What are the supplements that athletes take? This was the question that was asked in whatsapp group chat of 21km beach trail runners I was in. I had contributed a few things from my own experience and learned a few things from others.
Some supplements I have tried personally, but i like to find the natural equivalent.
Omega oil 🐠 is reportedly good for the heart. I tried it and reduced chest discomfort during hard runs. Interesting side effect is burps smells like fish. I think eating fish or specifically salmon would be good enough.
Isotonic water 💦 or salt tablets or salt sticks to replace the lost salts we sweat from during and after running. The failure tbreplace adequately may cause leg cramps and worst full body cramp (something I experienced in my first marathon in 2005). Also, avoid distilled or reverse osmosis water as it has no electrolytes and may worsen the condition. Table salt maybe enough, but recommended to use himalayan salts, as it contains other minerals other than sodium chloride. Just add a few spoons into a bottle of mineral water or hydration bag and your done.
Additional note on water, three ways to make sure you have enough. One is to weigh before and after a run, and then drink the difference. Two is to take note of urine color. If its a strong color, drink until full and until pee color is pale or clear. I find cold water gets into blood stream ( helps to pee) faster. Third is to rely on sports app, and some will calculate base on your weight, exercise, duration, and weather. It will recommend a certain amount to drink. I find it fairly accurate and at least a helpful reminder.
Protein, either protein shake, eggs🍳 , soyabean, etc. Before or after a run, maybe not during as it doesn’t get digested well during runs. We need protein to help recover, rebuild and strengthen our muscles. Taking proteins soon (within 30mins) after a work out reduces the delayed onset muscle soreness after a work out.
For joint pains or injuries, I have heard of glucosamine and chondroitin. I personally find it costly, and after a bit of research found that it is extracted from bovine joint tendons. Or in malay, urat. So I resort to urat soup or noodles or satay urat.😝
Cordyceps I have only heard recently, to my understanding it adds iron to your diet as well as improves immune system, and reduces blood clotting (similar to omega oil). I have yet to try it out. But I am Wondering if I can just buy and eat the mushrooms… 🍄
For carbohydrates, Power gels I am not a fan, mostly because of the high cost. For a single packet, I can buy some 🍌 bananas. Bananas has fructose and
also has some minerals such as potassium. I think these power gels maybe useful for fast athletes where they can get their carbs fast during a run. I run slow (7-8 min/km). So I am often fine without taking them. I can get some energy from my isotonic drink. If i feel cheap just add table sugar to my bottles. Or during a long ride I buy myself some bread on a pit stop.
But above all, I find the best food to eat after training or exercise, is whatever food I feel like eating. It may seem odd, but i find myself craving and loving the taste of certain foods after a run. I consider it as a subconscious way for my body to tell me what I need to eat to recover.
“Athletes don’t diet and exercise, we eat and train.” – unknown (if someone knowa please tell me).