Bodybuilding is a sport that is more about appearance than any other sport. Physical performance and general health are often second to none. We fully understand that eating enough protein is a higher priority for you than getting enough greens, especially when you're bulking. Yet it is a shame to neglect your physical health. Believe it or not, certain vitamins and minerals can actually improve your performance and gains in the gym! In this article from XXL Nutrition let's list it which nutrients are essential in bodybuilding and health.
Vitamin D important for strength training
You have probably heard of it: Vitamin D. It is a vitamin that is produced by your body in the skin after exposure to UV radiation, or the sun. Because the sun in the Netherlands unfortunately does not shine more often than it does, it is often recommended to supplement with Vitamin D3. It is well known that Vitamin D3 has an important function for the health of the body for bones, muscles and immune system, among other things. But did you know it can offer you even more?
Technically, Vitamin D3 is a steroid hormone due to its structure. It is therefore often classified as a prohormone, but a completely legal one. It is not the case that Vitamin D3 will raise your testosterone levels to supra-physiological levels, but a deficiency can certainly have a negative effect!
One study examined the relationship between Vitamin D levels and androgen levels in men and found that there was a positive relationship. This indicates that it is important to get enough Vitamin D in bodybuilding, whether this is through the sun or in supplement form.
How Much Vitamin D3 Per Day?
The Recommended Daily Allowance is set at 200 IU, but a higher dose is needed to get all the beneficial effects. Starting with 1000 IU per day is a good guideline, but no adverse effects have been found up to 5000+ IU. Unfortunately, we often see a Vitamin D deficiency, especially in the winter months. That's why we recommend adding extra Vitamin D3 to swallow to keep your values up to standard throughout the year.
Vitamin C promotes resistance
The next vitamin will be a familiar one to most, we are naturally talking about Vitamin C. Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that also fulfills an antioxidant function.
Benefits Vitamin C on our body
Fortunately, scurvy is no longer a problem with food as we know it today, but besides that, Vitamin C has countless other health benefits. The list is too long to list here completely, but for strength athletes, Vitamin C contributes to the following:
- Vitamin C promotes resistance during and after physical exertion
- Vitamin C activates your natural energy in the body
- Vitamin C is important for the cartilage
- Vitamin C helps protect healthy body cells
It may therefore be clear that Vitamin C, also due to its antioxidant effect to protect against free radicals, plays an enormously important role in your body. Do you realize that intensive strength training not only ensures muscle growth, but that it is primarily a burden on your body. Cells and tissues are damaged, only then can recovery take place. And yes, let Vitamin C play an important role in this.
Are you a fussy eater and do you still want to boost your resistance? Then you can take extra Vitamin C. A good Vitamin C supplement contains a healthy dose of ascorbic acid and helps you to get enough daily.
Magnesium for well-functioning muscles
Magnesium is an interesting mineral, not only because so many people are short of it, but also because it performs an awful lot of functions in the body!
To name just a few, magnesium supports calcium in maintaining strong bones, contributes to normal muscle function, helps to reduce fatigue and even has an effect on psychological functions. As a result of the latter two points, magnesium is good for your mental energy, concentration and mental fatigue. All things that are often obstructed during a strict diet! Time for some extra magnesium!
Then we have not even told you that magnesium supports a normal water and electrolyte balance. This not only prevents you from retaining subcutaneous moisture, but can also reduce muscle cramps!
Finally, magnesium contributes to normal protein synthesis. Because yes, what good is it to eat all those proteins if your body cannot handle them properly? Reasons enough to make magnesium a priority in your diet!
The bioavailability of magnesium
What is also very special about magnesium is the bioavailability. You will often hear that magnesium is found in whole-grain cereal products such as oatmeal, nuts such as almonds or dark chocolate. Although this is true, the bioavailability is often disappointingly low. Result? You still have a shortage!
But what are good sources of magnesium? For that, we soon have to move to foods that generally contain slightly less magnesium, but the intake of which is as it should be. Consider the following products:
As you can see, products that most people do not eat every day, so that is exactly why magnesium is such a popular supplement. But here too it is important to pay attention, because not every type of magnesium is the same. If you are looking for high quality magnesium tablets or pills, look to it magnesium citrate, chloride, lactate or aspartate. Do you think you are deficient in magnesium? Then read our other blog: Signs that you are deficient in magnesium.
The role of Omega 3 in bodybuilding
Omega-3 is the type of fatty acid that has shown the world that fats are not that bad. It has been recognized for some time that Omega-3 contributes to the functioning of the heart, the brain and (the maintenance of) healthy blood values. In addition, it is a nutrient that is still being intensively researched, so that more and more benefits are revealed. It is therefore not without reason that Omega-3 is added to more and more foods.
Eat more oily fish?
The importance of fatty fish should therefore not be underestimated for a bodybuilder because Omega-3 kcal for kcal offers one of the most benefits for your body. Yet we can imagine that eating fatty fish every day is not fun for everyone, not for yourself or for your wallet.
Are you not a fan of fatty fish? Or do you simply not have the budget to get fish regularly? A high quality Omega-3 supplement is a solution in this case. This provides the body with high quality fatty acids, without the fish taste afterwards!
Zinc contributes to a good hormone balance
Zinc is a mineral that performs many functions similar to calcium and magnesium. Yet there is one hugely important area where zinc plays a role while the other two do not. That area is your hormone balance. And in bodybuilding, a good hormone balance is of course very important.
Zinc contributes to a normal hormone balance. In other words: Zinc contributes to the maintenance of normal testosterone levels in your body. Almost everyone who does strength training will know all too well: testosterone has an important influence on your muscle mass. It goes without saying that it is therefore important for every man to have enough testosterone in the body to achieve optimal progression.
Is zinc important to bodybuilders?
Are you going to sink the next Mr. Make Olympia? Absolutely not. But it will ensure that you have a perfect hormonal environment to be healthy and to get the most out of your training and nutrition! A finding that in this investigation was also found in men who received zinc tablets. Zinc is therefore an important mineral for anyone who is doing well with bodybuilding and health.
Bodybuilders need extra zinc for its role in muscle protein synthesis. The mineral therefore has an important effect on muscle growth and the recovery of your muscles after a hard workout. In addition, zinc protects your already built-up muscle mass (source).
To get enough zinc, it is important to get enough red meat. In addition, there are small amounts of zinc in dairy products and crustaceans and shellfish. As you can see, getting zinc from food can quickly become very pricey. Also, this way of eating is not for everyone. The group of strength athletes who eat completely plant-based is growing.
Zinc in capsule form is therefore a good alternative, or if you are also looking for magnesium ZMA with Vitamin B6 the perfect option for you! Prefer a pure Zinc supplement, without other additives? Then our Zinc tablets an excellent and affordable choice!
Calcium for healthy bones and joints
Have you ever wondered how to bench very heavy weights if your wrist, elbow or shoulder joint is constantly hurting you? Yes, without a solid foundation you will never be able to build pounds of muscle mass and push heavy weights. The skeleton is not for nothing compared to a clothes hanger: the bigger and stronger the hanger (= skeleton), the more clothing (= muscle mass) you can hang on it!
Let that be precisely the point where calcium plays an important role. Calcium is good for calcium balance and plays a role in bone formation and maintenance of strong bones. The effect of calcium on your bones is of course what calcium is most known for, but there is more!
Calcium also contributes to the normal functioning of the nervous system, plays a role in the maintenance of strong muscles and supports the energy metabolism. One by one, things that you absolutely cannot miss as a bodybuilder for a dry and muscular body.
Getting enough calcium without dairy?
If you cannot or do not want to eat dairy, then luckily there is no man overboard. The solution is simple: Calcium in capsule form! This is an inexpensive way to still provide yourself with your calcium needs. In addition, it is also combined with magnesium.
The balance between bodybuilding and health
In this XXL Nutrition blog we have highlighted the most special nutrients for overall health and bodybuilding for you. However, this does not mean that the rest is unimportant. In fact, everything has to be in balance to be able to demand the most from your body. This means that you also get all those other vitamins and minerals that we have not mentioned today but better in the right amounts.
Don't feel like figuring out exactly what amounts of vitamins and minerals you should get? multivit is specially tailored for athletes and covers your most important needs. Especially for the ladies we have the Women's Multivit developed that is tailored to the needs of women.
Bodybuilding and health go hand in hand and can reinforce each other, provided you think carefully about which healthy food you consume. Health means a lot more than just feeling good and growing old, but it can play a huge role in success or failure in the gym.