I have often been asked “what supplements do you take?” as if they are the magic formula for success. I will say this; you will reap much more rewards from working on your diet first. Once your diet is good then you can worry about supplements. These are not shortcuts, but they are meant to support excellent food with some things you may still be missing. These were my five favorites because they made the biggest difference. I am not going to get into the science of each one because you can do a simple Google search for that. I am going to focus on the benefits for athletes.
Magnesium Malate (not citrate) = The Tissue Quality Supplement
I had a therapist first tell me to start taking magnesium malate. I have been taking vitamins for a while but never this one. It single handily made the biggest difference in how my muscles felt. My brother who was also a sprinter started taking it at the same time, and we both loved it so much we made a similar mistake that created a similar problem.
Instead of taking two a day, we started to take three and four to see if those made us feel even better and it worked. The one problem was that it made us have the runs on the toilet. We later realized it was because it was relaxing the muscles so much that even the butt hole started to relax. We quickly cut back!
Regardless, magnesium malate will increase the quality of your muscle tissue. It is a must-have for any athlete in my opinion. The goal of eating well and sleeping well is to recover properly. Magnesium malate helps your muscles to feel better after hard workouts which means that it helps you to improve because you can train better.
Fish Oil = The Brain Supplement
Being an athlete also involves using your brain. Different sports still have different cognitive tasks whether it remembers a play, or you’re talking to the ref about something that just happened. Athletes need to have sharp brains.
Unless you eat a crap tonne of fresh fish, the chances are that you do not get enough fish oil pumping through your system. I wish I could say that you took a dose of fish oil and you feel like you just took the limitless pill but this is just not the case.
The reason I rate fish oil so high is not that of the feeling it produces like magnesium but because it feeds your brain. That will not just help you with sports but have a healthy high functioning brain will assist you in life.
Vitamin C = The Don’t Get Sick Supplement
When you’re a student-athlete, and you have school, a social life, hard practices, you’re fighting injuries, you are bound to get sick if you are stressed eventually. Vitamin C makes a list because it can help you to fight illness.
I think vitamin C is one of the easiest to cover through your diet, but sometimes you just are not getting the fruit and foods that you need to, and you open yourself up to illness. A lot of time when you have the excess of some of these vitamins you just end up peeing them down the drain. It can make you feel like you’re wasting your money.
Having more than enough vitamin C is better than being deficient when you are pushing your body as hard you are. If you do end up getting sick, it can be destructive for your training depending on how long it lasts.
If you have asthma, vitamin C can also help you with that and has many other health-related benefits.
MSM Joint Formula = The No Aches and Pain Supplement
I started taking joint formula because a lot of athletes forget that the same bodies they abuse at times when they are young they are going to need as they grow old. Throughout my career, I have seen too many ex-athletes with bum knees and other joint issues. I wanted to do everything I could to maintain the longevity of my joints.
If you are already dealing with the joint pain of any form, try taking joint formula. It will help some of those everyday joint pains you have.
Protein Shake = The Help Me Recovery Quickly Supplement
After every workout, it is pretty standard now to have a recovery shake. Every Instagram fitness model alive is pushing some product down your throat on a daily basis right? Protein seems to be the holy grail for athletes.
Out of all the supplements on this list, protein is the one that can get you trouble the easiest regarding testing positive. You need to be careful and make ure you read labels before you take anything. Some protein companies lace their products with banned substances that you cannot have in your system. If you test positive, even if it is the companies fault, you will still get blamed. What this means it is on your to make sure you choose wisely.
If you are new to the protein and recovery shake game stick with me. The idea is that you have a 15 to 30-minute window after practice where nutritionally your body is depleted. When you have a protein with some carbs, it feels like your body soaks it in like a sponge. It is because the time frame is so small after practice that drinking makes more sense than eating.
Talent will only take you so far. To be the best athlete that you can be, you have to make sure that you are taking care of yourself, doing everything you can to stay sharp and investing in your body. It is the only way to go about being successful in the long run.
Add these five supplements to your regimen on top of a healthy diet and you will recover better. The key is to be consistent with your commitment!