When it comes down to supplements for triathletes, the debate is usually about whether a triathlete needs to take supplements in addition to their diet. Choosing to take supplements or not is entirely your judgment call, however, as far as triathletes are concerned, there are certain kinds of triathlon supplements that are actually beneficial and worth considering.
In the world of sports, every athlete always strives to maximize their performance through hard work and specifically designed diet. That is to say, an athlete’s diet holds equal importance to their performance much as his or her training. However, it can be difficult to get all of the nutrients you need for foods alone as it depends on how your body manages to absorb the nutrients from your diet.
Normally a triathlon entails consecutive stages of the competition in which a triathlete performs three continuous exercises such as long-distance running, swimming and bicycling. It requires strength, endurance and an enormous amount of hard work to be able to compete in a triathlon.
Therefore, many varieties of triathlon supplements have been researched and manufactured to boost the performance of triathletes. There are endless choices of supplements to choose from, and you may end up getting all confused about what truly works and what doesn’t. We have put together a list of recommended triathlon supplements below for you to consider.
Please note that as effective as triathlon supplements can be, an ultra-healthy and balanced diet is still of utmost importance to ensure your performance. Excessive amounts of supplements taken may result in your inability to absorb any nutrient at all. It’s also important to check with your doctor and read the labels carefully before consuming.
Before we present the list, here are three reasons why a triathlete may need supplements even if you are already on a very healthy diet.
The more exercises you do, the more nutrients your body need
The first reason is obvious. Since a triathlon requires plenty of physical strength and endurance, triathletes must focus on building their physical strength with training and nutrients.
The more you train, the more energy your body needs. But you cannot always count on foods to satisfy your body’s needs for nutrients because nutrients are inevitably lost in the cooking process.
In other words, even if you try to include as many vitamins as you can in your diet, you are likely to miss some certain types of vitamins or minerals when the food is cooked. Heat from boiling or grilling can destroy a lot of valuable nutrients. Not to mention the way raw food is harvested, processed and stored can largely decrease the food’s nutritional value.
You can choose to eat more food to compensate for your lack of nutrients, however, it will interfere with your caloric balance. Triathlon supplements, on the other hand, will be a good idea to supply your body with nutrients you might lack.
The older you get, the fewer nutrients you can absorb
This is sad but true. When you get older, you are not able to absorb as many nutrients as when you are young. Your metabolism slows down, and without proper diet and training, your performance is likely to go down. Therefore, taking supplements will compensate for your lack of nutrients.
Triathlon Supplements are great alternatives
When you plan your diet, you have to calculate both calories and nutrients of every meal you eat so that you have a well-balanced diet. But when you are allergic or intolerant to certain kinds of foods, then alternatives should be used. For instance, if you are intolerant to milk, you will not be able to consume milk and absorb the nutrients in milk like others.
In such cases, supplements can be used as an alternative to help you get sufficient nutrients. Taking supplements will make you manage your nutritional needs easily. Just make sure you take the right amount as recommended by manufacturers.
Now that you are already informed of the three reasons why you may need supplements, below is the list of triathlon supplements that have been shown by research to be effective.
Creatine is defined as a compound included in living tissues. Its role is to help with the supply of energy for muscular contraction. Indeed, creatine can be extremely helpful to triathletes who wish to improve their performance.
By supplementing your body with creatine, you can boost your muscle strength and endurance. Many studies have pointed out that creatine is beneficial in increasing athletes’ performance. So if you are interested in improving your endurance, consider giving creatine supplements a try.
#2. Multivitamins and minerals
It goes without saying that vitamins and minerals are crucial to our overall health. Likewise, for a triathlete, sufficient vitamins and minerals are super important. Vitamins such as D3, B or E are required for good bodily functions and coordination. Taking daily multivitamins and minerals can help avoid nutrient loss from your diet.
More specifically, multivitamins are recommended to take in liquid forms, as they are faster and easier to be absorbed by the body than other forms. Among all of the essential vitamins and minerals your body needs, vitamin D is one important vitamin that you should never miss. Vitamin C intake is also essential as it is an effective antioxidant. Make sure to include these two among others on your list.
#3. Fish oil supplements
The next item on our list of triathlon supplements is fish oil. Why is fish oil important? Because it contains one amazing nutrient: omega 3. Omega 3 is an essential nutrient to our immune and nervous system. It can also reduce the risks of high blood pressure and heart diseases.
Additionally, fish oil supplements should be added to the list because there is not much food out there that contains Omega 3. Therefore, it can be difficult to gain a necessary amount of Omega 3 just from food consumption. So fish oil supplements are a great option not just for athletes but other people as well.
#4. Glutamine supplements
Glutamine is an amino acid found in your muscles that promote protein metabolism and cell volumizing. For a triathlete, glutamine can increase your endurance, and you will not get tired quickly. Glutamine has been known as a great supplement for those who wish to strengthen your body while preventing the breakdown of their muscles.
#5. Iron (only when indicated)
Everyone knows how important iron is to our health. We are all encouraged to consume food that is rich in iron to prevent iron deficiency. For a triathlete, iron is double important. But the very first thing you must know before you take iron supplements is that iron should only be taken when indicated by a doctor.
Iron is naturally absorbed from food such as beef or seafood. However, for those who are vegetarians, iron supplements become necessary for their health. Iron supplements can boost your well-being and performance, and if you take iron supplements as directed by doctors, you should take zinc supplements as well because iron intakes can reduce zinc absorption in the body.
Iron overdose can seriously affect your health, so watch out and always follow your doctor’s prescription.
Magnesium is one common nutrient in foods, however, taking magnesium supplements can be quite beneficial for triathletes. First off, magnesium is linked to potassium and calcium. Drops in potassium can result in muscle cramps. Secondly, triathletes spend a lot of time training, and they are more likely to lose magnesium than other people.
So to optimize your performance, taking magnesium supplements a couple of days before big games or peak training can give you an edge in the game, especially under the hot humid weather.
#7. Whey protein powder
Another common type of supplements for triathletes is whey protein powder. Protein is crucial to any athlete of any sport. Among different types of protein, whey protein, particularly organic whey protein powder, is the most popular choice.
One big advantage of whey protein powder is that it has been proved to help athletes, in general, grow lean muscles and lose fat. Whey protein is also easy to absorb, so it can be used after training to recover quickly.
Whey protein powder comes in different flavors such as vanilla, chocolate or even matcha (green tea). You can opt for organic whey protein powder depending on your preferences.
Last but definitely not least…
There are many other triathlon supplements recommended for triathletes such as powdered greens or even caffeine supplement. However, it is worth highlighting that supplements should only be a part of your training plan in addition to proper training and healthy diet.
Consult your doctor before you decide to add any type of supplements into your training plan. Each triathlete will have his or her own training method with different dieting style and workout sessions, and to in order to reach peak performance, it is wise to combine a well-balanced diet with some of the supplements above.
Any overuse of supplements can pose serious health risks and hinder your success. Apart from hard work, an ultra-healthy diet with suitable supplements, taking the time to rest and recover is critical to becoming a successful triathlete. Hard work will pay off for those who never stop seeking improvement.