Don't forget these nutrients when you're working out!
A healthy lifestyle begins with what you put in your body and this is especially important when it comes to training and sports. Since working out involves a lot of time moving your body and burning energy, it’s important to keep energy levels, cognition and endurance at its highest. That’s why nutritionists regularly emphasise the importance of making nutrition a priority! Here are some nutrients you’re not going to want to miss out on:
Carbohydrates- be sure to include a wide variety of foods that provide healthy levels of good quality carbohydrates such as brown rice, whole grain bread, oatmeal, beans and baked potato. Carbohydrates are the primary source of fuel for our muscles and provide the much-needed energy in the form of glycogen. If your diet is too low in carbs, your glycogen stores won’t be sufficient and you will likely experience a decline in performance, feel tired and lack energy!
BCAAs- BCAAs is short for ‘branched-chain amino acids’ and made of a group of 3 amino acids- leucine, isoleucine and valine. These specific amino acids are really helpful in preserving, building and repairing muscles, making it a great nutrient for performance and recovery. You can find BCAAs in lean protein and from food sources such as lentils, nuts, quinoa, tofu and brown rice- so it’s worth including these nutrient-dense foods in your diet! You can also find BCAAs in sports supplements in the form of powders and capsules.
Creatine- creatine is a natural amino acid that is produced in the liver and helps supply energy to cells across the body. Creatine has been found to help with enhancing muscle building and strength which can result in improved performance when working out. Studies have found that creatine allows the body to produce more energy and so it’s particularly useful for those carrying out short bursts of intense exercise such as sprinting and heavy weight lifting. Although creatine is a molecule that the body can produce naturally, it can also be obtained from supplements. As creatine is found in animal tissue, it’s recommended that those following a vegan, vegetarian or plant-based diet should consider taking a creatine supplement to increase their levels.
Magnesium- magnesium is an essential mineral which is required by virtually every cell in the body! When it comes to exercising, the body uses magnesium really quickly- especially during intense activity. Since magnesium is essential for workouts- it moves sugar into the muscle and gets rid of lactic acid and also plays a role in contracting and relaxing muscles, it’s important to make sure that you get plenty of magnesium from the foods that you eat! Unfortunately, it’s hard to tell if your magnesium levels are low until you are deficient so it’s worth ensuring that you eat plenty of magnesium-rich foods such as leafy greens, quinoa, Himalayan salt, pumpkin seeds, cashews, avocados, banana and dark chocolate to prevent a deficiency.