More related to your lactic threshold (which is the point at which your muscles build up with lactic acid to the point it affects performance) is the supplement beta alanine. At Florida Atlanta University it was found that Beta Alanine and creatine improved the endurance and aerobic capacity of athletes after only 4 weeks of supplementation. Researchers believe its Beta Alanine’s ability to positively affect a substance called carnosine in the muscles which produced this improved performance since a similar study at the University of Tsukuba found that high levels of carnosine could help to reduce lactic acid build up in the muscle (the burning sensation you get in the muscles when you’re running hard).
Iron to Improve Endurance
At the University of Missouri it was found that iron supplementation significantly improved the endurance capacity of trained male athletes since iron is an essential component of haemoglobin (the protein that carries oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood.) Without it you simply cannot efficiently produce ATP, the body’s primary energy source, and you certainly won’t have any sort of endurance because your body won’t be able to transport oxygen to the working muscles.
Spirulina to Improve Endurance
Whilst more research may be needed into this next supplement it is worth mentioning, a recent study at the University of Thessaly in Trikala in Greece discovered that the green algae known as spirulina could improve an athlete’s resistance to fatigue by as much as 25%. The new research published in the journal ‘Medicine and Science in Sports Exercise’ theorised that the chlorophyll content in the Spirulina improved the oxygen carrying capabilities of the blood therefore allowing the participants to exercise longer.
Carbohydrates to Improve Endurance
Admittedly strictly speaking this first one isn’t a ‘supplement’ and is more of a macronutrient but it needed to be mentioned sincecarbohydrates are our body’s primary (and best) source of fuel. In fact they’re so effective at improving performance that a study conducted at Loughborough University found that runners who consumed a high carbohydrate diet 7 days before a 30km treadmill time trial were 10% quicker than those who didn’t ‘carb load.’
Put simply carbohydrates are an athlete’s primary source of fuel so having a sufficient supply before a race is absolutely essential to reducing fatigue and improving sports performance. An idea echoed by A. Bean et al, 2003 who in ‘The Complete Guide to Sports Nutrition’ states marathon runners need 5-7g of carbohydrate per kilogram of body weight or 60 per cent of your daily calorie intake from carbohydrates. This usually works out at around 1,500kcal from carbohydrate per day for most women and 1,800kcal for men or for a 75kg runner that works out at between 600g and 750g of carbohydrates per day.
Whilst some people still associate sports supplements mainly with weight lifters, evidence suggests that there are a variety of supplements that can improve performance in endurance athletes too. Whether you’re running, swimming, cycling (or a bit of all three) there are a variety of sports nutrition supplements that can help aid your performance and give you the edge.
Break it down a bit further:
When taking part in endurance events, having a slow-releasing sustainable source of energy such as oats is essential. Pure Fine Oats, particularly of the gluten free variety are ideal for endurance athletes. You can easily add oats to a protein shake, or alternatively mix them with something like yoghurt to give you a more satisfied feeling.
Taking a decent pre-workout before an endurance event can really help give you the edge and ensure you get to the finish line in record time. A product like Genesis Pre-Workout will help give your mind and body a boost as you look to tackle your PB. A pre-workout can also be the difference in making it through ‘the wall’.
A simple snack like a protein flapjack can be a handy way of boosting your energy levels mid-event. Not only will the oats in protein flapjacks help provide your body with a much needed carb source, but the whey protein in them can also help aid your muscle recovery. Protein Flapjacks also happen to be a damn tasty treat so are definitely worth investing in.
A product such as creatine or even creatine monohydrate is also worth considering for endurance athletes. Creatine helps to buffer lactic acid from the muscles so can help ensure that you can compete for longer periods of time. This makes creatine ideal for endurance athletes.