Looking to make big gains in the gym? Lifting heavy is just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to building muscle—what you do outside the gym is just as important. Following a body building diet is the secret to helping you make the most of your strength-building efforts, giving your muscles the fuel they need to recover, repair and rebuild after intense workouts while keeping your fat levels low. Read on to discover the key nutrients you need to include in your body building diet.
Vitamin E: the antioxidant
Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that plays a variety of parts in promoting the body’s essential functions. In addition to reducing inflammation and helping you recover after a workout, it also preserves the plasma membrane of cells. The plasma membrane keeps cell contents from spilling out, which can prevent cells from healing after damage. This is crucially important for muscle health, as heavy lifting tears plasma membranes and hinders recovery after a workout. Vitamin E repairs these membranes, promoting recovery and, in turn, muscle growth.
Most people don’t get enough Vitamin E from diet alone. Since the richest sources of Vitamin E are foods that are high in fat, including pressed oils, fatty fish and nuts, it can be particularly difficult for body builders who follow strict diets to maintain adequate Vitamin E levels. A quality Vitamin E supplement can boost your Vitamin E levels, aiding in muscle growth and helping you make the most of your hard work in the gym.
Vitamin D: the protector
Vitamin D, or the “Sunshine Vitamin” is one of the 24 macronutrients necessary for human survival. Why is Vitamin D an essential nutrient for a body building diet? It plays a variety of roles, from boosting your immune function to reducing your chance of illness and helping you stay in the gym to continue making gains. It also promotes bone health, helping your skeletal system resist sudden force and trauma while preserving muscle strength.
Your body absorbs Vitamin D whenever you’re exposed to direct sunlight, but this nutrient is also found in some foods like dairy, eggs and fish. People of Western cultures have the highest rates of Vitamin D deficiency due to low sun exposure and diet. If you don’t spend enough time in the sun, or if you have difficulty absorbing Vitamin D, a free form Vitamin D3 supplement can help you maintain adequate levels, allowing you to perform at your best in the gym.
Vitamin B3: the gym buddy
The B vitamins in general are essential for your overall health, but B3 holds particular appeal among body builders. B3 increases muscular vascularity, aiding in muscle growth, repair and recovery. It also enhances your metabolism, helping you burn off fat and carbs, keeping you lean while still building muscle.
B3 is found in a variety of animal and plant-based foods. Poultry, beef, eggs, dairy products, fish and nuts are particularly rich sources of B3. Many body builders choose to incorporate a B-complex supplement into their everyday routine. These supplements include all eight B vitamins, including B3, into one product, helping you take your athletic performance to the next level.
Iron: the oxygenator
Iron is an essential nutrient that carries oxygen throughout the body, including to the muscles. It helps muscles work efficiently, preserving their strength and improving their fat-burning capabilities. Low iron levels also make you feel tired and sluggish, which can take a toll on your ability to lift at the gym.
Endurance athletes, including body builders, are at particular risk of iron deficiency. Regular, heavy training sessions can deplete the body of iron, making it a challenge for even the most fit, well-conditioned athletes to maintain appropriate levels. Eat more lean meats and consider taking a supplement if you’re concerned about your iron intake.
Body builders should supplement safely
Following a body building diet is essential for effectively and efficiently building muscle and keeping fat levels low. If you’re concerned you’re not getting enough of the nutrients listed above from dietary sources alone, supplementing may be a convenient, safe solution. Talk to your doctor to determine which supplements are right for you, and always choose high quality products that give you the most benefits.