Supplements Fitness Training

Athletes are always on the lookout for ways to improve their performance, even if only marginally, so it’s no surprise that dietary supplements designed to complement fitness training are numerous. Bodybuilding supplements are especially popular, and used by millions to enhance athletic ability.

As with other types of supplements, remember that sports performance or bodybuilding supplements are meant to complement a balanced diet and fitness training, not as quick-fix replacements.

Vitamin C and Post-Marathon Colds

Endurance athletes such as marathon runners place great strains on their bodies during competition. This affects their immune system, often leading to colds and infections after a competition. While vitamin C and its ability to treat colds has been a topic of debate for years, it has been proven that regular doses of vitamin C help keep endurance athletes healthy after competition.

Micronutrients, including minerals and vitamins, are needed for energy production. Exercise both uses micronutrients and increases the body’s need for them. In especially intense exercise, the need for micronutrients can double.

The Creatine Controversy

Creatine occurs naturally in the body, and is converted into energy stored in the muscles. The evidence that creatine can improve fitness training is ambiguous, although it does appear to aid in some specific types of training, and is a common ingredient in bodybuilding supplements. It appears to increase performance during bursts of intense exercise. Creatine can also increase the body’s isometric exercise capacity, allowing weightlifters to perform more reps.

Claims that creatine increases lean muscle and bone mass remain unsubstantiated. In combination with regular weight training this claim may have some validity, but only because creatine increases isometric exercise capabilities. Creatine will not increase strength or long-term endurance.

Ginseng and Sports Performance

Ginseng has been reported to improve sports performance, but most claims are anecdotal, and research has failed to prove or disprove the claim conclusively. It has been proven, however, that ginseng prompts a sense of well-being. That ability may account for claims that it improves physical performance. A heightened sense of well-being certainly can’t hurt athletes.