The idea that as we age, we should expect a decline in our physical and mental performance has been well documented. While there is some truth to this, we don’t have to fully accept it. Consistent training, good nutrition, and quality sleep all play a huge role in optimizing the performance of older athletes.
Supplements can also be very helpful. For myself and fellow older athletes, I like to prioritize mental health and digestive health. A run-of-the-mill pre-workout powder isn’t going to cut it. We need a more strategic approach. Here are some of my favorite supplements for the Masters level athlete:
Acetyl L-Carnitine to Boost Your Brain
Acetyl L-Carnitine is my go-to supplement for brain health and performance. Research on Acetyl L-Carnitine and its effects on the brain have been very positive. Studies have shown that it can improve alertness, mental focus, and cognitive function. Research on older populations has also demonstrated Carnitine to be effective in reducing chronic fatigue.
When consumed pre-workout. I’ve noticed significantly increased mental focus and I believe it has helped my strength in powerlifting competitions. I took a blend of Acetyl L-Carnitine before every major powerlifting meet over the past couple of years, and I think it’s made a big difference.
L-Theanine for Mental Focus & Relaxation
Along with caffeine, L-Theanine is one of the active ingredients found in green tea. Clinical studies have shown L-Theanine to be effective in promoting relaxation without causing drowsiness. It has also been shown to improve cognitive function. I personally find L-Theanine helps to enhance the effects of caffeine by minimizing jitters – it takes the edge off, so to speak. For improved mental focus, clarity, and general well-being, L-Theanine is a great choice.
Activated Charcoal for GI Emergencies
If you haven’t heard about activated charcoal, let me start by saying this: Go out today and purchase four bottles. You’ll need to carry one in your gym bag/purse/briefcase, keep one at home, one in the car, and one extra to give to a friend in need! Activated charcoal is a lifesaver when the inevitable GI emergency occurs.
Activated charcoal is a type of carbon that has been used for decades as a remedy to protect the body from poisoning. It can trap many times its own weight in toxins and prevent them from being absorbed into the body.
For those times when a cheat meal just isn’t sitting well, this is one supplement you never want to be without!
Fish Oil to Supercharge Your Health
Of all the supplements you can take, one of the most important is fish oil, specifically the omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil. Most Western diets do not provide enough of this critical nutrient, which is why it’s helpful to get omega 3’s through supplementation. Omega 3’s help to switch off the genes that store fat (lipogenic) and to turn on the genes that break down fat (lipolytic). They help to increase utilization of fat stores as energy from fat cells. Omega-3’s can reduce inflammation caused by intense training. They are also great to improve mental focus, memory and overall brain function.
High-Quality Protein Powder for More Muscle
Protein is one of the three macronutrients (along with carbohydrates and fats) utilized by the body for various chemical and metabolic functions, including muscle protein synthesis (i.e. growth). While it is possible to get your protein requirements via whole foods, protein powders provide a convenient and rapidly absorbing source, which is very advantageous for athletes, especially older athletes. As we age, the ability to build and maintain muscle becomes more challenging. High-Quality protein powder can serve as an insurance policy for your hard-earned muscle!
The post-workout period is ideal for you to make use of protein powder. During this period, protein synthesis is elevated and your muscles are in an ideal state to absorb nutrients, some of which will be used for muscle growth. When selecting a protein powder, do your research and choose quality over price. Some of my favorite types of protein powder include grass-fed whey protein (New Zealand sourced); grass-fed beef isolate, and organic brown rice protein.
So, there you have it. For Masters level athletes looking to improve performance, fight off Father Time and feel amazing, the supplements mentioned above should be part of your arsenal.
Team Strong Athlete