I’ve done quite a bit of working out with CrossFit, and I have worked with Tri-athletes to maximize performance. We all have one thing in common, besides a little bit of ‘crazy’; we all want to perform well and not suffer so much from it. So, I think it’s time to get some of the supplement secrets out there for everybody that wants to improve their performance and recovery. I will keep this simple because it doesn’t have to be complicated for most of us.
A good multi-vitamin is the foundational piece. It provides trace minerals and the B vitamins you need to improve energy output by stoking the mitochondrial fire in your muscles. A good multi will also help your body clean up the by-products of exercise like lactic acid and free radicals. These nutrients improve performance and speed post-workout recovery. I recommend the Good Medicine brand Max K-pacity because it focuses on athletic performance and mitochondrial health.
The next on my list is magnesium, as it is the most deficient mineral in athletes. If you want a muscle to contract, it has to relax first. Magnesium is the counterbalance to the contracting mineral, calcium. Cramps occur when the muscle can’t relax, it can only spasm. Studies show performance and recovery improve with sufficient magnesium, and the inflammation (soreness) is less post-workout if you have enough. If you are stressed, drink tons of coffee, don’t eat a ton of pumpkin seeds and other high-magnesium foods, then you are low on this miracle mineral (90% of Americans are). I use Power Mag, which has absorbable reacted magnesium chelates. You get what you pay for with magnesium.
ATP (energy) packets are made in the mitochondria of every cell. D-ribose is the backbone of ATP structure. Intense exercise depletes ATP. This study showed that supplementation prevented post-exercise soreness, improved muscle recovery, and decreased inflammatory molecules post-exercise. Other studies show there may be a benefit in exercise performance by increasing ATP production after intense exercise, but what is not clear is how much this improves performance.
To build muscle, I like Klean HMB plus amino acids. Here is an article from a good friend that explains the benefits. I have seen a significant increase in muscle mass with this product, plus adding creatine to the post work out shake. It depends on your goals, of course, but as we get older, we start losing muscle mass after age 40.
Testosterone is a big factor when it comes to retaining or building muscle mass. These levels start to dip in middle age years. I currently use Testo-Plex Plus to drive up my testosterone levels. I was able to increase my testosterone by almost 35% by adding this supplement. I take in the morning as recommended, two a day. Studies have also shown benefits for women, so it’s not just a man thing. Don’t underestimate the importance of hormone balance in working out and in all areas of health.
There are many more supplements that one could add, depending on the level of performance desired, but I think the basics are always a great place to start.
To explore more athletic performance hacking, visit us at goodmedicinecolorado.com and see if we are a fit for you and your goals.
To your best health,
Nathan Morris MD