Before getting into the list of supplements there are a few things I want to cover. I will add more supplements to this article as I try them myself and survey my athletes I train. I will also describe each one more so look for continual updates to this article.
- Since we train elite high school, college and professional athletes we always suggest looking at the www.NSFsport.com and http://informed-choice.org/certifiedproduct-brands websites for supplements that have gone through testing to make sure they are free of banned substances. This doesn’t mean if you take something not on one of those list it has banned substances in the product it just means that the products on those websites have been tested for those things. I think there are other supplement and supplement companies that have great products because I personally take supplements not on those list.
- No supplementation matters if you don’t focus first on eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, good protein sources, good carbohydrates, and healthy fats.
- Get plenty of water (water not drinks made with water!) everyday
Products I think most athletes can take and benefit from them.
Personally I take a product called Athletic Greens and and another Amazing Grass Green Superfood, both are powders that I mix in my fruit smoothie.
3. Fish Oil – store in fridge
4. Vitamin D – 2000 IUs per day in the winter
Unless you are getting 10-30 minutes of sunlight a day you will most likely need to supplement with Vitamin D and if you leave north of Atlanta you definitely need to in the winter. Of course how much sun you get varies per person and how much supplementation you need does too. The best way to find out is get blood drawn and see what vitamin deficiencies you have.
5. Protein Powder
I take Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Casein and Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey, both these are on the informed-choice website and taste really good especially in a smoothie I make which you can find here… 2 great smoothies I haven’t seen it on any of the certified supplement list but another option is BSN Syntha-6 which is a blend of proteins and taste really good to me.
6. Creatine – controversial but also highly researched
Creatine has been said to do many bad things and when abused maybe it has been the cause of some adverse reactions in those people. Personally I have seen positive results from creatine when using it the right way with no negative side effects. This is only my judgment of it and that doesn’t mean you should take it or not take it. If you are under 18 years of age it is up to you and your parents. If you employ my nutrition coaching services we will monitor everything we can so if you start taking creatine we make sure you feel it is helping you in the short term and long term. I feel as though you should be 15 or 16 years old or older to take creatine again with the permission of your parents. One thing I will say is that you need to be psychologically mature enough to understand there is no magic supplement to replace hard work in the gym so if you think that “if I just take creatine I can get where I need to be” then you are not ready for this type of supplementation.
Three important things to understand about creatine:
- There is no need to do a loading phase. You will get all the same benefits just taking it.
- Don’t take what the bottle says. Here is a quick guide to how much to take daily per pound of body weight. 100 lbs = 1.3 grams, 120 lbs = 1.6 grams, 150 lbs = 2 grams, 170 lbs = 2.3, 200 lbs = 2.7. This doesn’t mean if you want to be 200 lbs take 2.7 grams just to be clear.
- After 4-6 weeks take a break for a month. Your body produces creatine naturally anyway so it isn’t like you won’t have any when you stop supplementing.
Here is an article about creatine if you want more information… Creatine Dosage
7. Branch Chain Amino Acids
Great to take during your workout or games. I take Optimum Nutrition Amino Energy as my pre-workout and during workout supplementation. It has some caffeine from tea and coffee bean sources so do not take 6-8 hours before bedtime.