By Diana Wills
We thankfully live in an age in which the pursuit of health, fitness and overall wellness has never been stronger. People are becoming more mindful of their dietary habits and the number of those hitting the gym or engaging in any kind of exercise is increasing.
However, there is more to a strong and healthy body that can endure intense physical activity and thrive because of it than just sticking to a low-carb, high-protein diet.
There is room for all macronutrients in your diet, but what one should never forget is the importance of micronutrients. If you’re feeling sluggish at the gym or in the yoga studio and feel like your body isn’t as full of energy as you expect it to be, the lack of these particular micronutrients might be the culprit, so let’s see what you might have missed and fix that so you can get the most out of your workout or flow session and be your best self.
If you find yourself lacking the energy to finish your run and you feel like your body can’t perform the way you want it to during a workout, there is a good chance that your body is lacking sufficient amounts of vitamin B. This group, and especially vitamin B12, is essential for fighting adrenalin fatigue and keeping your metabolic system intact. It also provides energy and even boosts mood and memory. Some of the best sources of this vitamin can be found in meat, fish and other seafood, dairy and eggs, so make sure these are always abundantly present in your diet. However, aside from fortified plant foods like nutritional yeast, fortified grain products and algae sea vegetables, there aren’t many plants that contain sufficient levels of this vitamin, so if you are a vegan, the Vegan Society recommends eating larger quantities of these fortified foods as well as taking B12 supplements. Of course, all other vitamins are important, so make sure you are loaded up with C, D and E as these are your immune system guardians, fatigue and pneumonia fighters respectively. If you’re wondering where to find them – strawberries, oranges, kale, peanut butter and almonds are waiting for you to grab them.
As medical professionals confirm, magnesium is vital for not only keeping the blood pressure normal, but its deficiency can lead to breaking and deteriorating of bones, which is definitely something you don’t want happening, on the treadmill or anywhere else. The bad news is that most people don’t eat nearly enough magnesium-rich foods. In case you aren’t in the know, your best sources are hiding in milk, whole-grains, green leafy vegetables, legumes, lean meats, fish nuts and seeds and finally bananas. Magnesium tablets are always recommended, so make it a priority to find the best and most effective ones that will ensure your body absorbs the most of it, so your muscles and bones remain in spick and span shape.
You may have heard of this one from older people who take their calcium pills in order not to break a bone. In the spirit of better safe than sorry, every person, but especially those who put their bodies through grueling exercise regimes, should strive to keep their bones strong and healthy. Every additional cup of skimmed milk makes a difference, and so do yogurt and greens, as well as fortified cereals. If you feel like that’s still not enough, again, there are calcium supplements to turn to.
If you’ve ever dealt with muscles so sore after a workout that you can barely move, chances are you are low on potassium. This micronutrient is of great help when it comes to relieving muscle cramps and prepping the body for another great workout. This particular mineral cooperates with sodium to provide you with proper muscle and nerve function.
Now that we’ve mentioned it, it’s time to explain it. A low-sodium diet is often considered a healthy one, but not necessarily for someone who is breaking out a good sweat. You see, when you sweat out sodium (and you do when you work out), hydration isn’t enough to replenish your body, and you might end up experiencing something called hyponatremia. A body that is active simply needs sodium, so don’t shy away from grabbing a pretzel or a handful of salted nuts. As an active person, you are not only allowed but actually in need of more sodium than others.
Now that you know all your best sources, the next time you prepare for your session at Flow Athletic, do your due diligence and load up on all the vital micronutrients so you can get the maximum out of your body and benefit from your workout every single time.
Diana Wills is a biochemist and writer in Sydney. She loves science, healthy food and fitness. She is also a big lover of fashion and everything beauty-related. And she just loves connecting all her passions and loves into her writing, hoping she will inspire the world to be a healthier place.” Read her blog and find her on Facebook.