Here is a short list of some essential supplements most athletes should add to their daily regimen.
This list specifically targets active people, whether in-season or out-of-season. These supplements are safe for most people, but consult your physician before using these supplements.
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Whey protein (or vegan protein)
Whey protein is a set of eight different proteins derived from milk. What is special about these proteins is that they are fast-acting, which helps to get the protein to your muscles as quickly as possible, ideally immediately after a workout. At the most basic level, protein is necessary to build muscle. The more efficiently that protein reaches the muscles, the more efficient it will be in building muscle. That’s why whey protein is often the preferred protein for those trying to add muscle. Whey protein often has many essential amino acids that are needed for muscle repair and recovery. If whey protein isn’t an option for you due to dietary restrictions, many fast-acting vegan protein options will work in a similar fashion. A good rule of thumb is to get half a gram of protein per pound. So, if you weigh 150 pounds, aim to get 75 grams of protein every day.
Fish oil is a great product to help you get your dietary source of omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids have been proven to reduce the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Early evidence also suggests that fish oil has anti-inflammatory properties and may increase lifespan. While these can be derived from seafood in one’s diet, it’s unlikely you will be eating seafood every day, especially due to the mercury levels found in many seafood sources.
Multivitamin (with B vitamin)
While it’s always best to get your vitamins through your food sources, it is extremely hard for most people to get all their needed daily vitamins purely through their diet. A comprehensive multivitamin ensures that you get all your necessary vitamins every single day. Many multivitamins are tailored for specific needs, such as increased iron or metabolism-boosting vitamins. No matter what, you should ensure that your multivitamin has adequate amounts of vitamins A, B, C, D, E, and K, along with calcium, magnesium, and zinc. It is also recommended to take a separate B-Complex vitamin since it is difficult to find multivitamins that contain all necessary B vitamins, which are essential for energy. To see if your multivitamin has adequate amounts of each vitamin, check the daily value percentage on the nutrition facts label.
Branched-Chained Amino Acids
Any high-performance athlete will tell you that rest and recovery is essential to athletic success. Branched-chained amino acids, or BCAAs, are amino acids that are essential for muscle repair, known as muscle protein synthesis. While it’s always important to get amino acids through diet, it’s quite hard to get those amino acids in during a workout — the time in which they are most effective. They can also provide a small boost of energy if taken during a workout. The best part about taking BCAAs is that they taste much better than other supplements, often coming in candy flavors. Look to get 10-20 grams of BCAAs per day.