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Your Questions About Natural Remedies

Sharon asks…

Does taking protein supplements benefit cross country runners?

I am a distance runner in my last seasons of cross country/track for high school before I begin running at the collegiate level. Ive been trying to build up mass on my arms and chest for more drive in my stride. I take a pre workout energy/creatine supplement before my weight lifting workouts but would it be beneficial to take a post workout wheybolic protein? Im about 6’1 145-150lbs if that helps at all. Im just trying to burn off fat and put on bigger, more defined muscles but still trying to stay lean.

vti answers:

No. It benefits the retailers and manufacturers of the protein supplement.

Note that elite athletes (leastways, the ones I know) don’t use these supplements.

Chris asks…

Supplements for veggie athletes?

I eat a careful diet and I have been vegetarian for about five months. I am ready to start getting active again on my new diet (I had a lot of fatigue in the beginning before I got everything balanced) and I am wondering what supplements are truly necessary now that I will need more nutrients and energy.

What do you eat for a big protein boost? Do you take B vitamins or are they not necessary? Creatine? I have a friend who is a veggie and a runner/karate black belt who doesnt supplement.

I mostly do XC mountain biking, trail running, dance, and hiking. More endurance stuff than “power” exercise.

vti answers:

I’m very active, but I don’t really take supplements, I take a vitamin every day out of habit, it’s how I was raised and it can’t hurt 😉

Your biggest concerns should be the same ones all athletes face – making sure you stay hydrated (and that includes electrolytes and electrolyte balance) and making sure you eat enough calories to power your body.

Protein-wise, even on a vegan diet I get plenty of protein so I never really worried about that. It helps to reassure yourself by looking up the protein content of every day foods you eat. I really don’t analyze or think about my diet much anymore because once I stepped back and actually evaluated what I ate, I realized I was getting pretty much everything I needed and then some.

I make my own high-protein bars – they’re kind of like Odwalla Super Protein bars, except instead of paying a dollar fifty per bar, I can make enough bars to last through a week’s worth of gym visits, workouts, etc. For under ten dollars – if that, even. I use dried fruits and agave syrup to sweeten the bars, and I kind of vary – sometimes they’re oatmeal raisin, sometimes they’re chocolate flavored. I use whole grain rolled oats or other whole grains, soy protein powder and/or soynut butter. They’re usually 200-300 calories a bar and at the very least 15 grams of protein each. They’re filling and tasty. If you eat dairy or eggs you can get protein powder made with those ingredients too.

Michael asks…

What are the best supplements for long distance runners?

This question is for anyone who ran an event between the 2 mile and a marathon. If you have not, and you want to answer, please site your source when giving an answer.

vti answers:

Generally speaking, you shouldn’t need any “supplements” for races shorter than a half marathon. Your diet, if it is healthy, can and will provide you with everything you need.

For half and full marathons, most amateurs need a fueling strategy for their long runs and the race itself. It is easier to use things engineered for this (gels, for example) than to try and carry real food with you on your runs.

Some runners may need to consider vitamins if there is a gap in some nutrient that their diet doesn’t seem to be able to cover.

Generally speaking, anything labelled as a “supplement” is designed to get your money. If these things really worked, and the science bore that out, all of the professionals would be using them. Look at the body suits that they banned in swimming after the last olympics – the science was solid, everybody used the suits, and they set personal and world records in them.

Thomas asks…

Supplements for Cross Country?

I am a varsity cross country runner and an upcoming senior, I was wondering if I should take any supplements or vitamins to increase my abilities as a runner? My PR is a 17:05 5K, but I plan to break 17:00 AND 16:00 this year. I’ve been training since May when my track season ended, and the season starts in September. If I can push further or have more energy for a mile or so I think I would be fine. I already eat energy bars such as Clif bars, and I already know about chocolate milk, pizza(pasta), and bananas. Is there anything I’m missing that could possibly make me faster? I don’t have any abs, would that help? possibly more lifting in the arms for a better drive? Or do I just need stronger legs?

vti answers:

Have a diverse diet, with balance in each food group. Theres not much else to it. Hydrate as much as you can and also don’t neglect protein. Take whey protein, it helps rebuild muscle and helps you recover after hard workouts. Dietary supplements, like multivitamins and minerals are also useful.

I have experimented with caffeine, its a legal supplement that helps enhance endurance sport performance. I don’t think it helps me physically, but it really helps me feel awake and focused before racing. Look into it if you want. You can buy caffeine pills online.

For now, focus on building your base. Go out for aerobic. Long distance jogs, at very easy pace. Focus on the amount of time instead of the distance ran. Usually a long run of 60-90 minutes per week or twice a week with lots of recovery afterwards is a good distance to build up to.

PS: my personal tip (i did this during track) is to do a longer warmup before racing. It gets your heart rate up in preparation for racing, and gets you loose. Since the blood will be flowing and your heart racing, you wont have to shock your body into racing when you start the race. A longer warmup made me feel REALLY good and ready for the mile.

For XC some people actually warmup by jogging the entire 5k course, but anything from an easy and relaxed 15-20 minutes will do.

Regarding your previous statements about cliff bars, chocolate milk, carb loading, etc. Thats good long before you have a race, eg recovery. Dont eat that stuff right before racing, it wont help.

Also, focus on strengthening your legs with lifting and hill running, and also strengthen your core, its essential for sustaining running form.

John asks…

What supplements help distance runners? ?

I am a high school cross country runner and I am on the border of going to state. I know training is the best way to get faster and I do that very hard but I need something extra. Any suggestions on supplements that will help with endurance and speed? Thanx

vti answers:

WATER

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