Should I Be Taking Supplements?

By Jayne Robinson

Fitness and nutrition go hand in hand. You really can't get the best out of one without the other. Our in-house nutritionist Libby Limon talks more about if we should be taking supplements whilst working out.

Fitness and nutrition go hand in hand. You really can’t get the best out of one without the other. Up to a certain level of training having a generally healthy diet can serve you well. However, if you have particular fitness or sporting goals such as changing body composition, increased performance and regularity at the gym or taking part in an event such as long distance run or cycle then as you up your activity you need to up your nutrition game. There are three main areas you will need to understand and focus on;

1. Energy levels, on and off the field
2. Promoting muscle repair and recovery times
3. Protecting your joints

Energy production
Energy is what powers you through your workouts and it is provided by combination of the macro nutrients, carbohydrates, fats and proteins you consume and oxygen you breath. However, before you body can use these macros nutrients and oxygen as energy it needs a number of micro nutrients to either transport or work as cofactors in the energy conversion system. B vitamins complex and CoQ10 are particularly needed in the energy production process hence a deficiency may impair both aerobic and anaerobic exercise performance. Daily supplementation can help guard against deficiency or insufficiency.

Promoting muscle repair and recovery

Oxidative stress is the silent negative side effect of training that if not managed via nutrition can be very damaging both in terms of short term and long term health. This ‘stress’ is one of the reasons why working out is good for us, it shifts the body into repairing mood as well working more efficiently or ‘fit’. As we create more energy to exercise we produce ‘free radicals’, these are very reactive and in too high numbers cause damage to cells.

They need to neutralised by antioxidants we eat and create internally from nutritional building blocks. Glutathione is the ‘mother of all antioxidants’ and is produced by the liver. You can improve your production of glutathione via supplement of green tea and turmeric that supports the liver function. CoQ10, Berries and super greens are also in themselves contain anti-oxidants reducing the risk of damage from oxidative stress and potentially reducing muscle recovery time.

Protecting your joints
Most exercise puts some pressure on our joints, it is well known that high-impact sports including running can cause joint problems later in life. Omega 3s found in krill oil and turmeric and ginger all are potent anti-inflammatory and have been shown in studies to have a positive effect on joint health.

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