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Coming Soon: CEU & CME Credit!

Sample Lesson

Lesson Overview: Nutritional Supplement Recommendations for Athletes

This lesson provides an overview of various sports supplements and explores how they can potentially improve athletic performance. The instructor emphasizes that a well-balanced diet should be the primary source of nutrients for athletes, and supplementation should only be used to address specific needs or gaps in an athlete's diet.

Learning Objectives

By the end of the lesson you will be able to:


  • Understand the different types of sports supplements and how they work.

  • Learn about the appropriate use of carbohydrate supplements, creatine, caffeine, and branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs).

  • Identify factors to consider when choosing and consuming sports supplements.

Sample Lesson

Comprehensive Summary: Nutritional Supplement Recommendations for Athletes


Carbohydrate Supplements

  • Carbohydrates are broken down in the small intestine.

  • Separate transporters exist for glucose and fructose, allowing for faster absorption when both are included in a supplement.

  • Look for carbohydrate supplements containing glucose, fructose, and sodium, ideally around 20-30 grams per serving.

  • Examples include gels or chews consumed during exercise.


Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)

  • BCAAs are unique amino acids that can be used directly by muscles for energy.

  • They may help delay fatigue and promote muscle protein synthesis.

  • A well-balanced diet containing adequate protein (1.5 grams per kilogram of body weight) typically provides sufficient BCAAs.

  • Supplements may be beneficial, but are not essential.

  • Leucine, a specific BCAA, may play a role in stimulating muscle protein synthesis.


Creatine Monohydrate

  • Creatine helps regenerate ATP (adenosine triphosphate), the primary energy source for muscles.

  • Creatine monohydrate is the most researched and effective form of creatine.

  • Supplementation increases intramuscular phosphocreatine levels, leading to more ATP production.

  • The recommended dosage is 3-5 grams per day.

  • A loading phase is not necessary and may not be beneficial.

  • Creatine is considered safe for adults with no reported significant side effects.



  • Caffeine acts as a stimulant, enhancing alertness, motivation, and reaction time.

  • It may improve the body's ability to use fat for energy, sparing carbohydrates and potentially delaying fatigue.

  • For high school athletes, 50mg of caffeine consumed 50 minutes before activity is a safe and effective strategy.

  • Adults can consider 1mg of caffeine per kilogram of body weight.

  • Avoid concentrated caffeine supplements due to the risk of overdose.

  • Limit caffeine intake to avoid tolerance and withdrawal symptoms.

  • Caffeine content varies between products and coffee brewing methods.


Additional Recommendations

  • A multivitamin can be a good general supplement.

  • Vitamin D supplementation may be beneficial for some athletes.

  • Limit overall supplement intake to 1-3 products in addition to a balanced diet.

  • Most athletes can obtain sufficient nutrients through food alone with minimal supplementation.

Key Takeaways

  • Focus on a balanced diet to meet your nutritional needs as an athlete.

  • Supplements should be used strategically to address specific deficiencies or support performance goals.

  • Consult a healthcare professional or sports dietitian for personalized advice on supplement use.

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