This article is a guest post by Simon, the owner of ShuttleSmash. An author who writes about Badminton, fitness and nutrition.
You may have considered taking supplements for badminton training at some point if you’re serious about your development. Supplements have become increasingly more and more mainstream as Social Media and fitness influencers have perpetuated the fact that gains are the most important thing in the world. It’s easy to get sucked into the hype when these perfect human specimens are promoting these products. Disclaimer: Lin Dan is a perfect human specimen – but not promoting these products!
But if you’re considering taking supplements for badminton it’s important to understand what (legal!) supplements are available and you have the right information to ensure you make an informed decision as to whether you take them or not.
What Are Supplements?
Supplements provide additional nutrients and vitamins to your existing diet. Typically, these are in easy to consume forms such as a powder or capsules. Examples include protein powders and multi-vitamins that your mum might have given you when you were a kid! Those orange-coloured chewy things were the bomb!
The endless supply of supplements available
Generally the majority of the nutrients the body needs can usually be obtained through a healthy and balanced diet. However, there are cases in which supplements are used, for example, if you live a highly active lifestyle or follow a diet which restricts certain foods.
The Truth About Supplements
I don’t want you to think that supplements are some kind of miracle formula that will immediately and drastically improve your performance. This is definitely not the case. You will still need to put in the hard work on and off the court. Any supplement alone will not make you a better player but facilitate your badminton development.
Now before you go away and think it is necessary to use supplements for badminton, you should know that you can achieve the same results by controlling your diet to meet the targets you require. Remember, supplements are generally extracted from foods that we consume anyway. So we can alter our nutrient intake ratios, in order to reflect our goals.
So Why Take Supplements For Badminton?
If there’s no need to take them, how come so many players do? Well, high-performance players require much more energy than the average club player due to increased exercise intensity and frequency. Supplements make it much more convenient to meet those needs. It’s a lot less labour intensive to prepare a protein shake than to prepare a meal!
Many players may choose to take certain supplements to improve their recovery time, help protect their joints and boost their athletic performance. This helps them maintain their bodies through the effects of their training. If you’re short on time and are particularly active, supplements can be a great way to get in those extra nutrients.
That said, supplements should not replace a healthy diet. You should still strive to obtain most of your nutrition from unprocessed, natural foods.
Pros And Cons Of Supplements
Before we mention a few of the types of supplements available, there’s some pros and cons you should be aware of. This list is not exhaustive and you should do further research to determine if supplements are right for you.
- Can stimulate players, improving alertness and reaction times.
- Improve recovery times between training sessions.
- Helps to improve efficiency and effectiveness of energy systems
- Helps maintain healthy joints and build lean muscle
- Supplements are convenient to take quickly if short on time.
- Potential side effects such as headaches, nausea and bloated-ness.
- Supplements can be expensive
- Many flavoured supplements have high sugar content
- There’s no additional benefit taking supplements over natural foods.
- Some non-labelled ingredients on supplements have left some players failing doping tests. (Probably not such an issue for the standard club player!).
Types of Supplement
With this said, whether you want to take supplements or not is a personal choice. Below are some options if you are considering it. If you do choose to take supplements, please ensure to consult with your doctor if you have any concerns, are pregnant or on medication. If you are subject to doping tests, make sure you check with an appropriate professional.
This is perhaps the most common supplement that you will have heard of. Protein supplements are commonly available in powder form that can be mixed with water or milk. There are many types including Whey, Soy, and Casein. Each has its own attributes and I recommend doing further research to determine what’s right for you.
What Does It Do? Protein helps to maintain, repair and build muscle. It is commonly taken alongside a strength training regime to aid in muscle recovery and growth. It also helps to maintain muscle mass.
How Does It Help Your Badminton? As above, if you’re training properly for badminton, you’re probably doing a mixture of weight training, on-court training and off-court training. In all these situations, if you’re training hard, you’re breaking down your muscles. Taking additional protein can help build these muscles back up faster and recover for your future training sessions.
- Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard
- Impact Whey protein
- Isopure Whey protein
Pre-workout is a very general term for supplements that you take before an activity. A protein powder for example could be a form of pre-workout. However, there are separate supplements specifically for prior to any exercise. Typically, these supplements contain caffeine, carbs, BCAAs, creatine, protein and vitamin B12. Basically, it’s like having an expresso on steroids. So if you’re sensitive to caffeine, be warned!
What Does It Do? It’s designed to give you an extra energy boost and may help to boost short term athletic performance.
How Does It Help Your Badminton? You can take these before any training session to help improve your alertness and responsiveness, energy, reaction time and improved muscular endurance. This can be used to give you a boost in your on-court/off-court training and even before a match.
- Muscle Blaze (pre workout)
- Fast and Up (Pre workout)
- Nutrabay Gold spark
Creatine is perhaps the most researched and most proven supplement which helps performance. It is found naturally within muscles and helps predominantly fuel anaerobic exercise. As a supplement, it can help build muscular strength, endurance as well as athletic performance. It is considered one of the safest supplements to use.
What Does It Do? Creatine helps to increase your ATP production and ATP stores. If you remember from your high school days, there is the initial energy source for short bursts of intense energy. Therefore, the more available to you, the longer (relatively!) you’ll be able to perform at very high intensity. However, remember, the Creatine Phosphate system is capable of about 10-15 seconds of maximum effort.
How Does It Help Your Badminton? Creatine can help in a number of ways. Firstly, many studies have shown it contributes to strength development. And by association, this helps improve speed around the court and power in your shots. It also helps muscles recover faster so that they’re ready for the next high-intensity activity. This is particularly useful on the court – for example, during periods of fast attacking play in doubles.
- GNC pro
- Muscle Tech
The above are commonly available supplements to you and possibly the main ones you would be considering. There are many more supplements out there, which I do not have experience of so did not want to make any comments on them here.
Should I Take Supplements For Badminton?
As I mentioned before, supplements are not at all necessary. For example, sufficient proteins can be gained through fish, eggs, meat, and dairy. A healthier alternative to pre-workout may be a high carb meal and a coffee. And creatine is can be obtained through the same sources as protein.
I also need to reiterate, most supplements themselves will not make a big difference to your training unless you put in the work. Ingesting protein does not mean you will develop muscle. Taking creatine does not mean you’ll be stronger. These supplements complement your training routines. Muscles can only develop if you train them, then protein can help with the recovery and growth process. Creatine helps you get stronger, only if you perform exercises appropriately and at the right intensity.
That said, it’s up to you if you want to use these supplements. Weighing up the benefits and disadvantages and thorough research (beyond this article!) should help you make that decision. On the whole, the above supplements are safe to use for most adults.
If you do choose to supplement for badminton, please remember that the majority of your nutrients should still come from unprocessed foods tailored towards your badminton development.