To get the very best out of your strength training regime you want to not only perfect your exercise routine but look at how you’re fuelling your body too.
While a healthy, balanced diet should provide you with all important nutrients and vitamins to ensure your overall health there are some specific supplements which can help maximize the effectiveness of your strength training.
The goal of strength training is to build muscle and burn fat and to get the most out of your workouts you want to be able to do them as regularly as possible. This means you also want to avoid injury. The right nutrients can help you on your quest for strong, lean muscles and a healthy body inside and out.
If your vitamin D levels are low, the likelihood is, so is your testosterone. If you live in a sun-soaked part of the world then lack of vitamin D might not be a problem, but if winter provides a cold, hard hit of darkness then you may need a boost in those dull months.
Vitamin D also ensures you have strong bones so that injury is less likely to take you out of action.
Good sources of vitamin D
Beta-alanine is a naturally occurring amino acid that can improve endurance and has also been shown to assist in building muscle. Because it buffers lactic acid it can help fight off fatigue as well.
Good sources of beta-alanine
You can easily get enough magnesium through your diet alone, if you eat plenty of dark leafy greens, seeds, nuts and even dark chocolate, and yet a magnesium deficiency is a common one. If you have a magnesium deficiency you may find your bone strength, blood sugar levels and nervous system are affected.
Magnesium can help your muscles recover, so that workouts can become more regular.
Good sources of magnesium
- dark chocolate
- dark leafy greens
- whole grains
Acetyl-l-carnitine is an amino acid which is produced naturally in the body. It’s been shown to boost endurance and speed up your metabolism and fat burning too. Carnitine also helps prevent muscle loss.
Good sources of carnitine
- red meat
- chicken breast
- whole milk
- cheddar cheese
Iron will help you recover quickly between reps or workout sets. Your muscles need oxygen delivered to them so that they can stay strong and recover as fast as possible. One of iron’s major roles is transporting oxygen to your cells and getting rid of carbon dioxide.
Good sources of iron
- red meat
- dried fruit
Vitamin C does more than just stave off a cold. It maintains the connective tissues in your body and also reduces the stress cortisol - which can cause weight gain. Since injury is a fitness fan’s biggest nightmare it’s important to avoid pulled muscles and strained tendons. More vitamin C in your diet can reduce the chances of this happening.
Potassium aids muscle growth and repair, so it makes sense that if you’re strength training you want to include enough of it in your diet. Potassium also helps store carbohydrates to use for fuel and energy, plus it’ll reduce muscle soreness from training.
Good sources of potassium
- citrus juice
- large white beans
Omega 3 fatty acids
Keeping your joints healthy and lubricated is key to being able to keep up with your strength training program and there’s where omega 3 fatty acids come in. Your joints are put under a lot of strain when you work out so it’s imperative, they’re looked after.
Omega 3 fatty acids not only keep them lubricated but they reduce inflammation, give you a boost of energy and help you recover quicker from pulled muscles or strains.
Good sources of omega 3
- flax seed
Strong bones and muscles are essential for successful strength training. Calcium keeps these muscles and bones strong. It gives your muscles the cue to contract when you lift weights and therefore ensures they grow.
Good sources of calcium
- dairy products
- dark leafy greens
- green vegetables
This group of vitamins includes B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin) and B12 (cobalamin). They are essential for overall good health. They also help your muscles grow strong, give you more energy and maintain healthy nerves too. For a natural boost, consider an Energy Supplement: this one also includes vitamin B6 and iron, plus it's vegan.
Good sources of B vitamins
- whole grains
- lean meats
For faster muscle recovery get plenty of vitamin E in your diet. It’s an antioxidant powerhouse which helps blood flow and ensures red blood cells get to your muscles during strength or cardio training. Vitamin E helps tissue recovery and can improve conditions such as arthritis and cramping which can hinder your workouts.
Good sources of vitamin E
- sunflower seeds
This powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory declines naturally from our mid-twenties, so your body may need a boost if you’re post 30.
Coenzyme Q10 produces energy within cells as well as improving endurance and increasing the ability to lose body fat.
Good sources of coenzyme Q10
Lumity Morning and Night-time Supplements, which now also has a formula for men, contains many of the all-natural ingredients above. To supercharge your overall health add them to your daily wellness regime and start reaping the rewards.
Note: To ensure you’re getting the right measures of minerals and vitamins you may want to consult a GP before choosing to supplement.