How to Use Supplements to Improve Endurance
Most fitness goals are centered around aesthetics or gaining or losing weight, but not for you. The endurance athlete wants something different. You want to work your body as hard as you can for as long as you can. In a word, you want to be as efficient as possible.
Supplements are an excellent way to leverage your workouts and nutrition in a way that takes you from point A, where you are now, to point B, where you want to be, in the quickest way possible. From EAAs to protein, many of the supplements we recommend can benefit any fitness goal, but slightly tweaking how you use your supplements can best benefit the endurance athlete. Let us show you how.
Daily Staples for Endurance Athletes
Your body’s best performance relies heavily on your day to day nutrition. However, if your levels of vitamins and minerals drop off, it can significantly affect your ability to work for an extended period. There are two supplements that are daily staples to ensure your body is functioning optimally every day—multivitamins and creatine.
Multivitamins for Optimal Cellular Function
We recommend multivitamins for most people as a means to fill in nutritional gaps in diet. The harder a person works their body athletically, the more strongly we recommend these daily staples. Providing your body with all the necessary vitamins and minerals means that each cell is functioning correctly and can work for the duration of your workout.
Pick a vitamin explicitly created to support athletes, as it should have adequate dosing of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that are critical for athletic performance, such as:
- all B vitamins
- vitamin C
- vitamin D
- vitamin E
We recommend Optimum Nutrition Opti-Men and Opti-Woman for endurance athletes:
Optimum Nutrition has a flawless, long-standing reputation in the sports supplement industry, and their multivitamins are specifically designed to support active lifestyles. They have blends to support men and women, but each contains the recommended micronutrients to support athletes. Additionally, the Opti-Men multivitamin blend contains all three BCAAs.
Stamina-focused athletes should make a point to take their multivitamins daily, even on their rest days.
Creatine for Power
Many people with fitness goals have heard about the benefits of creatine. We have written extensively about creatine and hope that we’ve put to rest any unfounded fears about the safety of using creatine from a reputable supplement company.
Creatine can help just about anyone reach their fitness goals, and the key to increasing stamina with creatine is to use it properly. Assuming you do not take any supplements with creatine in them, your only creatine source is the meat you eat. If you limit your meat, the creatine stores in your muscles (and your brain) are likely deficient. Possibly even depleted.
How to Use Creatine for Endurance
To restore your creatine reserves, boost strength, and improve endurance, begin taking five grams of creatine four times a day for five to seven days. Alternatively, you can take five grams of creatine two times a day for ten to fourteen days. This is the loading phase. During the loading phase, you are filling your muscle’s creatine reserves, providing them with more cellular energy. Once your loading phase is complete, switch to a maintenance phase. Take five grams once per day.
We have listed creatine under the daily essentials for endurance athletes for a reason. Many people don’t know how to use creatine properly, and therefore they take it in their pre-workout supplement only on the days they workout. However, creatine should be used even on rest days, if only to maintain those reserves within the muscles. This is especially important for stamina athletes, so you can continually push yourself in your workouts.
We recommend PVL 100% CreaPure Creatine for endurance athletes:
CreaPure is nana-micronized creatine for best absorption brought to you by a sports supplement company with an outstanding reputation. PVL is banned substance tested and Informed Choice certified.
Endurance Workout Essentials
Now that we have covered the supplements you should use daily, use the following supplements to support those long endurance workouts and competitions: carb supplements and your preferred amino acid supplements (EAAs or BCAAs).
Carbohydrates for an Intra-Workout Boost
Around here, we aren’t scared of carbohydrates because we know that carbs are the body’s primary energy source. As an athlete focused on stamina, you likely know this to be accurate, too. Carbs equal power. So, when you start to crash in the middle of a three-hour-long cycle session, reach for a convenient intra-workout shake loaded with carbs.
A carbohydrate supplement will quickly restore energy levels, allowing you to work harder for longer and improve your stamina.
We recommend HD Muscle CarbHD for endurance athletes:
CarbHD is designed to provide stable energy without a rise and drop in blood glucose and insulin levels. This product is also rapidly absorbed with minimal digestive discomfort or bloating so that you don’t have anything slowing you down in the middle of your workout. Combine your carb supplement with your BCAA or EAA supplement for an even better boost.
Amino Acids (BCAAs or EAAs) for Recovery and Fuel
Amino acid supplements are great for any fitness goal but can provide many benefits for endurance workouts. BCAAs, or branched-chain amino acids, and EAAs, or essential amino acids, are those amino acids your body can’t synthesize and must get through your diet.
BCAAs are the three branched-chain amino acids that function mostly to preserve existing muscle and synthesize new muscle. They are:
These BCAAs can bypass the liver and make their way straight into the muscles via the bloodstream. Once there, the BCAAs act as fuel, delaying perceived fatigue and providing more energy.
EAAs are all nine essential amino acids that are required to be a complete protein source. They include:
You’ll notice that the nine EAAs includes the three BCAAs. So, which is better for improving stamina?
EAAs or BCAAs for Endurance?
The question of EAAs vs. BCAAs is less about your activity and more about your nutrition. For those people who typically hit their protein goals, BCAAs are a fine choice. However, if you struggle to meet your protein requirements, choose EAAs, as they include the muscle-building BCAAs as well as the six other amino acids required for your body to synthesize the protein.
We recommend ANS Performance Quench BCAA for endurance athletes:
This product offers 7.2 grams of branched-chain amino acids with added electrolytes for hydration, which is great for those workouts where you’re losing a lot of sweat.
We recommend TC Nutrition HydraMino EAA for endurance athletes:
HydraMino is all nine essential amino acids with added electrolytes to provide a complete protein source as well as rehydration.
After Endurance Workouts: Rest, Recover, and Repeat
Athletes who focus on building stamina are required to take their rest and recovery seriously. That’s because intensely pushing your body for so long without proper rest is a recipe for disaster by way of injury. Just like nutrition is a crucial piece of performance, it’s also a vital part of recovery. That’s why our last supplement recommendation is protein.
Protein for Recovery
Allow your muscles to heal and grow by consuming 1.2-2.0 grams of protein per kg of bodyweight. If you struggle to eat that much protein through food alone, add a protein shake. Even if you consume enough protein through whole foods, you should always have a post-workout recovery drink that includes ten to twenty grams of protein. This allows for an immediate switch out of muscle catabolism and into muscle recovery and building. You will often hear professional dieticians say your workout isn’t over until you’ve refueled your body.
We recommend Allmax Isoflex for endurance athletes:
Allmax improved their already incredible whey protein formula. It is a pure, fast-digesting whey protein isolate with 27 grams of protein per serving. The easy absorption allows your muscles to make that switch into muscle-building mode as fast as possible.
Endurance athletes are hardcore. They push their bodies to the limits, and when they supplement to support those workouts, they are unstoppable. If you aim to be an endurance athlete, you can more easily achieve it with the proper use of quality supplements.