside a muscle cell for more growth and faster recovery. Creatine is a key component of muscle tissue and has over 200 studies to its name analyzing its ability to improve muscle strength. Researchers have also looked at the supplement’s effects on muscle damage and recovery. A study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition showed that creatine supplementation provides faster recovery in muscle strength.
WHEN: Take on empty stomach 30 mins prior to exercise.
WHO: Tri- and team sports competitors, body builders, high energy sports such as running and swimming.
Sports Supplements – TRIBULUS
Tribulus has a long history of use for helping maintain testosterone levels. It has also been shown to possibly enhance the body’s natural production of testosterone especially in the presence of low levels, but will not increase it beyond normal levels. Tribulus was first discovered in the mid-90s when Eastern European Olympic athletes began taking tribulus to boost their performance, stamina and endurance. Preliminary clinical research has also found that tribulus may dilate coronary arteries and improve circulation. This helps deliver more oxygen and nutrients to muscle cells to aid in a better workout and recovery, leading to greater muscle growth.
WHEN: Once or twice daily with food.
WHO: Tri- and team sports competition, body builders and weight lifting individuals, ‘hard gainers’ who have difficulty gaining weight or retaining muscle.
This article is a highlight feature from the October issue of Go Vita Go Magazine