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Olympic gold medalist swears by her supplement routine

When 2012 U.S. Olympic rower and 2008 gold medalist Susan Francia added supplements to her regimen she got the all-natural nutritional edge she was seeking.

The supplement and functional food industries were built on the foundation of user testimonial. Today we’ve got great science to back it up, but it’s still the personal recommendation, the real-world anecdote, that gets consumers to give something a try.

Whether it’s a close friend, health care provider, or Dr. Oz recommending a nutrient or product, consumers listen to the people they trust.

It’s no wonder then that supplement and functional food/beverage manufacturers target celebrities and athletes to use and promote their products. So when 2012 U.S. Olympic rower and 2008 gold medalist Susan Francia added BioEnergy Ribose to her routine it was a match made in nutritional heaven.

At 29-years-old, Francia has already accomplished more than most of us will in our lifetimes. Winning gold in 2008 is nothing to scoff at, but then neither is earning a BA as well as a master’s in just four years at the University of Pennsylvania, while also earning All-American honors in rowing. And if that’s not enough Men’s Health dubbed her one of the “12 sexiest Olympic women.” 

She tried supplements because she heard they would help and like many of us, she’s a believer and she’s sharing her story. Francia is sponsored by BioEnergy Ribose as well as GU Energy Labs.

Functional Ingredients: Do you feel like you can get all the nutrition you need to perform your best through diet alone?

Susan Francia: No.

Fi: What supplements or vitamins do you take regularly?

SF: D3, B-complex, fish oil, calcium, zinc, and magnesium. I also take ribose during practice and then ribose and whey protein after.

Fi: Why do you use ribose?

SF: I started using it because they sent me a sample and said that the product could help with my recovery. Since rowing is a high intensity as well as an endurance sport and we’re training so many hours, I was willing to try anything that was a safe product and also cleared by the U.S. Anti-doping Agency that could help with my recovery.

Fi: Do you feel like it does help?

SF: Definitely. This year has been kind of a tough one for me. I had some injuries so I was looking for a little bit of an edge. So I started taking more supplements in general and one of them was the ribose. I take it before the workout, during, and after as well.

I usually feel completely dead sometimes. I started using whey protein and I mix the ribose with the whey protein after practice. I used to eat granola bars, but it didn’t help as much. I hadn’t paid much attention to nutrition before. So I did a complete turnaround with my diet and the supplements.

Fi: Are you performing better and feeling better?

SF: For sure. 

Fi: Does it keep you from feeling dead after practice?

SF: It’s not that I feel an immediate kick in. I just feel more level. I read the science behind it and it has more to do with ATP and energy stores than feeling satiated or an energy boost. You end up forgetting or ignoring that you didn’t feel that crash. You don’t feel any different but if you hadn’t taken it you would feel different. You’d feel worse.

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