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Common Ergogenic Aids On The Market & What Will Work Best For Your Training.



There are tons of information on products on the market that promise the best out of your fitness; physically & mentally. When it comes to choosing the right supplement, it can be intimidating due to all the choices that are out there. For this week’s blog post we are going to cover some common supplements that are on the market, the pros & cons of these products and if they will work for you or not.



Remember to always check with your health profession before adding any type of supplementation to your regimen. Some supplements can have side effects on medicines. I would also like to state that the information that I am giving to you in this blog post is information for you to make your choice not a recommendation.


* Always choose healthy eating and good nutrition before supplementing; there is more benefit from real minimally processed foods then on the market products.


Ergogenic Aids

These non-nutrient supplements are used to enhance athletic performance; ergogenic literally means “work generating”. There is an abundant amount of these products on the market and can be intimidating to sort through.


Dr. Ron Maughan, a prolific sport supplement researcher from the United Kingdom, states when considering these types of aids most performance enhancers is if they work, they are most likely banned, if they are not banned then they most likely do not work as well as we think they do. I will let you make the decision yourself based on your goals, performance needs, and if you decide if you even need to supplement. (NASM 515 pg. 2018)


Creatine


The majority of sport performance training is focused on building muscle, strength, & powder. Creatine is synthesized naturally in the human body from amino acids (methionine, glycine, arginine.) Creatine assists in regenerating ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate) from ADP (Adenosine Diphosphate) to maintain high-intensity high intensity muscular exertion up to 10 seconds. Creatine supplementation can enhance these efforts; when paired with strength training, creatine supplementation has been shown to increase muscle mass, strength, & anaerobic performance. Adding creatine into your regimen at first will cause initial weight gain by 4 to 5 pounds, caused by osmotic effect of creatine drawing in water into muscles along with increased muscle protein synthesis.

The typical dosing scheme usually starts with 5 to 7 days of 20 grams per day, followed by a maintenance phase of 2 to 5 grams per day to sustain maximum creatine levels. This supplement can be taken for up to 5 years, with scheduled weening phases for up to 1 to 3 weeks within your training cycle.

Possible side effects to the kidneys if someone has kidney issues should talk with a health professional before consumption. There are several studies being done for therapeutic sues in various neuromuscular and neurodegenerative diseases, from these studies; creatine plays an essential role in normal brain function.


Stimulants: Caffeine


Stimulants affect both physical and mental functions, athletes involved in many different sports & competitions attempt to use ergogenic benefits from the use of stimulants. Caffeine is the most widely used drug in the world. Caffeine primarily effects the central nervous system, skeleton muscles, & heart.


Caffeine consumption (coffee in particular) has been linked to reduced risk of Parkinson’s & Alzheimer’s disease, various cancers, diabetes, and improve cognitive function and asthma relief. Other performance benefits from using caffeine decreased reaction time, sustaining maximal endurance and intermittent high intensity long duration exercises by extending your ability to work to exhaustion.

Recent research has shown ingestion of caffeine and hour before resistance training increased total repetitions performed with in that session and decreased DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) in the follow day.


Withdrawal from caffeine can make you cranky, cause headaches, drowsiness, and even nausea. People who are pregnant or have high blood pressure, anxiety, sleep problems, heart issues, and stomach problems should avoid caffeine. If performing in a sport or competition make sure you receive information the banned substance list, there is a set amount of caffeine you will be require consuming/ or not consume.


Beta- Alanine


This supplement is naturally found in the body that helps move fat into mitochondria, fat- burning area of the cell. The cell breaks down these fats to produce energy from it. Carnitine is synthesized from beta- alanine and L-histidine (amino-acids). Studies have shown by chronic oral consumption can elevated up to 80% the carnosine content of human skeletal muscle. This leads to improved performance in high intensity exercises by both trained and untrained individuals. Carnosine may act as a pH buffer, improve muscle contraction. Side of effects of this substance is in further research.


Protein


Protein is one of the most popular supplementations to take for sport performance, fat loss, and lean body mass development. Based on the amount you take per pound of body weight, and the frequency of activity and in general a well-balanced diet, protein can have large benefits to our training regimen. The recommended dietary allowance of 0.4 - 0.8 grams/ Lbs. per day for sedentary adults, people working out 3 to 5 days a week of strength training or high intensity anaerobic training 1.2-1.7 grams/lbs., and endurance athletes should be getting around 1.2 -1.4 grams/ lbs.


Protein has many important jobs to do in the body, if you are not getting enough from your diet the best way is supplementation. The benefits of using protein supplementation is to help synthesize body-tissue protein, provide glucose for energy, provide nitrogen in the form non-essential amino acids, quickly get amino acids in the blood before and after resistance training.


There are negative side effects if you are consuming to much protein. When consuming higher amounts of protein, we do tend to have or saturated fats and low fiber. This can over time cause a risk of heart disease and some types of cancers. The kidneys have to work harder to get ride of the increased urea produced. This can over time cause kidney issues for people who already have previous kidney problems, like renal insufficiency or kidney stones. Calcium absorption by the intestine is elevated at least by 26% on high protein diets. Not only that but with consuming more protein you need to consume more fluid. Proper hydration is key when consuming more protein, at little as 3% of dehydration impairs performance.


MCT Oil


Supplementation during your exercise routine can have an impact on your progress. When we want to see fast results, these tools can help get us a little closer to the long hall goals that we work so hard on. A common supplement used for endurance athletes called MCT oil (Medium – Chain Triglycerides); this supplement is suggested to supply an exogenous energy source in addition carbohydrates during exercise and increases plasma free fatty acids, sparing muscle glycogen. Several studies done by Fushika et al., done based on swimming endurance.


The group given MCT had significant increase in swimming capacity than the controlled group. The increase was apparent even compared to both trained and untrained subjects!

Besides increase in work capacity MCTs provide 10% fewer calories and more rapidly absorbed by the body and metabolized because they cross the mitochondrial membrane quickly and do not require the presence of carnitine, compared to long chain fatty acids. In a nutshell what this means is less fat storage and a rapid use of energy expenditure. The recommended dose of MCT (organic extra virgin coconut oil) is ¼ teaspoon several times daily (Fushika, 1995).


Start with low doses because your body does take a longer time with digestion and absorption. MCT may be fast but still start off low and work your way up over time to see what works best for you. When ever starting something new its always good to do a journal for the first few weeks and take notes on how your body reacts to the new supplement.


Sport Drinks


For exercise lasting more than an hour, adding carbohydrates to the mix can really help with supplying glucose to muscle where glucose storage is dwindling. Adding a carbohydrate drink can maintain blood glucose levels, increase time with reduced exhaustion by 20 to 60 minutes, replacing fluid loss, and benefit performance. Recommended consumption would be 30 to 60 grams of carbohydrate every hour of work done. Sports drinks including potassium and sodium will help replace your electrolytes; sports drink containing 6 to 8 % are recommended for every hour of work! Watch out through these sugary drinks can add up and if you are not busting your booty working out, then I would recommend just keeping them as a workout drink when needed.


We went over some common supplementations that the masses do enjoy using. Make good decisions when deciding what supplements are good for you, and even if you need to supplement based on your diet. If you want to boost performance speak with your health professional first before giving any of these above a try!



References:

Fushiki T, Matsumoto K, Inoue K, Kawada T, Sugimoto E. Swimming endurance capacity of mice is increased by chronic consumption of medium-chain triglycerides. J Nutr 1995 Mar;125(3):531-9.


Penney, S. (2013, December 17). Caffeine for Performance . NASM Blog.


Derave, W. , Evereart, I., Beeckman S. Baguet. A, (2010, March 1) Muscle carnosine metabolism and beta-alanine supplementation in relation to exercise and training. (pubmed) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20199122/


Blancquaert L., Everaert I., Derave W., (2015, Jan. 18) Beta-alanine supplementation, muscle carnosine and exercise performance. (PubMED) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25474013/


American Council of Exercise (2009, Jan 29) Supplement Specifics. (ACE) https://www.acefitness.org/education-and-resources/lifestyle/blog/6697/supplement-specifics/


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Heidi Estes
Heidi Estes
02 juin 2021

I found this very helpful! I did not know that about caffeine! That’s awesome!

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