As an endurance athlete, you spend hours each and everyday training and conditioning yourself to enhance aerobic and anaerobic capacity, so you can train harder and delay fatigue. Whether you’re training to be the fittest on earth, or you put hundreds of miles on the pavement running or cycling each week, properly optimizing your diet and supplementation is crucial to maximizing your performance. Here are the best supplements for endurance athletes so you can maximize your performance and gain the competitive edge you’re looking for.
6 Best Supplements For Endurance
Kre-Alkalyn is a ph corrected form of creatine, and creatine is one of the most heavily researched supplements that's proven to help increase athletic performance. With the addition of creatine into the muscle cells, you can produce higher muscle force, strength, power, and speed.
Why Is Kre-Alkalyn One Of The Best Supplements For Endurance Athletes?
Kre-Alkalyn increases the body's immediate energy supply, by facilitating the production of ATP. Supplementing with Kre-Alkalyn is reported to increase the content of creatine phosphate in muscle by approximately 20%. Therefore more creatine phosphate in muscle cells means more ATP can be rapidly produced during intense exercise, which can lead to gains in strength, power, speed and muscle growth. Additionally, unlike other creatine supplements, clinical studies have shown that KreAlkalyn boosts VO2 Max and oxygen uptake, which is directly correlated with increased endurance.
VO2 max is the maximum volume of oxygen the body can consume during intense, whole-body exercise. Because oxygen consumption is linearly related to energy expenditure, when we measure oxygen consumption, we are indirectly measuring an individual's maximum capacity to do work aerobically. Therefore, with an improvement in VO2 Max, comes a significant improvement in endurance and exercise performance [R].
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In a clinical trial comparing Kre-Alkalyn to Creatine Monohydrate by a group of physicians at Greenberg Medical Center, 24 Male Olympic level athletes were divided into two test groups. Group one ingested 750 mg of Kre-Alkalyn, while group two ingested 750 mg of Creatine Monohydrate for a test period of 4 months.
The results indicated that despite a negligible difference between the two groups in lean muscle mass and muscle strength, there was a significant increase in VO2 Max within the Kre-Alkalyn group.
CrossFit and other high-intensity training programs require the body to go under strenuous aerobic and anaerobic conditions. Therefore, with an improvement in VO2 Max and oxygen consumption comes a significant improvement in exercise endurance, resulting in faster times, high peak performance, and delayed muscle fatigue. Kre-Alklayn proves to be one of the best supplements for endurance athletes.
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RECOMMENDED PRODUCT Kre-Alkalyn (100 Servings, Unflavored)
2. Beta-Alanine (CarnoSyn)
Beta-Alanine is a non-essential beta-amino acid, which has proven to be one of the most effective supplements for endurance athletes, due to its ability to delay muscle fatigue by reducing lactic acid buildup.
Unique in its anatomy, beta alanine is a component of the histidine dipeptides carnosine and anserine, as well as vitamin B5, or pantothenic acid. When taken as a supplement, beta-alanine passes through the bloodstream into skeletal muscle, via a beta-alanine and taurine transporter. Once in the skeletal muscle, it binds with the essential amino acid L-histidine, to form dipeptide carnosine [R]
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Why is Beta-Alanine One Of The Best Supplements For Endurance Athletes?
Beta-alanine raises blood carnosine levels. Carnosine is the bodies’ first line of defense against increased hydrogen ions, during high-intensity training [R]
The rise in hydrogen lowers muscle pH, which is correlated with increased muscle fatigue. Studies have shown, that supplementation with beta-alanine can increase muscle carnosine concentrations up to 58 percent in just four weeks, and 80 percent in 10 weeks. Higher concentrations of carnosine, via beta-alanine supplementation, means less muscle fatigue, leading to improvements in exercise performance, higher training volume, and improved endurance.
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RECOMMENDED PRODUCT Beta-Alanine (100 Servings, Unflavored)
3. Citrulline Malate
Citrulline Malate is a unique combination of the nonessential amino acid L-Citrulline and malate, which comes from malic acid. Citrulline Malate is perhaps one of the most impressive and versatile supplements proven to boost endurance, increase strength, and optimize recovery.
Why Is Citrulline Malate One Of The Best Supplements For Endurance Athletes?
One of the greatest benefits of Citrulline Malate amongst many is in its proven ability to help delay muscle fatigue, by promoting an increase in aerobic energy production.
A study published in the British Journal Of Sports Medicine found that 6g of CM taken daily reduced muscle fatigue, by producing a 34% increase in the rate of oxidative ATP production during exercise. The study also found a 20% increase in the rate of phosphocreatine recovery after exercise, indicating a larger contribution of oxidative ATP synthesis to energy production. [R]
Thus, CM supplementation can help you fight muscle fatigue, due to the increase in ATP production and phosphocreatine release after exercise. When you’re competing at an elite level, generating more energy can provide a sustainable impact on your athletic performance.
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However, the greatest benefit of Citrulline Malate is in its ability to promote Nitric Oxide (NO) production. NO is a vasodilator, meaning that it widens the blood vessels, without raising blood pressure. By promoting the release of NO, the body is able to transport more oxygen and blood, resulting in improved strength, better endurance, and optimized recovery. By improving each aspect of your training through an increase in Nitric Oxide production, you'll be able to clock faster times, delay muscle fatigue, increase training volume, row harder, and lift heavier.
RECOMMENDED PRODUCT Citrulline Malate (100 Servings, Unflavored)
Your training isn't over until you recover and as an endurance athlete, recovery is crucial to your overall performance. L-Glutamine is the most abundant conditionally essential amino acid in the human body. However, with increased training volume, glutamine stores are depleted faster than your body can replenish them, which can cause your body to be catabolic and break down lean muscle mass. Low levels of glutamine can also compromise your immune system, increasing the risk of infection.
Why Is L-Glutamine One Of The Best Supplements For Endurance Athletes?
Glutamine is vital for reducing muscle mass breakdown and boosting immune system function for endurance athletes. After prolonged periods of exercise, your immune system becomes susceptible to infection.
In a study conducted by Oxford Universities Biochemistry Department, 200 elite endurance athletes including distance runners and rowers, consumed a post-workout drink either containing 5g of glutamine, or a placebo immediately after and two hours after exercise. The results indicated that seven days following exercise, 81% of the glutamine group showed no infection post-workout, as compared to the placebo group, which showed 49% with no infection [R]
Glutamine is one of the best supplements for endurance athletes, due to its ability in reducing muscle mass breakdown and post-workout soreness. With less soreness and faster recovery, you can increase training volume. Increased training volume translates to more training and better results.
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In another study conducted by the School of Health and Exercise Performance in the division of Kinesiology at Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. Sixteen healthy participants volunteered in a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled crossover study. to examine the effects that L-glutamine supplementation has on muscle strength and soreness ratings following eccentric exercise. The results concluded that supplementation of L-Glutamine directly influenced the faster recovery of peak torque and diminished muscle soreness following eccentric exercise.
RECOMMENDED PRODUCT L-Glutamine (100 Servings, Unflavored)
5. Clean Carbs
Swolverine's Clean Carbs are one of the best supplements for endurance, due to it's whole food panel of complex carbohydrates, unlike the majority of carb supplements made from refined corn starch and sugar. Clean carbs are made with 100% real whole-superfoods from complex carbohydrates, including Sweet potatoes, Yams, Oats, and Blueberries. These four ingredients provide the long-lasting and sustained energy your body needs to fuel performance and optimize recovery. Delicious and rich you can add it to your smoothies, shakes, or mix with water, for a rich and tasty treat.
Carbohydrate supplements are formulated from various carbohydrate sources as a tool to delay fatigue and provide energy for endurance athletes. Carbohydrate supplements help replenish glycogen stores in your muscle tissue, which are depleted during high-intensity workouts. With such high demand for training volume, endurance athletes need an abundant store of glycogen for added energy and improved performance, to promote more power and speed. It’s imperative to eat a carbohydrate-rich diet and supplement with carbohydrates as needed to sustain energy reserves to fuel high-intensity workouts [R]
Carbohydrate supplements such as gels, chews, or supplemental drinks are extremely crucial especially for endurance athletes like cross-fitters, runners or cyclists, who are competing for a prolonged period of time.
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In a study conducted at the University of California, Davis, 16 male, and female athletes cycled at 75% of max VO2 for 80min followed by a 10km time trial. Participants consumed 0.6g of carbohydrates per hour through carbohydrate gels, chews, drinks, or water only before, during, and after exercise. The 10km time trial using all three carbohydrate treatments resulted in significantly faster times than water, proving glycogen stores improve exercise performance [R]
Your body relies upon a continuous energy supply of glycogen derived from carbohydrates. This is the reason why at race stations, they give you fast-acting sources of carbohydrates made of sugar and maltodextrin such as energy gels, chews, energy bars, and Gatorade, which can provide more muscle fuel and energy and extend your time to exhaustion.
Unlike fat reserves, your body can only store a limited supply of glycogen within your muscles and liver, which ranges between 75-100, and 300-500 grams. You need upwards of 800 grams of carbohydrates during an ultra-endurance event making it essential to refuel along the way for optimal energy levels.
When you deplete your glycogen stores, you may experience extreme fatigue, sudden loss of energy, mental fogginess, and cramping; these are the symptoms of bonking and you are hitting the proverbial wall. Essentially your entire body and brain shut down and go into triage.
6. Intra Workout Supplements
Intra-workout supplements are specific sports performance nutrition products made to help power your training while you work out. Intra-workout supplements can come in a wide variety of different forms, either with essential amino acids (EAA), branched chain amino acids (BCAA), electrolytes, carbohydrates, and endurance enhancing ingredients.
Intra-workout supplements can be extremely beneficial to help boost endurance and provide fuel for long-lasting training and prolonged bouts of exercise. Athletes who train for several hours in the gym, on the track, or on the pavement, need to keep their energy levels, focus, and hydration optimized at all times to maximize their training capacity and output. That’s where intra-workout supplements can benefit performance the most.
The majority of intra-workout supplements contain fast-acting carbohydrates, essential amino acids, and electrolytes.
For example, Swolverine’s Intra Workout Supplement contains
- ELECTROLYTES: Himalayan Pink Salt, Calcium Citrate, Magnesium Chloride, Potassium Chloride, and Coconut Water
- SUPERFOOD/SPORTS NUTRITION INGREDIENTS:Essential Amino Acids (EAA), Spirulina, Tart Cherry, and Pomegranate
- ENERGY/FOCUS INGREDIENTS:Panax Ginseng, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12
Why Are EAAs and Electrolytes The Best Supplements For Endurance Athletes
Electrolytes are crucial not only to avoid bonking, but for any type of workout for adequate and efficient hydration for endurance athletes. Hydration during your workout is essential to prolong endurance activity, improve workout volume, delay muscle fatigue, and improve recovery.
Electrolytes are minerals and vitamins that conduct electrical activity in the body so that you can perform mechanical functions, such as muscle contraction and relaxation, which are a part of daily and athletic functions. With just a 1-2% reduction in body weight from fluid loss alone, performance takes a dive and perceived exertion goes plummets. In a typical workout, you can lose anywhere from 2-6% of your body’s water weight just by sweating. In an ultra, you can count on losing much more than that. The loss of water and electrolytes, coupled with not replenishing them, effects recovery times, oxygen levels, and nutrient deliveries contributing to muscle wasting and a poor removal of waste from the blood stream [R].
Electrolytes such as magnesium, potassium, salt can help replenish hydration. Coconut water is also a great ingredient for hydration. Naturally low in sugar, coconut water boosts the electrolyte potassium along with a few other nutrients.
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Sodium and electrolytes help your body retain water, which is important during a race. If you don’t have enough electrolytes, your body will essentially stop working. Your legs will get heavy, you’ll feel extreme fatigue, and the dreaded wall will be waiting. You’ll need between 300-600mg of sodium per hour and if you’re a salty sweater, your intake is going to be higher than that. The International Society of Sports Nutrition recently recommended that ultra-endurance athletes should aim for between 450 and 750 mL per hour for adequate hydration [R].
Essential Amino Acids (EAA)
Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and vital to human health. Essential amino acids (EAA) stimulate muscle protein synthesis and work by creating new protein cells for muscle size, growth, and recovery. Your body needs 20 amino acids for proper biological function, however, only 9 are considered essential.
These are histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine.
Your body cannot make essential amino acids, hence whey they are considered “essential.” EAAS must be obtained from dietary supplements or from the food in your diet.
A large body of evidence shows that that EAAs can improve athletic performance, delay muscle and mental fatigue, and enhance muscle recovery. A systematic review, including 4274 patients across thirty-nine randomized controlled trials found that EAAs improves muscle strength, physical function and fatigue 
When your body works harder and harder during strenuous physical activity, muscle tissue is broken down, resulting in increased levels of tryptophan. Increased levels of the sleep-inducing amino acid tryptophan, triggers an increase in serotonin, which produces lethargy, decreases muscular contractions, and depresses motor neuron excitability.
A bonk happens when your body runs out of carbohydrates. However, when you demand more from your body, you need more fuel to supply it with, as it utilizes more resources. Your body doesn’t just use glycogen, it also uses electrolytes, water, fat, and protein.
During high-intensity and prolonged endurance activity, you may experience an amino acid deficit, which leads to neurotransmitter imbalance. We call this muscle catabolism. Muscle catabolism takes place, when your body uses your muscle mass for energy, in times of severe nutrient depletion. When this takes place, you may also experience what’s called central nervous system fatigue.
For your nervous system to synthesize amino acids, you also need an adequate intake of b-vitamins which are also the primary building blocks of neurotransmitters.
Ingesting essential amino acids each hour during a race, will help you amplify your resistance to mental and muscle fatigue. I suggest supplementing with Swolverine’s INTRA. INTRA is a combination of essential amino acids, B-Vitamins, electrolytes from pink Himalayan salt and coconut water, as well as raw superfoods proven to help endurance, and recovery such as pomegranate, spirulina, and tart cherry extract.
Best Supplements For Endurance Athletes: Takeaway
If you’re looking to increase your endurance and become more competitive in your sport, optimizing your performance with the right supplements is crucial to your success as an athlete. Adding some of the supplements to your nutrition regimen will definitely help boost your endurance, and maximize your athletic performance.
Looking For The Best Supplements To Refuel Your Endurance?
Swolverine's INTRA-workout powder features an advanced supplement formula to maximize hydration and improve training performance during your workout. INTRA is a vegan EAA powder made with proven sports performance ingredients, antioxidant-rich superfoods, and electrolytes. INTRA-workout powder combines essential amino acids, tart cherry extract, pomegranate, spirulina, coconut water, and Panax ginseng for maximum endurance, mental focus, muscle growth, hydration, and recovery.
SWOLVERINE is an endurance athlete and active lifestyle brand. Made for the elite athlete, and the strong-willed our products were designed to fuel your athletic performance. We perform when you perform.
We believe that everyone can optimize not only their athletic performance but their human potential. The way we believe we can optimize performance is through transparency, clinically effective doses, and clinically proven ingredients with evidence-based outcomes. We provide the nutrients you need to power your active lifestyle.