Dr. Mike Israetel, a U.S. Olympic Sports Nutrition Consultant, reports that Olympic athletes often use supplements to give themselves the best opportunity to win.
“Supplements are not powerful aids to performance, even a percentage point of improvement in performance can mean the difference between a gold medal and no medal at all when the competition is as closely contested as it is at the Olympics.”Dr. Israetel
6 Supplements Used by Elite Athletes
- Whey Protein
- Carb Powders
So, what supplements do Olympians use to give themselves an edge and take their performance to the next level? The following is a list of six supplements that world-class athletes use to boost performance.
Creatine is a favorite supplement amongst weightlifters and gym-goers. Olympic athletes also use creatine because creatine is known to improve recovery between bouts of explosive exercise, and is also useful for building muscle and strength.
Creatine is one of the safest and most effective supplements available. As a result, creatine is often the number one choice for elite athletes of all disciplines.
According to the National Institute of Health, multivitamin supplements often contain vitamins, minerals, or a combination of the two. While research has found that multivitamins are not effective for increasing physical performance, elite athletes continue to take them due to the belief that multivitamins are essential for optimum health and performance.
Whether this is true or not doesn’t stop the majority of athletes from consuming high doses of multivitamins.
3. Whey Protein
Whey protein is a popular supplement packed with protein containing all nine essential amino acids. Whey protein delivers fast-digesting protein to muscles to prevent muscle loss and increase muscle growth after workouts. As a result, whey protein is a crucial supplement used by the majority of Olympians and elite athletes.
Omega-3 fatty acids are a group of polyunsaturated fatty acids that are important for several bodily functions. Current research supports Omega-3s validity, and omega-3 is critical to the optimal functioning of the body.
Omega-3 can improve overall health by encouraging muscle repair and enhancing brain function for Olympic-level athletes who follow a more restrictive, low-fat meal plan. U.S. Olympic consultants advise that most people would benefit from taking a fish oil or Omega-3 supplement.
In basic terms, electrolytes are negatively and positively charged ions that play an essential role in a person’s body. Electrolytes help control nerve impulses and also regulate bodily fluids.
Electrolyte supplements can sustain hydration and high performance during long training sessions. Training has to be hard and long in duration if you want to receive the most benefits from electrolytes.
While the average person who goes to the gym doesn’t need electrolyte supplements, electrolytes are useful for Olympic athletes who have higher workloads and hydration requirements.
6. Carb Powders
Carb powders such as Gatorade and Powerade can help athletes get enough energy to sustain a hard workout and replenish energy levels during rest periods. Similar to electrolyte supplements, only people who perform intense exercise benefit from carb powders.
Effectiveness of Supplements
While few people would need as many supplements as an Olympic athlete, understanding your supplement needs based on your activity level might give you the extra boost your body needs. However, unless you train like an elite athlete with high intensity, you won’t need as many supplements as the fitness industry would have you believe.