Pumped Up

Bailey Vrem, Reporter

  Athletes are always looking for an advantage: that may mean studying film, taking better care of their bodies, or speed and weight training. One thing becoming more popular in high school students is the use of supplements. 

  Tanner Kufeld is a talented athlete that attends Mountain View High School. He participates in weight training and track but is currently training for hypertrophy. “Instead of doing the usual five by five cycles, I do four by twelve cycles,” Kufeld said, “I do a deload week, and then I work up to max week over four weeks.”

  The training that Kufeld does isn’t excellent for strength training, but it’s good for hypertrophy, which is what he is aiming to achieve. Kufeld mentions that he uses supplements when he works out; however, the ones he takes are cycled. “I cycle it because after you use it for a month and a half, your body stops reacting to it, so you should take about four weeks off of it,” said Kufeld. 

  Kufeld explained that pre-workout has an ingredient that makes your skin tingle, and that ingredient is called Beta-Alanine. This ingredient helps your muscles not fatigue as much, but Kufeld said, “you pay the price if your skin’s tingling and sometimes you just feel like crap, and your skin just burns.”

  Kufeld uses a wide range of supplements when he is working out. He said, “I use a pump pill called Ultra Nox; sometimes I use Noxygen which is also a pump pill; then sometimes I use Lit which is pre-workout, and other times I use Total War which is also a pre-workout.”

  He also adds, “then I take creatine monohydrate and creatine HCL depending on my cycle I cycle those two every four weeks, you have to take like four weeks off.” Whey isolate is the source of Kufeld’s protein.

  “When you take pre-workout, your muscles don’t fatigue as fast, and it helps you get a stronger pump in, which is nice,” says Kufeld, “those pump pills help your blood move to your muscles faster and put air in your blood; it pumps your blood up a lot. It squeezes your chest and helps with weightlifting.”

  Weightlifting is a mind-muscle connection, according to Kufeld. “When you lift a weight, you have to think about how it affects your muscle for it to target that muscle; those things help you feel your muscles.” He uses Total War pre-workout the most and the whey isolate. He takes whey isolate protein every day after he works out.

  People often use a mass gainer; a protein powder that is very high in calories and is used to promote weight gain. “Most people buy mass gainers because they think it will make them big,” says Kufeld,  “but in reality, if you buy whey isolate which is only 100 calories per scoop rather than 800 calories per scoop, you can put avocados and peanut butter and oatmeal in it to make a shake that stays in your system, and your body can use it all.”

  Having a good diet is also essential when working on the physique and overall fitness. Kufeld doesn’t usually eat food with his supplements; however, that depends on what he’s doing that day. “I wake up in the morning, I take pre-workout, and then I go workout,” he says, “then I come home, and I have my shake.” Kufeld believes that having a good diet and using supplements can certainly help you reach your goal faster. 

  “I eat a lot of chicken and lean stuff like eggs,” said Kufeld,  “it’s hard to get my calories because it all tastes so disgusting, and I never want to eat it, so supplements help me get my actual nutrition.” Supplements are not to be confused as a replacement for substantial food, but they can assist athletes in getting more calories and nutrients that they might be lacking. 

  For athletes needing advice in improving athletic performance, Kufeld suggests starting with compound exercises. “You should start with compound exercises that are light and work on your form; you should never go to failure when you’re starting because then your form goes to crap and you build bad habits,” said Kufeld, “for the first seven to eight months of lifting you should aim for getting a pump, getting good exercise, and having good form; eventually you can start training harder.”

  Another important aspect of weight training is researching types of supplements. It’s important to find accessories that work with your body, not against it.  By researching types of accessories, athletes can educate themselves on an accessory that will best benefit them.

  However, it is important to understand that supplements aren’t always safe for everyone to use, and they can have negative side effects that delay your activities. As Kufeld mentioned, pre-workout has a similar body numbing effect that can leave you feeling buzzed or highly energized. When used inappropriately or abused too often, your body can react negatively. 

  Similarly, if you combine too many supplements at one time, your body may have the opposite effect intended. Supplements also run the risk of having addictive qualities, according to springboardrecovery.com. Your body adjusts to taking supplements each time you workout, so when there is an absence of that certain vitamin, your body functions slower, and you can experience a feeling similar to withdrawal. 

  Supplements have a contribution to the prevention of injuries, although they are not 100% full proof. “Creatine primes your muscles, and it sticks to your muscles and makes your muscles a lot stronger; maybe that helped me not break my muscles as much,” said Kufeld.

  Staying hydrated is also extremely important when working out or when participating in any rigorous activity. “Gatorade and Powerade are awful for you; they have so much sugar,” he said, “a small amount is good for you, but definitely drink water.”

  The supplements Kufeld uses get replaced often, but he has favorites that he uses more than once. “The pre-workout I take has two different types of caffeine; one that primes your body, and one that primes your mind, and helps you focus and get in the zone and think harder, then it also helps your muscles not fatigue, and it gives you energy,” he said.

  “Pump pills, they kind of put air into your blood and it makes your blood a little thicker and it makes all your blood rush to your muscles a little better and it causes your muscles to squeeze because you get a better pump,” Kufeld says, “which helps your mind-muscle connection because you can feel your muscles contracting and activating as you lift.”

  Whey protein gives your muscles protein and helps you feel full, according to Kufeld. He also explains that the cluster bomb is a carbohydrate drink that you drink while working out. The protein increases energy while decreasing soreness. 

  Kufeld recommends not to eat dairy products before working out or running because it gives you cramps and slows down your muscles. Eating lots of sugar before activity can also increase the chance of cramping. He said, “if you eat a kiwi and two bananas before your workout, they have enough sugar that it will make you pretty awake; but the pre-workout I take has 350 mg of caffeine, and a normal cup of coffee only has like 70, so there’s nothing that gives you as much stamina.”

  Kufeld is exceptionally active and works out almost every day. For his workout schedule, he works out at Gold’s gym in Greeley and he said, “on a good week I workout about seven times, on a bad week about five to six times.”

  He also mentioned that he gets his workouts done pretty early in the morning. “Usually, I get up at five, but I work till 10 for the first half of the week,” said Kufeld. Overall, the key to improved athletic performance is researching supplements if you’re interested, eating healthy, staying hydrated, and not letting failure control you.