Athlete’s Guide to Safe Supplements

A man working out

Athletes go to great lengths to gain a competitive edge and achieve peak performance. While eating a balanced diet and training are the essential foundations for improving performance, quality supplements can help take elite athletes to the next level - and they can help you too. But with so many brands and varieties available, sometimes it’s hard to navigate the supplement market.

Which workout supplements are safe, and which ones should you avoid? We will tell you all about that in this guide. If you want to know what to look for when buying sports-approved supplements, keep reading!

Understand the Purpose of Supplements

Before you start looking for supplements, you must manage your expectations. Supplements are not meant to be magic pills that boost your performance in seconds. They are what the name says, supplements to a well-rounded diet and an effective training regimen – which includes proper rest and recovery.

They are designed to fill in the nutritional gaps that may be challenging to meet solely through food and help enhance your performance, accelerate your recovery, and optimize your well-being.

Consult Experts and Consider Your Individual Needs

If you have any questions about which safe workout supplements would be the best for you, then you should consult a qualified healthcare professional or sports nutritionist. These experts can help you choose the best type of supplement based on your age, gender, sport, training regimen, dietary habits, and more. 

No two athletes are exactly alike. Therefore, each person's supplement requirements will differ. While you might need help to increase focus or accelerate muscle recovery, another athlete might turn to sports-approved supplements for joint health or immune system enhancement. Sports nutritionists can assess your needs and recommend safe workout supplements that align with your goals and overall health. Their expertise can help you avoid potential side effects or drug interactions.

Examine Labels to Avoid Prohibited Substances

One of the questions you must ask before buying supplements is what’s in them. Products from unreliable brands may have prohibited contaminants that will endanger your health and get you disqualified.

Examine the labels to ensure the products have been tested for prohibited substances and meet quality standards.

What are some prohibited substances you must avoid? Let’s see right now.

Common Banned Ingredients

Anabolic Steroids

Anabolic steroids are synthetic variants of testosterone. You can’t find them in safe workout supplements. However, many companies use them in their supplements under different names. While these steroids can improve muscle strength and growth, they can also have severe, sometimes irreversible consequences. These substances can lead to heart attacks, hormonal imbalances, liver damage, kidney failure, and psychiatric problems.


Stimulants are another group of banned ingredients you won’t find in sports-approved supplements. Amphetamines, ephedrine, and methylhexanamine belong to this group and are sometimes disguised as energy boosters. 

While these substances can increase energy and alertness, they can also lead to elevated heart rate, high blood pressure, anxiety, and addiction. Long-term use of stimulants can even be fatal.


Prohormones are another substance you can’t find in safe workout supplements. These testosterone precursors are marketed as muscle-building aids that can lead to liver damage, cardiovascular problems, hormone imbalances, and even gynecomastia (enlarged breasts) in men.


Diuretics are banned substances that increase urination and promote rapid water loss. They are marketed toward athletes who want to lose weight and meet weight requirements in certain sports.

While diuretics can help athletes achieve rapid weight loss, they can also lead to dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, dizziness, kidney damage, decreased performance, and even death.


Another group of prohibited substances you won’t find in safe workout supplements are selective androgen receptor modulators (SARMs). 

Companies market SARMs as alternatives to anabolic steroids with similar muscle-building properties. However, these substances are still understudied and haven’t been approved for human use. Misusing them can lead to severe hormonal imbalances, liver toxicity, and cardiovascular damage. 

Reading the label of sports-approved supplements can tell you whether they contain these substances. However, not all supplement brands are honest about their list of ingredients. How can you know which ones are?

Look For Informed-Sport Certified Brands

Informed-Sport is a program established by a leading sports supplement testing organization. You can buy the safest workout supplements from Informed-Sport Certified brands because their products have been thoroughly tested.

All our products at Optimum EFX are Informed-Sport Certified. This certification means they are free of substances banned by all major sports organizations and anti-doping agencies, such as the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

Buy Supplements With Research-Backed Ingredients

A man drinking at the gym

When buying a supplement, research if its ingredients are scientifically proven to enhance performance. It’s not enough for the supplement to be free of banned substances. Supplements must contain effective ingredients to actually work. 

Equally as important, a safe workout supplement should meet or exceed the required dosages of those ingredients. That is what our sports-approved supplements do – they contain effective ingredients at effective dosages.

Our supplements, including our famous Amino Matrix and Just Essentials, contain a carefully curated blend of essential amino acids proven to optimize your performance.

Try Sports-Approved Supplements From Optimum EFX

The above is just a short list of effective science-backed ingredients in our products. Our safe workout supplements contain many more beneficial compounds with zero artificial flavors, colors, or sweeteners. 

We give you quality and efficiency, not a sweet flavor hiding the harmfulness of banned ingredients. With us, you’re tasting the greatness that professional athletes swear by. Shop now to experience it for yourself.

About Author

Ian Danney, founder of Optimum EFX, is a former Olympian who operates a strength and conditioning facility where he trains elite professional athletes. To ensure optimum results for his athletes, Ian required premium, clean and most importantly effective supplements that delivered on their promises. Finding none that met his high standards, in 2008, Ian used his biochemistry and human biology knowledge to create Optimum EFX to provide world-class athletes with the superior, efficacious supplementation they need in order to optimize performance. He also secured Informed Sport certifications for all Optimum EFX supplements to ensure that every ingredient in every product is  approved for use in professional and Olympic sports, as well as for all other fitness enthusiasts who want clean products.