Fueling the competitive athlete is harder than it sounds. While athletes could eat almost anything (and everything) you put in front of them, a lot of thought goes into what they consume; it takes great care to maintain a well-oiled machine, after all. Whether they are competing at the amateur, collegiate or professional levels, there are a multitude of regulations concerning what athletes can put in their body. For this reason, transparency, accurate labeling and third party testing of supplements is very important.
Fortunately, I was lucky enough to learn this early on in my collegiate career. From a nutritional standpoint, any top athlete will know what they need for fuel and optimum performance. However, when training 40+ hours a week, you often require an extra boost of energy or nutrients between two-a-day practices, keeping up in classes, homework, and trying to maintain something resembling a social life. Unfortunately, from an educational and supplement standpoint, the area is grey and hard to navigate.