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8 Effective Supplements to Help Improve Athletic Performance 2022

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You live for those moments when the high of your workout kicks in and beads of sweat drop off you like a waterfall. The moments when you’ve pushed harder than ever and your mental focus has led your body to a new personal best record. The best supplements for athletes keep you on track. Whether it’s ensuring proper nutrition, keeping energy levels high and sustained, or improving focus, endurance athletes need the right balance to keep meeting tough workouts with resilience.

Below, we share the top eight best supplements for athletes. You may already have one or two of these in your sports cabinet or gym bag. Formulas keep getting better, brands ensure better bioavailability, and flavors are improving across different protein powders. As you stay focused on your fitness goals, these brands refine their supplements to keep you fueled and powering through. We explain why we chose each of these and share the details you need for each brand and product.

Best Supplements to Improve Athletic Performance

  1. Best Overall – ONNIT
  2. Best for Recovery – BiOptimizers
  3. Best After Leg Day – Natural Stacks
  4. Best for Joint Pain – Organixx
  5. Best for Muscle Repair – SkinnyFit
  6. Best for Bloating – Akasha Naturals
  7. Best for Mood – Pure Essence
  8. Best for Focused Energy – NeuroHacker

1. Best for Overall Athletic Performance – ONNIT

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Onnit developed a line of protein supplements to help you hit your goals. You need the proper nutrition, and they make it available to you anytime, anywhere.

Pros:

  • New customers can enjoy up to 10% off
  • Whey and plant-based protein
  • Protein bites high in fiber
  • Promotes recovery and supports muscle gain

Cons:

  • Some products sell out due to high demand

Grass-Fed Whey Isolate Protein

The grass-fed whey isolate protein comes in vanilla and Mexican chocolate flavors. Each tub contains 20 g of protein per serving. It’s formulated to support muscle gains, promote workout recovery, and aid in body recomposition. Use this highly concentrated form of whey to help you build muscle and change your body composition without excess calories or sugar.

Plant-Based Protein

Check out the protein bites packed with whey protein from grass-fed cows and nutrients from more than 60 plants for an easy on-the-go snack. These bites are available in several different flavors, including chocolate coconut cashew, chocolate cookie dough, and chocolate peanut butter. These deliver an excellent source of protein, and they’re high in fiber. Plus, the chocolate flavor makes each bite feel like a total indulgence.

Protein Bites

The protein bars are available in flavors that include mint chocolate, vanilla almond, and blueberry walnut. These include nutrients from over 60 plants. You get the beneficial antioxidants, enzymes, alkaloids, vitamins, minerals, and compounds from different vegetables, fruits, and herbs.

Protein Bar

If you’re more into plant-based protein, Onnit has you covered. They developed a protein powder that is animal-friendly, assists in reaching optimal protein intake, promotes recovery, supports muscle gain, and is sustainable and earth-friendly. This plant protein powder is available in vanilla and chocolate flavors.

About ONNIT

Onnit’s mission is simple: to empower as many individuals as possible with a holistic philosophy regarding physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. They operate with the belief that so long as you have access to the best tools and knowledge, you can achieve your full human potential. When you evolve, the world evolves. So whether you’re an elite performer or just an everyday health-conscious person, Onnit has pledged to help you be the most fully developed person you can be through their long list of health-maximizing supplements.

How to Use It

Onnit offers recipes for their protein powders on their website. Ultimately, you decide how to create the best protein shake — all you need is a single scoop of the protein powder! The protein bites are a great snack food to keep in your gym bag or your desk drawer at work. The protein bars deliver more protein per serving and contain between 230 and 250 calories per bar.

Why People Like It

Customers love Onnit’s protein products. The flavor of the protein powders is decadent, and they mix well with whatever liquid they use. After trying several different products, customers are surprised by how Onnit managed to create such a tasty set of protein products. Having a plant-based option is a huge plus, especially for people looking to hit their macros without using any animal products.

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2. Best for Recovery – biOptimizers

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BiOptimizers offers a protein breakthrough plant-based shake in a chocolate bliss flavor. With this effective meal replacement, you can reach your fitness goals. In addition, you can lower your grocery bill while perfecting your nutrition with this low glycemic, high protein meal replacement.

The chocolate flavor satisfies your sweet tooth, and the plant-based protein blend supports your lean muscle while keeping your net calories low. It’s vegan, low-carb, soy-free, and gluten-free. Plus, it’s loaded with essential amino acids so you can recover faster from your workouts, preserve lean muscle, and burn fat.

Pros:

  • Plant-based meal replacement
  • Bundle and save up to 32%
  • Subscribe to save on any option
  • Bonus gift for orders over $400

Cons:

  • If you live in a very humid environment, biOptimizers suggests storing this supplement in a humidor (like the ones for cigars)

About biOptimizers

This company was born from pain and passion. Wade Lightheart, the company‘s president, suffered a terrible loss when he witnessed his 23-year-old sister pass away from cancer. It was at that moment he realized that health was the most precious asset he could possibly cherish. So he turned his passion and purpose toward his best friend and helped him lose 191 pounds in 18 months. Seeing how he could help transform others’ lives, he has used everything he’s learned to develop optimal, effective doses of the most researched ingredients.

How to Use It

BiOptimizers suggest you stick with a regular routine. Whether that means taking your meal replacement in the morning or at a time of your choosing, it’s always best if you take it at the same time. Just use two scoops, mix it with liquids and any other fruits or vegetables you’d like, and you’re good to go!

Why People Like It

Customers love getting creative with how they add this protein powder into their nutrition. For example, one verified reviewer loves adding this to her oatmeal because it tastes great, and she knows she’s getting the ingredients she needs for a healthy life.

Another customer was shocked by how delicious it tasted with just water. Usually, he uses raw milk, but he had run out when this arrived. Now, he has perfected his recipe using milk and a banana. He highly recommends biOptimizers for making such a delicious and nutritious product.

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3. Best After Leg Day – Natural Stacks

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This supplement stack is perfect for recovering after leg day renders you nearly immobile. You still have to take care of your day-to-day tasks, and with this energy stack, you can handle it as if you didn’t kill your hamstrings and quads yesterday.

This stack gives you neuro fuel for a better brain and smart caffeine for better focus and energy. These supplements are formulated to work synergistically to deliver enhanced focus, concentration, and energy that carries you through the day.

Pros:

  • Third-party lab tested
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Subscribe to save 20%
  • Pure energy for greater focus

Cons:

  • Free standard shipping applies only to orders over $30

About Natural Stacks

With a better brain, you get a better life. That’s why Natural Stacks works to support you in your journey to optimize your life. Whether you’re in your twenties or your sixties, having a working brain is ultimately what impacts your quality of life.

When you’re taking in all the right nutrients, you can keep clear for hours on end with a balanced mood. That’s why Natural Stacks ensures you can feel results on the first dose.

How to Use It

Take the neuro fuel supplement to enhance your focus, help you concentrate, and get your memory on point. After taking your first dose, you’ll feel the effects within 30 minutes. Complement your first dose of neuro fuel with smart caffeine to create a relaxed yet alert state that keeps in line with your goal to remain focused with clear thoughts.

Why People Like It

People who have tried this stack mention that they work very well together. They’ve experienced more energy with a better ability to concentrate — no jittery or jet fuel feelings! Simply, they are better able to handle all those daily tasks that require an elevated mood and increased motivation.

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4. Best for Joint Pain – Organixx

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Joint pain is a part of your journey when you’re focused on athletic performance. However, with a clean sourced collagen complete protein anti-aging blend by Organixx, you can help lubricate your joints for greater mobility and reduce your overall discomfort. This formula is also ideal for supporting clear arteries and good cardiovascular health.

It protects your liver, enhances your gut health, and revs up your metabolism for easier weight management. It’s flavorless, odorless, and tasteless, so you can easily blend it into your drink of choice.

Pros:

  • Subscribe to save 15%
  • Lubricates joints
  • Enhances gut health
  • Third-party lab tested

Cons:

  • Unless you have a subscription, you must spend at least $99 to qualify for free domestic shipping

About Organixx

Organixx was developed to empower people like you with dietary supplements that make a powerful difference in your life. They use a proprietary fermentation process to make their supplements bioavailable, so your body can maximize all the nutrients. In addition, they keep it organic so that you don’t have to worry about pesticides like glyphosate. Instead, you get high-quality ingredients condensed into supplements for athletes.

How to Use It

You just need a single scoop and 8 to 12 ounces of water or juice to use. You are also given a guilt-free keto brownie recipe on the back of the packaging that you can incorporate this collagen powder into.

Why People Like It

Customers who have tried Organixx collagen powder have noticed several different changes across their bodies. Some notice that their wrinkles are not as deep as they were, while others notice that their knee pain has diminished with consistent use. Skin tightens, hair grows thicker, and the odorless and tasteless component makes it versatile when mixing in with favorite beverages.

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5. Best for Muscle Repair – SkinnyFit

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The SkinnyFit “repair and recover” post-workout powder is formulated to ease soreness, promote muscle repair, and support weight loss. You can maximize your recovery by introducing this dietary supplement into your routine. It has a tropical flavor and is packed with amino acids specifically to support endurance athletes.

Pros:

  • New customers can unlock 15% off
  • Promotes muscle repair
  • Supports weight loss
  • 90-day money-back guarantee

Cons:

  • Some customers prefer the flavor of the original formula

About SkinnyFit

SkinnyFit has been featured in publications like Shape, Allure, Marie Claire, Women’s Health, and ABC. They’ve developed a line of supplements for athletes with unique flavors like peach mango and chocolate cake. They offer a 28-day fitness and nutrition guide for women who wish to lose weight, gain confidence, and transform their lives.

How to Use It

To use, just take one scoop of SkinnyFit “repair and recover” and pour it into an 8-ounce glass of water. You should incorporate this supplement alongside your regular diet and exercise program. It’s designed to work when you are doing the work.

Why People Like It

Verified buyers comment on the great taste and ease of use. More severe aches after workouts are less intense. There’s less soreness, more energy, and an overall sense of regeneration post-workout.

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6. Best for Bloating – Akasha Naturals

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Akasha Naturals offers Vital Meal, a plant-based protein powder with probiotics and omega-3s. This is a light-tasting gluten-free blend that you can easily add to a smoothie or other shake as a healthy meal replacement. This formula gives you more focus, more energy, better skin, and less bloat. It’s low carb, dairy-free, and doctor-formulated.

Pros:

  • Gluten-free and dairy-free
  • Low-carb and soy-free
  • Doctor formulated
  • Vegan formula

Cons:

  • No option to subscribe and save

About Akasha Naturals

Akasha Naturals integrates the technological advances of western medicine with the wisdom of eastern medicine. Their dietary supplements are developed by an interdisciplinary team of board-certified medical doctors and licensed practitioners in alternative modalities. They focus on scientific evidence, patient empowerment, holistic care, and sustainability.

How to Use It

You can make your own smoothie creations with this plant-based protein powder. However, Akasha suggests incorporating 8 ounces of coconut milk or almond milk, two scoops of Vital Meal, half a cup of blueberries, half a banana, half a cup of spinach, and 1 tablespoon of Chia seeds to create a smoothie you’ll love.

Why People Like It

Akasha Naturals has a long list of loyal customers who have been using their natural products for years. They’ve stayed loyal to the brand because the product line works well. Customers report feeling great about their energy levels and overall feelings of aliveness. They consider this an investment in the life they love living.

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7. Best for Mood – Pure Essence

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When stress hits, your exercise performance can take a hit. Your energy may drop, your focus may wane, and your overall mood can change dramatically. To support a healthy stress response, Pure Essence has developed AdrenalStability, a dietary supplement that contains ashwagandha, Rhodiola, holy basil, and Schisandra.

Pros:

  • Trade your email for 20% off
  • 90-day money-back guarantee
  • Subscribe to save on your orders
  • Supports a healthy stress response

Cons:

  • This formula is not made specifically to help with sleep though stress reduction can aid with better sleep quality

About Pure Essence

Pure Essence strives to be holistic when it comes to both healthcare and lifestyle. They work based on the understanding that your health starts with it. They’ve dedicated themselves to providing you with dietary supplements that support your whole health.

How to Use It

The suggested use for AdrenalStability is two capsules daily with water.

Why People Like It

Customers notice less fatigue when taking these. That feeling of lethargy they were fighting throughout the day after waking up tired is gone. Instead, they feel more energized without feeling overwhelmed like they would with other products. In addition, they comment that the capsules don’t smell or taste bad and that after consistent use, they developed a lot of confidence in this company.

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8. Best for Focused Energy – NeuroHacker

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This Qualia nootropic energy shot offers focused, alert, and driven cognitive support. Each shot is two ounces and contains only 15 calories. You get a combination of well-researched ingredients like organic coffee berry whole fruit extract, L tryptophan, and galanga root extract. This formula is 100% vegan and gluten-free.

Pros:

  • 50% off your first order
  • Cognitive support
  • All-in-one energy shot
  • 100% vegan

Cons:

  • A single bottle of this nootropic contains caffeine comparable to an 8-ounce cup of coffee — use with care to avoid nervousness, sleeplessness, and occasional rapid heartbeat

About Neurohacker

Neurohacker was founded in 2015 with a focused mission to create a line of well-being products. They use a unique methodology to research and develop their dietary supplements based on complex systems science. Their aim is to help your body self-regulate.

How to Use It

To use, drink a single shot of this nootropic when you need a cognitive boost.

Why People Like It

Customers find these ingredients work well together to create calm, focused energy. Customers who have tried other supplements for energy have found that this nootropic gives them the focus and alertness they need to perform at the highest level.

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How We Chose the Best Supplements to Improve Your Athletic Performance

When it comes to your athletic performance, you only want the best supplements with no artificial fillers and ingredients that cause more long-term damage than good. That’s why we took great care when choosing our top 8 list.

Quality Ingredients

When you invest in supplements for athletes, you expect them to improve your athletic performance, not weigh you down with subpar ingredients. Therefore, we skip past any unnecessary chemicals or additives in the above formulas. Instead, we focused on ensuring all-natural ingredients, organic when possible, so that you have a safe and effective set of dietary supplements to select from.

Effectiveness

Since supplements for athletes, including whey protein, protein powder, and other formulas, aren’t FDA approved, we had to ensure that the brands we highlighted above only incorporate well-researched ingredients in their recipes.

For instance, it’s well-known that amino acids are associated with muscle growth and improved stamina for endurance athletes. Additionally, for these products to be effective, they must be bioavailable. We focus on brands that maximize bioavailability so you can enjoy the benefits of all the nutrients they pack into each supplement.

Brand Reputation

In business, reputation is everything. A single bad review can detrimentally impact a company’s bottom line. Therefore, it’s vital for companies that develop supplements for athletes to use premium ingredients and follow through with offering comprehensive customer support. Each of the brands above has dedicated itself not just to meet their customers’ expectations but to exceeding them.

Benefits of Dietary Supplements

Your body needs crucial nutrients that it doesn’t always get through nutrition or can’t produce alone. For example, many people are vitamin D deficient, and without this critical component in the human body, you may suffer from low energy. B vitamins are another vital set of nutrients your body needs for optimal cognitive and emotional health. Athletic and exercise performance requires that your body works holistically, and if you’re missing any sort of nutrients, your exercise performance is impacted.

Even if you are highly focused on hitting your macros, your perfect diet may still be missing some vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients to support your overall health. Dietary supplements aren’t designed to replace the nutrients you get from your meals. Instead, they are intended to supplement your already health-conscious diet.

Many people, not just endurance athletes, enjoy the benefits of dietary supplements. They aid with maintaining general health, supporting mental focus and athletic performance, and they provide immune system support. They can:

  • Improve your exercise performance
  • Help to lubricate joints to aid with post-workout recovery
  • Reduce soreness (depending on the formulation)
  • Contribute to anti-aging to keep you looking and feeling good as ever

Key Ingredients to Look for in a Supplement

Dietary supplements are available in different forms like protein powder, capsules, liquids, and soft gels, to name a few. The supplements are packed with ingredients like herbs, minerals, vitamins, amino acids, and enzymes.

Amino Acids

Essential amino acids are a great addition to supplements for athletes because they provide your body with energy, help to enforce healthy sleep/wake cycles, and they enhance the health of your musculoskeletal system.

Additionally, amino acids are known to help you maintain a healthy weight and regulate your moods. All these benefits ensure you stay on track with your fitness goals.

Vitamin D

To support bone health and maintain proper bone structure, you need vitamin D, an essential vitamin that helps regulate phosphorus and calcium within your body. Although vitamin D is found in some foods like fish and eggs, humans need high doses to stay regulated.

Vitamin B

Endurance athletes put their bodies through high levels of stress. B vitamins are essential for ensuring your body’s cells function properly. These vitamins:

  • Help convert the meals you eat into energy
  • Help to create new blood cells
  • Assist with the maintenance of healthy skin and brain cells
  • Helps with muscle soreness

CBD

Some supplements may even include ingredients like CBD. CBD is known for playing an important role in recovery. It is effective for pain reduction, including the pain you develop after a grueling workout. It’s also fantastic for loosening up stiff joints and helping your overall mood.

Other Ingredients

The key ingredients you look for in a supplement will depend on the results you want. In addition to vitamin D, B, and CBD, other vital ingredients may help improve your athletic and physical performance.

For instance, collagen is great for lubricating your joints and supporting bone health, but it also works to reduce fine lines and wrinkles, helps with hair and nail growth, and improves the appearance and tightness of your skin. If you are looking for help meeting your daily protein requirements, incorporating whey protein or plant-based protein into your routine is necessary.

When and How to Take Supplements

The most important consideration when it comes to taking supplements is consistency. Taking them one day but not the next isn’t ideal. The ideal scenario is for you to take your regular supplements daily and at the same time. For example, if you purchase whey protein, make sure that you take it around the same time every day, whether that’s for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

To ensure the best absorption, make sure you read the product’s label. Some dietary supplements should be taken with a meal, while you can take others on an empty stomach. Some vitamins and supplements are fat-soluble, which means they need some sort of fat to ensure proper absorption.

Other Essential Things to Help with Athletic Performance and Recovery

As much as those final reps count, you need a well-balanced lifestyle to make sure you improve athletic performance and enjoy proper recovery. Rest is one of the most critical parts of your fitness journey.

During sleep, your body restocks glycogen stores, helps to build your overall strength, and keeps you energized for the next day. Rest also helps you prevent injuries from overworking different parts of your body and improves your overall sports performance.

Stretching is another part of a healthy routine for improved athletic performance. You get to increase your body’s flexibility, but you also minimize your risk for injuries at the gym or on the track. You can easily tear your muscles or tendons if you’re not stretching properly before and after your workouts.

Dietary supplements don’t replace healthy eating. As endurance athletes, you know what your body needs to function optimally. So make sure you stay on track, hit your macros daily, and minimize cheat days. When you have all these components working in conjunction with one another, you set yourself up to live the healthiest life possible while continuing to challenge yourself as you grow.

How to Choose the Right Supplement for You

When choosing the best supplement for yourself, consider what your needs are. For example, are you finding that post-workout recovery makes you miserable with intense soreness and joint pain? Then choose a supplement packed with amino acids and collagen to help restore your body after challenging it.

If you’re looking to increase your energy production while lessening your overall calories, a protein powder can come in handy. Are you looking to grow your muscle mass? Find a supplement packed with vitamin D.

For many athletes, it’s tough to reach their ideal protein goals, so incorporating a good protein powder is a huge help. You may even wish to connect with your doctor to inquire about what ingredients may most benefit your needs and goals.

FAQs

Are supplements safe?

In short, yes. But you have to remember they’re not monitored by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). That means supplement companies can make different claims, and unless someone reports them, they can remain in business.

The main concern with supplements is the supplier — choose a company with a stellar reputation that offers plenty of transparency and one that has tons of customers who vouch for them. If any of those factors are missing, you may be putting yourself at risk. The brands we highlighted are well-known, their products are killer, and many athletes swear by them. Just take your pick!

Are dietary supplements good for athletes?

Not only are they good, but they’re also a must! Unfortunately, your perfect healthy diet may still lack the essential nutrients to keep you thriving and improving your physical performance. This is especially true if you’re working toward gaining muscle mass or losing weight.

It is incredibly easy to eat a nutrient-deficient diet in this modern world, and supplements help to fill in the gaps. You need help with recovery and with keeping your energy up — supplements take care of you so you can have peak sports performance!

Are supplements safe for young athletes?

There haven’t been sufficient studies completed when it comes to young athletes; however, there are plenty of anecdotal accounts that point to the efficacy of high-quality supplements. Before taking supplements, young athletes should consult their healthcare provider.

Why are vitamins C and E popular for athletes?

Vitamin C and E are popular for athletes because they serve as antioxidants and are known as protectants against oxidative tissue damage. With a healthy diet, you can get the vitamin D, vitamin C, vitamin D, and B vitamins that you need, but it can be challenging to ensure you’re getting enough to support skeletal muscle cells and lean body mass.

What are the side effects of taking supplements?

Typically, when taken as directed, dietary supplements are well tolerated by the body. However, you may experience stomach upset, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea on some occasions. To ensure you don’t take more than you need, stick with the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Choosing the Best Supplements for Ultimate Sports Performance

Whether you need support for reaching your protein intake, you’re looking for an anti-aging supplement to help with your joints, you need support for your muscle tissue, or you need calm, focused energy, with the supplements above, you have what you need.

We created a well-rounded list of supplements that tackle each part of your fitness journey, from sports nutrition to mood-boosting support. The life of endurance athletes is made challenging for a reason — and with the right supplements, you can keep yourself balanced and on track to beat your personal best records.