Supplements in Basketball
Gaining a competitive edge can be very small factors added up over time. Basketball is an extremely demanding sport with some of the most well-tuned athletes on the planet.
If you are looking to compete, or dominate, you need every aspect of your life to fall in line and add to your physical ability.
This is where supplements come in. They are not the magic bullet, but they are the final 5% you may need to get an edge. If your dream is an NBA career, every aspect of your training matters.
How do you find and incorporate them into your diet? Which ones do you use? We will answer these questions and as always apply it to basketball.
Why Use Supplements?
Supplements are supplemental nutritional pieces that can fill gaps in an imperfect diet or provide excess nutrients in a demanding athlete’s body.
If you don’t eat all the nutrients your body needs, you can “fill in the gaps” with products designed to have the desired effect.
For example, you may not eat all your veggies, and a multivitamin might help to fill in those nutrients.
In the second aspect, you may eat the proper nutrients, but the demands of being an athlete demand more from your diet.
For example, you are weight training and you want the ratio of protein to other foods to be very high. Good protein powder can provide the excess protein needed.
A quick word of warning, not all supplements are helpful and safe. We will give you the most effective but always do research before taking any new supplement.
The key to finding effective supplements is doing research to find what they are trying to accomplish, and whether they have been proven to be effective. Marketing makes this research difficult. The supplement companies will make a lot of claims, but they are not always correct.
Without going too far into the science, you should stick to supplements that are proven to work.
Below you will find the supplements that will help you build a basketball ready body and be prepared for the rigors of the game.
Protein is a building block of our bodies and is the primary substance our muscles need to rebuild or grow. All protein is made up of amino acids that form the very basic building blocks of life in general.
All athletes need protein. Here are some natural sources of protein:
Most protein powders are mostly derived from the last item on that list, milk. These protein powders are made from filtering milk to derive as much protein and as little fat and carbohydrates as possible. The remaining protein is then dehydrated and powdered so that with an added liquid it becomes usable.
Athletes supplement with protein for a few different reasons.
- Cost– On a pure per pound basis, protein powder is cheaper than whole food.
- Ease of Use– It is easier to mix a quick shake than it is to cook a meal.
- More protein– An entire chicken breast averages 22 grams of protein, while you could get 24 grams of protein from one shake.
We highly recommend that if you are weightlifting for basketball, then you should help your body build and recover with protein.
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It is the most studied and effective supplement, make it a part of your routine.
Pre-workout is a group of supplements that are used to “prime” your body for athletic activity. They are usually stimulants that get you ready to perform. We recommend them for lifting weights, which is their original intent, but they can also be used prior to games or practice.
The primary ingredient in most pre-workout powders is caffeine. We do not recommend you use these if you have any kind of medical condition or sensitivity to stimulants.
The reason we do recommend these for most athletes, especially in the gym, is to push the body further than normally expected.
We have used these powders extensively over the years, and they help make your workouts last longer and push you to peak physical strain.
The more strain, the more muscle you will build.
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They are not for everyone, but they are essential for the highest level athletes.
Whether you don’t eat the right foods, or you don’t eat enough in general, we all have some vitamins that get left on the table so to speak.
For example, we know most young players are probably not getting enough vegetables in their bodies. A simple multivitamin can help fill in those gaps.
High performing athletes can use high-quality vitamins to help in areas they lack as well.
Multivitamins have had a lot of scrutiny on their total effectiveness, but if you have a deficiency, it does not hurt to supplement.
These days we spend far too much money on bad foods with little nutritional value, so for our growing athletes, we need to give them that something extra.
Forego a meal or two out each month, and get the proper nutrients into your body.
There are myriad other supplements on the market, and the vast majority of them have very large claims of effectiveness.
The supplements we mentioned above are the most effective for basketball and for most athletes.
However, there are a couple more supplements we can recommend that are not absolutely necessary for basketball.
- Creatine – this supplement is a naturally occurring substance in the body that can help with muscle growth.
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids – Usually found in fish, these help the body regulate body weight and helps with heart health.
Always do your research before trying a new supplement. That doesn’t mean read all of the marketing materials, it means review any studies or scientific research done on the active ingredients of the supplement.
There are a lot of scams out there, do not throw your money away on ineffective crap.
When to Use?
Supplements have a time and place in most athletes lives. However, we don’t recommend them to all athletes or age groups.
- Protein – Can be consumed by any age group and will be effective.
- Pre Workout– Not to be used by anyone under the age of 16 and even then check your tolerance to caffeine before use.
- Vitamins – These can be taken by any age group or athletic level, however, make sure to try and get all of your nutrients from food. These are the last resort.
Best Place to Buy
There are two places we recommend buying your supplements to not only get a great deal but also to get respected brands that are effective.
Both places offer reviews of both flavors and effectiveness so you can find the supplements that are right for you.
Always keep an eye out for specials and discounts, once you start with supplements, it can get very expensive very quickly if you’re not careful.
Supplements will not make you a better athlete by themselves. They are the extra 5% that can give you an edge on your competition, but they will not make you work hard and get better at basketball.
Take our recommendations and use them to help make you a better athlete and basketball player, but don’t expect the supplements to do magical things to your body.
Be careful when selecting supplements, always making sure they have effective ingredients.
Basketball can push your body to extremes, and sometimes you might need that help.
Check out our Best Gear page for more recommendations of Supplements for basketball players.
What supplements have you used before? What supplements are you going to try next?
We want to hear from you!