When you're a serious athlete, nutrition is a fundamental part of your training. You know without the proper nutrients, your body can't function at its optimal level. And that doesn't just mean what goes into your body before and after a training session. Multivitamins formulated for athletes are one such product developed to help athletes' bodies stay strong, reduce injury and support natural energy production so you can go the distance.
But do you need one?
The Physical Toll of Training
Strenuous training, whether it's weight lifting or running long distances drain the body's resources, so to speak. These activities call on the systems of the entire body to pitch in for top performance and the effects are widespread. While not all of these actions are bad (who could argue against No. 1?), but if the body isn't properly fueled, there can be negative side effects. Here are eight ways intense training effects your body:
- Speeds up the metabolism, causing the body to burn stored fat.
- The muscles can develop tiny tears as they're stretched and engaged.
- Oxygen is lost as lung capacity is tested and pushed to the limit.
- Wear and tear on the joints, which can lead to inflammation and arthritis later on.
- The heart rate is increased, which can be taxing over time.
- The body sweats to cool itself, releasing moisture which can lead to dehydration.
- Blood circulation increases.
- Your digestive system can be stressed.
The Most Important Nutrients for Athletes
So, how do you make sure the body is getting enough support to counteract these effects? These are the nutrients we recommend athletes get on a daily basis:
- Vitamins -- Vitamins A, C and D are important antioxidants that support tissue health to promote healing after injury and also keep the immune system strong, which can be weakened by stress. The other vitamins you should make sure to get enough of are B vitamins, which support natural energy production as well as cognitive health.
- Minerals -- Calcium and magnesium enable the muscles to contract and relax properly. They also keep the bones strong to reduce your risk for injury and calm the central nervous system. Iron is another mineral you need, which keeps oxygen-rich blood flowing to all your muscles and organs while you train. Lastly, zinc will also support the immune system and energy levels.
- Electrolytes -- Potassium helps the body regulate moisture, keeping you hydrated. When you sweat, you lose this electrolyte, so it's important to replenish it.
Do You Need a New Supplement?
When looking for a multivitamin, anyone at any fitness level should make sure all the basics are covered. Look at the vitamins and minerals to make sure you have as close as possible to the recommended daily amount, especially of the nutrients listed above. If you're eating a balanced diet, you won't need more than that.
If you're an athlete, you can shop for a supplement that offers all these things plus some extras that help the body combat the physical stress of training. Here are a few we suggest:
- Probiotics for digestive and immune support.
- Adaptogenic herbs like holy basil, ginger and turmeric to combat inflammation and improve the body's stress response.
- BCAAs, or branched chain amino acids to help the body build strong, lean muscle.
- A natural energy booster like green tea, which also provides antioxidants.
Consult your physician about your training schedule and diet. They can determine through a physical examination if you need more or less of a particular vitamin or mineral to keep the body healthy enough to train.
Shop for all your sports nutrition needs at eVitamins and check back for the latest health information.