The summer is almost here and you’re probably thinking about taking your workouts up a notch to get that ideal beach-ready body. Want to get fitter, faster and stronger? Then, taking the right vitamins and minerals can help strengthen bone, build muscle, prevent injury, and aid recovery — ideal whether you’re into cardio or resistance training.
Skipping a gym session is a big no-no for anyone who has a routine they want to stick to and a clear fitness goal in mind. However, there are steps you can take to ensure your body has the nutrients it needs to reduce risk and boost recovery. Don’t underestimate the importance of nutrition — check out how vitamins and minerals can help you push harder in your next work-out session.
Pounding the treadmill and lifting weights can put intense strain on joints and bones. So, keeping an eye out for supplements that help fortify and protect bones and tissue is crucial if you’re serious about fitness. One of the best supplements you can take to help achieve this is a daily dose of calcium, which will aid your body in protecting the 206 bones and 200 connecting joints that make up your skeleton.
If you want to capitalise on calcium’s benefits, take it alongside magnesium — and go for a supplement with the carbonate and hydroxide acetate forms of magnesium, as they can be best absorbed by your body. Magnesium works in sync with calcium, so it’s important to achieve the right balance of these minerals if you want to capitalise on their benefits in the gym.
In fact, if you want to boost your body’s absorption of vitamin C, vitamin D is the way to go. Did you know that, if you don’t get enough vitamin D over time, your body can actually start drawing calcium out of your bones? This means you have an increased chance of a fracture.
Scientific research has shown us that up to half of adults in the UK are thought to have a deficiency in vitamin D — mainly due to lack of sunlight. Therefore, taking this nutrient, or vitamin D3, is crucial to delivering the amount your body needs to prevent bone and muscle weakness.
How can you accomplish an efficient workout if oxygen isn’t getting to each muscle group fast and effectively? Iron is responsible for transporting oxygen to your cells and removing carbon dioxide, so how well you recover between sets or sprints relies on how efficient your aerobic system is — and iron is a major part of providing adequate oxygen to working muscles.
Iron tablets may also offer an alternative benefit. Did you know that iron can help us avoid developing ‘sports anaemia’ — a condition that causes fatigue during training? So, packing a dose of iron into your diet will help energise your work-out and prevent you from becoming exhausted mid-session.
And of course, having sufficient energy is another essential component of the optimum workout. This is why all our cells benefit from a vitamin-like substance called coenzyme Q10. Some of this is found in food but most is produced within our bodies. However, the challenge is that our natural Q10 levels decline from our mid-twenties onwards. This means that a coenzyme Q10 deficiency can leave your muscles feeling tired and weak, increasing your chances of injury. Taking a Q10 supplement offers the potential to boost your energy levels and push you to the next level of your work-out regime.
Popular among people who want to improve the look of their skin, hair and nails; vitamin E also offers fitness fans a boost. This nutrient helps blood flow around the body, delivering red blood cells where they’re needed to help with each muscle contraction during intense cardio and resistance training.
Another advantage of taking vitamin E supplements is that it can help your tissue recover from an intense workout. Plus, it is commonly used by medical professionals to help people with muscle conditions including arthritis and cramp. On top of these pros, vitamin E is an antioxidant, which means it promotes muscle mass by reducing the amount of harmful free radicals in your system that hinder tissue growth.
Some pain and soreness are expected if you’re realty pushing your body to its limit — but you still must make sure that you’re taking the right nutrients to keep your muscles safe. Omega 3 is an essential fatty acid that helps to protect against injury and improve recovery rates. Ingesting an omega 3 supplement can both prevent and alleviate strain injuries by keeping your joints and tissues well lubricated and reducing any inflammation. Another benefit of Omega 3 is that it can boost your body’s energy supply for a longer and more effective session. Daily supplementation with a high-quality fish oil, such as Bio-Fish Oil, is recommended for most athletes.
Silica and BSM
Silica and MSM are two critical components of good bone growth and fast joint recovery. According to a study carried out by the UCLA School of Medicine, 58% of athletes taking MSM for an injury reported a recovery compared to only 33% from a placebo group.
Where do you get MSM and silica when not taking them in supplement form? MSM is commonly ingested from fruit, vegetables and meat, while silica is plant-based and found in unrefined cereals and rice. However, the easiest way to get these into your body is via supplements, as these nutrients are readily lost from foods during food processing.
Damaging your muscles and tendons is a sure-fire way to reducing the effectiveness of your workout and can even cause you to skip a session all together. Vitamin C is essential for maintaining healthy connective tissue across all your body’s cartilage and tendons, and helps alleviate muscle soreness for a smoother, less painful work-out. Even better, Vitamin C reduces the production of cortisol. This hormone is a headache for people who want to keep fit, as it:
- Breaks down muscles to use for energy.
- Lowers muscle recovery post work-out.
- ‘Tampers’ with the transportation of nutrients to muscles.
- Stores extra fat around the abdomen.
Want to ideal summer body or just want to get fit? Check with a medical professional and incorporate some of these supplements into your diet.