The endurance sports world seems overwhelmed with seductive products and services promising to improve athletic performance. It’s difficult to distinguish between marketing hype and reality. To compound matters, most triathletes are also vulnerable to simply adopting the supplements and techniques used by peers, despite true knowledge or markers of improvement in their own training.
The fact that the vast majority of supplements are largely ineffective or even fraudulent voodoo causes many athletes to be leery of investing the time and money into experimentation with anything substantial. As a result, most are either unaware or massively deficient in their consumption of the few beneficial supplements available on the market today. The paradox is that my clients are usually interested in knowing what products actually produce performance enhancement.
Although no one or combination of legal supplements will allow an athlete to shortcut the path to success in properly preparing for an endurance event, my conviction is that athletes leave massive gains on the table by failing to educate themselves on, and experiment with, the powerful agents at their disposal. Fortunately, Delphi Human Performance Systems has spent years identifying and segregating those supplements that work from those that do not. The fueling protocol that results embodies the Delphi ethos of moving clients up the learning curve as the fastest rate possible so that they can break through and surmount their formidable goals.
Unfortunately, the cost of a dedicated and continual supplementation ritual – even one that is effective- across an entire season is not insignificant in terms of cost or effort. However, consistent endurance training- especially long course and competitive short-course, is extraordinarily difficult. It is therefore often incumbent on each athlete to leverage every approved and legal resource at their disposal to perform at their peak. I encourage you to research this list on your own to make a determination on whether they warrant sufficient merit to introduce them into your fueling plan.
These supplements are all legal and absent from any banned substance list. They are all extensively vetted by Delphi as well as the larger endurance community. However, every Delphi athlete is ultimately responsible for their own body, and it is therefore critical that they remain hyper-diligent in identifying the effects of any substance they put into their body, and to halt consumption immediately and fully if adverse reactions ensue.
The following is the high-level recommended supplement inventory for my long course triathletes. A schedule can- and should- be developed with additional testing, and is meant to be followed precisely and accurately, but every athlete is different, of course, individual results may deviate from the norm and future adjustments may be warranted if deemed beneficial. This list may be amended or improved upon at any time and athletes are always notified if guidance changes. These products are not a requirement but it is strongly suggested that athletes consider introducing these supplements for a minimum trial of one (1) bottle before making a final conclusion.
2018-19 Delphi Promoted Supplements
Optygen HP – First Endurance
Description: Increases VO2Max, as well as the body’s ability to adapt to high levels of physical stress, increase anaerobic threshold and reduce lactic acid.
Coach Comments: This is my favorite supplement. You have to take it for a few weeks before you will notice a difference, but you will notice a difference. Most aptly once you “roll off” of them after a race (I usually take a two week break after a key race, and for a month after the season ends.) I take one capsule in the base phase, two in the build phase and three in peak. One in the taper week(s), and then 4-5 in the race. It’s like crack. Some people do claim their skin gets a little tingly in the beginning. This is not habit-forming and the effect is absolutely worth it. This is actually promoted as a recovery supplement, and it WILL allow you to “bounce back” from tough workouts. My secret weapon.
Description: Increases speed, strength and endurance and safely gives you the extra edge to train harder, push farther and increase your endurance. Improvements in VO2 max and oxygen delivery.
Coach Comments: With a name like that, I recognize it sounds like a dubious supplement. Often ‘stacked’ with Optygen for a potent kick when you need it most. I take one each day up to peak, and then two a day in peak, and four in a race.
Animal Pak (Original)
Description: #1 selling training “pack” in the world. In fact, more competitive bodybuilders use this than any other bodybuilding supplement in history. Animal Pak gets the job done. It works. First time. Every time. Animal Pak has stood the test of time.
Coach Comments: This has been around a very, very long time and is probably the most popular (legal) supplement in the world. Time-tested, popular with body builders. I take it and hardly look a body builder, so don’t worry, ladies. My female clients often like it more than the men. But it will tone you, and strengthen the muscle you are working in the gym. Every endurance athlete needs powerful legs, core and shoulder/back muscles. Look at any elite triathlete and you’ll notice their lats bursting out of their swim skins. I recommend taking this before any weight training session and/or HIIT session where I really need to bring the thunder. I take one before every race, and before the run in a full Ironman. It’s delivered as a packet of pills and some are as big as horse pills. It also turns your pee bright yellow- that’s mostly the vitamins your body is NOT using, primarily Vitamin B. I like to think that’s actually kryptonite expelling your weaknesses.
Animal Pak (Ripped and Peeled)
Description: This allows you to strip away fat and water while helping to preserve lean mass. Other fat burners target overall weight loss. You lose both fat and lean mass. With Animal Cuts, athletes enjoy a complete ‘cutting’ supplement without losing any valuable lean mass. This newer formula includes ingredients designed to stimulate metabolism and thermogenesis, training focus and diuresis, muscle preservation and thyroid function as well as providing added energy and suppressing appetite.
Coach Comments: I know, I know. Super cheesy. Just read the reviews. It’s not as good as the original and has a slightly different objective, but I like to rotate this with the original – it seems to work well every other week. Try it and ascertain whether it helps you lean out, which will help you maintain a leaner profile in the water and on the bike, where hydro- and aero-dynamics really matters.
Endurox R4 Muscle Recovery
Description: Endurox R4 is the #1 recovery drink for serious athletes in all sports. Recover Faster. Recover Better. Come Back Stronger. Endurox R4, the gold standard for muscle recovery, revolutionized the nutritional approach to muscle recovery. More than 18 peer-reviewed studies have demonstrated the superiority of Endurox R4 with its’ patented 4:1 carbohydrate to protein ratio.
Coach Comments: So many of my clients are taking their current performance drink or recovery drink because a friend does. But when I inquire, I find that invariably their friend is doing so because another friend does, and on and on it goes. It’s dumbfounding to me how little anyone really knows about their doing and the sheer frequency of this that I observe is insane. R4 works for everyone, all the time. The benefit of recovery formulas ingested immediately after a workout is documented and vetted science. What you consumer is as important as rest, ice, compression or elevation (‘RICE’). I prefer the chocolate R4, and I drink one after all my biggest sessions at least- including a.) my Thursday night LSD runs, b.) my Saturday bricks and c.) any long workout (over 90 minutes). And anytime in between. My USAT coaches in Jacksonville consider Endurox the only legitimate recovery drink on the market, and the only one they promote to their elite athletes. You won’t notice a specific tangible benefit, like you will with the other above. In some respect, you have to have faith.
Question: What supplements do you take to boost endurance performance?
What is your opinion of my recommended inventory?