It is no surprise that athletes push themselves to their max on any given day. Whether it be a breakaway in hockey lasting for 5 seconds of all out skating or training at the gym to get bigger, faster and stronger, athletes put themselves through the ringer to get an edge during competition.
So what gives some people the advantage? It comes down to their ability to use oxygen in the air and get it to their muscles as efficiently as possible. Training allows the body to get better at this process by adapting to increased demands. This is hard work, and that is why a lot of athletes try to circumvent the rules and use banned substances to shorten recovery times, improve oxygen carrying capacity and perform better than the competition. The reason banned substances are so popular is because they work so well they are considered to be cheating.
Taking a step back from that level of performance enhancement, there are other things you can do to get a slight edge that are perfectly legal in organized sports. By replenishing yourself with the vitamins and minerals that are lost through sweat and vigourous exercise, you are ensuring you are performing optimally. Generally, it is wise to consider a multi vitamin as they help your body to function optimally and are very cost effective. Some studies have shown athletic performance improvement and others have shown no effect. But with such a low cost, it is generally recommended to take a good balanced formula.
Every athlete knows that taking a substance like human growth hormone (hGH) will likely result in disciplinary action if there was not prior approval for a medical reason. Does that mean you are out of luck? Not at all! Growth hormone is made at night and so ensuring proper sleep is a big step in the right direction. There are also supplements that help your body produce more of this substance while not risking your career.
To go beyond the basics, and to look at how energy is produced in our bodies (as ATP), there are certain nutrients that are more important than others. Magnesium is required to make ATP and is often depleted in athletes because it is lost with strenuous exercise. It has been seen in some studies that it can even improve aerobic performance (stamina), strength and damage to muscles caused by exercise.
Vitamin C, Glutamine, zinc and many others are all important to maintain optimal performance in athletes. In some cases, IV vitamins and minerals are the best way to get these substances in the body.
Come see a Naturopathic Doctor to help you perform optimally. Each athlete has different requirements and needs to be helped on an individual bases. From weekend warrior hoping to prevent injuries to someone running in the Sun Run or BMO half marathon for the first time and wants help reaching the finish line to pro athletes who want a little extra edge, your Naturopathic Doctor can help you reach your goals safely and effectively.