Looking to build muscle and strength? Want to get better results from your workout?
Whether you're a newbie or an advanced lifter, nutrition is the key to a strong, lean body.
Vince Gironda, one of the world's most famous bodybuilders, once said: Bodybuilding is 80 percent nutrition. Not even the best workout plan can offset the damage caused by bad eating.
In a perfect world, we should be able to get all the nutrients from food. Since processed foods make up 70 percent of our diet, this is no longer an option. Additionally, athletes have special nutritional dietary requirements.
When you're lifting weights, your body requires large amounts of protein, carbs, and fat to recover from training.
These macronutrients promote lean muscle growth and repair. You also need micronutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, to function at your peak.
So, why are bodybuilding vitamins important and how to include them in your diet? Let's find out!
Bodybuilders and other athletes spend hours training. Those who compete follow strict diets to get leaner and more defined. Low-calorie diets combined with training make it harder to build and preserve muscle.
That's where sports nutrition comes in. A high-protein diet allows you to maintain lean mass even when you're cutting. It also boosts your metabolism, leading to fat loss.
Vitamins and minerals are just as important as protein. If your body lacks these essential nutrients, it won't be able to perform optimally. Even the slightest deficiency can affect your gains and recovery time.
Some vitamins fight inflammation and keep your immune system strong. Some promote muscle repair and reduce exercise-induced stress. Others support the cellular conditions under which hypertrophy can occur.
Let's take a quick look at the key bodybuilding vitamins and their role:
Also known as the sunshine vitamin, this nutrient contributes to calcium absorption and regulates over 200 genes in the human body. It also acts like a hormone and plays a key role in protein synthesis.
Once ingested, vitamin D stimulates nutrient absorption into the bloodstream. It improves insulin response, regulates your mood, and promotes muscle repair. In the long run, it may lower your risk of injury, depression, and bone loss.
Lean meat, fish, poultry, and dairy foods are all packed with vitamin B12. This micronutrient supports nervous system function and glucose metabolism.
Vitamin B12 also helps your body produce red blood cells, which are responsible for delivering oxygen to the muscles.
Since this compound is found mostly in animal foods, vegans and vegetarians are at higher risk for deficiencies. If that's your case, consider taking vitamin B12 supplements.
Niacin or vitamin B3 supports muscle growth and gives you better pumps. That's why many bodybuilders and fitness models load up on this nutrient before photo shoots.
Its benefits go beyond athletic performance. This bodybuilding vitamin increases good cholesterol, reduces bad cholesterol, and boosts growth hormone levels.
To get more vitamin B3 in your diet, fill up on meat, fish, eggs, bananas, and whole grains. Nuts and seeds are excellent sources too.
Like vitamin B12, vitamin B6 plays a vital role in protein and glucose metabolism. It also supports red blood cell production and increases nitric oxide levels. This leads to enhanced athletic performance and hypertrophy.
The best dietary sources of vitamin B6 include chickpeas, beef liver, and fatty fish.
One can of chickpeas, for instance, delivers over 55 percent of the daily recommended amount. A medium banana provides about 20 percent of the recommended daily allowance.
Vitamin E isn't just for your skin. This nutrient not only slows down aging and scavenges free radicals but also helps flush out metabolic waste.
Exercise increases oxidative stress in the body. Free radicals attack your cells and tissues, causing inflammation. Vitamin E neutralizes these compounds and boosts cardiovascular health.
This fat-soluble vitamin occurs naturally in olive oil, nuts, seeds, and leafy greens. Oily fish and eggs are healthy sources too.
Bodybuilders need vitamin A for protein synthesis and glycogen production. This nutrient also improves eyesight, scavenges oxidative damage, and promotes bone growth.
Diabetes, alcohol consumption, illnesses, and other factors may lead to vitamin A deficiency. Athletes who are on a low-fat diet may lack this nutrient too.
Luckily, it's quite easy to boost your vitamin A intake. Eat plenty of eggs, cheese, beef liver, and fatty fish. Carrots and squash are rich in this nutrient as well.
The human body needs vitamin C to fight infection and diseases. This essential nutrient strengthens your natural defenses and fights free radicals. Furthermore, it supports tissue growth and repair, leading to faster recovery from exercise.
Most fruits and vegetables are high in vitamin C, so deficiency is rare. Make sure you consume leafy greens, bell peppers, tomatoes, cruciferous veggies, and citrus fruits.
Vitamin K plays a crucial role in blood clotting, bone growth, and kidney function. It also supports the production of prothrombin, an important coagulation factor.
If your diet lacks this nutrient, you may develop blot clots, osteoporosis, heart disease, and even cancer. Vitamin K also improves insulin sensitivity, so it may help prevent diabetes.
Load up on leafy greens and fermented foods to boost your vitamin K intake. Spinach, kale, cheese, and natto should come first on your list.
Vitamin B2, also known as riboflavin, supports energy production and fatty acid oxidation. These two factors are crucial for reaching optimal athletic performance.
Studies show that vitamin B2 supplementation may reduce post-exercise muscle pain and soreness. Furthermore, it decreases recovery time and improves muscular hyperexcitability.
Most animal foods, such as beef liver, lamb, and dairy, contain this nutrient. If you're a vegan or vegetarian, fill up on almonds, spinach, mushrooms, and sun-dried tomatoes.
Athletes require large amounts of folic acid to gain muscle size and strength. Also known as folate or vitamin B9, this compound helps your body convert arginine to nitric oxide. The end result is faster muscle growth, increased vascularity, and better health.
Vitamin B9 also contributes to DNA formation and red blood cell production. If it's missing from your diet, you may have a hard time building mass and recovering from training.
Edamame, lentils, spinach, avocado, and mangos are all packed with folic acid.
Exercise and nutrition are equally important. Vitamin deficiencies can ruin your gains and stall your progress. In the long run, they may increase your risk of injury and chronic diseases.
No matter your fitness goals, make sure you're getting enough nutrients in your diet. Take quality bodybuilding vitamins from trusted brands. Eat whole natural foods that promote muscle growth and repair.
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