I have been working at a gym since I was around 16 years old and the question I get asked the most is what are the best endurance supplements? This comes as no surprise since everyone is always looking for a way to get stronger and have a faster recovery time.
Over the years I have gathered enough information from personal experience to be able to give people educated suggestions on the best endurance supplements, so today I’m going to share that with you.
A quick Look at My Favorite Supplements For Endurance
- There are a lot of different supplements out there from vitamins to muscle growth powders.
- Creatin can be used as an endurance supplement too, not just for muscle growth.
- Coffee is considered to be a supplement because of its caffeine content.
- Some pre-workouts can cause anxiety.
- Supplements are used as add-ons to your regular diet, not as a substitute.
Best supplements that increase endurance
1. Creatine Monohydrate: Thorne Creatine
I wanted to get the most controversial out of the way first. When we say endurance a lot of people think of running, cycling swimming, and similar activities, but when we mention creatine a lot of people think of bodybuilders. And let’s face it, bodybuilders are not the fastest runners out there thanks to their muscles and overall mass.
People tend to dismiss creatine as an endurance supplement but studies say otherwise. Researchers have shown that creatin rapidly increases the production of ATP and reduces recovery time and increases power output.
Creatine is naturally produced in your body, but can also be found in dairy products, some seafood, and meat.
Creatin usually comes in powder or capsule form and it can be found mixed with other supplements such as pre-workout drinks.
It aids in recovery time, muscle growth, and muscle fatigue and some researchers say it can help stabilize blood sugar.
I took the Thorne Creatine at a time in my life when honestly I just wanted my glutes to get bigger. I noticed that in a few weeks I had some puffiness, especially around my arms, which was a big no for me since the entire reason I started taking creatin was for lower body growth.
This is because my body was getting used to the supplement and it retained water. After a mount, the puffiness went down and I started seeing an increase in endurance and strength. Plus, my recovery time was significantly reduced and my muscles weren’t fatiguing as much.
I used it for a year straight and I saw significant muscle definition, thanks to creatine and my high-protein diet. I was very happy with the results at the end.
I still have a pack of creatine in my pantry and use it in periods when I need the extra boost
The Thorne Creatine is NSF Certified gluten and dairy free and it has 90 serving sizes in a contender so it will last you a mount and a half, plus the price is decent for the quality you’re getting.
- Gluten and dairy free
- NSF tested
- Doesn’t have a variety of flavors
Why Should You Buy It?
If you want fast muscle recovery, then you should check this product out.
Also Read: Fantastic Treadmills for Under $600
2. Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs): Pure Encapsulations BCAA Powder
BCAA stands for Branched-Chain Amino Acids and the is a term used to describe the 9 of the 20 essential amino acids that you need to obtain through your food because your body is not able to produce them. Three of the 9 essential amino acids present in BCAA supplements are leucine, isoleucine, and valine.
The most popular reason why people take BCCAs is for muscle growth. Leucine aids in protein synthesis and this is the process of muscle recovery and growth.
However, BCAAs alone can’t really do much if the other essential amino isn’t present in the body.
BCAAs can also reduce the symptoms of DOMS which stands for delayed onset muscle soreness. This happens when your muscles start fatiguing 12 to 24 hours after a workout demanding on the muscle you worked and the intensity of the workout.
For me it looks like this, day one, great lower body workout, endorphins through the roof, feeling strong, day two a little fatigue, nothing too serious, day three, oh my God I can’t even go down the stars.
Some researchers claim that BCAAs slow down muscle damage, which is what prevents DOMS. This is where I have my doubts.
Your muscle grows when you recover, not while you are exercising. By lighting heavy weights, you are essentially destroying your muscles so that they can recover and get stronger. If the studies are accurate then the BCAAs slow down this damage, thus slowing down muscle growth.
So if you are a bodybuilder getting ready for a show, maybe skip the BCAAs for a while, but if you are a runner, dancer, swimmer, or similar, amino acids will help you recover faster.
I have been taking Pure Encapsulations BCAA Powder on and off for years. I found that it really helps my muscles recover, especially after yoga. Yes, you read that right. I am naturally flexible, but due to lifting weights my muscles tend to get stiff, that’s why I regularly to yoga class. After I skip a class or two due to my busy schedule I feel very fatigued the next morning I am not able to hit the gym. This is where the Pure Encapsulations BCAA Powder comes into play.
I found that it helps my muscles recover from being stretched out. Also, it is wheat soy, dairy, egg, and gluten-free and it doesn’t have any unnecessary builders or preservatives added in.
I saw no stunt of growth in my muscles, so I can’t say for sure that BCAAs significantly slow down any volume progress.
- High quality ingredients
- Other supplements may work better for muscle growth
Why Should You Buy It?
If you want optimal muscle recovery you want to look into getting this product.
3. Caffeine: Cellucor C4.
Coffee is probably not the first thing you think of when someone mentions supplements, but like I said it does count as one. Caffeine comes from coffee beans and some other plants, but it can also be made in a laboratory, science right?
The reason I put caffeine on here is because it has the same structure in coffee, tea, pills, pre-workout, and so on.
Caffeine is classified as a nootropic because of its effect on the brain. We all know that coffee gives you energy and mental clarity, but its’ probably the most abused substance in the world up there with alcohol.
The recommended dosage of coffee is around 400mg a day. Let’s make this more practical. A cup of espresso on average has around 65mg of caffeine depending on its origin. Instant coffee has around 60mg, and surprisingly decaf also has around 5mg of caffeine.
Black tea has around 47mg, green tea is around 27mg, energy drinks have around 170mg of caffeine, and energy supplements have around 200g.
Pre-workouts also contain BCAAs, vitamins, creatine, and other boosting supplements.
I personally like to drink pre-workout before I hit the gym because I find that it aids in my muscle activation. I work out first thing in the morning so I find that a little boost helps me wake up faster.
My go-to pre-workout is the C4, and even though it is mocked by most body bidders I am sticking to it.
I have been taking the C4 for years, but I am mindful of going on “detox” periods. I use the term detox very lightly here because your liver detoxes your body every day, but caffeine is an addictive substance and I don’t want to build up a caffeine tolerance to the point where I have to take 2 or 3 scoops.
I take at least a 5-day break every 2-3 mounts and I find that when I use C4 again I definitely feel it. Some of the negative side effects that can cure, and did cure in my experience were the tingling. This is your body’s natural response to a sudden bust of caffeine entering the bloodstream. Its’ not dangerous but it does get annoying when you get that tingling during exercise.
It is best if you take your pre-workout 20-30 minutes before your session to see how your body reacts. Pre-workouts with too much caffeine make me anxious and sweaty, so that’s why I prefer the C4. Plus, they have lots and lots of different flavors.
Sometimes when I am out of town and I didn’t bring my C4 with me I go for an energy drink. And guess what? C4 also has its own pre-workout drink that has 200mf of caffeine.
- Good value
- Lots of flavors
- Artificial flavoring
Why Should You Buy It?
If you are looking for a mild pre-workout that boosts your energy and doesn’t get you over-caffeinated, this is the perfect product for you.
4. Protein powder: Ghost
This one is also debated and some people don’t consider protein powder to be a supplement. But It does fall under things that you use to add or supplement your food intake and protein powder is just that, so I’m pouting it on my best supplements for insurance list.
Whey protein comes from milk that is introduced to enzymes that separate the liquids from the casein, or the solids.
The solid part is taken for further manufacturing of cheese and other dairy products and the liquid is filtered so that the fats and carbs can be removed, leaving only the protein. Then the liquid whey protein is dried and made into a powder.
Vegan protein powders are made by extracting protein from plants such as peas, soy, brown rice, and so on.
Protein powder aids in muscle repair, and remember what I said about muscle growth. It happens in the resting or repairing stage.
That is why protein is all the rage in the fitness world. However, more protein doesn’t always mean better performance. Protein should be around 30% of your daily macronutrients, 50% should come from carbs, and 20% from healthy fats.
I used the Ghost Protein Powder for a very long time and I highly recommend it. Not only do you get 25g of protein per scoop, but their flavors are to die for. I couldn’t stand drinking just a regular protein shake made with a scoop of protein powder and water or milk, but with the Ghost, I have no issue jugging the entire thing down in seconds.
Even though I loved the taste of the Whey Ghost proteins I found that whey protein in general makes me bloated. I developed a dairy intolerance over the years so I got rid of all kinds of dairy from my diet. However, that doesn’t mean that I cut Ghost from my life because they have Vegan protein powders as well!
A scoop has 5g less protein than the whey one, but also 30 calories less so it makes up for the difference. The flavors are delicious and I have a stack of containers in my pantry at all times.
- Good amount of protein per serve
- Vegan options
- Variety of flavors
Why Should You Buy It?
Ghost have some of the best supplements on the market, and their protein powders are top quality.
Also Read: Fantastic Treadmills for Under $400
What are supplements?
A lot of people get thrown off when they hear the word supplements and they associate it with harmful chemicals that people put in their bodies. This can’t be further from the truth. A supplement is basically meant to be added, or supplemented, with your food to add the extra nutrients that your body lacks.
Supplements can come in many forms, pills, powders, liquid, gel, and so on. They are not harmful if you take them in the recommended dose, on the contrary, they serve as a boost for your body.
There are different types of supplements, the most common being vitamins. Yes, vitamins are supplements, so every time you take your vitamin D pill, you are essentially taking a supplement.
Minerals are also supplements. If you take zinc, iron, and calcium, these are all supplements that help your body to recover.
There are also botanical and supplements and these come from plants like the coffee bean, ginger, curcumin, and similar.
Another type of supplement we are going to talk about today is amino acids which are very famous in the gym community. The last type of supplement that we often take is probiotics also known as live microbial.
If I have to choose the best supplement for endurance, I would have to go for protein powder. The reason why is simple. Food is fuel, and protein powder is the only one of the supplements I mentioned that has a good amount of calories and can increase your daily calorie intake.
Your body needs food to function properly, so before you take any supplements make sure that you have a healthy relationship with food and the supplements are just here to lend a helping hand.
It’s been more than 15 years, and I’ve been running 3-4 times a week ever since then. I’ve achieved goals, won marathons, went through injuries and learnt a lot along the way. That’s why, I created Suzlyfe together with my husband (Ken) to share my findings and help others reach their goals. Both me and my husband are avid runners, and it’s a big part of our life.