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Nutrition Products For Endurance Athletes, Part 2

SportLegs and Optygen are 2 popular supplements while Endurox R4 is a very popular recovery drink.

In Part 1 of "Nutrition Products For Endurance Athletes, we discussed two of my major nutrition product categories: vitamins & fuel for use during activity.

In this post, we will discuss supplements and recovery products.

Note that you could make your use of nutritional products infinitely more complex than I present here, but nearly all recreational endurance athletes should strive to simply eat well and stick to their own simple system of nutritional product use. Also note that I am not a doctor, nor a nutritionist, this advice is simply practical advise I've learned through decades of training, racing, and working in the endurance industry.

Supplements are those products which you take before or during exercise that are not vitamins or fuel (see part 1 for details on vitamins & fuel). Supplements generally reduce lactic acid build up, reduce cramping, and help endurance athletes recover faster. Some supplements even claim to increase oxygen utilization and increase your anaerobic / lactic threshold levels. All of these things are music to the ears of endurance athletes, for they are generally the major reason we train.

I personally find that by taking supplements such as Optygen and SportLegs, I'm able to train more, at a higher intensity which results in a higher level of fitness with less training. So, whether you're a Daddy / weekend warrior like myself, new to endurance sports, or a pro athlete, you stand much to gain by using a quality supplement.

Personally looking back on when I wax XC Ski Racing full time, I really wish I would have more fully explored the supplements available at the time. I recall that in short to mid distance races (and workouts), my limiting factor always seemed to be lactic acid build up. My legs would have such a bad lactic burn that I could no longer go hard after it got to a point. Although SportLegs weren't around in 2002, I wish I could have used a product like it, as it would have helped me tremendously.

All of these vendors that produce supplements have great websites with tons of info on their products in terms of how they work, why they are safe, cover the fact that they are legal (not containing banned substances).

Recovery products (usually drinks) are invaluable and have been around for quite some time now. Back in the day, people (myself included) used to simply have a protein shake as a recovery drink, which wasn't a bad idea.

Today's recovery drinks utilize much more proven science, using specific ratios of carbohydrates to protein. Additionally, there are many other unique ingredients in different recovery drinks.

In general, a recovery drink's primary objective is to allow the athlete to recover quicker and stronger - likely extending endurance and speed in subsequent workouts. This is largely done through quickly replenishing muscle glycogen levels and reducing post exercise muscle damage.

I've always found that the secret to recovering to a workout is complex. First off, be prepared for the workout. If you're prepared, you can speed up your recovery by eating right, stretching, getting plenty of sleep, and using recovery drinks.

So there you have it; supplements and recovery drinks are simply tools that can help you maximize your efforts and time spent training, but certainly won't give you a free ride.


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