Exercise is a fundamental pillar of health, wellness, and self-care. But it’s not always easy to find the energy to work out. Plus, poor focus, fatigue, muscle cramps, and injuries hamper your progress in the gym and knock your confidence.
Luckily, health supplements can improve your strength, stamina, and recovery! But with so many supplements claiming to be the silver bullet for performance, it’s hard to know what’s a marketing gimmick and what actually works.
Whether you’re an athlete looking for a competitive edge or an exercise newbie hoping to avoid sore muscles – this article on the best exercise supplements will help you.
How do supplements support exercise performance?
A whole food diet, quality sleep, and regular rest days are the cornerstones of physical performance and recovery. However, life is more than a little hectic nowadays for most people, which can be mentally and physically depleting. Plus, if you exercise intensely, it increases your body’s nutrient demands.
If you’re struggling to reach your performance goals despite nailing the “basics”, supplements – known as ergogenic aids – may be the missing puzzle piece.
While ergogenic supplements can’t banish fatigue completely, they do offer benefits such as:
- Greater endurance and strength
- Increased energy
- Less muscle fatigue
- Less pain, inflammation, and stiffness
- Faster muscle recovery
- Reduced incidence of injury
- Healthier body composition
- Better recovery and sleep
Even the most accomplished athletes rely on supplements to stay on top of their game and avoid burnout!
Let’s dive into our list of the top 6 exercise supplements for performance and recovery.
1. Alpha-GPC for better physical performance and mental focus
Every exercise enthusiast should know about Alpha-glycerylphosphorylcholine – or Alpha-GPC. It’s a nootropic that promotes cognitive wellness as well as being a natural performance enhancer.
As a precursor to the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, Alpha-GPC helps your neurons send messages across synapses in your brain within milliseconds. This supports muscle contraction and mental focus, so you feel strong and agile during exercise sessions1.
Taking alpha-GPC before exercise may also naturally increase your brain’s production of exercise-induced Human Growth Hormone2 (HGH) – an anti-ageing hormone crucial for muscle repair and growth.
Most research suggests taking 200-600 mg of Alpha-GPC before exercise. Check out Cerebra Nootropics Alpha-GPC for more information.
2. Boost stamina with Ashwagandha
Exercise is a physical stressor – a good form of stress that strengthens your muscles and cardiovascular system! However, with so much stress in other aspects of daily life, intense exercise can tip you over the edge into burnout. That’s why we love using stress-busting herbs like ashwagandha root for performance. It’s an adaptogen – a compound that supports stress resilience by regulating your body’s production of the stress hormone cortisol3.
Taking 300 mg of Ashwagandha root extract twice a day improves performance during intense aerobic exercise4 – like running, swimming, and cycling. Plus, in men, ashwagandha boosts the male sex hormone testosterone and increases muscle strength and size when used alongside resistance training5.
Our Cerebra Nootropics Ashwagandha contains 500 mg of standardised ashwagandha root extract per capsule. Click here for more information and dosage recommendations.
3. Rhodiola Rosea for endurance
Like Ashwagandha, Rhodiola Rosea is an adaptogenic herb that supports you during intense exercise and over-training. It’s a hardy, resilient herb that imparts the same properties onto those who consume it! Historically, tribes in East Asia used the root to improve physical stamina and resilience on long journeys and during battle.
Rhodiola works by reducing your perceived exertion during training6 – AKA how tiring the exercise feels to you. The lower the perceived exertion, the longer you can exercise at your peak! Rhodiola extract daily can build your exercise endurance and aerobic capacity7, a measure of cardiovascular fitness.
However, always ensure the product you buy contains standardised Rhodiola Rosea extract so you’re getting enough active compounds to make a difference.
4. Improve muscle recovery with magnesium
Magnesium is a superstar mineral for cardiovascular, muscle, and nerve function. It plays a crucial role in producing ATP – the energy currency your cells use to function – and reducing muscle soreness. Magnesium also helps you get into a deep sleep8, which you need to rest and recover properly. No wonder nutritionists and fitness coaches almost always recommend it for physical performance!
It’s one of our favourite nutrients, helping elite athletes and older people who want to stay physically active. However, unless you’re eating bowls of leafy greens every day, you’re not getting enough magnesium for your needs, especially if you’re active.
Our Cerebra Nootropics Magnesium Citrate is an absorbable form of magnesium for reducing muscle soreness and promoting restful sleep. It helps you get back to training so you can smash your goals!
5. Train harder with phosphatidylserine
Phosphatidylserine (PS) is a fatty compound concentrated in the brain and nervous system. As an essential part of healthy cell membranes, PS protects your cells and allows them to communicate effectively. However, people don’t often talk about PS and exercise because its performance benefits fly under the radar. But today, we’re singing its praises!
Research shows supplementing with 750 mg of PS before high-intensity exercise improves aerobic endurance9. It also helps you recover by minimising delayed onset muscle soreness10 (DOMS). This means you can reduce downtime and get more out of your training sessions.
6. Enhance focus and avoid mistakes with L-theanine
If you enjoy a cup of strong coffee or a stimulating energy drink before exercise, L-theanine should be part of your routine.
L-theanine is a calming amino acid that boosts levels of the relaxing neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in your brain. Studies have found it works synergistically with caffeine, balancing the stimulating effects and promoting a sense of calm focus11. This helps you turn off your worries and focus on reaching your goals during training with fewer mistakes and distractions!
We recommend taking L-theanine 30 to 45 minutes before exercise. Take a look at Cerebra Nootropics L-theanine for more information.
Whether you enjoy high-intensity training, endurance exercise, or lifting weights, ergogenic health supplements help you get the most out of your training and recovery. At Cerebra Nootropics, we trust the science with supplements backed by data, third-party tested, and proven to get you results.
But remember, supplements are no substitute for a good-quality diet, hydration, sleep, and regular rest days. These lifestyle factors are fundamental and should be your top priority!