Supplements, Vitamins and minerals
More about using supplements
Supplements should be utilised in any diet plan to allow the athlete to consume a prescribed amount of macronutrient and micronutrients to allow the athlete to continue hypertrophy and gain muscle mass but also to stay healthy (Rawson et al., 2018). Eating meals allows an athlete to access raw nutrients through foods; however, foods have a mixed number of macronutrients like excess fat or Carbohydrates the athlete does not need.
The vital role of supplements
Supplements play a vital role in supplementing a diet, so the diet plans requirements are fulfilled. Supplements are not meal replacements, and this is why most diet plans recommend athletes to drink a protein shake shortly after a training session (Rawson et al., 2018). which allows the body to have access to the nutrients with a meal followed up after the shake which gives the body the balanced carbohydrates and fats it needs. A well-researched and widely used supplement that is seen in many strength athletes is creatine monohydrate (Hultman et al., 1996). Creatine is already naturally found in the diet as the muscles use it as an entire energy system (phosphocreatine system), creatine is in the body from main meats in a balanced diet however supplementing creatine allows the muscles to take an increase in size as there is excess available creatine in the body. Supplementing creatine also allows the muscles to store water and keep them hydrated, which stops them from cramping and allows an Olympic athlete to lift more weight (Hultman et al., 1996). A study from 2003 (Preen et al, 2003) looked at 500 research studies and found after a 20g creatine dosage for 5-7 days a short-term overloading phase. After the creatine supplementation, the study subjects reported an improvement of maximal power/strength (5–15%). Upwards of 15% to maximal power or strength would make a massive difference to an Olympic weightlifting athlete.
The lesser-known spirulina
Spirulina is packed with nutrients that NASA has calculated that one kg of spirulina holds as many nutrients as one thousand kg of fruits and vegetables. Meaning that Olympic weightlifters who are not getting enough fruit and vegetables within their diet should be recommended to supplement spirulina into their daily diet.
Spirulina is also full of antioxidants; a review by Asghari et al., (2016) showed that the antioxidant levels within human and animal blood samples once supplemented increased. Making spirulina applicable to help treat diseases and inflammation. This is another reason Olympic Weightlifters should supplement spirulina in their diet as it aids in recovery and anti-inflammatory within the muscles.
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Belay A., (2002), The potential application of Spirulina as a nutritional and therapeutic supplement in Health management,” Journal of the American Nutraceutical Association, vol. 5, p. 27–48.
Gonzalez, A M., Church, D., Townsend, JR., and Bagheri, R, (2020). "Emerging Nutritional Supplements for Strength and Hypertrophy. Strength & Conditioning Journal Vol. 42, No. 5, p1524-1602
Hultman E, Söderlund K, Timmons JA, Cederblad G, Greenhaff PL. (1996) Muscle loading in men. J Appl Physiol;81, P232-237
Juszkiewicz, A., Glapa, A., Basta, P. (2019). The effect of L-theanine supplementation on the immune system of athletes exposed to strenuous physical exercise. J Int Soc Sports Nutr 16,
Kalafati M, (2009). Ergogenic and Antioxidant Effects of Spirulina Supplementation in Humans. Med & Sci in Sports & Ex.
Lu, H.-K., Hsieh, C.-C., Hsu, J.-J., Yang, Y.-K. and Chou, H.-N. (2006). Preventive effects of Spirulina platensis on skeletal muscle damage under exercise-induced oxidative stress. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 98(2), p.220–226.
Preen, D., Dawson.B., Goodman (2003). Creatine Supplementation: A Comparison of Loading and Maintenance Protocols on Creatine Uptake by Human Skeletal Muscle. International journal of sport nutrition and exercise metabolism. P97-111.
Rawson ES, Miles MP, Larson-Meyer DE. (2018) Dietary Supplements for Health, Adaptation, and Recovery in Athletes. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab.p188-199.