From young to old, from beginner to elite, and no matter what the sport, there’s little doubt that sports supplementation is one of the hottest topics of conversation among sportsmen and women. It’s not just the prospect of maximising athletic performance by simply swallowing a few pills or sports drinks that’s so tantalisingly attractive; there’s also the nagging fear that if you don’t indulge, you might be left trailing in your competitor’s wake as he or she takes full advantage of the huge range of products that now adorn the shelves of retailers. But what are the real benefits of using ergogenic aids, are there any drawbacks and where on earth should you start?
Supplementation – a thinking athlete’s guide to planning a program
Most athletes at some stage in their careers use one or more dietary supplements – after all, when you invest a great deal of time, effort and money in training to improve performance, the extra investment in a supplement program seems relatively small. However, the financial cost is perhaps the least important of the issues that needs to be considered before using supplements. Athletes need to think hard and exercise caution in order to reap potential benefits without the drawbacks. There are a number of fundamental questions relating to sports supplement use, including reasons for supplement use and where to begin. Others factors which need consideration include; the pros and cons of supplementation; the role of multi-nutrient supplements; the value of two of the most ergogenic supplements; the possible benefits of antioxidant nutrients.
‘Tuning up’ performance – music and video as ergogenic aids
Although you might think otherwise, not all ergogenic aids come from bottles or tubs! According to some sports psychologists, the right sounds and images at the right time are not only uplifting for the spirit, they also help you train and perform better, and can therefore also be thought of as ergogenic aids. In particular, new research suggests that listening to carefully selected music and watching personal motivational videos can be especially valuable for athletes seeking to boost performances both in training and competition Andy Lane. a sports psychologist who has carried out some research in the area of these new techniques, and explains how they can be assessed and suggests ways in which they can be incorporated into training. Some of his findings have include the following: music can be used to enhance emotions and emotions have a powerful ergogenic effect on performance and an athlete’s response to music is highly individualised but can be assessed using the ‘music mood regulation’ scale. It has also been said that music can be as an ergogenic aid, but what is this music/mood regulation scale, how can you determine what types of music are most likely to enhance performance and what are the techniques required for putting together your own music and video sequence?
Research Round-up The latest research on ergogenic aids, with new studies different ergogenic aids have included:
Creatine serum and running
In recent years, other more exotic and expensive forms of creatine have appeared, which claim to offer performance benefits over standard creatine. One of these is ‘creatine serum’, a liquid form of creatine that is claimed to offer a number of other advantages over powdered creatine. Californian researchers examined the effects of ingesting creatine serum on cross-country runners; their findings noted that runners taking the serum had significantly lower perceived rates of exertion and better endurance. However, there was no noticeable improvement in the 5000m run times of those taking the serum, which lead them to conclude that their findings did not support creatine serum as an ergogenic aid.
Phosphatidylserine as a future ergogenic aid for endurance athletes?
Phosphatidylserine is a naturally occurring lipid, which is located on the inner surface of cell membranes in most tissues of animals and plants, but according to new research by a team of Welsh scientists, it could also have the potential to enhance endurance capacity when taken as a supplement. The research team took two groups of male endurance cyslists and asked one to supplement with phosphatidylserine for 10 dryas and the other to take a placebo. After a series of tests and comparison they noticed a huge increase in time to exhaustion during the V02 max test, up to two minutes, which although is evidence of phosphatidylserine as an erogoenic supplement, this is the first test to have come to this conclusion so more research will need to be carried out for a conclusive result.