Supplements for the Serious Athlete

The brand of supplements that you use doesn’t matter too much, so long as they use the right ingredients. That said, I do prefer to get my products through Reaction Nutrition because they offer Jiu-Jitsu practitioners a discount on their products (if you use the code: BJJ4ALL).

But what are the right ingredients? Well, that’s fairly simple. This article will walk through some of the supplements you ought to be taking to get the most out of your training. Starting with:



Every company out there makes a protein powder. How do you know which one is right? Depends on what they use for the base of their protein. Most companies use a whey protein because the body absorbs it quickly. Some usPRO_Action-2-Milk_Chocolatee soy, but soy is absorbed more slowly by the body than whey.

That said, some companies use a whey concentrate, some a whey isolate, and some a mixture of both. Studies have found that a whey isolate is absorbed most quickly by the body, while a whey concentrate follows shortly behind. A mix of both allows the body to quickly rebuild itself while also providing a more prolonged “muscle therapy” with the slower absorption.

If you’re lifting weights, or doing any sort of HIIT training, an isolate or a mix is right for you. For less serious athletes, a concentrate would work just fine.


Amino Acids

This is a topic we’ve covered extensively in this article. Some of it bears repeating though. Studies have shown that amino acids taken before exercise can improve athlete endurance up to 10%.

The best sorts of amino acids to take are Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs). The body can burn these in place of muscle for energy. So when lifting heavy, rolling hard, or doing some other endurance activity, BCAAs will help you be able to do them for longer. Taking them after intense exercise can also help with recovery.



L-Glutamine is another amino acid, but one that athletes need to take a serious look at. It helps tremendously with muscle recovery, but doesn’t just stop there. Glutamine can also help regulate the body’s resistance to insulin. This mean that it can help blood glucose from spiking.

Glutamine-400Blood glucose naturally rises after exercise, which can be unhealthy for people with diabetes. However, taking glutamine can help the body regulate this process. Whether a person suffers from diabetes or not, Glutamine can suppress sugar cravings by being converted directly into glucose by the body.

Glutamine has also been found to decrease ammonia in the body during exercise. Ammonia is linked to physical exhaustion in athletes. A daily regiment of 5 grams of Glutamine has been found to suppress ammonia in the body, which allows for prolonged exercise before exhaustion.


Glucosamine – Chondroitin

Keeping joints healthy is a huge priority for any athlete. Glucosamine will slow the effects of collagen (joint tissue) break-down. A daily intake of 1,000-3,000mg is found to be most effective for athletes. This will help prevent osteoarthritis as an athlete ages.

It was previously thought that Glucosamine might cause insulin resistance, but that has since been found to be false.

Chondroitin is said to be most effective when used in tandem with Glucosamine. That said, not much scientific study has been done of the supplement. Those that have been done are largely positive, but tend to use a small sample size, meaning not enough people were involved in the experiment for the results to be seen as 100% accurate.


Always check the labels on your supplements. Some companies use ingredients that aren’t illegal (yet), but are banned in athletic competition. If you are competing where you might be tested for PEDs, be ultra-aware.

Also, check for an excess of “filler” in your product. Many companies don’t actually put the ingredients in their packages that they claim. If you see the words “propriety blend” on your label, it means there is filler in the product. It doesn’t mean there’s nothing else in there, it just might not be as much of what you want or need.




  1. A Diabetics blood sugar drops during exercise not rise. Sugar cravings come from a low BG level. Just so you know 😉 otherwise good read.

    Parent of Type-1 Diabetic


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