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  1. #1
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    supplements to aid performance

    Hi everyone:

    Looking for feedback on the products women take to help in energy and performance. I want a natural supplement that doesn't include steroids or ingredients that are harmful. Looking for natural products like vitamins, etc. Interested in anything that would enhance energy in high altitudes.

    Curious to hear what women have to say! Thanks for your help.

  2. #2
    Dirty South Underdog
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    Caffeine is about the only thing that's been scientifically proven to acutely improve performance. Other than that, just eat real food and get enough calories to keep you going during workouts.
    Brickhouse Blog (most known unknown)

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  3. #3
    Don't worry, be happy!
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    n*m
    Last edited by formica; 07-06-2011 at 08:38 AM.

  4. #4
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    I've used most of your standard legal performance enhancers - creatine, sodium phosphate, had some cortisone shots, dealt with multi vitamins, protein supplements, electrolyte stuff, etc.

    The short answer:
    Most riders would see far more benefit just working on their general eating habits with a neutral party (nutritionist) who will call you on your assumptions about food and eating for athletic endeavors. That + water.


    The long answer:
    - most of the negative effects of altitude are manifested in ways that changing your eating habits won't help.

    - Andrea is correct (the big wheels must make her smarter ) - caffeine is proven to be beneficial to athletes in some very well supported studies. At altitude, it can also help with headaches and circulation.

    - staying hydrated is key to performance at any altitude, but at elevation a lot of people suffer the effects of dehydration more noticeably.

    - keeping your electrolytes/salts up as a part of hydration is essential. I like those mini cans of Pringles, but you can use an electrolyte supplement if you want to pay more.

    - many people forget about the extra sun exposure at altitude. Keep yourself cooler by using a heavy sunscreen. It has been a while, but I once found a study that showed that very high SPF suncreen, when used amply, can actually keep an athlete's temperature almost a degree lower on hot days (I had a teammate on Kenda that had serious heat exhaustion issues, we did a lot of research to save her season). Cooler core temp = faster rider.

    - Creatine loading did seem to be effective the few times I used it, but I feel that I could also tie it to increased muscle cramping issues

    - sodium phosphate didn't do anything noticeable

    - cortisone makes for some really sweet training days, but is something that only a doctor can give you and should only be used for injury. It can have detrimental long term effects.

    - i found that most vitamin supplements seemed to be ineffective, and that careful monitoring of my food was much better for feeling good.

    - if the reason you are looking for "natural products" is because you are potentially on the USADA list, I caution you to find a better way to enhance performance. A little bit of perceived improvement isn't worth the A-sample headache. There is not guarantee that what you get in the bottle is going to be perfectly clean.

    Hope that helps.

    Cheers,
    C
    I only attempt to change the world in the appropriate World-Changing venues and forums.

  5. #5
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    Everything Chuky and others have said. Generally speaking the better your overall fitness and health are, the less altitude will affect you most likely.

    Is your question just for general knowledge, or for something such as Nationals?

    If it's for an altitude race, if you can't get to the town the race starts at (e.g. Leadville, Sun Valley, Breckenridge, etc.) 2-3 weeks prior to your key event or vacation or whatever it might be, going up as close to the start as possible is usually the 2nd best option. It doesn't work out perfectly for everyone.

    Personally, focus more on consistent riding and overall healthy nutrition and don't worry too much about the altitude itself. Stay hydrated, keep cool if it's hot, and try to rest as much as you can. Your body burns more calories the higher in elevation you go, so if you're looking to maintain your weight and keep yourself fueled be sure to slightly increase your calories (don't dig into cakes and donuts unless that's part of your plan, but eating slightly larger portions and bringing extra fuel on rides could help you maintain).

    I'd stay away from natural products as much as I would anything else. No supplement is immune from being tainted, and if you're racing something like MTB Nats or similar, even if you aren't in the Pro class, they do test lower category riders (or did last year).

    For racing - just keep in mind that your body won't recover from the higher efforts like it would at a lower elevation, so if you go out full bore like you would at 1,000ft and you're at 8,000ft, you might just wind up blowing up and not recovering. I speak from experience on that one! Pacing is a bit more important, especially early on in the race.

    There's no magic pill or formula - just ride lots!

  6. #6
    I just wanna ride my bike
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    Eat healthy, get enough sleep, be well hydrated - pretty much what most said already. I always carry beef jerky with me (lots of salt and protein) in addition to energy bars and shots.

    Being a sea level dweller who loves high desert/alpine riding, I always find the first couple of days at higher altitude tough so the first day or two of riding are 'easier' trails to acclimatize the lungs and legs. Doesn't mean I get any faster but it gets easier to huff and puff as the days go by

    I also limit my post-ride beers to one especially on multi-day trips and/or when an epic ride (4+ hours) follows next day. Love my beer but for me, it's anti-energy

  7. #7
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    I agree with what everyone else has said. I like to use Gu.In case you don't already know,it's a gel with a small amount of caffeine, carbs and electrolytes. I take an extra multi vitamin when training really hard, because vitamin needs increase with heavy activity.

  8. #8
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    Glucosamine, fish oil, vitamins. Gu half way through rides. LOTS of food at least an hour before a ride, protein and carbs. Beer after...... what?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by chuky View Post
    - Andrea is correct (the big wheels must make her smarter ) - caffeine is proven to be beneficial to athletes in some very well supported studies. At altitude, it can also help with headaches and circulation.

    - keeping your electrolytes/salts up as a part of hydration is essential. I like those mini cans of Pringles, but you can use an electrolyte supplement if you want to pay more.

    - many people forget about the extra sun exposure at altitude. Keep yourself cooler by using a heavy sunscreen. It has been a while, but I once found a study that showed that very high SPF suncreen, when used amply, can actually keep an athlete's temperature almost a degree lower on hot days (I had a teammate on Kenda that had serious heat exhaustion issues, we did a lot of research to save her season). Cooler core temp = faster rider.
    Agree with the whole post, but to add on to a couple things...

    - hopefully this goes without saying, as it makes sense for any change to what you're doing, but experiment with caffiene in a training environment. I've read those studies too, but caffiene makes me feel jittery, nervous, and weak. Not exactly a combo that does any good for helping me ride well.

    - I know electrolytes are one of those things that helped me a lot riding in a desert environment. Things like the Gu blocks or powder to add to your water with 2x sodium but no caffiene are what work for me. But YMMV.

    - This year I've been going with light colored long sleeves (you can get white arm-warmers designed for sun protection) to keep the sun off my skin and that feels cooler to me than sunscreen and the sun beating on my skin. Might be worth experimenting with anyway.

  10. #10
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    I'm a fan of Hammer Nutrition products. If you like, go to their Web site http://www.hammernutrition.com/
    and click on the Knowledge tab. Even if you don't order anything, they have a lot of information about their supplements and the science behind them. This may give you an idea about how to think about supplements.

    They also have some very strong ideas about controlling dietary salt and sugar intake, and basically believe that a very good natural diet is the basis for all training. They think that taking in too much dietary salt (easy to do on the typical american diet) can adversely effect the salt regulation mechanism in the body.

    I'm a fan of Wendy Skean
    http://www.wendyskean.com/wendyskean.com/Welcome.html
    who is sponsored by Hammer. She specializes in long distance, 12 and 24 hour races and stage races. Oh yeah, she turned 65 a few days ago.

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