So, before we get into supplements at all, first realize that they are, as the name implies, supplements. As in, they supplement your normal eating, they don’t replace it. If you’re not eating correctly, start. Then, when you have that down, you can worry about supplements.
Second, some of the best supplements for football players are both very cheap and not very well hyped. It’s hard to justify rolling out a major ad campaign for a $5 bottle of something…that’s better saved for the $75+ bucket-o-worthless-chemicals.
When it comes to supplements to improve football ability both in the weight room and on the field, go:
Know why you’re taking what you’re taking…
Here are the Top 7 Supplements for Football and why you should take them…
Most of the top 7 supplements in this list are what we consider “base supplements.” They’re not exciting, but they work and they are necessary.
Can you train without taking a protein shake? Yes, of course. But, why would you?
Protein is excellent for football training, especially to high school and college players because it is so easily carried around. You can quickly drink it in the halls, on the way to class or at your locker.
It’s also very cheap. While it may seem that putting out $35 – $45 is expensive, the truth is most protein shakes, made at home with two scoops in water, come out to around $1.77. For 25+ grams of protein and minimal carbs and fat, that’s impossible to beat.
And, its ideal post workout. You train hard so get the nutrients into your system as quickly as possible. This helps you recover faster. Recover faster – train harder – get bigger, stronger and faster on the field. Simple.
But, let’s clear one thing up… protein is just food in liquid form. No more, no less. All the bells-and-whistles and marketing hype is just that. Don’t expect to start drinking a few muscle milk’s and wake up looking like Ray Lewis.
Favorites around here are Prograde Protein, Dymatize ISO-100, even Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard are all high quality Whey Protein Powders.
2. Fish Oil
This is another base supplement and something about it just bores the hell out of most football players.
Who cares about heart health?
Even if we put the heart-health benefits aside, Fish Oil or Krill Oil is still extremely useful for football because of it’s anti-inflammatory properties. Every time you lift, every time you practice, and especially when you play a game, you are creating inflammation. The longer you stay this way, the longer you’re sore, tight, and unable to train at 100%. The quicker you squash inflammation, the faster you can get back to training or the field at full strength. This alone is invaluable.
Think about that next time you have an extra $20-bill in your pocket… some of you guys blow that much on friggin Monster Energy Crap… Much better choice, fish or krill oil.
Another boring, base supplement that is absolutely indispensable. If you want to perform at the highest possible level, every cell in your system has to be functioning properly. Taking a good multi vitamin & mineral can help ensure that your body is replacing the nutrients that your burning up in your training. And, despite what most know-it-alls will tell you, you do need extra vitamins and minerals.
Even if you eat a ton of different protein foods and “eat the rainbow” in vegetables, there’s no way you’re getting in all the minerals you need. The fact that most football players are woefully deficient in magnesium, zinc and copper should tell you why you need to supplement.
But, you have to get a good product. Taking Centrum will get you no where. A good multi product will require you to take 2 – 3 pills per day to get the full dose. Take one with breakfast, one pre-workout, and one at night. Or if you want all you need in one serving take THIS. Prograde VGF-25+ ensures that you get a nice, steady flow of nutrients and you replace anything you lose quickly.
ZMA might be the most underrated supplement in the world when it comes to recovering from training. Studies have shown that athletes, especially football players, are deficient in magnesium. The harder you train, the more the minerals are burned up.
This can lead to poor sleep quality and achy joints, and, decreased performance…It’s pretty hard to get faster for football if you’re knees feel like someone hit you with a bat.
By taking ZMA (Zinc, Magnesium and vitamin B6) you get a much more restful, deep sleep. This alone makes it almost anabolic in nature. Studies have shown that simply by supplementing with ZMA you can increase your testosterone levels.
You spend a ton of time training, lifting, running, practicing football – you have to balance that with an equal amount of recovery and there’s nothing better for recovery than sleep.
Biotest’s ZMA is probably the best out there.
One of the most power supplements for football; L-Tyrosine
L-Tyrosine is one of the most exciting supplements I’ve ever come across for football. It is an absolute life saver on those days where no matter what, you just can’t seem to get your brain right for the game. Most people have never even heard of this amino acid.
Again, it’s tough to hype up a supplement that costs less than 10 bucks.
L-Tyrosine is a precursor to adrenaline and blocks the movement of Tryptophan (the stuff in Turkey that makes you fall asleep after Thanksgiving dinner) across the brain.
This gets you “fired up” without becoming jittery or cranked out like Ephedrine.
I can’t say enough how great this supplement is on days when you need to get up for a big strength training session or you’re being tested in speed/strength tests…or more importantly on Game Day!
6. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is included in all multi-vitamin products, but, athletes need more. Any time you put stress on the body, you need more C. It also has some anti-inflammatory properties.
Training hard? – More C
Stayed up late? – More C
Had a long practice where you were sweating enough to fill a bathtub? – More C
Vitamin C also keeps your immune system humming…can’t train when you’re sick, so don’t get sick…
If it’s very hot out, you need more because Vitamin C is water soluble and will be lost when you sweat a lot. But, you should take it even in the winter.
Take 500mg 3x’s per day. Make sure you take 500mg with your vitamins about 30-mins before your training.
7. Coconut Oil
The low-fat mania of the 80’s and 90’s claimed many nutritional victims, none more so than coconut oil. This extremely inexpensive but amazingly potent oil is the proverbial bee’s knees when it comes to killing inflammation, combating fatigue, and adding quality, healthy fats to your diet.
Coconut oil has a host of benefits, and, if you listen to coconut oil fanatics, cures everything from night-sweats to shark attacks. But, we take it because of its anti-inflammatory effects and it’s ability to add healthy fat calories to the diet.
You’ll notice that the oil is mostly saturated fat; don’t be afraid, you’re not going to drop dead of a heart attack from taking it. Remember that saturated fat is one way to increase natural testosterone levels.
If you have a hard time finding quality, unrefined oil, simply get unsweetened shredded coconut. Most supermarkets have this in the freezer section or in the baking isle next to all the cool new chocolate chip variations. Add about ¼ cup to your protein shakes and you’re good to go.
HOW BAD DO YOU WANT IT? BE A BETTER ATHLETE!
Article Compliments of Steve Morris- Explosive Football Training