To boost endurance we need an understanding of the body’s energy sources. ATP is the source of energy the body runs on. Anything that improves ATP production will help endurance. Oxygen is needed to burn energy and anything that improves oxygen delivery will help boost your energy as well.
The following are supplement that can boost your energy – we’ve written on most of these supplements in the past.
Creatine is typically used to improve strength because it has anabolic properties (muscle building), but it also has anti-catabolic effects that make it useful to improve endurance. Aerobic activities cause catabolism or muscle breakdown. Creatine limits this breakdown and allows endurance athletes to recover faster and train harder. Creatine is especially helpful to boost endurance during interval training.
There’s a tendency for endurance athletes to overlook the importance of protein in their diet as they tend to focus on carbohydrates. But, endurance athletes need protein too as muscle (protein) is broken down by endurance training (catabolism).
Whey protein is another supplement generally associated with strength training, but is very useful for endurance athletes. The big advantage for endurance athletes is whey protein is a great way to meet daily protein needs without adding many calories and is best consumed after a workout when the muscles are thirsty for protein.
Iron is needed in the formation of red blood cells that carry oxygen needed to burn calories for energy for athletic performance. Iron deficiency is a bigger issue for females who lose blood secondary to menstruation. But, iron deficiency can occur in runners – men and women – through sweating and other physiologic changes that occur during running.
Sometimes blood cells are destroyed from the impact of running as the heel strikes the ground and bleeding can occur from trauma of the walls of the bladder striking each other from the impact of running.
Fish oil is a great anti-inflammatory supplement and can hasten recovery after endurance training. Some studies also show it to improve lung function which is vital to endurance trainers. Fish oil protects the hard articular cartilage that caps the end of the bones preventing degenerative changes in the weight-bearing joints affected by impact loading related to running and other endurance activities.
Vitamin D is associated with higher VO2 max and reduced inflammation frequently associate with endurance training. Also lower vitamin D levels are associate with higher rates of colds and the flu. The immune system can be suppressed from chronic endurance training and optimal vitamin D levels improve immune function.