When it comes to sports, one of the most controversial and often discussed topics is that of doping. Every year, at least one world-famous athlete gets accused of doping and has to fight to prove their innocence – a battle that’s often long and almost always unsuccessful. And so the reality is that doping control is really a big deal in the lives of all professional athletes, and it’s what makes them test and consider every pill or supplement they choose to use, as even one bad sample can ruin someone’s credibility.
Along with that, the World Anti-Doping Agency lists and adds new substances every year, and all the athletes have to pay special attention to the changes, as it may turn out that a pill that they’ve been taking is now on the banned list and could cost them a doping scandal.
Having said all of that, in this article, we’re going to focus on substances that boost performance and act as stimulants while also being allowed and in the list of completely legal ones for football players. So, without further ado, let’s get started.
What are Legal Stimulants?
Typically, the term legal stimulants is used to refer to substances that are used but are not banned for professional athletes. Those include nicotine and caffeine, which are the most common ones, and yerba mate, ephedra, ginseng, ginkgo, and others, which are not as widely used.
Most of these stimulants provide little to no athletic benefits, and some are actually not recommended for daily use by people aiming for better athletic results. With that said, others, such as caffeine, ginseng, and yerba, are popular and used by many of the very best professional athletes and world-famous football players, such as Lionel Messi.
3 Best Stimulants for Football Players
Now that you know all of this, let’s talk a bit about what are the very best legal stimulants for football players and what their specific benefits include. One common trait of all of these different substances is their high caffeine content, which is the most potent legal stimulant allowed for athletes that have proven performance-enhancing benefits without major impact on any other bodily functions.
With that said, before you start drinking energy drinks or taking caffeine tablets, it’s still mandatory to consult with your healthcare professional and your coaches to make sure that it will be good for your body and truly help your athletic performance.
Caffeine comes in many forms; the most popular one is undoubtedly in coffee drinks of all kinds – with espressos, cappuccinos, and lattes being the most popular ones. But those are usually lower in caffeine content and not potent enough to be used as a stimulant – unless you plan on drinking a few of them in a very short amount of time.
In most cases, athletes who want to experience the positive effects of caffeine take it either in the form of an energy drink or as a pill that contains a high dosage. That way, you can reap all of the benefits of the substance without having to load up on coffee.
After Messi and Argentina won the World Cup this year, many pictures of the superstar drinking yerba mate went viral. And, of course, the drink quickly became extremely popular amongst football players. All in all, yerba mate is a kind of herbal tea that’s popular in South America and is made of the stems and leaves of shrubs.
It’s known for increasing energy levels, lowering blood sugar levels and inflammation, improving exercise performance, and is an overall healthier alternative to traditional coffee. Along with that, it’s packed with antioxidants and thus protects you against heart disease – a concern often raised when it comes to the consumption of coffee and energy drinks.
Ginseng is another herb that is often used for improving overall well-being, reducing stress, and increasing energy. Many drinks like Red Bull and Monster actually contain ginseng as a way to boost the effect of caffeine and thus provide an even better effect of uplifting mood and increasing energy. Additionally, studies have shown that ginseng can lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels and have a positive effect on the immune system as well.
All athletes have to be extra careful when taking any additional substances. Especially ones designed and promoted as performance-enhancers, so hopefully, this article helped shine a light on which ones are completely legal for football players. With that said, we want to retaliate and say to please consult with a doctor before adding any supplements and substances to your diet, as that’s the only way you can be certain they’re good for you and won’t have a negative impact on your health or on your performance on the pitch.