This Is the Only Performance Enhancer All Athletes Use

Marathon season is here, which means runners across the country are obsessing over how they can make even the most marginal performance gains. Although I’m skeptical of supplements, there is one that boasts a strong record of effectiveness, carries virtually no downside, and is not banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency. Its use among the general populace is somewhat rare, but in my reporting on the Rio Games I learned that nearly all Olympians — from swimmer Katie Ledecky to runner Des Linden — rely on it. Its benefits are most powerful in those who have put in solid training: It helps them fully express their fitness on race day, unlocking the last few percentage points of their potential. This supplement has even been used to enhance performance in contexts beyond sports.

Article by Brad Stulberb

This supplement is belief.

Consider a recent study published in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, in which researchers from the University of Glasgow had well-trained runners self-administer saline (i.e. salt water) injections once daily for a week. The runners were told, however, that the injections contained an innovative new drug called OxyRBX (not a real thing) that promised to increase oxygen delivery to their muscles during exercise. At the end of the week, the runners who thought they were shooting up OxyRBX improved their performance in a three-kilometer race by 1.2 percent compared to a control group, which saw no improvement. In addition to the measurable change in performance, the runners who used OxyRBX reported that the race felt easier and that they experienced a faster rate of recovery.

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