As you know I place a huge amount of importance on healthy eating. My household is committed to clean, organic foods. To fully reach your potential as a triathlete, you must pay attention to how you’re “fueling your engine”.

In addition to being very purposeful about my diet fundamentals, I’m also an advocate of using nutritional supplements. As athletes we place tremendous stress on our bodies, and supplements can help us improve how we deal with that stress.

Here are 5 of my favorites:

  1. L–Arginine. An important amino acid for the heart and blood vessels, L-arginine is converted into nitric oxide (NO), which causes vasodilation for improved blood flow and more suppleness of the veins. The end result is heightened nutrient transport and tissue oxygenation.
    Nuts and coconut are two great sources of L-arginine but I also like to supplement my diet with EAS 100% whey protein, which I use in my morning smoothies.
  1. HMB. Known only by its initials (who can say Beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate?!), HMB is a metabolite of the branched-chain amino acid, leucine. Leucine is an essential amino acid that can trigger muscle protein synthesis and help prevent protein breakdown.The damage to our skeletal muscle after hard exercise sessions – especially after intense strength workouts or our longer runs with eccentric load damage – is accompanied by elevated levels of muscle enzymes. HMB reduces the spike in these muscle enzymes and limits the “leaking” of the enzymes from the cells. Studies have shown that this reduction limits DOMS – Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness – and I’ve most certainly found this to be the case.
    Sources: HMB is found in a number of food choices including: whey protein, chicken, salmon, dairy and eggs. However daily supplementation of HMB is key during: a) high levels of training; b) excessive travel; c) ack of sleep; and d) whenever you might be prone to upper respiratory tract infections.
    Use: I typically take 3 gms of EAS Muscle Armor mixed with 12 oz of water every day and, when used post-exercise, HMB is almost magical!
  1. L–Glutamine. Another EAA (essential amino acid), glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in our blood and is stored in skeletal muscle and in our lungs. For the past decade I’ve recommended L–glutamine to my athletes specifically when they’re dealing with DOMS, and whenever they’re vulnerable to colds and sickness. Since your L–glutamine levels can be depleted by 50%-70% after a workout, this also puts the immune system under siege. Recovery and immune health can be optimized with L–glutamine supplementation!
    Use: I like to take l–glutamine as a supplement. Depending on my current workloads and the stress factors noted above, I typically take between 5 – 12 grams of L–glutamine each day.
  1. Astaxanthin – Those of you who follow me know that I’m crazy about this super antioxidant. Found in marine life such as microalgae, krill, salmon and crustaceans, astaxanthin is a fat-soluble carotenoid compound that can permeate all tissue in the body. Due to its unique bioavailability, it is critically important for athletes. Astaxanthin performs a powerful “mopping up effect” of the damaging free radicals caused by our repeated workouts. Lab research has shown it to be hundreds of times more potent than vitamins E, C and CoQ10, and even the Gatorade Sports Institute independently demonstrated its efficacy in a 2011 study.
    Use: I personally recommend 8-12mg daily of BioAstin’s natural astaxanthin.By the way, for those of you heading to Kona next month, you can stop in and visit BioAstin – it’s located within the
    [in]famous ENERGY LAB road near the run turnaround!
  1. Probiotics. A healthy gut with healthy bacteria is one important key to optimal health.   Gut health promotes every facet of a healthy mind and body. With a high intake of beneficial “probiotic food”, the gut’s messaging system to the brain adds vitality, health and improved recovery from any bout of environmental stress (including tough workouts). Probiotics aid in the absorption of vitamins & minerals, and in limiting inflammation.
    Sources: My favorite dietary sources of probiotics are: a) Kefir; and b) fermented foods like sauerkraut, pickles, cabbage, onions and scallions. Your body has billions of probiotic cells but they get squashed with pesticides, pollution, antibiotics and hard training.
    Use: As a triathlete with an active, hectic lifestyle, I like to supplement with probiotics and my recommendation is to take 30 billion probiotic cells in one capsule every day.

Feel free to contact me if you have questions about these supplements, or want to know more about how I use them. If you integrate these into your nutritional strategy, very soon you’ll likely experience improvements in your overall performance and health.