I’ll be honest, supplements overwhelm me. There are so many to choose from, so many different price points and so many promises. But supplements can help your inner athlete thrive. Between spin class, HIIT class and reformer Pilates, we’re putting stress on our bodies, our muscles and our minds. Supplements help you get the essential nutrients your body craves. They can also help you take your workout to the next level. As an athlete, I’ve always wondered, what exactly should I be taking?
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Also known as fish oil, this supplement can lower the risk of heart disease, depression, dementia and arthritis. Fish oil also has performance-enhancing benefits like improving cardio-respiratory functioning, combatting negative effects of training on your immune system and reducing exercise-induced muscle damage as well as delayed-onset muscle soreness. I will admit, fish oil capsules aren’t the best tasting, but look for the lemon or orange-flavored ones for a slightly better aftertaste.
This supplement has several benefits for athletes including greater strength, better hormone balance and improved insulin sensitivity and body composition. Endurance athletes can greatly benefit from magnesium – it can help reduce the accumulation of lactic acid which, in turn, reduces the feeling of fatigue during strenuous activity. Magnesium is lost through sweat, so it’s important that those who push themselves in strenuous environments increase their intake.
Namely, thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B-6, B-12 and folate help convert protein and carbs to energy. They also play a role in muscle-building and repair process. Attention lifters out there, since you are grabbing for that extra heavy dumbbell, it’s important that you’re also grabbing for those extra B-vitamins, as your body is burning through them rapidly. Just make sure you take these supplements early on in the day – the B-12 will give you tons of energy and keep you awake!
As we head into the winter months, it’s important to supplement Vitamin D. Vitamin D helps reduce inflammation, reduce the risk of colon and breast cancer as well as improve mood. Vitamin D is also the partner of calcium to help improve bone density. Vitamin D allows the brain to release melatonin, which helps you sleep easier (think about how sleepy you are after being at the beach all day), so make sure you’re taking this one in the evening before bedtime.
There are many benefits to being active. One downfall is that the more strenuous the workout, the faster we deplete our crucial vitamins and minerals. Supplements allow us to restore the tank and continue to perform at peak levels.