How to build and repair muscle with nutrient supplements
If you like to smash your personal best every time you hit the gym, you need to look at the pros of supplements. Taking the right vitamins and minerals can help strengthen bone, build muscle, prevent injury, and aid recovery - ideal if you're into fitness and weight-lifting.
While sports injuries are sometimes inevitable, there are steps you can take to ensure your body is working at its best to reduce risk and boost recovery. The importance of nutrition should not be underestimated, so check out how vitamins and minerals can help you push harder in your next work-out session.
Magnesium and calcium
The human skeleton is made up of 206 bones, with over 200 connecting joints. Exercise and weight-lifting can place enormous stress on our joints and bones, so it's important to consider the nutrients that can strengthen them - particularly if you're building muscle.
Make sure you take daily magnesium supplements, as it's vital for the structure and strength of bones. Magnesium works in sync with calcium, so it's important to achieve the right balance of these minerals if you want to capitalise on their benefits in the gym. If you're choosing a supplement to top up your levels, choose one with the hydroxide acetate and carbonate forms of magnesium as they can be best absorbed by your body to help you lift and press greater weights more quickly.
Clearly, calcium is essential for building bone strength and lowering the risk of breakages when you're lifting heaving weights. To help your body absorb calcium efficiently in time for your next work-out, you need to take vitamin D supplements. If you don't get enough vitamin D over time, your body can actually start drawing calcium out of your bones, which increases your chance of a fracture.
Research has also shown that vitamin D deficiencies are associated with muscle weakness and up to 50% of adults in the UK are thought to be deficient in it due to lack of sunshine. So, if you want to keep adding bulk effectively, you need to take vitamin D supplements.
Omega 3 is an essential fatty acid that helps to protect against injury and improve recovery rates. When you're lifting heavy weights, your tissues can become inflamed and painful. Ingesting an omega 3 supplement can both prevent and alleviate strain injuries by keeping your joints and tissues well lubricated and reducing any inflammation. Another benefit of omega 3 is that it can boost your body's energy supply for a longer, harder and more effective session. Daily supplementation with a high-quality fish oil, such as Bio-Fish Oil, is recommended for most athletes.
Iron and coenzyme Q10
There's no getting away from the importance of packing your diet with iron if you want to build bulk and improve fitness levels. Iron is responsible for transporting oxygen to your cells and removing carbon dioxide. How well you recover between sets relies on how efficient your aerobics system is, and iron is a major part of providing adequate oxygen to working muscles. Taking iron supplements is also an effective way of avoiding the development of "sports anaemia" - which is a condition that causes fatigue during training. So, packing a dose of iron into your diet will help energise your work-out and prevent you from becoming exhausted mid-session.
What about coenzyme Q10? All our cells need a vitamin-like substance called coenzyme Q10 to produce energy. Some can be found in food but most is produced within our bodies. However, the challenge is that our natural Q10 levels decline from our mid-twenties onwards. If you're into resistance training, this means that a coenzyme Q10 deficiency can leave your muscles feeling tired and weak, increasing your chances of injury. Taking a Q10 supplement offers the potential to boost your energy levels and push you to the next level of your work-out regime.
Whether you're into cardio or resistance, anyone who cares about their fitness needs to be regularly taking vitamin E. This nutrient helps blood flow around the body, delivering red blood cells where they're needed to help you with each muscle contraction.
Vitamin E is also an excellent way to repair tissue damage as quickly as possible so you can get back to the gym quicker, and is commonly used by medical professionals to help people with muscle conditions including arthritis and cramp. On top of these pros, vitamin E is an antioxidant. This means it boosts muscle mass by reducing the amount of harmful free radicals in your system that hinder tissue growth.
Another muscle-boosting antioxidant, vitamin C is essential for maintaining healthy connective tissue across all your body's cartilage and tendons. If you've ever damaged these, you'll know how long you have to rest before you can pick you your fitness regime again.
Vitamin C helps alleviates muscle soreness for a smoother, less painful work-out and reduces the production of cortisol. Cortisol is a bodybuilders nightmare, as it:
. Breaks down muscle to use for energy.
. Boosts the storing of fat around the abdomen.
. Meddles with the transportation of nutrients to muscles.
. Reduces muscle recovery post work-out.
If you take a daily dose of vitamin C, you're sure to see an improvement in your recovery rates between work-outs.
BSM and silica
Repetitive lifting puts incredible strain on your joints. To protect them and prevent an injury that could see you out of action for weeks, your body needs MSM and silica. Both these supplements are essential for bone growth and are excellent for aiding recovery from weight-lifting injuries including joint and nerve damage. According to a study carried out by the UCLA School of Medicine, 58% of athletes taking MSM for an injury reported a recovery compared to only 33% from a placebo group.
MSM is a naturally occurring sulphur found in fresh fruit, vegetables and meat, while silica is plant-based and found in foods like unrefined cereals and rice. However, the easiest way to get these into your body is via supplements, as these nutrients are readily lost from foods during food processing.
Taking the right supplements at the right intervals can massively improve the efficiency of your work-out, rate of your recovery and level of your muscle gain. So, it's important to be clued-up on the basics if you take your fitness seriously.