Supplements is an area discussed a lot and everyone is always looking for the next best thing to give them the edge whether that’s on the big sportives’ you’re planning next year or smashing it up the hills with your friends.
But what supplements are actually worth taking?
Well we have performance enhancing ones and then health/recovery ones and we’re going to cover the main ones.
Creatine – A topic of hot debate within cycling but one of the most proven performance supplements available. The easiest way to decide if you need/want to use this is to think about your training! Are you currently doing off-season gym work, peak power training, track cycling or maybe you’re a crit sprinter? All these would benefit from creatine and improve your 10 second power output, recovery between efforts and sessions. But if you’re doing lots of climbing the potential of added water retention may outweigh the benefits. 5g a day to get the effects.
Beta-Alanine – Shown to improve your performance in the 1-4min effort range perfect for hill climb season and those punchier efforts you might be putting out. Takes a while to load the system (4-6) weeks but once in will be there for 10 weeks or so. Can make you feel a bit tingly after taking though. 3-6g a day best divided into 1.5-3g servings with a meal to avoid those tingles
Caffeine – Massively proven to improve endurance performance and reduce perceived effort and pain. But your average cup of joe probably isn’t enough. An amount of at least 3mg/kg/bw is needed to improve performance and takes ~60mins to peak in the blood. 1 espresso shot = ~75mg so you may be needing a bit more than usual. Be aware of any conditions you may have or steadily increase your intake. If you go from no caffeine to 3mg you may know about it.
Omega-3 – An essential fatty acid we can only get from outside sources and is needed for everyday health! Proven to reduce inflammation and potentially aid in recovery. Getting a supplement to help with your daily needs at around 500mg of EPA and DHA a day or having some oily fish like Salmon with pesto crust is ideal for your daily intake.
Vitamin D3 – shown to help with bone density and formation. But also aids in immunity over the winter period or if you get minimal sunlight exposure. A recommendation of 1000iU a day or 25ug has been suggested if your blood test results come back lower than <75 nmol/L