Supplements

Supplements

Success in sprinting involves putting hours in the gym and track, working on strength, techniques and speed. But when it comes to competition, winning or losing can be a matter of a hundredth of a second. Thus anything that can give a competitive edge over others matters. When taken appropriately and at the right time supplements can make a world of a difference. Here are the top four supplements to give an extra edge over the competition. Elite level athlete should ensure to check to Informed Sports Range for a suitable certified supplement if concerned about World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) regulations.
 

Cost Rating Scale

Each of the supplements listed below are also given a cost rating based on their average cost per serve.
 

Cheap     
Reasonable     
Expensive     

 

Caffeine

 

Cost Rating  

 
Caffeine is a cheap supplement, which can provide a great kick before training or competition. It’s naturally found in coffee, tea, and cocoa. Caffeine is a well-documented stimulant shown to have various benefits mainly as a central nervous system stimulant which reduces perception of effort. It also enhances strength and power through augmented release and uptake of calcium by muscle fibres, which amplifies force of muscle contraction thus allowing you to run faster.
 

How Much?

      3-6mg/kg of bodyweight
      30-60 min prior to training for blood caffeine levels to peak

 

Supplementation Tips

       Enjoy a strong cup of coffee or energy drink and gulp down a caffeine capsule.
       Coffee can have variable amount of caffeine depending on its origin.
       Caffeine is ubiquitously found in a huge variety of food and drinks. Find common food and drink sources of caffeine here.

 

Potential adverse effects

Caffeine is relatively safe but some individuals may experience

  • Increased heart rate
  • GI discomfort
  • Jitters

 

Sodium Bicarbonate

 

Cost rating  

 
Sodium Bicarbonate is a pantry essential for almost every household. It holds great potential to help you run faster and harder through reducing the onset of fatigue. Sodium bicarbonate commonly known as baking soda or bicarb soda is an extracellular (in the blood) buffer agent that our body naturally produces however in small amount. Thus supplementing with soda may actually result in you winning the race.  


 

How much?

      0.2-0.3g /kg of body weight mixed with 1L of water/cordial
      Sipping it slowly over the course of 30-60 min to reduce GI distress

 

Supplementation Tip

       Some athletes have reported this hard fast option as preferential to reduce the time in which you have to taste it:

      1.   30mins before high intensity intermittent exercise try mixing sodium bicarbonate dose in a small glass with about 30-50mL water.
      2.   Stir well and shot immediately before bicarb soda settles.
      3.   Following the shot consume about half a Litre of water over the next 30mins. Most of this may be straight after the shot to get rid of the taste.

 

Potential Adverse effects

Bicarbonate is relatively safe but some individuals may experience

  • Nausea
  • Bloating
  • Reflux
  • Diarrhoea

 

βeta-Alanine

 

 

Cost Rating  

 
βeta-Alanine is a non-essential amino acid which is a precursor of a protein called Carnosine. β-alanine works through a similar phenomenon to increase the time to fatigue as bicarbonate. However buffering occurs within the muscle instead of in the blood. It is naturally found in fish and chicken breast. Therefore by increasing intake of high quality lean protein the amount of β-alanine could be met through natural foods. Vegetarian athletes can obtain the most benefit from β-alanine supplementation as its mostly found in muscles of an animal.
 

How Much?

      6 grams /day
      Split into two doses to minimise risk of side effects

 

Supplementation tips

       Uptake of β-alanine is enhanced if supplemented in accompaniment of a meal
       Supplementing with doses of 4-6 grams /day ↑ muscle carnosine levels by up to 64% after 4 weeks
       Elite athletes concerned about WADA regulations can check the Informed Sport Range for a certified beta alanine supplement

 

Potential adverse effects

One major side effect associated with β-alanine is

  • Parathesia (Pins and Needles feeling)

 

Creatine Monohydrate

 

Cost Rating  

 

Creatine is a powerful and effective ergogenic aid currently on the market. It is naturally produced in the body and stored as creatine phosphate. This provides speedy supply of ATP (body’s rocket fuel) for explosive efforts lasting for 5-10 sec such as a 100m sprint. The human body has a turnover of about 1-2g creatine/day naturally. Increased creatine stores have scientifically proven to enhance fatigue resistance thus allowing athletes to go faster and harder. Plant based athletes can especially gain increased benefits as vegan and vegetarian diets lack products of animal origin which are primary source of creatine.
 

How Much?

There are two phases involved in supplementation with creatine
 

    1. Loading phase
        Loading can be done over a short (5 days) or a slow period (28 days). Short period loading in 5 days can be done with 20g /day distributed to 5g doses 4 times a day. Alternatively, a dose of 3g /day for 28 days is sufficient to saturate the muscles with creatine.
    2. Maintenance phase
        Consumption of ~1-2g /day to maintain muscle creatine levels.

 

Supplementation Tips

       Be sure to consume your creatine dose with a good quality carbohydrate to improve uptake and absorption  
       Creatine absorption also requires water thus make sure to stay hydrated during the loading phase
       Check out these recipes for inspiration
       Elite athletes concerned about WADA regulations can check the Informed Sport Range for a certified creatine supplement

 

Potential adverse effects

  •   Loading can result in a small weight gain (0.6kg – 1kg)
  •   GI discomfort
  •   Muscle cramps

 


    Effects of these supplements vary between individuals. Experiment with these supplements during your training to find out what works best for the athlete. The use of more than one supplement does not necessarily equate to a cumulative effect on performance.