image credit: Cronfeld
A friend who I had not seen for a while was staying with me for a few days. He was shocked when he saw what I ate.
"Are you trying to bulk up?" he asked.
I'm not sure what prompted the comment. I was eating a salmon fillet with spinach at the time. Perhaps he had seen in my supplement cupboard. A place that I admit appears to be bulging with all kinds of powders and pills.
He was simply applying common knowledge. Bodybuilders take supplements therefore David is bodybuilding.
The thing is: Common knowledge isn't always right.
I'm no bodybuilder (I'm 5ft 11" and 13 stone so I'm never going to be Arnie even if I wanted to be). Any supplements I take have to meet two very strict requirements:
- Is it a supplement, not a replacement?
- Will it have a positive effect on my cricket performance?
Before you buy any supplements you can ask yourself the same questions.
The first is easy: If you are eating well 90% of the time and training right you can consider supplements to help out in certain areas. If you trying to use supplements to replace a deficiency in your training or eating you will never get the results you want.
The second question is more difficult, I'll attempt to answer it for you here by telling you what supplements I use and recommend for others. As always I'm interested in what you use to improve your game too.
What supplements are best for cricket?
Fish oil. Hands down, fish oil rocks for everyone. Omega 3 has been in the news recently from its ability to improve concentration. It also helps reduce inflammation so is great if you are coming back from injury. Finally it helps you keep muscle and lose fat if you need to. The easiest way to get your dose is to take capsules like these. You can also get fish oil from fresh oily fish in your diet like salmon.
Workout Drink. The right drink taken during your workouts, practices and play can make a difference to reactions, sprint speed and accuracy. It's hard to eat during play or training so a workout drink is a great supplement that meets my rules. I use the customiser here to get a balance of fast acting proteins and carbs. Here is the formula I use (based on Biotest Surge):
- 32% MyPro Hydrolysed Whey (a fast acting protein)
- 31% Dextrose (a fast acting sugar)
- 31% Maltodextrin (another sugar)
- 6% BCAA
- Vanilla flavour (chocolate tastes terrible)
That means in a 50g serving with water I get 15g of protein, 3g of BCCA and 31g of carbs which is about an hour of intense exercise covered. If you are not a nutrition nut don't worry too much about the details, just make sure you are getting protein and carbs with your training drink.
Creatine. Creatine is one of the most well research supplements ever. It boosts your ATP-CP system which as you know is perfect for cricket. It's safe, cheap and can be used every day. While not essential, the potential boost to your training and playing when combined with a proper exercise plan is hard to ignore. Read more here and pick some up here.
Protein. Protein powder has a bad reputation for being for bodybuilders not cricketers. Protein from any source is good in my book though. While it is a matter of debate how much to eat, it's safe to say most of use could eat more and get a lot of benefits. Also, flavoured protein tastes darn good in supershakes and healthy bars to satisfy my sweet tooth. I use this stuff but there is plenty of other choice.
What are your experiences with supplements? Do you feel they are surplus to a cricketers requirements or do you feel lost without your pills and potions? Leave a comment and let me know.
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