Food plays a major role in your workout performances and your progress. Even if you do everything right, you will not get consistent results if you don’t put the right food in your body. You have to make sure that you get the proper nutrients before, after, and even sometimes during your sessions if you want to get the most out of them. And you don’t necessarily have to resort to performance-enhancing drugs or illegal supplements to get where you want to be. Here are some foods and supplements that you need to add to your diet if you want to get the best results possible.
Multivitamins are a quick and easy way to plug the gaps in your diet, but they are best avoided for the most part. Most multivitamins contain the poorest versions of each vitamin, which are less easily absorbed by the body. You may not need many of the ingredients in the pack. Instead, you should address any specific deficiencies with individual supplements.
Have some home blood tests carried out to check for nutritional deficiencies such as Vitamin D (common in the northern hemisphere) and iron/ferritin. Lots of companies offer home blood test panels these days, and they are a cost-effective way to measure your health and performance.
If you do feel like you might want to supplement, the most important vitamins for healthy muscles are:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin E
Omega 3s are another supplement that you should add to your diet, mainly because of their anti-inflammatory properties. Many studies have found that omega 3s can help reduce swelling and muscle soreness while improving performance during workouts. Not only that, but studies have also shown that omega 3s could help boost protein synthesis, which is the mechanism responsible for muscle growth.
A new supplement that should be on your radar is turkesterone. We call it new, but turkesterone has been around for a while; it has just started to get some recognition lately. Turkesterone is what is referred to as an ecdysteroid. While it has the word “steroid” in it, it is naturally occurring and doesn’t come with the same side effects. Turkesterone is derived from plants and doesn’t bind to androgen receptors, which is what causes most of the adverse effects created by anabolic steroids.
Turkesterone does have some of the same properties, however. It can help boost recovery and muscle growth. It can also help boost performance. So, we suggest that you look more into it and make sure that you buy it from a reputable supplier only.
One of the best and easiest ways to add protein into your diet is to eat more nut butter. Almond and peanut butter are both great options and available to most people. You can put them in a smoothie, use them as a dip for vegetables, or make a delicious sandwich with jelly to get some readily available carbs as well.
Consume a bagel with peanut butter an hour or so before a long endurance workout for extra energy.
Another great food option for pre-workouts is blueberries. Not only are they full of that good sugar you need for energy, but they are also known to improve focus. A lot of people overlook the mental aspect of training, but focus is very important if you want to finish those reps and not stop your sessions short out of a lack of motivation. Blueberries are also full of antioxidants which will help counter the burn and help you recover faster.
If your goal is to boost muscle mass and strength, then you need to add creatine to your diet. It is one of the most proven supplements on the planet and it is naturally occurring. You can find creatine in all sorts of foods, but not in large enough quantities to get the muscle and performance-boosting effects, so look for a great creatine formula and make sure that you start by properly overloading if you want to get max results.
Caffeine doesn’t sit well with everyone. Some people can’t drink caffeinated beverages as it gives them a queasy stomach or the jitters. But if you can tolerate caffeine, it is well worth adding some into your day, before or during a workout.
A strong cup of coffee in the morning will help give you an energy boost before you hit the gym or head out for an endurance session. When taken during an endurance workout, such as a long run, a hit of caffeine will revive flagging energy levels and help you power on for a few more miles. Caffeine can boost explosive power output, which is useful for lifting or interval training.
Look for supplements that contain caffeine rather than drinking endless espressos. This ensures you are taking the recommended amount of caffeine rather than too much, which can have nasty side effects such as vomiting, dizziness, and unexpected bathroom breaks.
If you don’t normally have much caffeine, try out a caffeine gel or small cup of coffee before a workout. See how it affects you – good or bad – and go from there.
It is best to avoid caffeine later in the day or it will have an impact on your sleep – which is not great, as all athletes need plenty of sleep to help them recover from hard sessions.
Bicarbonate of Soda
Bicarbonate of Soda, also known as baking soda, is a useful supplement you probably already have in your store cupboard. Mix some in water for a recover drink that will help to reduce acid buildup in your muscles and reduce exercise fatigue. This one is worth trying after an intense threshold session.
If you’re serious about your workouts and want to take them to the next level, you should add some or all of the foods on this list to your diet. You should see significant improvement in the intensity and duration of your workouts along with great gains in muscle mass and strength.