Optimizing Performance: Supplements Used by Professional Athletes

Optimizing Performance: Supplements Used by Professional Athletes

The average shelf life of an NFL player is three years, and most careers are cut short because of injury. So what’s the equation to increase your chances of staying healthy and playing well?

Supplements + Sleep + Nutrition + Robust Training + Recovery Modalities = A longer career

I realize that is not Ramanujan-level math, but bear with me; it helps to illustrate the levers you can pull on to improve your health. For this blog, I will be focusing on the supplements piece of that equation, specifically the ones I personally take, their purported benefits and a citation to the scientific paper so you can dive deeper.

Disclaimer: I will cite the medical expert or paper in which I derived the reason for taking a supplement as I am not the expert. You should not take any supplements without adequate research and consulting a healthcare professional. Lastly, I have no affiliation with and will not be recommending any specific brands.

Whey Protein

I aim for my body weight in grams of protein on a daily basis, so roughly 215 grams per day. Protein supplements make this possible as it is difficult to accomplish this organically. Some benefits of protein are as follows:

  1. Muscle Growth - Whey protein provides the essential amino acids needed for muscle protein synthesis, aiding in muscle growth and repair (Source: "Whey Protein and Muscle Protein Synthesis" by the Journal of Applied Physiology).
  2. Recovery - Consuming whey protein post-workout helps accelerate muscle recovery, reducing soreness and downtime between training sessions (Source: "Whey Protein and Recovery" by the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition).
  3. Immune Support - Whey protein contains immunoglobulins that can boost the immune system, helping athletes stay healthy during intense training periods (Source: "Whey Protein and Immune Function" by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition).

If you want QB-specific throwing, lifting, and sprint training customized for you with NFL-level systems, take the assessment and get the app at kinetex.co. For insights on quarterbacking and throwing biomechanics, subscribe to the blog.

Fish Oil

I aim for four grams of fish oil a day per the recommendation of Rhonda Patrick, a PhD in biomedical science. The purported benefits of fish oil and the Omega-3s within are the following:

  1. Anti-Inflammatory Properties - Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil help reduce inflammation, crucial for athletes recovering from intense workouts or injuries (Source: "Fish Oil and Omega-3 Fatty Acids" by Harvard Health Publishing).
  2. Cognitive Function - Improved brain health and cognitive function can enhance decision-making on and off the field, attributed to omega-3's support for neural pathways (Source: "Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Brain Health" by National Institutes of Health).
  3. Cardiovascular Health - Lowering triglycerides and improving cholesterol levels supports heart health, vital for enduring the physical demands of football (Source: "Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Cardiovascular Health" by the American Heart Association).
  4. Mental Health - Omega-3s contribute to overall mental well-being, potentially reducing the risk of mood disorders and supporting focus during high-stress situations (Source: "The Role of Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Mental Health" by Frontiers in Psychiatry).
  5. Immune Support - Enhanced immune function can aid in quicker recovery from illnesses, keeping players on the field where they belong (Source: "Fish Oil and Immune Function" by the Journal of Clinical Medicine).

Creatine Monohydrate

Creatine is one of the most researched supplements and is widely used by athletes to enhance performance. I mix a 5-gram scoop into my water once a day, typically post-workout.

  1. Increased Strength - Creatine supplementation has been shown to increase muscle strength and power, crucial for explosive movements in football (Source: "Creatine and Strength" by the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research).
  2. Enhanced Recovery - Creatine helps replenish ATP stores, promoting faster recovery between high-intensity activities (Source: "Creatine and Recovery" by the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition).
  3. Muscle Mass - Regular creatine use can lead to increases in lean muscle mass, supporting overall athletic performance (Source: "Creatine and Muscle Mass" by the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition).


Caffeine is a well-known performance enhancer and has me ready to run through a wall. I don’t drink it every day and opt to save it for pregame and important practices. The benefits are as follows:

  1. Improved Endurance - Caffeine has been shown to increase endurance performance by enhancing energy levels and reducing perceived effort (Source: "Caffeine and Endurance Performance" by Sports Medicine).
  2. Enhanced Focus - By stimulating the central nervous system, caffeine improves mental alertness and concentration, beneficial during both training and games (Source: "Caffeine and Mental Focus" by the Journal of Applied Physiology).
  3. Increased Fat Oxidation - Caffeine can increase the rate of fat oxidation, providing a sustained energy source during prolonged exercise (Source: "Caffeine and Fat Oxidation" by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition).

Beet Juice

The Buccaneers nutrition staff has shots of beet juice set out for us before every practice and game. It is rich in nitrates, which can enhance athletic performance by improving blood flow and oxygen delivery.

  1. Improved Endurance - Nitrates in beet juice help dilate blood vessels, improving oxygen delivery to muscles and enhancing endurance (Source: "Beet Juice and Endurance" by the Journal of Applied Physiology).
  2. Reduced Fatigue - By improving muscle efficiency, beet juice can help reduce fatigue during high-intensity exercise (Source: "Beet Juice and Muscle Efficiency" by Sports Medicine).
  3. Enhanced Recovery - Beet juice's anti-inflammatory properties support faster recovery post-exercise (Source: "Beet Juice and Recovery" by the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition).

Tart Cherry Juice

Every time I walk off the field in the NFL, nutrition staffs have cherry juice available to help with recovery. It is known for its potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, making it a valuable recovery aid.

  1. Reduced Muscle Soreness - Consuming tart cherry juice post-exercise can reduce muscle soreness and aid in recovery (Source: "Tart Cherry Juice and Muscle Soreness" by the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports).
  2. Enhanced Sleep Quality - Tart cherry juice is a natural source of melatonin, which can improve sleep quality and recovery (Source: "Tart Cherry Juice and Sleep" by the European Journal of Nutrition).
  3. Anti-Inflammatory Benefits - The high antioxidant content helps reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, promoting overall recovery (Source: "Tart Cherry Juice and Inflammation" by the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition).

Vitamin D

A common staple for many athletes, especially those who do not regularly consume Vitamin D-rich foods. The benefits include:

  1. Bone Density - Supporting calcium absorption strengthens bones, essential for withstanding the physical rigors and impacts of football (Source: "Vitamin D and Bone Health" by the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research).
  2. Immune Support - Enhancing immune response reduces the risk of infections and illnesses that can sideline athletes during critical moments in the season (Source: "Vitamin D and Immune Function" by Nature Reviews Immunology).
  3. Mood Regulation - Linked to mood stability and mental well-being, adequate vitamin D levels contribute to overall performance and resilience under pressure (Source: "Vitamin D and Mood Regulation" by the Journal of Affective Disorders).

Magnesium Glycinate, Biglycinate, or Theonate

Essential for muscle function and overall health, magnesium benefits athletes in several ways:

  1. Muscle Function - Regulating muscle contractions and relaxation helps prevent cramps and supports optimal performance during training and games (Source: "Magnesium and Muscle Function" by the Journal of Sports Sciences).
  2. Bone Health - Supporting bone density and strength reduces the risk of fractures and injuries common in contact sports like football (Source: "Magnesium and Bone Health" by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition).
  3. Energy Production - Playing a key role in energy metabolism, magnesium ensures athletes have the endurance and stamina needed to excel on the field (Source: "Magnesium and Energy Production" by Advances in Nutrition).
  4. Stress Reduction - By regulating the nervous system, magnesium promotes relaxation and aids in recovery, essential in a sport known for its physical and mental demands (Source: "Magnesium and Stress Reduction" by the Journal of the American College of Nutrition).

Quercetin, Fisetin, and Spermidine

These lesser-known supplements are gaining attention and need more research. Nonetheless, I use and think that they help me personally.

  1. Quercetin - Known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, quercetin may aid in reducing exercise-induced inflammation and supporting faster recovery (Source: "Quercetin and Athletic Performance" by the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition).
  2. Fisetin - With antioxidant effects similar to resveratrol, fisetin shows promise in combating oxidative stress and supporting cellular health, crucial for enduring athletic performance (Source: "Fisetin and Health Benefits" by Biochemical Pharmacology).
  3. Spermidine - Enhancing cellular health and potentially extending lifespan in animal studies, spermidine supports overall longevity and resilience in athletes (Source: "Spermidine and Lifespan Extension" by Cell Metabolism).


As a precursor to NAD+, NMN is touted often by Harvard Geneticist, Dr. David Sinclair. Please note, this is a newer supplement and needs more research. I am aggressive in trying new supplements and would not recommend for youth and high school athletes at this stage. Benefits are as follows:

  1. Cellular Repair - Supporting DNA repair mechanisms enhances recovery from training-induced stress and promotes overall cellular health (Source: "NMN and Cellular Repair" by Nature Communications).
  2. Energy Metabolism - Boosting NAD+ levels improves mitochondrial function, providing athletes with sustained energy and endurance during intense physical exertion (Source: "NMN and Energy Metabolism" by Cell Metabolism).
  3. Longevity - Research suggests NMN may extend lifespan by supporting cellular health and resilience against aging-related decline (Source: "NMN and Longevity" by Science Translational Medicine).

Wrapping Up

With your income and family's livelihood dependent on your personal health, it’s paramount to optimize it. While you should still do your own research, these are supplements that have helped me throughout my career.

If you want QB-specific throwing, lifting, and sprint training customized for you with NFL-level systems, take the assessment and get the app at kinetex.co. For insights on quarterbacking and throwing biomechanics, subscribe to the blog.