What is a professional athlete? When it’s your job to play a game; throw a ball, make a tackle, a goal, or a block. When your office is an ice rink, a court, a mat or a field. When it’s your job to use your body to compete at the highest level of your sport and someone pays you to do it…
Payed to Play
Professional athletes use their body to do their job. They work daily to stay physically fit with diet, exercise, training, and practice. The better they compete, the bigger the payout, both in victories and in dollars. Quite simply, for a professional athlete, input = output. So why do many athletes overlook supplements?
Over the years, I have worked with professional athletes in all types of sports and I have found there is a huge misconception when it comes to supplements. Many athletes assume that they are healthier and more fit than most and don’t think they need supplementation.
The Illusion of Health
Ironically, it’s often quite the opposite. Professional athletes put their bodies to the test 6-7 days a week in the name of their jobs. It’s rigorous, it’s constant and incredibly depleting. They truly need supplement support to maintain a high level of energy, performance and speedy recovery. Most have issues with fatigue because they’re not properly refueling their energy stores between performances.
An athlete needs power, speed, precision, focus, skill and strength. Some of this is accomplished in the weight room and with conditioning. But all of it is fueled by intelligent nutrition, intentional supplementation, proper recovery and cellular function. That’s how an athlete can gain an edge.
Supplements Change The Game When You Play The Game
One of the most common deficiencies among professional athletes is magnesium. It’s crucial to the body for muscle and nerve function and it plays a key role in the recovery process. There are 12 different types so the right one can make a big difference.
CoQ10 is an antioxidant that helps converts food into energy amongst other things and is believed to help increase energy levels. And certain B vitamins help convert proteins and sugars into energy. Glutathione is another go-to I use with athletes because it is a “master antioxidant” and produced in every cell in our body. It helps regulate a “laundry list” of internal functions, including liver detox.
These supplements are basic “game changers” for improving and changing an athlete’s durability, energy and recovery.
In addition to those basics, I have a few “no-brainers” that I think most professional athletes should include in their routine. I recommend Vitamin D, a good quality Omega 3 fish oil, beef or pea protein and BCAA’s.
Fast Fact: What are BCAA’s? Branched-chain amino acids are often taken pre and post-workout and include three key amino acids. They regulate body fat, increase muscle mass and energy, decreases muscle soreness, minimizes muscle loss, and increases fat burning.
Six Supplements For Athlete’s Peak Performance
Not Your Average Supplement
For any of us taking supplements or product to optimize health, quality matters. Think of it like buying organic food and produce. It’s even more critical for the professional athlete who may be seeking supplements to heal their body or increase performance.
Too often, athletes think any products sold in places like big box “vitamin stores” are safe and will help them. Sadly, they’re wrong. There are no regulations on supplements bought in any of these stores, so any company can make any claims on their label. True or not.
And most “health supplements” in the form of powders and bars can contain some very unhealthy ingredients like soy, artificial sweeteners, artificial fillers, and even industrial chemicals. It’s anybody’s guess when you buy these products from the “big box” vitamin and supplement stores.
Go With A Pro
Working with a professional nutritionist can help athletes uncover where they might be deficient, how they can aid in their recovery process after competing, and how they can improve performance. A professional nutritionist will also know what brands contain the highest quality ingredients and what is safe.
Professional athletes must be aware of banned and illegal substances in their sport. Often, it’s why some stay from personalized supplementation. It just seems to risky. A good nutritionist will know the best brands to use and the quality of their ingredients.
At RADO Performance Nutrition, we only use professional and pharmaceutical grade manufacturers that sell to licensed practitioners and physicians.
Any nutritionist of quality will have a similar standard. It’s important to know what products they stand behind and give to their clients.
Look for companies that use third party testing to assure that they use only clean, high quality raw ingredients in their products and use what is stated on the label. They test every lot of product that is manufactured. If there is any discrepancy, they will pull the product and reformulate.
The product will go on back order until the formula meets the label facts. This safeguards against any products being exposed to contaminants and accidentally sold to a consumer.
Change The Player, Change The Game
Through personalized supplementation, I have seen athletes perform better, become more durable athletes, experience less fatigue, and have a faster recovery. I’ve also seen improved body composition improve and biochemistry markers optimized.
I get many calls after an athlete begins taking supplements. They can feel the difference and see the difference. That’s when they know it’s working. They were so used to feeling bad, they just didn’t know any better. Now they know what good feels like.
How To Optimize The Health of The Athlete
- Work with a Professional Nutritionist Or Health Coach to Give you the Competitive Edge
- Take Customized Supplements for improved performance and better recovery
- Take only quality supplement brands
- Consider a 3-week Athlete Detox in the off season to help reset the body