As the competitive season reaches its crescendo, it’s crucial to fine-tune your pre-contest supplement strategy to align with your conditioning goals.
Here are seven strategies to help you optimize your pre-contest supplementation and give your best performance.
READ MORE | 7 Ways To Drop Body Fat Pre-Contest
1. Boost Fat Loss with L-Carnitine
L-Carnitine is a valuable addition to your pre-contest supplement plan. It plays a vital role in transporting fatty acids into the mitochondria, where they’re converted into energy for your muscles during training.
Without sufficient L-Carnitine, you may experience fatigue, muscle failure, and sluggishness. Low-calorie diets can further deplete your L-Carnitine levels. Supplementing with L-Carnitine can improve your fat-burning efficiency, allowing you to train harder and longer while preventing premature fatigue.
Supplementation Recommendation: Take 1-2g of L-Carnitine 30-60 minutes before workouts.
2. Maintain Muscle with Essential Fatty Acids
Pre-contest diets often involve reducing dietary fat intake, potentially affecting essential fatty acids (EFAs) intake.
EFAs are essential for cell structure, insulin sensitivity, anabolic hormones, and muscle maintenance. Supplementing with EFAs can make a significant difference in your pre-contest preparations.
Supplementation Recommendation: Take 6-8 x 1000mg fish oil/EFA soft gel capsules and 1-2 tbsp of flax or hemp seed oil daily.
3. Support Hormone Levels with ZMA
Low-calorie diets and stress can suppress natural testosterone production in bodybuilders. ZMA, a supplement containing zinc and magnesium, is scientifically proven to increase anabolic hormone levels, enhance recovery, and stimulate restful sleep.
Supplementation Recommendation: Take ZMA before bed on an empty stomach, following label instructions.
4. Protect Muscles with BCAAs and Whey Protein
Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) are essential for muscle protection during intense exercise and can enhance recovery and anabolic effects. Whey protein, rich in BCAAs, is valuable for maintaining muscle during pre-contest dieting.
Supplementation Recommendation: Take 5g of BCAAs before and after training, along with a serving of whey protein.
5. Enhance Recovery with Vitamins C and E
Intense training generates free radicals that can delay recovery and impair muscle growth. Antioxidants like vitamins C and E can combat these free radicals.
Additionally, competitive athletes are more susceptible to infections due to nutrient demands and restrictive diets, making supplementation crucial.
Supplementation Recommendation: Take at least 2000mg of vitamin C and 800-1000 IU of vitamin E daily.
6. Control Cravings with Chromium Picolinate
Chromium helps regulate insulin metabolism, stabilizing blood sugar levels. This can mitigate cravings for sugary foods. Chromium also aids the transport of amino acids and other nutrients into muscle cells, enhancing energy levels and fat burning.
Supplementation Recommendation: Take 400mcg of chromium picolinate daily, split into two doses.
7. Boost Fat Loss with Conjugated Linoleic Acid
Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) supplements can improve fat loss and body composition by reducing fat storage and preserving lean muscle. It also diverts fatty acids away from fat storage to be burned for energy.
Supplementation Recommendation: Take 3-5g of CLA (3-5 x 1000mg 80% CLA soft-gels) daily, divided into multiple doses.
Optimising your supplementation strategies can give you a competitive edge during your pre-contest preparations. Incorporate these recommendations to support your goals and strive for the gold.
Author: Pedro van Gaalen
When he’s not writing about sport or health and fitness, Pedro is probably out training for his next marathon or ultra-marathon. He’s worked as a fitness professional and as a marketing and comms expert. He now combines his passions in his role as managing editor at Fitness magazine.