When it comes to trail running and mountain biking, or other mountain sports which require high endurance, energy, and cardiovascular fitness, there’s always the question of supplements. Some users of supplements like BCAAs, whey protein, and multivitamins say they’re absolute essential, while traditionalists scoff, preferring traditional foods and drinks like trail mixes, water, and getting all their nutritional needs from their diets. And while we’d hesitate to say that you must be on a supplement regimen for peak performance, there is certainly an evidence that supplements like BCAAs, creatine, and caffeine have great results for mountain sports, so it’s worth looking into. In the spirit of learning more about supplements, we’ve put together a list of some supplements you can try if you’re curious about turbocharging your workout, and having an easier time cruising through tough trails, and recovering after you’re done.
Step 1. Charge Up With Preworkout Nutrition
Too often, emphasis is placed only on mid-workout supplements and recovery aids – but charging your body up with the right nutrition and supplements is just as important.
- Drink A Pre Workout Booster With Caffeine – Caffeine supplements have been proven to boost athletic performance, helping mobilize fat stores and avoid glycogen depletion for up to 15-20 minutes – meaning more fat burned, and more energy stored for when things get rough on the mountain, and you need peak performance. While some athletes like pre workout shakes with carbs, caffeine, and other supplements, simple caffeine pills are just as effective.
- Carb Up with Oats Or Other Slow Burning Complex Carbs – Oats are a fantastic source of complex carbohydrates, which take longer to break down in the body than simple carbs, making them perfect for carb-loading your body, and maximizing your energy reserves before a big workout. Oats are great for pre-workout, as you can supplement your energy with simpler fructose or glucose-based energy sources during your workout.
- Dose Yourself with BCAAs – BCAAs (Branched Chain Amino Acids) provide great sources of Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine. Daily regimens incorporating large amounts of BCAAs have been shown to help sustain muscle growth and help decrease fatigue, making them a no-brainer for those athletes looking for peak performance and endurance.
Step 2. Stay Energized – Keep Your Edge For Peak Performance
Fueling up before your workout is only one piece of the puzzle. A 170lb man mountain biking at high intensity can blast upwards of 750 calories in just an hour, and trail runners can expect to burn upwards of 200 calories per mile if they’re going uphill. Your body can’t provide all of that energy from its glucose reserves, so you’ve got to refuel for extended rides and runs. Hydration is another important factor – some mountain bikers need almost 2 liters of hydration if undertaking a longer ride. Of course, with modern nutritional technology, there’s a great way to kill two birds with one stone.
- Electrolyte-Rich, Highly Bioavailable Sports Drinks – The best sports drinks combine plenty of electrolytes – salts and vitamins, your body leaches while sweating – with highly bioavailable energy sources such as glucose and fructose. By drinking these specialized concoctions, you can slake your thirst, and provide plenty of energy to your body to get it through longer endurance workouts. Your body will get plenty of energy, and you’ll also get all of the electrolytes that you need, to continue operating at peak performance.
Step 3. Recover And Get Stronger – Then Get Back At It
Once you’ve left it all on the trail, it’s important to recover well, and allow your body to relax, heal, and build itself back up so that you can go even harder during your next workout. Here are some great ways to help yourself heal up, and increase your performance.
- Protein Supplements – Protein supplements are absolutely essential to recovering after a tough workout. The main difference between protein-rich foods and supplements like whey protein, pea and rice protein, and soy protein is their bioavailability – your body doesn’t have to work to break them down, unlike food-based protein.
Of course, incorporating natural protein into your diet is important, but if you consume 25-30g of whey or other protein powders directly after a workout, it will immediately begin digesting, and aiding in the recovery and rebuilding of strained muscles, helping you grow and recover more quickly.
- Creatine – Creatine is more typically thought of as a product used by bodybuilders – but it’s gaining popularity among cyclists and other endurance athletes. In a recent study of cyclists, creatine increased cycling power anywhere from 3.4-9.6% – significant increases, despite the slight weight gain associated with creatine holding water in the body.
The results of your new supplement routine may take time to appear – creatine requires a “loading” phase while your muscles become saturated with the supplement – but creatine is certainly a good way to increase your power, allowing you better performance on the mountain.
- Vitamins – This may seem a bit silly to even add to the list, but even people with healthy diets sometimes fall flat when it comes to getting all of the essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals needed to perform at the top of their game. A basic multivitamin designed for athletes can help ensure you’re getting proper vitamins, like omega 3 fatty acids, which can help burn fat and help you perform better in extreme conditions.
Once you start fueling up with the right nutrition, and taking modern recovery supplements, we’re sure you’ll feel (and see) a difference in your performance, whether you’re a mountain biker tackling an especially technical trail, or a trail runner who’s looking to run from base-to-peak without stopping for a rest. So if you’re looking to fuel up before your next workout, or you’re interested in some of the products mentioned above, check out HSN’s in-house supplements – proprietary blends and expert nutritional tailoring can help you reach peak performance, and your satisfaction is guaranteed.