FOCUS, BUILD, RECOVER, REPLENISH, GROW
Before I get into any supplementation stuff, I think it’s important to say that you should first have a very well-balanced diet. What does that exactly mean, anyway?
You’re having the appropriate amount of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins based on your age, activity level, lifestyle, genetics, and whole load of other factors (which we will get to in the later weeks).
“Supplements” are not to be overlooked, as they usually are. They are to supplement your current diet. Therefore, don’t get all your protein just from protein shakes!
The layout that I have for these supplements will AID your performance in five arenas: Focus, Build, Recover, Replenish, and Grow.
Let’s get into the good stuff!
- TrueFocus – FOCUS
This is a great supplement to aid in mental focus and recovery. There’s no surprise that sport requires an athlete to always be aware of their surroundings. However, a baseball athlete almost fully requires on their vision and mental focus to be successful.
Some important ingredients in TrueFocus include: Ginko biloba, DMAE, and specific amino acids.
Ginko biloba aids in boosting concentration and energy levels. No explanation needed!
DMAE aids in the production of Acetylcholine (Ach), which is the main neurotransmitter needed for muscular contraction.
The amino acids L-Glutamine, L-Tyrosine, and L-Phenylalanine are precursors for Norepinephrine and Dopmaine, important neurotransmitters that are responsible for mental acuity.
If you don’t have access to this supplement, having a solid pre-workout snack that has an ample amount of protein and/or Nitric Oxide (NO) will get the juices flowing for your training session.
- Ashwagandha – BUILD
I personally take this supplement every day and I love it. Not only for its benefits, but because it is a natural herb!
Whenever we are presented with a stressful life event, whether it be training or making a decision, our cortisol levels (the stress hormone) increase.
On the other hand, for optimal testosterone levels to be effective, our cortisol levels need to be low. This is known as the “testosterone-cortisol ratio”.
Ashwagandha (Ash-wa-gahn-da) aims to put our body in a state of homeostasis (energy balance). When our energy levels are balanced after a stressful event, all of the other hormones, vitamins, and minerals in our body can work together to help build up tissues!
I usually take one serving before and after my training session.
- Vitamins – RECOVER
I hope that you’re taking some sort of multivitamin regardless. However, there are specific vitamins that I think when being paired together can have synergistic effects: zinc, magnesium, and B6 Complex.
Zinc and Magnesium are essential in better muscle recovery, muscle strength and size, and sleep! Vitamin B6 Complex gives your cells a natural source of energy. Rather than relying on caffeine for your mid-day pick me up, try swopping that out with B6. Your adrenal glands will surely thank you!
Our B-Vitamins are also precursors that are needed for several hormones to do their jobs: tissue repair, tissue growth, and putting the body back to homeostasis.
- Whey Protein/BCAA’s – REPLENISH
Training puts the body in a starved state – the most important time for protein ingestion, in my opinion, is immediately after your training session!
Our muscles are made up of proteins (and some other stuff), both contractile and non-contractile. Our body needs to break down to build up.
Training also stimulates muscle protein synthesis (MPS) due to the release of many anabolic hormones in the body. These products are used to keep the body moving during your training session, so replenishing them is probably a good idea.
Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAA’s) include leucine, isoleucine, and valine. Adding BCAA’s during your training session and throughout the day can create a “protective” effect for your muscle tissue. When our energy levels are low, the body can pull amino acids from our tissues (which are found in muscle tissue).
The most important BCAA is leucine. Research has shown that this amino acid is the light switch for MPS. The general recommendation is to have 3g of leucine to enhance MPS.
If you’re taking a whey protein supplement, it will usually show the breakdown of each amino acid. Just make sure you’re measuring everything out so that your leucine content equals to 3 grams,
Ingesting protein within 30-60 minutes of your training session will replenish your cells with the protein that it needs so that the muscle remodeling process can begin.
- Creatine – GROW
I think Creatine is a MUST for the high school player who is trying to put some mass on his body, get stronger, or lift for longer periods of time in the weight room.
It is clinically safe, highly effective, and can be taken WITH your protein for an additive effect! It’s just a home run (no pun intended).
To make it simple, Creatine gives our cells an extra energy “push” to allow for the body to perform more work in a training session. Not only does it help during the training session, but it accelerates the recovery and growth process after your training session as well.
For a full in-depth article about Creatine, click here for my most popular article to date.
There you have it, science! Hopefully you understand that you need a well-balanced diet first and foremost. Supplements are only to help you get that extra edge for your performance both on the field and off the field.
If you guys want to learn even MORE about everything there is with nutrition, check out Chris Barakat’s content. He’s a great friend of mine down in Tampa, FL and I learned a lot from him during my time at UT!
Jarad Vollkommer, CSCS
Assistant Director of Performance
Infiniti Sports Performance