Looking to push yourself further in the gym? Sheer will and endurance can only push you so far—you need the right nutrients to elevate your stamina and performance to get the results you’re looking for. In addition to increasing your protein intake, you need the right combination of nutrients to give your body an energy boost.
Here are the best supplements for exercise that will help you take your workouts to the next level.
The B vitamin group is essential for releasing energy in the body. They promote healthy metabolism of both carbohydrates and proteins, helping you build stronger muscles. The B vitamins also support a healthy immune system and nervous system.
A lack of B vitamins, particularly Vitamin B-12, has been shown to make people feel tired and weak. Vegetarians are more likely to be deficient in this vitamin, which means it might be smart to supplement. A B complex vitamin can provide your recommended daily intake of B vitamins—around 400mcg per day—in one simple dose. Major B vitamins that contribute to endurance and performance in the gym include:
- Vitamin B-2
- Vitamin B-3 (Niacin)
- Vitamin B-6
- Vitamin B-12
Vitamin E is one of the most important vitamins for exercise, playing a crucial role in your overall health. As a powerful antioxidant that promotes a healthy immune system, it helps prevent the dip in immune function that often accompanies a hard workout. Vitamin E is also shown to ease muscle cramps, scavenging free radicals and preventing oxidative stress from causing muscle strain and frailty.
Most people don’t receive their recommended daily Vitamin E intake, around 15mg for healthy adults, from diet alone. Vitamin E is readily available in whole food sources, but many of them contain significant calories and fats which can negate the progress you’ve made in the gym. Taking a supplement may be ideal for your situation, particularly if you’re following a fat-conscious diet.
Like Vitamin E, Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that promotes a healthy immune system. Recent studies have shown that taking Vitamin C either before or after a workout can significantly speed recovery. Its antioxidant properties reduce the inflammation that comes from training hard, helping you get back in the gym faster or supporting returns from injury.
Healthy adults should aim to receive between 65 to 90mg per day. Many people—athletes and couch potatoes alike—supplement with Vitamin C, and the powerhouse combo of C and E multiplies the effect of each vitamin on their own.
The “Sunshine Vitamin” works with other minerals to promote muscle strength and being deficient in this vitamin can really drag down your performance in the gym. People get the majority of their Vitamin D from the sun, but it can be consumed through certain foods. Healthy adults need around 1,000 to 2,000IU per day, which can be difficult if you work indoors or if you live in an area that doesn’t see much sunshine. Many adults take a Vitamin D supplement, especially during times of the year when there’s little sunshine.
For athletes and bodybuilders, amateurs or pros, Vitamin A is an incredibly useful nutrient. Vitamin A promotes protein synthesis, the essential process for muscle growth. If that’s not enough, Vitamin A also has a direct effect on testosterone levels, the most powerful muscle-building hormone. For both women and men, Vitamin A helps muscle cells reach maturity at a faster rate. If you’re looking to build muscle mass, keeping your Vitamin A levels at an appropriate level—700mcg for women and 900mcg for men—is essential.
When it comes to supplements for exercise, all-natural makes a difference
Even if you follow a strict, balanced diet, getting your recommended daily intake of workout-boosting vitamins can be a challenge. If you’re deficient in any of the vitamins listed above, supplementing might be an ideal solution. Before making the decision to supplement, talk to your doctor to determine whether it’s right for you.
If you get the go-ahead from your physician, do your research and choose all-natural supplements. They’re derived from natural sources, improving their bioavailability. Synthetic supplements are harder for your body to absorb. Feed your body vitamins it can recognize and choose natural every time—you’ll notice the difference the next time you hit the gym.