Supplementation isn’t just about taking a substance that may make you go faster or stronger for longer. It’s about targeting any potential differences between what we ingest and our bodies actual dietary requirements with our ever increasing training load. As you become fitter and stronger and your chronic training load increases you will need to remember to adjust your diet accordingly. Some athletes start looking towards supplementation to assist with the shortfall. For those who do we have provided EPiC Coaching’s top ten dietary supplements.
Lactate – Can improve performance. Taken an hour before exercise, an artificial infusion of lactate allows for a higher lactate threshold. It sounds counter-intuitive, but Lactate or Lactic acid is a fuel, not a dirty by-product of anaerobic cycling. Oral lactate may postpone fatigue, by increasing a buffer capacity of the body and reducing acidosis, in turn delaying fatigue. On the other hand, it is believed that during endurance-type exercise, the depletion of muscle glycogen causes fatigue. In such conditions, lactate may serve as an energy source. It has been observed that the lactate produced in one muscle can be oxidized within another muscle. Due to its insulin independence, lactate could prove to be a more readily available energy substrate. Better performance is often related to lactate clearance from the blood. The increase in blood lactate levels during exercise is reduced by acclimatization. Therefore training and lactate supplementation may help to increase lactate clearance and subsequently improve performance.
- Caffeine –Caffeine increases fat metabolism by raising the level of free fatty acids in the blood, fat stores are then used for energy – saving the limited stores of carbohydrates (Glycogen) for later, it is recommended that you intake caffeine 1 hr before to increase fat metabolism during an event. Caffeine also stimulates the central nervous system and can reduce a variety of effects elsewhere in the body. Depending on the dose, caffeine can increase metabolic rate and heart rate and reduce perceived effort enabling us to ‘push’ harder. There is a legal UCI limit attached to caffeine , 6-8 strong cups of coffee – all consumed in one sitting an hour prior to an event will put you over the UCI legal limit.
- D-Ribose– D-Ribose also called Ribose is an essential ingredient in the ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate) replenishment to our muscles. ATP is the energy used within our muscles as fuel, when we make hard efforts on the bike we have to wait for our bodies to replenish the fuel system before we can make another hard effort by producing more. Ribose is the sugar that begins the metabolic process for production of ATP, the muscle cells cannot make ribose very quickly and without ribose your body cannot generate ATP.
- Glutamine -Glutamine is a non essential amino acid, it fuels some of the bodies major systems such as the brain, intestines, kidneys lungs and immune system. Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in the body, it aids muscle cell reproduction, accelerates recovery and assists in regulating protein synthesis. One of the more interesting roles it plays for the athlete is being the main fuel for the immune system. Glutamine levels fall after exhaustive exercise, low Glutamine levels may be partly responsible for the increased risk of illness during periods of heavy training.
- Beetroot juice – The main benefit of beetroot juice is it allows a boost of Nitric Oxide (NO) concentration in the blood stream. It allows you to cycle at the same intensity but with a lower oxygen cost. The daily recommended dose is 0.3g of nitrate, a higher dose has been shown to be counter-intuitive.
- Casein Protein – A slow release of protein, perfect for overnight when you’re sleeping, by forming a clot it is able to provide a sustained slow release of amino acids into the blood stream, sometimes lasting for several hours, the sustained positive balance of protein will maintain muscle recovery, also reducing blood lipid profiles.
- Whey and Soy Protein – Both types have a rapid uptake of protein synthesis, ideal for post ride recovery. Whey protein provide high levels of the essential and branched chain amino acids, as do Soy proteins relating to health and performance .
- L-Carnetine – L-Carnitine is an Amino acid like and vitamin B like substance. L- carnetine may influence the metabolism of fatty acids and energy substrate for cellular energy production in several ways that could have important implications for sports performance. Again, this supplement whilst not proven, could assist in aiding our bodies to use fat as a fuel more efficiently. Whilst there is no supporting evidence – theoretically L-carnetine supplementation could also decrease the accumulation of lactic acid and improve aneorobic power endurance.
- Creatine – A supplement that is appropriate for high intensity exercise, so track riders and maybe for time trialist, where anaerobic work accounts for a larger portion of energy delivery. This supplement will make you retain more fluid, so you will gain weight, but will allow a faster & sustained anaerobic energy production (ATP-PCr resysnthesis).
- Beta-alanine – Similar to Creatine with is effects soley on high intensity cycling, ?-alanine reduces acid accumulation and enhances sprint performance. An increased muscle carnosine from a chronic loading phase (28days) results in a lower ph level. This is associated with better performance in short (1-2 min) maximal exercise. Success in endurance competitions often depends on a final sprint, betaALA has been proven through testing to be ergogenic in sprint performance at the end of an endurance competition.