While not everyone necessarily needs to take supplements to help with exercise, trainers are often asked which supplements are beneficial for muscle recovery and performance. Don’t we all want to know what we can do to help our bodies go that extra mile? Below are some supplements that can help you get more from your workouts:
Protein: Protein is essential for the repair, maintenance and growth of muscle. Ideally everyone would get their post-workout protein from a whole foods source such as chicken, fish or beef, but life gets busy and when we only have 10 minutes between a sweaty workout and work, it helps to throw together a quick smoothie. A good option is a protein powder made from either rice, pea, or cranberry, with approximately 20g of protein per scoop, and free of artificial ingredients and GMO’s. Protein is also great for people with dairy allergies or sensitive stomachs.
Fish Oil: Every time we work out we create inflammation in our bodies. Fish oil supplements contain Omega-3 fatty acids which are anti-inflammatory and can help with stiffness and joint pain caused by workouts and inflammation. Many brands make flavoured fish oil in liquid form or capsules. Make sure that if you have a shellfish allergy that you double check with your doctor before taking fish oil.
Probiotics: Anyone who has ever taken antibiotics (which is 99% of us) should start taking probiotics. These are not the ones found in yogurt that has been pasteurized and sweetened. Probiotics are so important because over 75% of our immune system is in our gut. When we take antibiotics, eat junk food, and use artificial sweeteners we’re destroying the billions of healthy bacteria that line our intestinal tract. These bacteria are some of our first defenders against any bad bacteria that we come into contact with. Working out puts a strain on our bodies, especially our immune system. If we don't have enough gut flora we risk getting sick. Probiotics are found at the health food store, should be multi-strain (meaning they contain more than one kind of bacteria), have at least 3 billion CFU, and should be kept in the fridge. Any brand that meets these requirements should be fine but you can consult your doctor or naturopath for specific recommendations.
While this is by no means a full list of potentially beneficial supplements, including these in your diet and fitness regimen will help you get the most from your workouts.