Whether you are a professional athlete or a weekend warrior, athletes of all types and abilities want to maximize workouts, enhance performance, and reduce recovery time following strenuous exercise. There are many nutritional supplements available to accentuate pre-workout, during activity, and post-workout. Some are depleted through exercise and need to be replenished. Others support healthy joints, muscles, mobility, energy production, and recovery.
- A quality multivitamin and mineral can replenish important nutrients that are diminished when extra stressors are placed on the body from aggressive workouts or competitions. B vitamins are critical for energy repletion; extra antioxidants, like vitamins A, C, and E are useful for combating free radicals produced while working out; and minerals, like calcium, magnesium, and potassium, support healthy muscle and nerve function.
- Extra vitamin D3 is needed by virtually every athlete. When we're using our heart and skeletal muscles more, we need extra support. Vitamin D3 plays an important role in many of our body functions. It helps regulate calcium and phosphorus metabolism, and supports cardiovascular, immune, muscle, teeth, and bone health.
- Omega-3s are considered essential fatty acids because our bodies can't efficiently make them. To date, there are more than 30,000 studies showcasing the health benefits of omega-3s, which promote heart, brain, vision, joint, and immune system health.
- A good tag team with omega-3s are medium-chain triglycerides(MCTs). MCTs are a relatively new kid on the block. They're an important fat for those with increased energy needs. MCTs are used by our body differently than other fats. They're used as an instant energy source, which is great for supporting endurance.
There are other beneficial nutrients targeting extra joint and muscle support like tart cherry, boswellia, ginger, and curcumin. And ones for additional energy production during pre-workout like d-ribose. A glucosamine, chondroitin, and MSM formula is also important to maintain healthy joint and connective tissues.
Amino acids are also extremely important for athletes. Referred to as the building blocks of protein, amino acids are structural components of body tissues such as muscle, hair, collagen, enzymes, antibodies, etc. Certain amino acids are helpful for pre- and post-workouts, and some crossover to assist both.
- L-arginine is a precursor to nitric oxide, which assists in blood vessel dilation, circulation, and proper blood flow. This is great for pre-workout to help deliver to the muscles and support exercise performance.
- L-taurine is an essential amino acid that supports healthy tissue and muscle development, which is also an excellent pre-workout supplement.
- L-glutamine is the most abundant amino in our body. It is beneficial pre- and post-workout for building, rebuilding, and repairing muscle tissue. With extreme exercise, our body depletes levels of glutamine often quicker than it can be replaced. It assists lipids and fatty acids into the mitochondria for energy production and can reduce recovery time after intense workouts.
- For post-workouts, L-lysine is an essential amino acid found in high amounts in our muscles and plays an important role in building and maintaining healthy muscle tissue. It’s unique, because when combined with other vitamins and minerals, it can form other aminos. For instance, when lysine is combined with vitamin C, our body works to convert lysine to carnitine. How cool is that! Boy our bodies are quite amazing!
- Glycine is also beneficial post-workout as it promotes reduced recovery time following intense exercise.
So whether you're a weekend warrior or intense athlete, you need to make sure you get the basic nutrients you need to support optimal health and activity levels. Beyond that, there are many to choose from that can enhance athletic performance, improve mobility, support joints and muscles, and assist with exercise recovery.