How Do I Choose the Best Sport Supplements?

David Bishop

Sport supplements are nutritional products designed to enhance athletic performance, mitigate the affects of strenuous exercise and help people maintain a healthy weight. Supplements can be purchased at health stores and nutrition centers or bought directly from athletic trainers and gyms. Athletes should choose the sport supplements that will best help them achieve their fitness goals. Some athletes may ingest multiple supplements to assist with their training regimes.

Bodybuilders often supplement with creatine.
Bodybuilders often supplement with creatine.

Athletes engaged in contact sports or weightlifting often are concerned about building muscle mass. While hitting the weight room remains the best way to develop the strength and stamina needed for competitive events, some athletes prefer to augment their physical training with a specialized diet and sport supplements. Supplements for these athletes usually include high doses of protein to help give the body the materials it needs to build more muscle mass. Protein supplements come in many forms, such as powders designed to be mixed with water and energy bars that may contain a number of ingredients designed to help athletes. Creatine is another type of supplement taken by bodybuilders to help build up muscle tissue.

Muscle supplements are said to help naturally encourage the body's own muscle building process.
Muscle supplements are said to help naturally encourage the body's own muscle building process.

Other sport supplements are designed for use during or after strenuous athletic performances to keep athletes hydrated and supplied with the energy necessary to complete and recover from challenging events. Some of these supplements are designed to provide athletes with carbohydrates and other nutrients that provide a quick burst of energy. Others contain salt, potassium and other electrolytes to replace the substances in the body that are depleted when an athlete sweats or becomes dehydrated. These kinds of supplements are useful for runners, swimmers and other athletes who compete over long time periods and need extra nutrients to help their bodies perform at a high level.

Some categories of sport supplements, such as hormone treatments and steroids, can have harmful side effects on the human body. The sale of these types of drugs is tightly regulated in the United State by the Food and Drug Administration. While these supplements are useful for patients suffering from degenerative muscle diseases, healthy athletes should avoid these substances because of the potential for adverse effects. Some over-the-counter supplements also can impact an athlete's health, so it is important for users to carefully monitor the substances they are ingesting. Athletes may want to consult with a doctor or other medical professional before beginning a training regime that utilizes sport supplements.

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