Lose weight fast as never before! With our training programs, supplements and diet advice you will get ripped in no time!
The best gym is the one where you exercise every day! If you are not an professional athlete but you want to be one in future, take a look on our list of professional home exercises equipment and start your journey today!
Don’t trust TV commercials about magic stuff, nothing is doing by it self. You need to work out! Here is the list of gear you need to have in order to build your perfect, home gym!
Doorway Pull-Up Bars
A Pull-up bar is an essential piece of equipment for guys who are trying to add muscle mass. Chin-ups and pull-ups are the best functional biceps and upper-back workouts for novices. Pull-ups not only strengthen the back, they balance bench presses and guard against shoulder problems. Check our workouts plans for pull-up plan!
Which one is best?
They’re all basically the same, except for some bells and whistles. Some offer a range of different hand placements. Others come with straps so you can use them for hanging leg raises and other abdominal workouts.
My advice is to let price be your guide.
Do they harm your doorway?
Under normal use, they won’t mark up your doorframe at all. They’re padded in all the right places.
Doorway tension pullup bars
Tension pullup bars press against the inside of the doorjams, holding the bar in place.
When you use a tension pull-up bar, you not only run the risk of injury when the bar slips out of the doorframe, but you put some pressure on the structural elements surrounding your door. Modern manufacturers include some hardware which holds the tension bar in place, but installing this hardware prevents you from closing the door. Tension pull-up bars are best used only if you have a sturdy doorway set in masonry without a door, and then, only if the dimensions of the opening are so unusual as to make a typical doorway pull-up bar (like the ones above) unusable.
You can do anything with them. Workout every single part of your body. Depends on your imagination. Check our workouts section for great workout plants with dumbbells!
Running is one of the fastest ways to lose weight. So get your self one, and do it!
Cost: Above 500$
Look for York and Kettler.
Combat rope takes your workout to the ultimate level of strength and endurance training. This durable cotton/nylon rope uses natural, functional movements to ensure great core conditioning and provide a super cardio conditioning workout without the stress of joint impact. This challenging workout will increase your aerobic and anaerobic capacity and functional core strength.
This form of training was, at first, the best kept secret of MMA/Combat athletes. From there, more and more coaches started seeing how amazing this form of conditioning can be, and they became prevalent in shows like the Biggest Loser, as well as many gyms across the world. The claim is pretty substantial, too. Taking your conditioning to a whole new level, muscular endurance in the shoulders/upper back, and the ability to effectively condition without taking the muscles in the legs. And yet, these simple battling ropes live up to the hype!
At Edge, we use ropes to for battling, X-band slams, and coordination. We also use them for climbs as a break from traditional chins/pull ups, and to create more shoulder/scapular stability.
We use ropes for rows to increase thickness in forearms and biceps.
We use ropes for grip and coordination competitions (two 8ft pieces go a LONG way in making training more fun/effective).
And we use them for athletes who have the unfortunate problem of being forced to over condition for their sport, to spare his/her leg’s recovery.
Cost: above 100$
Think of a Swiss ball as the opposite of solid ground—a soft, unstable surface that challenges your core and helps you improve your balance and coordination. It’s also an excellent substitute for a bench in exercises like the chest press and the pullover, as long as your goal is to build coordination and stability rather than raw power and strength. Used alone, it’s just about the best tool you can own for sculpting a six-pack.
Swiss Ball Jackknife
Assume a pushup position with your arms straight and your shins on a Swiss ball. Your body should form a straight line from your ankles to your head. This is the starting position. Without changing your lower-back posture, roll the ball toward your chest by pulling it forward with your feet. Pause, then lower your hips and roll it back to the starting position. That’s 1 rep. Do 3 sets of 8 to 10.
Cost: around 20$
How can a giant rubber band help you build muscle? Simple: Unlike a barbell or dumbbell, it provides constant tension throughout a lifting movement, increasing the intensity of the exercise and the challenge to your muscles. It’s not the best way to add tons of bulk (free weights are still tops for that), but it’s a fast, efficient way to gain real-world strength.
Band Overhead Reverse Lunge
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, loop the band under your left foot, and press it overhead until your arms are straight. That’s the starting position. Keep the band pressed overhead as you lunge backward with your right leg until your front knee is bent 90 degrees and your back knee is an inch or two off the floor. Return to the starting position. Do 3 sets of 12 reps, switching legs halfway through each set.
Cost: around 40$
This Russian import looks like a cannonball with a handle, but that ungainly design is exactly why it’s so effective. Unlike a dumbbell, a kettlebell’s center of gravity shifts during an exercise, increasing the challenge and building coordination. And because it’s intended for total-body moves, it adds a cardio element to what is already an intense strength workout.
Single-Arm Kettlebell Swing
Grab a kettlebell using an overhand grip and hold it with one hand, arm extended, at waist height. Set your feet slightly beyond shoulder width. Now swing the bell between your legs. Keeping your arm straight, thrust your hips forward, straighten your knees, and swing the bell up to chest level as you rise to a standing position. That’s 1 rep. Do 3 sets of 20 to 30, switching hands halfway through each set.
Want to instantly make any exercise more difficult? Take it off terra firma. By adding an element of instability to your workout, a suspension trainer increases the challenge to your core and stabilizer muscles. The greater the challenge, the greater your gains. It’s also one of the most portable items on our list; as long as you have access to a sturdy anchor point—a door or a tree limb, for example—you have everything you need for a workout.
Hang from the handles with your hands positioned above your shoulders, arms straight. Your body should form a straight line from your ankles to your head. Initiate the movement by pulling your shoulder blades back, and then continue the pull with your arms until your chest reaches the handles. Pause, and slowly lower your body back to the starting position. Do 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps.
There are plenty of ways to lose weight. It really depends on how you want to do it and how much effort you want to put in this process.
3 most powerful steps, to lose weight:
This site, is full of stuff you need to make your weight lose fast, easy and extremely effective. Absolutely for FREE.
So, first of all. You have to change your eating habits. Fast food’s and soda drinks – OUT. Thats for the beginning.
Go to DIET section, for meals adjustments and propositions. You will find there perfect meals for different day times, easy to make, easy to find, with calories and amount of food per meal!
You don’t like them? Fine! Here is what you need to know about diet:
You need to know, what you eat: Yes, in diet post, you can find calculators, how much carbohydrates, proteins and fat you have to consume every day to stay in perfect shape.
If you are overweight, consuming healthy amount of these three stuff, will make you lose weight automatically. Since your body wont be prepared for different diet, will try to use body fat as another calories source in metabolism. Calculate, eat and lose weight! Simple!
Workouts are NOT a must. Workout just makes your body needs more calories, if you will keep your diet, it will take additional calories from body fat.
Go to our workouts section, and pick workout for your self. There is few different workouts, all of them, separately, are best workouts ever made. But, they are easy adjustable for beginners, as well as for pros! So don’t be shy, check them out!
Workouts + Diet = Perfect, two times better effects than diet it self! Besides, you want to be skinny or muscular ? Ask your self!
Don’t pay for any “magic diets” or “workouts” over the Internet. Everything is here, just read and make your life better!
Supplements power up effects even more. You can lose about 10 kg per month, without much effort! Supplements doesn’t work them selfs, they are boosting your effort.
Go to supplements section, and pick best ones!
Fat burners will help you lose weight due to complex of vitamins and termogenic ingredients. So don’t be afraid, just read about them in our supplement section and pick best one for your self! We just make a proposition, you pick solution!
Remember, everything you make, is worth an effort, and will grand you profits in healthier body, better mod and self esteem!
Knowledge is a power, so read our articles and use it wise! It was written by best specialists and everything is here for free.
Best of luck in loosing weight!
Real life, fastest and natural, fat burners!
1. Catch the running bug. You’ll continue to burn fat after your jog: People who run for at least four hours a week melt more calories than non-runners, even when they’re not running, a Yale University School of Medicine study reports.
2. Crank it up early. Working out harder during the first half of your workout and taking it easier during the second burns up to 23 percent more fat than doing the opposite, according to a study from The College of New Jersey.
3 & 4. Go hard — and make it quick. Staying at 80 percent of your max heart rate for 40 minutes can amp your metabolism for 19 hours afterward, research published in Obesity notes. And doing a shorter workout at 75 percent of your max aerobic capacity will give you a greater metabolic boost than sweating longer at 50 percent, a Colorado State University reveals.
5 to 7. Lift dumbbells … slowly. More muscle equals mega metabolism boost. Strength training can help you trim major fat, research reveals — and doing super-slow (versus normal speed) reps increases strength by 50 percent.
Plus, using dumbbells activates more muscle fibers than using machines, explains Gregory Haff, Ph.D., an associate professor in the exercise physiology department at West Virginia University.
8. Speed up, slow down. Alternating bouts of high-intensity and low-intensity cardio has been shown to torch pounds.
9. Put on weight (literally). Wearing a weighted vest (about 10 percent of your body weight) while walking can boost your calorie burn by 8 percent.
10. Download Rihanna, not Brahms. Listening to up-tempo songs actually makes you run faster and harder than listening to slower-paced music, British scientists say.
11. Let kettlebells ring. Not only does working out with kettlebells build muscle, but doing it for 20 minutes burns as many calories as running at a 6-minute-mile pace for the same amount of time.
12. Keep it up. As few as 80 minutes a week of aerobic or weight training helps keep you from regaining belly fat after losing weight, according to researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
13. Add poles. Use Nordic poles while you walk, and you’ll burn 20 percent more calories, says research from The Cooper Institute in Dallas.
14 & 15. Lift first, nix the rest. Doing strength training before cardio can torch more fat than cardio alone. And if you do one move after another without pausing, “you’ll see more gains in strength and muscle mass,” says Dr. Pierre Manfroy, M.D., consultant for the book “100 Ways to Supercharge Your Metabolism.”
16. Add pounds. Lift heavier weights for fewer reps to make your workout more intense — and burn more fat — Manfroy says.
17. Try aromatherapy. Exercisers who inhaled strawberry and buttered-popcorn scents torched more calories than those who sniffed neutral odors, according to research from the Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago.
18. Box yourself in. Wii boxing knocks out nearly twice as many calories as some other games, like Wii golf.
19. Kick it. Playing soccer not only torches more fat and builds more muscle than jogging, but it feels less tiring, Danish research reveals.
20. Stay in shape. Fit people have more fat-burning metabolites in their blood than couch potatoes do, scientists say.
22. Get more protein. Eating a protein-packed breakfast and lunch helps you burn more post-meal fat than if you eat lower-protein meals, according to Australian research.
23 & 24. Guzzle green tea — or coffee. Downing five 5-ounce cups of green tea a day boosts metabolism, says Lyssie Lakatos, R.D., author of “Fire Up Your Metabolism.” Two cups of coffee will also do the trick, one study shows.
25. Have an omelet. Eating two eggs for breakfast while dieting will help you trim more weight and body fat than if you ate the same amount of calories noshing on a bagel, scientists say.
26. Stay above 1,200 calories… “The average person’s body goes into starvation mode if she eats fewer than 1,200 calories a day,” says Eric Berg, author of “The 7 Principles of Fat Burning.” “That’s stress, and stress creates more belly fat.”
27. … and cut calories gradually. If you diet, don’t trim more than 250 calories a day. Cutting calories too quickly slows your metabolism down, Dr. Manfroy says.
28 to 33. Munch on these. Almonds, cherries, yogurt, grapefruit, whole grains, and spicy foods have all been shown to torch fat.
34. Fuel up right. Eating a low-glycemic-index breakfast (such as muesli and peaches) will help you burn more fat during a subsequent workout than eating a high-glycemic-index meal (like waffles), researchers from the University of Nottingham reveal.
35. Think before you drink. Sipping as few as 90 calories’ worth of vodka can slow your metabolism by 73 percent, one study shows.
36. Graze. Women who go without eating for long periods are more likely to have higher body-fat percentages than women who nosh more regularly, one study notes.
37. Dine like a Greek. Eating a diet rich in monounsaturated fat (think olive oil, avocados) can help trim both weight and fat, research published in the British Journal of Nutrition shows.
38. Stop gorging. Your body can only handle so much food at a time, so stick to 600 calories or less per meal to maximize fat-burning, says Leslie Cooper, co-author of “Flip the Switch: Proven Strategies to Fuel Your Metabolism and Burn Fat 24 Hours a Day.”
39. Skip juice. Reaching for an apple instead of apple juice is not only better calorie-wise, but it’ll also do a better job of boosting your metabolism, Dr. Manfroy explains.
41 & 42. Get C and D. Vitamin C can help you burn more fat, and D may help you lose fat, research notes. Aim for 400 to 500 mg of C and 800 mg of D a day.
43 & 44. Walk more (in denim). Researchers found that fitness-friendly offices (think treadmill desks, mobile headsets) helped people trim pounds and fat, as did wearing jeans to work, since dressing casual encourages you to move more. Wear comfy clothes when you can, pace while on the phone, and stand while chatting with co-workers.
45. Add fish oil (And work out). Taking 6 grams of fish oil per day and hitting the gym three times a week can help nix body fat, an Australian study reveals.
46. Work the day shift. Keeping nontraditional hours lowers levels of hormones that trigger satiety, increases blood glucose and insulin levels, and raises levels of the stress hormone cortisol (which can drive you to eat more), scientists say.
47. Nix the boob tube. Cut your TV time in half, and you’ll burn more calories each day, research from the University of Vermont suggests.
48. Go mental. People who visualized themselves training a specific muscle boosted the strength in that muscle group, researchers found.
49. Eat a smaller dinner. Your body may not digest food — and burn fat — as efficiently if you down a huge meal right before bedtime, especially because your metabolism is slower while you sleep, Dr. Manfroy says.
50. Jump-start your morning. Wake up your metabolism — and get fat-burning started — by doing some sort of exercise within the first few hours of being awake, Cooper suggests.
51. Get your snooze on. Sleep for a solid 81D 2 hours instead of 51D 2, according to research published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, and you’ll lose more fat. Sweet dreams!
If you are looking for fast weight gain then you will probably find that the dieter’s worst enemy — the evil carbohydrate — can actually be the skinny person’s best friend. In fact, people looking for ways to gain weight fast can finally find victory by taking another look at how they consume carbohydrates and add them to their mass building diet.
For the average person, carbohydrates help to prevent muscle from becoming broken down and robbed of its energy resources. This is actually an even bigger concern for those that have a skinny ectomorph body style. There is a lot of hard work that goes into gaining weight therefore the last thing that you want to do is to see the muscle mass that you have built being drastically affected due to an inappropriate level of carbohydrates.
The primary key to achieving fast weight gain using carbohydrates is to understand the different types of carbohydrates and the best time to consume them. When you focus on low-glycemic carbohydrates, commonly referred to as complex carbohydrates, such as sweet potato, brown rice and whole grain breads, the digest slower in the body and therefore they provide you with energy all during the day.
However there are other types of carbohydrates that are often seen as harmful, but these can actually be very useful for people that are looking to gain weight fast. These carbohydrates are commonly referred to as simple, or high glycemic carbs, and are found in foods such as white potatoes, white breads, white sugar and also white rice. These carbohydrates tend to break down rather quickly within the body and they tend to cause a rapid release of sugar into the blood. This rapid release of sugar into the blood then triggers a rise in the level of the hormone known as insulin. This has a dramatic effect on weight gain.
Insulin would normally cause you to gain weight in the form of fat if you consume the high glycemic products at the wrong times. It is very important to consume the high glycemic foods at the correct times, as this will prevent you gaining the wrong type of weight and it will actually help you to gain lean muscle tissue. There are some tips that are good to consider when aiming for fast weight gain.
Carb Tip #1 For Fast Weight Gain: Go “Simple” After Your Workouts.
The first tip to consider is to consume high glycemic meals straight after a workout. When you are training intensely you tend to use up stored sugar in your muscles and therefore if you want to gain weight fast you will have to restore it fairly quickly. If the sugar is not replaced quickly, muscle tissue will be used for fuel rather than seeing it built up as a result of your training.
Carb Tip #2 For Fast Weight Gain: Consume high-glycemic carbs again an HOUR past your workouts.
The second tip that should be considered for fast weight gain is to consume more high glycemic foods about an hour after your workout. This is very powerful, especially for skinny people that are looking to gain weight. These people can afford a bigger increase in their insulin level, as this will help with weight gain. Consuming high glycemic foods will help to overcome their naturally high metabolism, and keep their anabolic hormones at a high level at the time when it can work best to build lean muscle mass.
Carb Tip #3 For Fast Weight Gain: Take advantage of carbs DURING your workout.
Another great tip to consider when gaining weight fast is to consume a drink that has a high sugar level during your workout. Because your workouts will drain your muscles of stored sugar for fuel, carb intake during your workout will block this muscle-wasting process and jumpstart recovery. This will help you to build more lean muscle and accomplish your goal of fast weight gain.
There are a vast number of people that consider the words “weight gain” as dirty words, and this is especially the case for skinny hardgainers who tend to find it very hard to build muscle mass. For these people, building muscle mass is a moving target which tends to feel like it keeps getting further away. One of the most confusing things about gaining weight is knowing the best weight gain diet. Perhaps most confusing of all is the increasing amount of conflicting information on the role that protein plays within the diet and also within gaining weight.
Over recent years there has been research carried out that has shown that even advanced athletes need less protein than previously assumed. The old tale about protein was that you required between one and two grams of protein for each pound of body weight. There have even been some experts that have claimed that people should consume about five grams of protein. This is a big mistake, and here’s why…
There are a few common mistakes that tend to be made when it comes to gaining weight. The first mistake that you should avoid is to use your current body weight in the calculations of how much protein you should consume. The only weight that should be considered is the lean body mass, and this is because it is only important to maintain the muscles. Body fat does not actually require protein therefore it is merely adding to the figures.
Large quantities of protein are even more useless for hardgainers, and this is because they require less protein for maintenance. Any extra protein that is consumed will probably be excreted as waste by the body and this will in no way help with your goal of weight gain.
Another thing to consider about protein when working on gaining weight is that protein is the most thermic of all the different nutrients. Any food items that you consume will require calories to be burned in order to digest it so that the body can use your food as fuel. Out of all the nutrients, protein requires the highest number of calories and this is why consuming too much will merely add another obstacle to the weight gain process.
There are a few very useful tips that can be considered when aiming to gain weight, and most of these relate to protein.
Protein For Weight Gain — Tip #1: Don’t overdo the protein.
The first tip that you should consider is that it is important to avoid an excessive intake of protein. Consuming a massive amount of protein will actually work against the goal of weight gain. The body will excrete most of the excess protein from the body as waste as most of it will. It is very important to use your lean body mass when calculating how much protein you should consume.
Protein For Weight Gain — Tip #2: Focus on protein “portions”.
When you are working out how much protein to consume it is best to look at it in terms of serving sizes of protein as opposed to grams. Trying to count the grams of protein can actually be very off putting, and it can lead to you losing the battle to gain weight. A serving size of protein should be about the size of the palm of your hand. This is another very good rule that should be applied to your diet whilst working to gain weight.
Protein For Weight Gain — Tip #3: Be safe and drink lots of water
The third tip that you should consider with regards to protein when aiming to gain weight is that you should consume a liberal amount of water. An excessive consumption of protein can cause the body stress, and this is particularly the case for the kidneys. It is very important to combat the stress that is put on the body, and therefore one of the best ways to do this is to consume lots of water. The large amount of water can reduce the side effects that protein may have on the kidneys.
Whats the best?
As an athlete, you’re used to hearing about carbohydrates that fuel your muscles and amino acids and proteins that help to build muscle tissue. But what’s your vitamin/mineral IQ?
In this article, you’ll learn the importance of vitamins and minerals, both for health and for athletic performance. We’ll also explore whether athletes need more of these nutrients, and discuss practical strategies to help you get the essential vitamins and minerals that you need every day.
Tackling the terminology
Vitamins are biochemicals that you need in small amounts in order to be healthy and perform at your best athletically. You may consume a pound or more of carbs in a single day to keep up with your training and competition needs, along with gram quantities of protein, but your want for vitamins is measured in the milligrams or even micrograms. That’s why nutritionists refer to fats, carbohydrates, and protein as macronutrients, and refer to vitamins as micronutrients. Vitamins are called essential because your body can’t make them, and you need them to be healthy. Ideally, you should get them from foods, but you can take dietary supplements if you don’t get adequate amounts from foods.
Vitamins are classified based on their solubility:
Fat-soluble vitamins are vitamins A, D, E, and K. Chemically speaking, they don’t dissolve or mix well in water, but they are soluble in fats. The fat-soluble vitamins are stored and can be retained for long periods in the body
Water-soluble vitamins include vitamin C and the complex of eight B vitamins: thiamin, riboflavin, B6, niacin, folic acid, B12, biotin, and pantothenic acid. These nutrients dissolve or mix easily in water. Being water-soluble, they also tend to be excreted more readily
Minerals are substances found naturally in the earth’s crust, and some of them, like vitamins, are essential to your health and can only be obtained from what you eat and drink.
The essential minerals have 2 subclasses:
Major minerals you need in 100 mg amounts or more. Sodium, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium are all examples of major minerals
Trace minerals are needed in smaller amounts, usually less than 20 mg daily. Trace minerals include iron, zinc, copper, selenium, and chromium
Critical for optimal function
Contrary to popular belief, vitamins and minerals don’t give you energy, but they do play key roles in the metabolism of carbohydrates and fats which are your primary muscle fuels during exercise. They’re also involved in the repair and building of muscle protein in response to training. Metabolic processes like energy metabolism and protein synthesis are driven by biochemical regulators in the body known as metabolic enzymes. These enzymes require coenzymes or cofactors in order to function properly. Many of the B vitamins serve as cofactors for metabolic enzymes. If the B vitamins are in adequate supply in your diet, then your metabolic enzymes can do their respective jobs. But if a particular micronutrient is in short supply, its enzyme is like a motor with fouled spark plugs; it can’t function at full capacity, and you can’t operate at your best.
If you examine the vitamin and mineral tables below, you’ll see that micronutrients are involved in all kinds of biochemical reactions that take place in your body every minute of every day. Micronutrients support growth and development, muscle contraction, hydration balance, nerve function, energy metabolism, tissue repair, bone metabolism, the transport of oxygen throughout your body, and immune function.
Striking a balance
Because vitamins and minerals perform such vital functions, you might be tempted to think that if getting some of these micronutrients is good, consuming more is even better: Think again. The consumption of calories is a useful analogy. If you’re an athlete that chronically under-consumes calories, your health and athletic performance will eventually suffer. Conversely, if you consume too many calories on a regular basis, you’ll eventually get fat, and your ability to train and compete will decline. But if you consistently consume the calories your body needs, you’ve struck that energy balance that allows you to train and compete at your best.
Now apply that same thinking to the essential vitamins and minerals. If your intake is chronically too low, you won’t function very well metabolically or athletically. Conversely, if you consume too much of these micronutrients, you can develop toxicity symptoms that can impair athletic performance, and even worse, put your health at risk. But if you consistently consume vitamins and minerals in amounts that you need, you have that solid micronutrient foundation that allows you to be healthy, to train hard, and to compete at your best.
Do athletes need more?
It’s reasonable to think that because you’re an athlete burning hundreds of extra calories every day and shedding pounds of weight through sweating, you may need comparatively more of the micronutrients than the average person. Researchers have investigated that very question in regard to several different micronutrients. Take the B vitamins as an example: Physical activity definitely burns calories, and you’d think that with a higher level of metabolic activity, you’d have a higher need for the B vitamins, which serve as cofactors in energy metabolism. As it turns out, the evidence does suggest a slightly greater need for athletes. The catch is that most athletes who burn more calories also tend to eat more food, and that seems to cover the bases in terms of the need for extra Bs. So if you are meeting your caloric needs, chances are you are meeting your need for B vitamins.
Another area where you’d think extra micronutrients would be called for is in protecting against the damaging effects of free radicals. During metabolism, highly reactive biochemical compounds known as free radicals are formed. These destructive free radicals attack structures within cells, contributing to cellular damage. In comparison to those who don’t exercise, athletes burning thousands of calories every day are generating greater amounts of these destructive compounds. Nutrients like vitamins C and E, and the plant form of vitamin A known as beta carotene, are believed to help protect against free radicals. It seems logical, then, that athletes should take supplements of the antioxidant nutrients, right? Not so fast. Scientists have found that we have built-in antioxidant defense systems in our bodies designed to neutralize free radicals, and in trained athletes, this protective antioxidant defense system is significantly more developed than in non-athletes. So, again, there doesn’t appear to be a very strong case for an increased need for the antioxidant micronutrients.
The daily requirements set for vitamins and minerals include some built-in leeway. This buffer zone recognizes that micronutrient needs vary from one individual to the next, and that the daily requirements are determined so as to meet the needs of virtually all healthy individuals. So while your need for certain nutrients may be a bit higher here and there because you are an athlete, current research indicates that you can follow the daily requirements established for all healthy adults.
Inadequate intakes of vitamins and minerals can impair both your health and your athletic performance; but if your nutrient intake is already adequate, supplementing with extra vitamins and minerals won’t make you stronger, faster, quicker, more skilled, or better by any other performance measure.
Nutrients deserving extra attention
Taking larger amounts of vitamins and minerals than you need won’t confer a performance benefit; but there are a few micronutrients that warrant a bit of extra attention, either because they commonly come up short in the diets of certain groups of athletes, or because consuming them during exercise can make a performance difference.
Calcium and vitamin D
Calcium and vitamin D work hand in hand when it comes to supporting bone development. Both tend to be in short supply in athletes’ and nonathletes’ diets alike, particularly in the diets of females. As an athlete, training and competing puts a stressor on your bones. You don’t feel it, but your bones are constantly undergoing a remodeling process, where bone mineral is being dissolved away and then replaced. By having enough calcium in your diet, you help to ensure that you have enough calcium available to fully support the bone remodeling process. And having enough vitamin D helps to promote the absorption of calcium from your gut.
If you’re not getting enough calcium and vitamin D, you increase your risk of exercise-related stress fractures. Female athletes are particularly at risk for stress fractures, since many often limit their calorie intake in order to achieve a lower level of body fat. While the reduced body fat may help in the short-term with athletic performance, the inadequate calories coupled with too little calcium and vitamin D is devastating to your bones. The solution is to consume enough calories every day, and to make sure that you’re also meeting your needs for calcium and vitamin D.
So how much calcium and vitamin D do you need, and how can you be sure you’re getting it? Needs vary a bit based on age:
Recently, there has been a call to increase daily vitamin D recommendations. The American Academy of Pediatrics recently upped its recommendations for teenagers (and children) to 400 IU vitamin D daily. And researchers are pushing for higher daily recommendations for adults, as well.
Some good vitamin D sources include vitamin D-fortified milk (about 100 IU vitamin D per cup), salmon (about 360 IU per 3.5 oz serving), and fortified ready-to-eat cereals (about 40 IU per cup).
Good calcium sources include milk (about 300 mg per cup), cottage cheese (about 150 mg per cup), yogurt (about 300 mg per cup), cheddar cheese (about 200 mg per oz), and leafy greens (about 200 mg per cup cooked), and calcium-fortified orange juice (about 300 mg per cup).
If you are unable to consume adequate calcium and vitamin D from foods, take a dietary supplement that contains both of them.
If your diet is low in iron, your athletic performance may be suffering, because iron is a component of a protein found in red blood cells called hemoglobin. Hemoglobin grabs hold of the oxygen that you breathe in through your lungs, and holds on to it as red blood cells transport the oxygen to your muscles and other tissues during exercise. Hemoglobin also transports carbon dioxide back to the lungs, where you exhale it. Too little iron in the diet can result in iron-deficiency anemia, as well as impaired oxygen and carbon dioxide transport. This, in turn, will impair your ability to train and compete.
There are different schools of thought on the prevalence of iron-deficiency anemia. Some reports indicate that it occurs in about 5% of both athletes and non-athletes. Other reports contend that it occurs in as many as a third to even half of athletes, especially among female athletes, and among both male and female endurance athletes. Women are particularly at risk because of menstrual blood losses and the fact that they typically consume fewer calories and less iron-rich red meat. Athletes who are still growing, as well as vegetarian athletes, may also be at higher risk for iron deficiency.
So how much iron do you need, and how can you be sure you’re getting it? Needs vary based on age and gender:
Strategies for ensuring that you get adequate dietary iron include consuming lean cuts of red meat or dark-meat poultry; iron-fortified, ready-to-eat breakfast cereals; and vitamin C–rich fruits or fruit juices; grain products; and vegetables. If you’re unable to get enough iron from foods, you may need to supplement. A balanced multivitamin/mineral supplement will generally provide your daily requirement for iron. Only take a higher-dose iron supplement if your physician instructs you to do so.
Vitamin C gets the spotlight not because it will improve athletic performance, but because it may help to reduce the incidence of upper respiratory tract infections, which seem to occur more frequently in athletes following ultra-endurance events such as marathons, triathlons, and the like. The benefit is not guaranteed. In some studies, vitamin C hasn’t made a difference, but in others, 500 mg/day or so of vitamin C, a week or two prior to and after an extended endurance competition, reduced the chance of getting one of those irritating chest colds afterwards.
Sodium gets the ‘extra attention’ nomination because it is the major electrolyte in sweat, and sweating is crucial to cooling your body during exercise. Although you lose electrolytes and other minerals when you sweat, sodium is the electrolyte lost in greatest concentration. If you’re exercising for less than an hour in moderate temperature conditions, you needn’t be concerned about sodium intake during exercise itself. But if you’re out there in the heat and humidity, or exercising for much more than an hour at a time, it pays to include sodium in your hydration beverage. The easy way to get fluids and sodium is with a sports drink, such as PowerBar® Endurance sports drink. By rehydrating with both fluid and sodium, you do a better job of replacing what you’re losing when you sweat. The benefit is more effective hydration, which allows you to perform at your best and avoid the potential adverse health effects of dehydration or overhydration.
Putting it into practice
When it comes to essential vitamins and minerals, here is the take-home message:
Get what you need, but more is not better: Vitamins and minerals are important to your good health and your ability to succeed in training and during competitions. So get enough of these micronutrients, but remember that getting more than you need offers no performance benefit and could prove harmful
Food is best — eat a variety: Vitamins and minerals don’t come from just a few foods. You get the many different micronutrients you need by eating a wide variety of foods
Eat enough: Consuming enough calories is necessary to get the vitamins and minerals you need, and to utilize them properly, in the case of calcium. If you’re cutting calories, chances are that your intake of the micronutrients is being cut, as well
If you have dietary restrictions, close the micronutrient gap: A fortified cereal for breakfast in the morning can help meet your need for carbs, while also providing an extra measure of micronutrient insurance. This may be an especially good route for ensuring a sufficient intake of iron
If you need to supplement, go for balance: Stick to a well-balanced, one-a-day type multivitamin and mineral supplement. In general, steer clear of single supplements, but there may be a case in certain circumstances for getting a little extra calcium and vitamin D in supplement form. If you’re an endurance athlete, a little extra vitamin C a week or two before and after an extended endurance event may help reduce your risk of catching a chest cold
Include sodium when rehydrating: When exercising in the heat and humidity and during extended endurance exercise, make sure to consume some of your daily requirement for sodium during exercise to help with hydration.
Which one are the best?