Basketball is quite intense and anyone who has played this sport knows that. Playing basketball is exhausting, either with friends or at a competition against an official team. But, why does this happen? Do we know what sport supplements should we use to delay the fatigue as much as possible?
What are the needs of a basketball player?
Laltzel et al. (2018) analyzed the energy profile of professional junior players during a match simulation. Above all, they wanted to find out where did the players get the energy from. For what purpose?
Because if you know where does your body get energy from when you do a specific activity, you will know what is the best type of supplementation. Then, what would be the objective? To achieve the best performance!
The researchers found out that most of the energy came from the phosphagen metabolism. This system is capable of obtaining a lot of energy very quickly that will not last more than 10″ approximately.
In addition, the aerobic metabolism would provide a 29% of the energy as well. This is the energy system that our body uses when we are walking or sitting.
The metabolism of anaerobic or extra-mitochondrial glycolysis would provide around a 5% of the energy too.
What does this mean?
It means that basketball is a sport that demands energy very quickly. After that, we have periods of rest in order to resynthesize it (recovery).
Apart from where do we get the energy from, there are other factors when it comes to planning the nutrition and supplementation: Do you want to know more?
Then, keep reading because I am going to tell you more about the basic supplementation to improve your basketball performance 😉
Supplements for Basketball
1. Creatine Monohydrate
Without any doubt, creatine is a very useful supplement for basketball players.
Not only because it is the most studied supplement. In fact, the International Society of Sports Nutrition claims that “it is the most effective food supplement that is currently available for athletes. Particularly in terms of being able to improve the ability to maintain a high intensity during the workout. Moreover, it increases the body mass during periods of training” (Kerksick et al., 2018).
It seems to be important for the sport performance, right?
In fact, it truly is. Our body has a limited capacity to produce energy from this system. Despite producing a lot of energy (4 times more than the aerobic system and 1.6 times more than the anaerobic system) its intensity does not last long.
Figure I. Graphic representation of the 3 muscle energy systems, duration, produced ATP and sport performance.
When we finish an attack or a defense and we manage to walk for a few seconds, our body takes that time to phosphorylate creatine molecules. Then, we will be able to use them as energy. The “breaks” between movements will be useful to “recharge” some energy for the next effort.
Figure II. Graphic representation of the ATP metabolism and breakdown during exercise and breaks depending on the phosphorylation and dephosphorylation of muscle creatine. (McGraw-Hill, s.f.).
In order to recharge the energy deposits we need creatine. To illustrate this point, imagine that you have the bricks, machinery and workers, but there is no place to build a house. All the things we have become useless.
Figure III. Diagram that shows the benefit of taking a placebo (at the left of the 0) or creatine (at the right of the 0), for the performance in repeated sprints and Wingate test. (Mielgo-Ayuso et al., 2019).
Mielgo-Ayuso et al. (2019) reviewed all the scientific literature available until that point. In the end, they concluded that creatine is an effective supplement to increase the anaerobic performance.
Caffeine is a methylxanthine, an alkaloid that is naturally present in coffee, tea, cocoa or yerba mate.
Almost everyone uses it to improve the sport performance, since its neurostimulating effect results in a better physical performance.
Do you want to learn more about its main advantages according to several studies?
Figure IV. Column diagram that sows the time increase until exhaustion of each subject compared to the placebo. The bars that go up show the benefit of caffeine, while the ones that go down show negative results. “Mean” is the average (Jackman et al., 1994).
Moreover, it can increase the blood lactate levels. This marker is an indicator of our ability to tolerate more high intensity physical exercise before reaching a level of neuromuscular fatigue that does not allow us to continue (Cruz et al., 2015).
Figure V. Blood lactate concentrations of the group that took caffeine (full squares) and the one that took a placebo (empty squares). (Cruz et al. 2015)
In fact, it can increase the oxygen consumption and reduce the CO2, improving the respiratory exchange ratio (RER). A sign that we are more efficient when it comes to using the air we breathe while we do exercise (Cruz et al., 2017).
Figure VI. Oxygen consumption (top left), CO2 consumption (top right), Respiratory exchange ratio (bottom left). There is the group that took caffeine (full squares) and the one that took a placebo (empty squares). (Cruz et al. 2015)
Scientific Literature Review
Finally, a review of all the scientific literature (yup, that is right), concluded that: caffeine can effectively improve the sport performance, muscle strength and resistance, anaerobic performance, the height of vertical jump and short term high intensity exercise. This is all you need to improve if you are a basketball player (Grgic et al., 2018).
Figure VII. Diagram that shows the benefit of the placebo (at the left of the 0) or caffeine (at the right of the 0) for the aerobic resistance, muscle strength and resistance, anaerobic performance, height of the vertical jump, the speed of the exercise and performance during short term high intensity efforts (Grgic et al., 2018).
We have the best product for you and your team: Natural Caffeine by EssentialSeries. Each capsule provides 200mg of natural anhydrous caffeine, which will provide a plus of energy during your workouts and match, sharpening your focus. Moreover, you can also go for the Natural Caffeine Powder by RawSeries.
3. Joint protection
Let’s be clear, we all know that doing exercise increases the joint metabolism, the cartilage synthesis but specially its breakdown.
Figure VIII. Graphic that shows the most common injury diagnoses of basketball players according to exposure. For example, ligament sprain, concussion, muscle or tendon strain and others (Borowski et al., 2008).
Above all, the most important thing to prevent them is to have a healthy joints.
How? Thanks to a combination of anti-inflammatories (MSM, Chondroitin, Hyaluronic acid…) and elements that stimulate the collagen synthesis (marine collagen, vitamin C, glucosamine sulfate…). Without any doubt, it is the most complete product by HSN for this objective.
Glucosamine is particularly useful to prevent the joint damage that basketball players undergo due to overuse. In fact, it lowers the CTX-II, a marker that indicates the damage to the joint tissue (Nagaoka, 2009).
Figure IX. Changes in the joint cartilage breakdown CTX-II marker after taking 1.5g/day (triangle) and 3g/day (square). The treatment lasted for 3 months and was discontinued for 3 more months (Nagaoka et al., 2009).
Joint Care is a useful supplement to strengthen the collagen density in the joints of athletes.
3. Whey Protein
One of the most interesting things after assessing the profile of basketball players is that they play at higher ranks if they have more body mass. Consequently, their performance is also much better (Ferioli et al., 2018).
But let’s not be mistaken here. Unlike what many people think, a pivot is no longer a statue under the basket. In fact, any pivot can play at any other position with absolute dexterity.
Figure X. Anthropometric profile of basketball players from first, second, third and fourth division. (Ferioli et al., 2018).
They weigh more but not in terms of fat. On the contrary, it means that they have more muscle mass. This is not surprise either, because the muscle mass is necessary to maintain the physical performance. In general, this factor is related almost perfectly to the muscle strength. In turn, the muscle strength is the base to develop the remaining physical capacities.
Figure XI. Connection between muscle mass (Aasm) and muscle strength (IQS). The effect of comorbidities (A. Obesity, B. Arthritis, C. Asthma, D. Osteoporosis). The red line is for women and the blue line for men (Chen et al., 2013).
Contrary to popular belief, physical exercise reduces our muscle mass. In fact, it triggers the catabolism, breaking down the muscle protein to enhance its synthesis. Therefore, it increases the amount of amino acids that we eliminate from the muscle tissue.
Figure XII. Protein turnover after the workout; 3 hours after the workout; 24 hours after the workout; and 48 hours after the workout (Ato & Fujita, 2017).
Then, why is people who do physical exercise stronger than those who don’t?
Because we know that physical exercise stimulates the muscle metabolism. So, if we take advantage of this “catabolic effect” to provide enough protein, our body will increase the protein content from the muscle tissue, making it grow.
Figure XIII. Response to the protein synthesis (Y axis) depending on the amount of post-workout protein intake (X axis) (Moore, 2019).
0.31g of protein per kg of body weight after the workout should be enough to stimulate the muscle protein synthesis to the fullest. At least as long as it has a good quality.
Now, this is when the Evowhey 2.0 by SportSeries comes into play. In fact, it is one of the best sources of whey protein available in the market currently.
Moreover, there are other choices from whey protein such as: Evolate 2.0 by SportSeries (blue rectangle) or our Milk Protein Concentrate 85% 2.0 by RawSeries (green rectangle).
Figure XIV. Amino acid digestibility score from different animal and vegetable protein sources (Wolfe, 2015).
How should you use the supplements for Basketball?
Did you find this article useful? What are you waiting to try it out? Oh, I forgot to tell you how! Grab a pen and paper or make a screenshot with your phone of my advice for all these supplements 😉
Recommended use of the basic supplement pack for basketball players:
- Micronized Creatine Monohydrate: 0.1g/kg of body weight at any time of the day. Although Forbes & Candow (2018) give us a tip: it may be slightly better to take it after the workout.
- Natural Caffeine: 3-6mg/kg of body weight, 48’ before the workout (between 30-90 minutes before, depending on your CYP1A2 genotype, which determines your metabolization rate).
- Joint Care: if you are a big player and you do exercise at a high intensity, 3 servings a day would be an ideal dose. Leave at least 6-8 hours between servings. For example, you can take them with each one of the important meals of the day (breakfast, lunch and dinner).
- Evowhey 2.0 / Evolate 2.0: Between 0.32g-0.55g/kg of body weight (20-40g of Evowhey 2.0) usually after the workout.
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