PART II: Be the Best You Can Be
One of the concepts of duration events is carbohydrate loading using complex carbs such as grains, pastas, pancakes and whole grain breads. This needs to be done 4-5 days before an endurance event. The complex carbs are reduced to 40-50% of diet and protein and fats are increased. This depletes the glycogen in the muscles and liver. 2-3 days before, increase the complex carbs to 70-75% of diet (at least 3 big meals). This increases the stored glycogen, which can be easily converted to useable energy.
Now, let’s examine some of the supplements that have been proven to improve performance.
1. A good high quality multi-vitamin/mineral is crucial in capsule form. Many B vitamins are lost rapidly with exercise and anti-oxidants reduce tissue irritation, as well as inflammation and remove free radicals that deplete energy. Usually a combination of Vitamin A, B’s, E, beta carotene, selenium, and cysteine can be found. Also, a non-citrus Vitamin C should be taken to bowel tolerance. This helps to prevent bone, tendon, ligament and disc injuries, in addition to keeping the adrenals balanced to minimize cortisol release.
2. Potassium is lost during sweat, which is important for nerve conduction, muscle and heart function and helps prevent muscle spasms. It is important to replace after exercise periods and eat potassium rich foods during the day (green leafy veggies, bananas, raisins, apricots, whole grains, seeds and nuts).
3. Calcium/Magnesium is used for muscle contraction and relaxation, cell and bone strength, nerve signaling and delivery of oxygen.
4. Iron is especially needed for women to carry oxygen and is part of the muscle protein that is used for energy and endurance.
5. Chromium helps stabilize blood sugar for those that find it difficult to maintain exercise without finding they need to eat something during exercise or they feel faint, nauseous or light-headed. (This also helps those that find even without exercise they have to be careful they eat every couple of hours or can’t skip meals without problems where blood sugar is not being properly controlled).
6. Zinc is often deficient and is critical to the functioning of many hormones, as well as keeping the adrenal gland handling stress and the immune system functioning well.
7. Bioflavinoids improve Vitamin C’s effectiveness, are immune boosters, keep vessel walls strong to prevent bruising, improve circulation and prevent varicose veins.
8. Silica is needed if elasticity and flexibility are a problem. However, I have folks take this only during the week and not on weekends, since it can be irritating to the kidneys.
9. Amino acids should be sufficient by eating protein in foods. But, if someone takes protein in a concentrated form, they should use a general formula of the L forms (not D or DL, since the body can’t break these down) to provide protein they are not getting in meals.
Folks that are involved in training at least 3-4 times per week and consider competing at some level should consider the following supplements. For those that are interested in faster recovery more quickly or want to increase their level of fitness rapidly, these may be helpful to you as well.
1. L-carnitine enhances athletic performance by improving the utilization of fats, which therefore increases the energy production in the cells. This increases the use of oxygen and reduces the build-up of acids and metabolic wastes. (Note- NEVER USE DL carnitine since it is TOXIC!)
2. Co-Q10 has been proven to improve performance and increase exercise capacity, by providing more oxygen to cells, which increases efficiency of the energy cycle, is an anti-oxidant and neutralizes some free radicals.
3. ATP fuel enhances performance by providing immediate ATP to the body to be utilized for energy.
4. NADH is similar to ATP, it can improve exercise endurance, by providing the metabolite that converts into easily accessible energy. (This has also been used for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia to help maintain energy).
5. Ribose is a concentrated complex sugar compound that can be utilized for quick energy in an event that requires a burst of quickly metabolized “food” for those that use glucose concentrates in gels, squeeze tubes etc.
6. Glutathione is a powerful anti-oxidant and involved in metabolic detoxification, which can minimize the build-up of waste products and metabolites. It may also help to prevent tissue damage.
7. L Glutamine can often be depleted especially with over-training, so needs to be considered with athletes at risk.
8. Bromelain/Curcumin are natural anti-inflammatories. One needs to take these between meals to help reduce inflammation in muscles and joints.
For serious athletes, an individualized approach is essential. Consider an appointment with: Dr. Brenda Gill at 250-362-5035