While most supplements promise to get you as hench as a bodybuilder and provide you with freakish powerlifting strength or cover-model abs, those may not be your goals.

In fact, you might just want to improve your athletic performance for a Sunday afternoon game of soccer or mid-week squash game. Unfortunately, when it comes to weekend warriors, their education on supplements is often lacking, and boxes of Gatorade and orange wedges on the sideline won’t suffice.

However, scientifically-backed supplements will give your body the fuel it needs, when it needs it to aid chemical reactions that’ll improve your performance. Here are five of the best powders and supplements on the market to raise you to MVP level:


1. Creatine

Best results: 3-5G per day

Famed for it’s muscle-building prowess, creatine can also help the budding athlete. The body normally synthesizes about one gram of creatine per day, with an additional gram coming from your diet. Loading with creatine is similar to carb-loading: the carbs must outweigh your muscle glycogen stores to improve athletic performance.

According to a study in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, creatine improves aerobic performance by enhancing your ventilatory threshold, all while helping you build muscle, which means you can push further than you ever thought possible.


2. Caffeine

Best results: 1.5-4.5MG Per pound of bodyweight

A simple mug of Joe could increase your athletic performance. Research from the American College of Sports Medicine suggests caffeine ingestion improves performance during short-term exercise (approximately five minutes). Scientists recommend you digest 1.5-4.5mg of caffeine per pound of bodyweight one hour prior to exercise to increase endurance running and cycling performance. To put that into perspective, it equates to approximately three mugs.

Having said which, it’s far easier to have it in a tablet form so you can avoid all the unnecessary sugars and calories.

Shoot for the buzzer-beater shot every time with a little help form a caffeine supplement.


3. Beta-alanine

Best results: 3-6G per day

There are seconds to go before the final buzzer and you need to make it down to the other end of the basketball court to score the winning dunk, but your legs and arms feel like jelly and you don’t feel like you can throw the ball, never mind dribble with it.

Well, you should have had some beta-alanine before the game. Research by Nottingham Trent University, UK, found beta-alanine has a significant ergogenic effect on high-intensity exercise, particularly in exercise that lasts between one to four minutes. Get some serious air on that last slam and win with beta-alanine.


4. Protein

Best results: 20-25G per day

You can’t read about health and fitness or muscle building without coming across the importance of protein consumption. Okay, it might be best known for helping you to get bigger muscles, but you can also use it to improve your athletic performance. According to research in the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine, when subjects supplemented with protein for four weeks while resistance training, they recorded significantly greater athletic performance. It’s the Mercedes of supplements: looks and feels good.


5. Fish oil

Best results: 2G per day

Fish oils contain high levels of recovery-boosting omega-3 fatty acids, with the albacore tuna and swordfish being among the best sources. They aid recovery by reducing inflammation and boosting your ticker’s health, according to research from the American College of Sports Medicine. Fish oils will also help you get back to your best by getting over the aches and pains of the game quicker.

Supplement with capsules and add more fish to your diet and you’ll soon see your performance increase.


You can find the best deals on all your supplementary needs at Bodybuilding.com.