Mark asked about ZMA so I thought I'd write a little more about it. In my last post, I said glutamine was my favorite supplement but now that I think about it I'd say ZMA is my favorite. Glutamine is probably the most beneficial for endurance athletes, but it's no fun. You have to mix it with water or juice (I put some in my morning coffee) and it doesn't dissolve easily. Plus it's best taken after a workout so I have to remember to take it, and if I want to take some after my lunch rides I have to remember to take some to work. It's kind of a pain. But ZMA is much cooler...
1. As far as supplements go, ZMA is cheap. I bought Optimum Nutrition ZMA from dpsnutrition.com. 180 caps for $20. Serving size is 3 per day, so it will last 60 days. $10 per month. Not too bad. If you buy some, be sure to check out the serving size and amount of zinc per serving. The standard seems to be 30g of zinc, but some companies go with less to lower the price.
2. Better sleep. I've tried sleeping pills, but they make me oversleep and I have a hard time waking up. When I take ZMA I get a great night's sleep and I typically wake up earlier than usual and I'm instantly wide awake and ready to go. That's great if you're planning a morning workout.
3. Side effects. The only "side effect" I know of is weird, vivid dreams. The only problem with this is that the dreams seem a little too real sometimes. So if I tell you about the time I was driving a VW Bug that had tires made of a purple gel so they wouldn't pop on the interstate made out of a bed of nails, pay no attention. It was just a dream. If more people knew about this "side effect" I think ZMA sales would go through the roof. It's kind of cool.
4. Strength and Endurance. ZMA is supposed to elevate natural testosterone levels. There are some studies that "prove" this, but I can't say for sure. The first time I tried it was when I was lifting a lot and taking creatine. I used it a little last summer, but not regularly. I mainly just took it when I wanted a good night's sleep (not sure why that wasn't every night). Even if it doesn't elevate testosterone levels I think it's worth the price for the sleep.
I must admit I'm also curious about Nitric Oxide. I'm only using it on my knee right now, but I'm tempted to give the powder a try next summer to see if there's any benefit. I'd like to spend some time doing a little research to see if there are any studies backing up the claims and find out if there are any side effects. I don't know much about it right now.
I'll be the first to admit I'm a bit gullible when it comes to supplements, but I try to be smart about them. I don't have a lot of money to blow on supplements that don't work, so I try to do a fair amount of research and find supplements that are safe, affordable and effective. Safe being #1. There aren't that many supplements that fit that formula, but I believe ZMA is one of them and that's what I like about it.
As I was getting ready to come down to Janesville for x-mas, I put a few servings of glutamine and BCAA in small zip lock bags. Then I threw some ZMA and vitamins in a zip lock. Then I realized that if I should somehow have my car searched by the cops, I might have a hard time explaining the bags of pills and fine, white powder.