You’ve had a long day at work and now you’re sitting at your desk, staring at your gym bag stashed under your desk. You had the best intentions when you left home this morning. Go to work, then head out for a workout. Now, all you want to do is go home and hit the sheets.
Even if you do make it to the gym, somewhere between cardio and bicep curls, you run out of steam. You just don’t have the energy to go on. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. You’re not lazy or unmotivated, and you’re not alone. Lack of energy is common and exacerbated by our busy lifestyles and the accompanying poor diets and sleep habits.
If you have this problem, here are 6 vitamins and supplements that can give you back your “get up and go”.
The B Vitamin group assists with metabolising the body’s food into energy its cells can use. Arguably, the most important of these is B-12. Vitamin B-12 is influential in the proper functioning of the brain, the nervous system, and the production of red blood cells. Its presence in almost every type of cell in the body is critical since, without B-12, the body’s cells cannot properly manufacture energy for daily activity. This is why deficiencies in Vitamin B-12 leave you feeling weak and depleted.
A B-12 deficiency can also result in anemia. When you are anemic, your red blood cells do not adequately distribute oxygen throughout your body. This will contribute to that lack of energy you feel when you contemplate doing reps at the gym.
lly, almost every type of cell in thTo increase your levels of B-12, you can consume more meat, fish, eggs, and dairy. Vegetarians and vegans are especially affected by this deficiency since their diet is plant-based. Fortunately, B-12 is widely available as a dietary supplement.
You may have heard that Vitamin D was necessary for strong bones and teeth, but did you know it’s also needed for healthy muscle growth? This is certainly an added benefit if you plan to work out. Recent studies show that Vitamin D can improve the strength, adaptability, and resilience of muscle tissue when taken on a regular basis.
Vitamin D also plays a role in helping the mitochondria in your cells create energy for your body. In this way, it’s similar to Vitamin B and a deficiency is likely to leave you feeling lackluster.
Unlike Vitamin B-12, your body can produce its own Vitamin D. Interactions with chemicals on your skin and sunlight produce Vitamin D, so one of the best ways of getting your levels up is simply standing in the sun. Those with darker skin may need to get more sun time as the melanin in their skin tends to slow down this process.
You can also get vitamin D from consuming fatty fish (eg tuna, salmon), eggs, (particularly the yolks), and mushrooms.
If all else fails, you can try taking it as a supplement. Medical experts recommend getting Vitamin D3 as opposed to D2 since it is better at sustaining higher levels of the nutrient in the body over time.
Creatine is an amino acid. Amino acids are important because they’re one of the key components of proteins, which are vital to building and maintaining muscle mass. This is why it’s so important to eat good quality proteins when working out.
Creatine has the additional benefit of significantly improving stamina among athletes during high-intensity activity. Other amino acids, known as BCAA or Branched Chain Amino Acids, convey this advantage too, but we will speak more about them later on. What’s important to remember about creatine is that it helps in the production of Adenosine Triphosphate or ATP.
ATP converts stored energy to a form that is usable and gets it to the part of the body that needs it most. Unfortunately, ATP is only available for a few seconds at a time and during strenuous workouts, much less of it is produced than is needed.
Creatine sustains higher ATP levels in the body for longer periods of time. Several studies have shown it has this effect on athletes. If you think you can benefit from a creatine boost, try to eat more red meat and fish. Creatine is also available in supplements.
As mentioned earlier, Branched Chain Amino Acids or BCAA are actually three amino acids in one. These are leucine, isoleucine and valine. These are three of nine amino acids that are essential to the proper functioning of the body. When taken along with amino acids, BCAA was shown to:
Reduce exercise fatigue
Prevent muscle wasting
Decrease muscle soreness
Increase muscle growth
If you’re thinking of hitting the gym hard, this is one nutrient you might want to invest in.
The best news is, BCAA doesn’t require you to be a pro athlete to reap any of its benefits. You can gain these advantages by adding a BCAA supplement to your diet. Or, you can up your intake of lean meat, eggs, and fish.
If you’re looking for a dietary supplement that’s more on the homeopathic side, ashwagandha might appeal to you. Ashwagandha is a herb that has been in use in ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years.
Recent scientific investigation of it suggests that it might build muscle mass and strength as well as reduce inflammation, which is good news if you plan to put that body to work.
6. Rhodiola Rosea
Another herb that has been in use for thousands of years, Rhodiola Rosea has been shown to help those who take it fight fatigue mainly by altering the perception of stress while exercising. It was also found to improve user’s performance during exercise.
Unlike ashwagandha, it has not been shown to help increase muscle mass.
So the next time you tote your gym bag to work, don’t despair. With the help of any or a combination of these vitamins and supplements, you’ll soon have the energy to conquer those workout sessions.
As always, remember to consult a medical or nutritional professional before undertaking any new exercise or dietary regime.
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