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What Supplements are Hot with our Professional & Olympic Athletes?

With all the supplement companies and products on the market today, it is no wonder why this is a multi billion dollar industry some call the “Wild West”. From Mark Mcguire to Ginkgo Boloba. You can find a product for every symptom or desire. Memory, Energy, Power, Muscle Growth and Joint Nutrition are some, just to name a few.

Do we actually need these supplements in our diet or can we get away with eating a well-balanced meal? What does our sporting elite do? Our countries top athletes desire four main traits, Strength, Power, Endurance and Speed. Anything that augments these skills becomes potentially useful.

Besides having an impeccable diet, supplements are just as important to them as their training. To even think for a second, that your competition is taking something you don’t know of, can hurt your psyche. In order to remain on top in any sport you need to train hard, stay healthy and remain injury free.

Proper diet, nutrition & recovery are truly the cornerstone to a good physique and successful performance. If these supplements are of possible benefit to the athletes, most use them and are continuously searching for better products.

Athletes in endurance sports like Triathlon, Cycling and Running are concerned with Glycogen storage, glucose usage, hydration & recovery. For training, these athletes would take advantage of the products Cytomax, Accelerade and Revenge. These are energy drinks to maintain hydration and blood glucose.

I also see athletes running to replenish lost nutrients with Endurox R4. This product has become popular because it is high in carbohydrates and contains moderate amounts of protein, obviously important to restore glycogen and aid in muscle repair respectively. These athletes claim it also aids in the reduction of Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness.

Other products that are of interest to these athletes are caffeine and ephedrine based products. Although it is true that caffeine enhances aerobic activity by increasing fat utilization, sparing glycogen, thus prolonging fatigue, it is banned by the IOC. Greater than 12 micrograms/ml is the cut off in the urine. This is like drinking 10 cups of coffee or downing 4 Vivarin. Ephedrine, like caffeine is a CNS stimulant.

Athletes in explosive or sprint sports may use this drug.The athletes of power sports and strength sports like weightlifting, gymnastics, football & wrestling are taking supplements that help the explosive application of force. ZMA, HMB, creatine & ribose are amoung the popular ones.

These are legal in the IOC, unlike Androstendione, Androstendiol, DHEA and Colostrum, which are banned because of their ability to raise testosterone and IGF-1 factors. Creatine and ribose are known to replenish ATP stores, which facilitates rapid energy production. Another supplement, ZMA, is a combination of Magnesium, Zinc and B6.

This has been shown in research to increase testosterone levels, increasing muscle mass and strength outputs in athletes. HMB, a.k.a. Beta-Hydroxy Beta-Methyl butyrate is known to play a key role with the Amino Acid Leucine in protein re-synthesis. Glutamine is another hot topic amongst this group.

Glutamine is known to reduce lactic acid production, support the immune system and aid in the release of Growth Hormone. Growth Hormone is directly responsible for muscle anabolism. Finally, this group is also a consumer of protein powders and various high calorie shakes. Myoplex, Designer whey, & Gainer’s Fuel are in this category. We don’t see sprinters taking these high calorie shakes.

Speed athletes, like sprinters & tennis players want to increase strength without increasing muscle bulk. Whether you are performing the 100M dash, 50M butterfly or play 3 sets of tennis, you need sustained energy output and cannot be heavy footed. These athletes are purchasing, ZMA, ribose and creatine. They are also indulging in fat burning products like Ripped Fuel, Hydroxycut & L-Carnatine.

On a whole, more of our professional and Olympic athletes are denying traditional medications and looking for healthier alternatives. Muscle soreness and joint stiffness is treated with glucosamine, chondroitin and MSM. Inflammation is treated with Bromelain. Even though some of these substances are banned by national organizations, they continue to be legal and available to people of all ages and sports. If you are unsure about any product, consult your sports medicine professional.