Want to push your body to its limits in time for summer? Consider using health-focused supplements to boost your next gym session. Taking the right vitamins and minerals can help strengthen bone, build muscle, prevent injury, and aid recovery — ideal if you’re into fitness and weight-lifting.
Of course, sports injuries happen — but there are ways you can lower the risk or even speed up your recovery rate with certain nutrients. The importance of nutrition should not be underestimated, so check out how vitamins and minerals can help you push harder in your next workout session.
Lower the risk of breakages
Most of us already know that calcium is an excellent nutrient for strengthening our bones and reducing the risk of fractures. But 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 increases your chance of a fracture — not what you want when you’re trying to improve your physique.
Are vitamin D efficiencies serious, and do many people in the UK suffer from them? Research has also shown that vitamin D deficiencies are associated with muscle weakness and up to 50% of adults in the UK are thought to be deficient in it due to lack of sunshine. To help your body absorb calcium efficiently in time for your next work-out, why not start taking vitamin D3?
Boost your recovery rate
If you’re looking for something that will safeguard your body from injury or increase your rate of recovery if an accident occurs, omega 3 supplements may be for you. When you’re lifting heavy weights, your tissues can become inflamed and painful. 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, harder and more effective session. Daily supplementation with a high-quality fish oil, such as Bio-Fish Oil, is recommended for most athletes.
Strengthen your body
You can’t hope to build muscle and improve your general fitness if your bones and joints are weak. The human skeleton is made up of 206 bones, with over 200 connecting joints, and exercise can place enormous stress on our bodies. Therefore, it's important to consider the nutrients that can strengthen them — particularly if you’re building muscle.
Magnesium is vital for maintaining the optimum structure and strength of our bones, so it’s worth considering getting these supplements into our diets if we’re weight-lifting or training. Magnesium works in sync with calcium, so it’s important to achieve the right balance of these minerals if you want to capitalize on their benefits in the gym. If you’re choosing a supplement to top up your levels, choose one with the hydroxide acetate and carbonate forms of magnesium as they can be best absorbed by your body to help you lift and press greater weights more quickly.
Protect your connective tissues
Vitamin C is an essential nutrient that we all need for good health; however, many people are unaware of its variety of benefits. A muscle-boosting antioxidant, vitamin C is essential for maintaining healthy connective tissue across the body’s cartilage and tendons. If you’ve ever damaged these, you’ll know how long you have to rest before you can pick you your fitness regime again.
How else can vitamin C improve our workouts? This nutrient assists with alleviating muscle soreness for a better, painless workout and lowers the production of cortisol — if you didn’t already know, cortisol is a bodybuilder’s nightmare, as it:
- Breaks down muscle to use for energy.
- Reduces muscle recovery post-workout.
- Boosts the storing of fat around the abdomen.
- Meddles with the transportation of nutrients to muscles.
Take vitamin C daily to ensure that your recovery rates are fast for a more efficient exercise regime.
Deliver adequate oxygen to your muscles
Are you looking to tone up and build muscle mass? Then, iron is an important nutrient for you. Iron is responsible for transporting oxygen to your cells and removing carbon dioxide. How well you recover between sets relies on how efficient your aerobics system is, and iron is a major part of providing adequate oxygen to working muscles. Taking iron supplements is also an effective way of avoiding the development of ‘sports anaemia’ — which is 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.
Boost your energy
Ever tire out mid-session or want a nutrient that gives your workout an energy push? All our cells need a vitamin-like substance called coenzyme Q10 to produce energy. Some can be found in food but most are produced within our bodies. However, the challenge is that our natural Q10 levels decline from our mid-twenties onwards. If you’re into resistance training, 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.
Repair tissue damage
Both weight trainers and fitness fans that focus on cardio need a healthy dose of vitamin E to boost the workouts. This nutrient helps blood flow around the body, delivering red blood cells where they’re needed to help you with each muscle contraction.
Worried that an injury is going to force you out of the gym for several weeks? If you take vitamin E, you give your body a better chance to recover from tissue damage — this nutrient is also commonly used by medical professionals to help people with arthritis and cramp. On top of these pros, vitamin E is an antioxidant. This means it boosts muscle mass by reducing the amount of harmful free radicals in your system that hinder tissue growth.
Increase recovery rate of weight-lifting injuries
Long weight-lifting workouts and packing several repetitions into one session puts a lot of stress and strain on your muscles. To protect them and prevent an injury that could see you out of action for weeks, your body needs MSM and silica. Both these supplements are essential for bone growth and are excellent for aiding recovery from weight-lifting injuries including joint and nerve damage. 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.
But, what exactly is MSM and is there a way to get it into our bodies without taking supplements? MSM is a naturally occurring sulfur found in fresh fruit, vegetables, and meat, while silica is plant-based and found in foods like 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.
If you’re looking to boost your fitness levels, tone up and build muscle in time for the holiday season; get clued up on essential nutrients and make the most of your next workout. Make sure that if you are just starting out you explore using a personal trainer course from Discovery or your local gym.