Whether you’ve just started jogging or you’re a regular in the gym, you’re placing more demands on your body so you’ll need good nutrition but it’s not always possible to get everything you need on a plate. Naturally, this is where supplements can come in but navigating the often unregulated world of sports nutrition can be tricky.
Fortunately, at Health Renewal, our doctors work with patients of every fitness level and can help you create a nutraceutical prescription using top-quality supplements to help you perform your best.
To inspire you, we’re taking a closer look at how just five particular supplements can help you build more muscle, recover faster, burn more fat and even improve your mental focus!
Regardless of what exercise you do, if you’re using any muscle, you’re essentially tearing it down, after which your body has to repair it – a process requires eating more protein. So, if tucking into a chicken breast after every workout doesn’t sound like your idea of fun, consider investing in a good protein supplement, particularly whey protein.
The great thing about whey protein is that it contains all nine essential amino acids. It’s also quickly absorbed to help you increase your strength, gain more muscle and even burn more fat. The best time to consume whey protein is either just before or straight after a workout but science has proven that, regardless of when it’s taken, it’ll go a long way to helping you build stronger muscles.
Endurance athletes, this one is for you! L-Glutamine, or simply glutamine is a naturally occurring non-essential amino acid found in food sources like meat, dairy and eggs. In our body, it’s stored in our blood and muscles and released after an intense bout of exercise, be it a marathon or an hour-long Zumba class. This is a good thing as it’s essential to helping your body heal post-workout. However, if you continue to train without replenishing your natural supply, you’ll end up with stiff, sore muscles.
If you’re not eating enough glutamine-rich foods or are on a plant-based diet, it’s always a good idea to supplement, especially if you’re someone who likes to work out long and hard. Also, the benefits aren’t just limited to fitness. Glutamine can also help support your immune system as well as the health of your gut.
At this stage, we all know that taking an omega-3 fatty acid supplement will benefit absolutely everyone. Just a few of the benefits including helping to reduce your blood pressure, raising your good cholesterol levels and reducing the risk of age-related mental decline. Still, omega-3s are especially brilliant for anyone performing any type of exercise as they’re fabulous inflammation fighters!
While exercise puts your body under a “good” type of stress, it still produces inflammatory free-radicals that can damage your body’s cells. Happily, Omega-3s can help “put out the fire” while reducing joint pain and muscle tenderness. Better yet, they can help maintain the lining of your arteries, keeping them clean and clear for good circulation, something that’s vital for anyone who likes to get their blood pumping.
Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) is a fatty acid that occurs naturally in food sources like meat and dairy. Many swear by its fat-burning benefits and a lot of that has to do with its ability to improve your body’s sensitivity to insulin. This is a good thing. When you consume sugar, your body releases insulin that sends a message – to burn up the sugar for energy. When you’re insensitive to insulin’s message, you fail to make the conversion and the sugar ends up floating around before being stored away as fat.
Slimming benefits aside, CLA is also a staple in the fitness community for its ability to enhance muscle metabolism and physical performance. After any exercise, your muscles are deprived of energy and put into a state that requires them to work hard to repair themselves. Happily, CLA encourages this rebuilding process. It can also help prevent much of your newly gained muscle from being absorbed by your body, so you end up seeing more gains from every workout.
Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is a neurotransmitter-like compound made by your brain. Its primary role is to lower the activity of your brain cells, switching them to a gear that makes it easier to focus. Many don’t realise it’s a brilliant pick for sportspeople as its concentration-boosting factor can help improve your golf and tennis game. It also encourages the growth of lean muscle growth and fat burning.
Another benefit? GABA encourages the deepest state of sleep, the slow wave-kind, that helps you wake up feeling refreshed. Suddenly, getting up to train for that marathon doesn’t feel like rolling a rock up Mount Everest!