Endurance sports exhaust the nervous system and muscle fibers in a different way, compared to the strength and explosive sports, and the body needs a different kind of supplementation, which should provide these two basic features:
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The classic nitrogen boosters and stimulants, such as synephrine, and yohimbine, strongly stimulate the central nervous system and work for a short period of time, which increases the risk of "crash" in the middle of a long workout.
This is why athletes at long-distance running choose endurance athletes supplements with a different effectiveness and do not choose the well-known popular nitrogen boosters.
In the following article, we will take a look at the best endurance supplements for athletes - running, cycling, swimming, and triathlon athletes.
0) But First, What Is Endurance?
When it comes to endurance, it is understood best in association to time.
On the other hand, stamina is recognized as the time dedicated to a set of muscles that can perform at a near or peak capacity.
Endurance is the maximum time provided to a set of muscles which can perform a specific action.
What this means is that there is a difference between endurance and stamina.
Stamina is only associated with performing at the highest capacity, the aim of endurance is based on increasing the time at which the given set of muscles can perform.
-> And second, let's compare endurance vs. stamina
Stamina is explained in regards to a person's capabilities to sustain a specific stressful effort over a period of time.
When it comes to athletes such as runners' stamina is associated with the athlete's abilities to handle specified pace which is the stressful effort over a specified distance while endurance is a runner's ability to run over long distances.
-> Here is how can an endurance athlete increase running stamina
Associated with strength, stamina is more easily understood as the time which is dedicated to a set of muscles that are able to perform at a maximum capacity.
The examples of the athletes that can take advantage of increased stamina would be the sprinters that are required to run at a maximum speed over a specific period of time.
When it comes to increasing stamina, it is always event specific.
For example, stamina is addressed differently according to the pace of the runner.
For example, a marathoner, half marathoner, the 10K runners, 5k runners and the 800-meter runner will all have different stamina goals.
Goal pacing will be neuro-muscular specific in regards to training.
What this means is that the runner becomes more efficient in relation to the pace that they train at.
What can be missing for a large number of athletes such as runners is the fact that a large portion of the training they participate in is conducted at a goal pace in association to the goal race.
The runners first need to find out their best race distance along with the target time.
This pace should then be replicated in smaller increments in association to the type of distance.
1) Best Supplements For Energy And Endurance Products
Below are some of the top rated supplements used to promote stamina and endurance:
Endurance exercises and creatine supplementation are not generally linked together.
Creatine is rather recognized in relation to power, speed, and strength for very good reasons.
When looking beyond the direct effect that creatine is able to provide in regards to quick increases of ATP production, an increase in the phosphocreatine stores and an improvement in anaerobic performance, creatine supplementation can provide indirect advantages to triathletes, runners, and cyclists in assisting them in increasing their training efforts to higher levels.
Caffeine is one of the most common supplements that have been used extensively by the endurance athletes over the years for the purpose of boosting their performance.
It offers that fast pick-me-up for the athletes that train early in the morning as well as its abilities to decrease the perception of efforts which assist in delaying fatigue which makes the longer distance runs a lot more bearable.
In various studies, the Beta-Alanine supplements have been proven to delay fatigue and improve performance during the high-intensity activities.
Improvement of running economy, race pace and tempo runs are all factors of training that are able to take advantage from a superior Beta-Alanine supplementation.
To date, a number of studies have discovered positive effects in regards to endurance performance that includes rowing times and cycling performance when using Beta-Alanine supplementation.
1.4) Sodium Phosphate
Loading with sodium phosphate has been proven to maximize aerobic capacity and increase the time span before exhaustion in the way of enhancing the red blood cells abilities in delivering oxygen to the active muscles.
In addition, a number of studies have gone on to find improvements in association with endurance performance in the way of a maximum increase in ventilator threshold and oxygen uptake.
1.5) Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)
The BCAAs are vital for long distance bike rides, swimming or running.
Metabolizing BCAAs has been proved to minimize lactate production which potentially increases the athlete's capacity in all types of endurance exercises.
An endurance athlete requires protein as it is vital for the maintenance and repair construction of the athletes overall muscle mass.
To get more out of protein supplementation, it is advised to consume it with carbohydrates.
This combination of these macronutrients can translate into outstanding rates of glycogen and protein synthesis.
1.7) Best Carb Supplements For Endurance Athletes
To help maintain adequate glycogen stores, an endurance athlete should eat carbohydrates, which are a major source of glycogen for the body.
A large part of the glycogen is depleted in the first half hour of the workout and then it continues to decline proportionately.
This is not a serious problem for a strength training with weights because the glycogen levels drop more gradually and they recover relatively quickly after the training session.
The main problem with the endurance sports is the moment when the athlete "hits the wall", which means that the glycogen is depleted and the blood sugar drops down.
One of the main approaches to minimizing such similar effects is the use of isotonic drinks and energy gels.
To derive energy from food, you must eat foods that contain carbohydrates or to take carbohydrate supplements.
The powder and gel forms are easily absorbed in the body, they do not burden the digestive tract, and they also provide instant energy.
The effect of such an approach is explained with the body's ability to increase to up to 20 times the oxidation of carbohydrates during exercise.
For a comparison, the oxidation of BCAA in the same conditions gets increased nearly 3 times.
A clinical study shows a case where researchers have once divided amateur runners into two groups.
They have given 20 grams of carbohydrates before exercising to one of the groups, 20 g of carbs when reaching the "crash" moment, and another 20 grams for every other 20 minutes.
The second group has been left without supplementation.
The energy group has demonstrated good pace and speed throughout the workout, while the control group has maintained a high tempo and speed just until halfway, with a decrease afterward.
The average time for completing the training for the energy group was 3 hours and 38 minutes while the control group has needed 3 hours and 49 minutes, or their result was 5% weaker.
2) Best Supplements For Runners And Swimmers
Today there is an extensive range of supplements available that range from multivitamins, protein powders, weight loss supplements and more.
There are a few effective supplements that are particularly good for runners.
Below is a list of some of the important benefits that good supplementation for running can provide:
2.1) Best Creatine For Runners and Swimmers
Creatine is one the most common supplement used by athletes over these past 15 years.
Creatine helps increase your strength and also makes it possible to repeat high-intensity exercises.
If you are a sprinter or short-distance swimmer, you will definitely see a difference when taking a creatine supplement.
2.2) Best Pre Workouts For Running And Swimming
L-carnitine is one of the most popular supplements for fat burning. The endurance increase is also a bonus.
When the body runs out of glycogen deposits, the blood the levels of acetyl carnitine in the blood reach their peak with the supplementation with L-carnitine, as only 3 g per day for one week is sufficient.
Despite the benefits of animals, human studies are too few.
One such study has found that the body needs 15 grams of L-carnitine before training to significantly increase its endurance, as 2 grams are absolutely insufficient.
I recommend the intake of at least 3-4 grams before training and 2-3 grams in non-training days in order to delay the fatigue and make an effect on the aerobic capacity of the body.
The positive effects of L-carnitine on the body fatigue have been absolutely proven, as the effect is significant in humans and animals, regardless of age.
L-carnitine can be found in liquid form or capsules.
I recommend the patented formula Carnipure, which can be found in NOW Foods L-Carnitine Liquid.
-> L-Arginine And Citrulline Malate
Arginine is an essential amino acid only conditionally and citrulline malate is its metabolite in the human body.
The two amino acids are attributed qualities of vasodilators, as well as abilities to increase strength and endurance.
L-Arginine has the ability to increase the anaerobic and aerobic endurance, but with no significant effect on the threshold of lactic acid.
It was up until recently that it was considered that this effect is due to the increased nitric oxide synthesis, but now it is proven that L-arginine does not have these properties, which means that the possible positive effect is due to a different mechanism.
The effective dose for increasing stamina varies between 3 and 6 grams before training.
Unlike arginine, citrulline malate stimulates the levels of nitrogen oxide to a some extent and also maintains the arginine levels in the body stable.
Citrulline malate regulates the overall fatigue of the body and reduces muscle pain and fever after workouts. It has also been proven that citrulline malate increases the ATP levels through the aerobic pathways.
Although a study on humans has failed to show significant benefits, many of the athletes have definitely noted their increased endurance and aerobic capacity after drinking at least six grams of the amino acid before training.
2.3) Best Protein Powder For Runners And Swimmers
Your body needs a high amount of proteins to recover after a workout.
The best way to meet this need is to use a whey protein supplement.
Whey protein is absorbed quickly by the body. It contains different amino acids which will help you recover faster, and it has a high bioavailability as well.
2.4) Best Adaptogens, Antioxidants and Vitamins For Runners And Swimmers
Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb known for its properties even in Ayurvedic healing. It is not called "Indian ginseng" for nothing.
Along with the properties of Ashwagandha to regulate stress, to improve mood and to reduce body fatigue, a study has noted its significant benefits in the increase of the aerobic capacity of the body.
In India, scientists have given cyclists 500 mg of Ashwagandha extract twice a day for a period of 8 weeks. Another group has received placebo.
After eight weeks the Ashwagandha group has shown improvement in all indicators, like maximum aerobic capacity (VO2 Max) and time for exhaustion, while the placebo group has shown no significant change.
This is a proof for the significant potential of the herb to directly increase the aerobic body capacity, without directly influencing the production of ATP or lactic acid.
We all know the benefits of magnesium, which can be categorized as one of the most important minerals for the human body.
Magnesium helps regulate metabolic processes, restores the nervous system, muscle function and counteracts stress and fatigue.
Magnesium has been also used in sports supplementation for a very long time.
A study has observed the effect of magnesium in a case of extreme physical exertion, such as triathlon.
Twenty-three athletes have been given magnesium orotate for 4 weeks in order to prepare themselves for a competition, which consists of 500 meters of swimming, 20 km of cycling and 5 km of running.
Blood tests have been carried out continuously. It has been found that the group of magnesium orotate has shown faster times, compared with the placebo group.
They have also shown higher levels of serum glucose, 118% vs. 87%, as well as serum insulin, 65% vs. 39%.
The venous oxygen tension has been increased almost double in the magnesium group and has recovered faster after physical stress.
The magnesium group has shown higher leukocytes levels and lower serum cortisol and free radicals levels.
-> Green Tea
Green tea is a "real" tea, which means it is produced entirely from the leaves of the "Camellia Sinensis" plant.
Green tea is the second most consumed beverage in the world after water.
It contains powerful antioxidants called polyphenols. It is used as a powerful energetic due to its content of caffeine.
Green tea also prevents the aging of cell membranes because it reduces the harmful effects of free radicals.
It stimulates the body to use fat as an energy source.
Green tea speeds up your metabolism; it increases the levels of the brain chemical norepinephrine (noradrenaline).
It also improves the intestinal flora and eyes and protects the skin from harmful ultraviolet rays.
Green tea is an ideal supplement for dieating and for endurance sports, because:
As listed above, effective supplementation for runners and swimmers can offer an extensive range of advantages.
The right supplements can assist runners in the running faster for longer and better, while at the same time assisting in a faster recovery time as well as more completely.
Supplements of quality also assist in supporting wellbeing and overall health that can lead to a snowball effect which ultimately means better sleep, athletic performance, and runs that are more fulfilling.
3) Best Supplements For Recovery
Anyone would agree that the sports and athletic performance is directly related to better and fast mental and physical recovery.
To recover faster and properly, our body needs enough sleep and good food (i.g., taking enough protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals).
However, when your body is under stress - hard and long workouts, you will need some additional remedies to help the mind and the body to recover faster.
Here are 3 of the most commonly used supplements for recovery:
3.1) Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) For Recovery
Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) supplements are popular options for intra and post workout recovery.
BCAAs help prevent muscle catabolism, a process that results in the breakdown of muscle fiber.
This is the ideal supplement for anyone who does high-volume cardio.
3.2) Beta-Alanine For Recovery
Beta-alanine is one of the most popular sports supplements, as only creatine is more famous than it.
Beta-alanine is a beta-amino acid, which is used to increase strength, to improve recovery and to strengthen the aerobic and anaerobic endurance.
The main mechanism of action is associated with an increase in the carnosine peptide, which is responsible for the lactic acid neutralizing and the improving of the performance of the muscle fibers.
Beta-alanine is not used as a pre-workout, the recommended daily intake is at least 5 grams per day for a long period of time, as the amino acid gets most active after 3 months of use.
It has been found that beta-alanine is able to regulate the muscle fatigue and muscle endurance.
In terms of cardio, its effect on the increase of the lactic acid level is critical, which results in an increased aerobic endurance.
An interesting fact: the combination of creatine monohydrate and beta-alanine synergistically improves the aerobic endurance.
Beta-alanine does not influence the oxygen capacity of the body positively (VO2 Max).
I recommend using a micronized beta-alanine form, like NOW Foods Beta-Alanine.
3.3) Citrulline Malate For Recovery
Citrulline Malate is a great supplement for weight lifting and cardio.
A lot of athletes overlook this option or use an under-dosed version of this supplement.
It is best to start with 5 g a day of citrulline malate and to increase doses progressively as needed.
The human body produces ammonia during workouts. Ammonia is toxic and can have a negative effect on performance.
Citrulline malate helps eliminate ammonia and enhances Adenosine Tri-Phosphate levels, which are usually depleted after a workout.
4) Best Cycling Supplements
Cycling burns huge amounts of calories, fat, and carbs.
This high-intensity workout is great for cardio, and a healthy diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and meats is needed to get the best results.
You should also think about taking cycling supplements to complement your diet.
Talk to your doctor if you need a recommendation or want to make sure a supplement is a safe option.
4.1) Multivitamins And Minerals
These supplements are often neglected by athletes because they are not promoted like other products.
And multivitamin and mineral supplements tend to sound boring.
Multivitamins supplements will not help you perform better, but you should still buy them.
Your body needs several nutrients, vitamins and minerals to function properly.
A deficiency in one of these nutrients and vitamins will have a negative impact on your performance.
As an athlete, you have greater needs for nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.
Not taking a multivitamin supplement could result in a poorer performance if your diet is lacking in the needed vitamins or minerals.
4.2) Fish Oil
There are many different benefits associated with taking fish oil on a daily basis.
Fish oil is rich in EPA and DHA content.
You will usually find 300 mg of these two fatty acids in a gram of fish oil.
This supplement is not going to help you perform better, but you need fish oil to stay in good health. Ideally, you should take 6 g a day of fish oil.
4.3) Whey Protein
Your body needs a high amount of proteins to recover after a workout.
The best way to meet this need is to use a whey protein supplement.
Whey protein is absorbed quickly by the body.
It contains different amino acids which will help you recover faster, and it has a high bioavailability as well.
Using caffeine as a supplement is entirely legal.
Many athletes use caffeine to boost performance and energy levels.
Caffeine can have a positive effect on your strength, your power, and your endurance.
Consuming caffeine before an athletic performance or a workout will allow you to stay active for longer before reaching exhaustion.
You will be able to cycle for a longer amount of time and won't feel that you are about to reach exhaustion for a while.
Take 200 mg or 3 mg/kg if you are getting started with caffeine.
This is probably the most common supplement used by athletes over these past 15 years.
Creatine helps increase your strength and also makes it possible to repeat high-intensity exercises.
If you are a sprinter, you will definitely see a difference when taking a creatine supplement.
In theory, creatine would be an excellent choice for any cyclist.
It is best to try it first and see how it affects you. Start with 5 g a day.
These amino acids are leucine, valine, and isoleucine and help with muscle growth.
Taking a BCAA supplement is not necessary for cyclist since muscle growth is usually not a primary concern.
However, a BCAA supplement can be a good choice if you need to complement your diet with more proteins, for instance, if you need to recover faster.
4.7) Citrulline Malate
This is a new product on the supplement market.
Citrulline malate can benefit cyclists because it boosts ATP production.
Citrulline malate can have a positive effect on your endurance because it reduces the amount of lactic acid produced by your system.
You should take 6 g a day if you want to use this supplement, but it is possible to take more safely.
Zinc Monomethionine Aspartate (ZMA) is a mixture of 540 mg of magnesium aspartate and 10.5 mg of Vitamin B6.
There are two main benefits to taking ZMA if you are a cyclist.
ZMA helps you sleep better and allows you to recover faster after a workout.
Magnesium and zinc play important roles in the human body.
You are likely to experience fatigue, nausea, and cramps if your diet is lacking in magnesium.
Glutamine supplement is a good option for cyclists even though there are questions regarding the use of this supplement by bodybuilders.
Any exercise that requires endurance will lower your glutamine levels, which can have a negative effect on your immune system.
A study looked at the effect of glutamines on athletes.
The ones who took a glutamine supplement were less likely to suffer from infections.
You only need to take 2-5 g after your workout to recover faster and to boost your immune system.
Here Is How To Take The Cycling Supplements Above:
You don't need to take all these supplements (you can choose the most suitable one for you), but they can boost your performance and help you recover faster.
This could be the key to reaching the next level.
5) Performance Enhancing Supplements
There are five supplements all amateur athletes or weekend warriors should use.
These supplements can help you take your workouts to the next level, regardless of what your workouts entail.
With that said, here are my five picks.
5.1) Creatine Monohydrate
I recommend getting at least 5 grams of creatine monohydrate per day.
Creatine can help you improve muscle mass, increase your strength levels and it helps with increasing your capacity to train with high intensity.
Furthermore, it will boost your power output and spring performance, which comes in handy if you play certain sports, such as rugby, soccer, football and hockey.
I recommend taking a little bit of caffeine about an hour prior to working out.
Caffeine has always been known as a way to improve workout performance.
Some of the benefits of caffeine include it can increase the oxidation of fat and release endorphins while you train.
It doesn't matter sports you play, or what kind of workouts you enjoy doing at the gym, if you consume caffeine beforehand, you will likely feel its effects, and your performance will be much better.
5.3) Beta Alanine
This supplement has a few great features, such as it will delay fatigue.
You'll be able to train for longer periods of time before fatigue starts to kick in. It will improve both your training volume and exercise performance, which will help you achieve your workout goals.
As for how much of beta alanine you should take, I recommend consuming between 3-6 grams per day.
If you get around 20-25 grams of whey protein daily, then you will experience an array of benefits.
For starters, protein is important for recovery.
When you exercise and place stress on your muscles and the more you train, the more recovery is important. This is where protein helps.
Ideally, you want to take protein after training.
Doing this improves the rate of protein synthesis.
It also helps you recover at a faster rate, which means less time recovering and more time training and focusing on your fitness goals or your next big event.
5.5) Fish Oil
Fish oil contains omega-3 fatty acids, and those fatty acids play a major role in the recovery process.
Two fatty acids, EPA and DHA that are found in fish oils are thought to help support a healthy response to inflammation after you exercise.
This means you will likely only feel muscle soreness for a few hours or days, depending on how intense your workouts are.
Another reason why omega-3s are important is that they help you build muscle.
They also help you maintain them.
Furthermore, you might find yourself being able to train harder and recover faster from your workouts.
6) Top 10 Post Workout Supplements
Supplements that are considered recovery supplements are used in post-workout recovery, hence the name they are given.
Post-workout supplements are available in abundance.
The best supplements are designed to help you recover fully and completely.
Whey protein is a good example of being an essential post-recovery supplement, as it provides your body with what it needs to repair muscle tissue.
It helps build muscle too.
Other good post-recovery supplements include magnesium and multivitamins.
With that said, here are our top 10 post-workout supplements.
BCAAs are amazing. They stimulate muscle growth, and they reduce muscle soreness.
One of the reasons why it is a good supplement to take is because it improves protein synthesis.
This supplement helps the body recover fast.
It does a good job at preventing muscle wasting. In turn, this protects the degradation of muscles.
6.3) Whey Protein
Whey protein plays a crucial role in muscle repair, as well as growth.
Whey has amino acids, which is why it's considered by many to be the best type of protein.
All proteins help with recovery, but whey protein is in a league of its own.
Protein synthesis is improved with creatine, and it is good for overall muscular health.
There are a number of studies that show creatine is a great recovery aid, and one study said endurance athletes, like runners, benefit from creatine because it is more effective as a recovery supplement for people like themselves.
If you train often, then make sure you add creatine to your regime.
Carbohydrates make great recovery supplements.
Your body has glycogen stores.
When you use a quality carb supplement, you will replenish those stores.
Not only that, but you'll recover faster.
L-carnitine supplement increases blood flow to muscles while you exercise and afterward.
Athletic endurance improves and muscle soreness will be reduced. L-Carnitine helps people recover from their workouts faster.
Training results in micro-tears in your muscles, which sends a signal throughout the body to increase blood flow to those muscles.
In turn, this plays a role in protein synthesis.
This is why you want to take an HMB supplement, which will help your muscles recover faster and grow faster.
You should use a good multivitamin because they are good for your overall health.
They also play a role in recovery.
Plus, when you're training hard and/dieting, it's a good idea to make sure you're getting the right nutrients and minerals at all times, which is why you should use a multivitamin.
6.9) Beta Alanine
Once your body absorbs beta alanine, it converts to carnosine.
This improves overall endurance, and some evidence shows this supplement is good to take for recovery purposes.
It is known for reducing muscle soreness, too.
This mineral plays a role in keeping your blood pressure healthy, and it will ensure your bones remain strong.
It is also good for the heart. As you know, sleep is part of the recovery process, and magnesium plays a role in supporting healthy sleep patterns.
7) In Conclusion
All of the above supplements are worth looking into.
Each one has their set of benefits, as well as similar benefits.
Give them a try today and start reaching your fitness goals.
Which endurance supplements do you and how do you stack them?
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