When it comes to running, cycling or other mountain sports that require high endurance, energy and cardiovascular fitness, the question of supplements always comes up.
Some users of supplements like BCAAs, whey protein and multivitamins say they are absolutely essential, while traditionalists prefer traditional foods and drinks, getting all their nutritional needs from their diets.
While we can’t say you’re on a supplement regimen for peak performance, we can say that supplements like BCAAs, creatine and caffeine have great results for mountain sports, so they’re worth a look.
In order to learn more about supplements, we’ve put together a list of some of them to try if you’re doing intensive training, want to cross tough trails in better shape, or are interested in easier recovery once you’re done.
Step 1. Load Up On Pre-Workout Nutrition
Too often the emphasis is placed solely on mid- and post-workout supplementation for the purpose of better recovery, forgetting the importance of taking the right supplements before training begins.
- Taking a caffeine supplement before training has been shown to improve athletic performance. It helps mobilize fat stores and prevents glycogen depletion for up to 15-20 minutes – which means more fat burned and more energy stored for when you need to perform at your best. While some athletes like pre-workout shakes with carbs, caffeine and other supplements, caffeine pills are just as effective.
- Carbohydrate with oats or other slow-burning carbs. Oats are a fantastic source of complex carbohydrates, which take longer to break down in the body than simple carbs, making them perfect for charging the body and maximizing your energy reserves before a big workout. Oatmeal is ideal for a pre-workout, as it can supplement your energy with simpler fructose or glucose-based energy sources during training.
- Taking doses of BCAAs (branched chain amino acids) provides great sources of leucine, isoleucine and valine. Daily regimens incorporating large amounts of BCAAs have been shown to help maintain muscle growth and help decrease fatigue, making it an obvious phase for athletes seeking maximum performance and endurance.
Step 2. Maintain Energy For Peak Performance
Pre-workout fueling is a must. A 200-pound man mountain biking can generate more than 750 calories in just one hour, and runners can burn more than 200 calories per kilometer if they’re going uphill. Your body can’t provide all that energy from your glucose stores, so you have to refuel for long runs.
Hydration is another important factor – some mountain bikers need almost 2 liters of hydration if they do an extended run. However, nutritional innovations allow you to supply two needs in one product:
- highly bioavailable, electrolyte-rich sports drinks. The best sports drinks combine plenty of electrolytes – salts and vitamins that the body drains as it sweats – with highly bioavailable energy sources such as glucose and fructose. By drinking these special concoctions, you can quench your thirst and provide plenty of energy to the body to get through endurance-intensive workouts. The body will get plenty of energy and also get all the electrolytes it needs to continue functioning at peak performance.
Step 3. Recover And Gain Strength, Then Get Back At It!
Once the race is done, it’s important to recover well and allow your body to relax, heal and rebuild so that you can later get the most out of your workout. Here are some of the best ways to help heal your body and increase your performance:
- Protein supplements. Protein supplements are absolutely essential for recovering after a hard workout. If you take supplements like whey protein, pea, rice protein, and soy protein, your body doesn’t have to work to break them down. On the other hand, if you ingest these food-based nutrients, your body will have to work harder. Of course incorporating natural protein into your diet is important, but if you consume 25-30g of whey or other protein powders directly after a workout, immediately your body will begin to digest and aid in the recovery and rebuilding of tight muscles, helping them grow and recover faster.
- Creatine. Creatine is known as a typical product used by bodybuilders, but it is gaining popularity among cyclists and other endurance athletes. In a recent study of cyclists, creatine increased cycling power anywhere from 3.4-9.6% – significant increases despite the slight weight gain associated with creatine containing water in the body.
Results from your new supplement routine may take time to appear. Creatine requires a “loading” phase while your muscles become saturated with the supplement. However, creatine is certainly a good way to increase your energy, allowing you to perform better on the mountain.
- Vitamins. Even people with healthy diets sometimes start taking supplements when it comes to getting all the essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals needed for better results. A basic multivitamin designed for athletes can help ensure you’re getting the right vitamins, such as omega-3 fatty acids, which can help burn fat and help you perform better in extreme conditions.
Once you start fueling with the right nutrition, and taking supplements for recovery, we’re sure you’ll feel and notice a difference in your performance.
So if you’re looking to fuel up before your next workout or are interested in some of the products mentioned above, check out HSN supplements – a brand that has experts who can help you achieve peak performance. Your satisfaction is guaranteed!