There is much more to bodybuilding nutrition than simply ‘eating lots of protein’. What’s also highly important is to make sure that you’re getting carbs for energy, fats for protein absorption and brain health, fiber for circulation…
And it goes further than that too. What’s also highly important is to make sure you’re consuming enough micronutrients – meaning you need to pay attention to things like vitamins and minerals and even things like omega 3 fatty acid and CoQ10. This is where it gets a little more complicated but it’s really worth putting the time in once you know how impressive the benefits are.
Why Micronutrients Matter
At the end of the day, a lot of the supplements we take are in fact just substitutes for things that should always have been in our diet to start with. ZMA for instance is a bodybuilding supplement and guess what it contains? Zinc and magnesium! These are minerals that you could get from your diet pretty easily if only you’d eat the right things. The same goes for the very expensive Coenzyme Q10 for cellular energy – did you know you could get it from your beef? If you eat the right balanced diet and you focus on micronutrients, then you can essentially get the same effects as though you were eating a ton of supplements.
The Most Important Micronutrients
With that in mind then, what are the most important micronutrients that bodybuilders should be focusing on? Here we will look at some of the best:
Vitamin C – You may remember being made to eat vitamin C tablets when you were a kid and this has given vitamin C a bad rep as a ‘boring’ nutrient for many of us. Turns out that Mum was onto something though – vitamin C is great for the immune system as a powerful antioxidant and that means it can help to prevent all kinds of illnesses. Any bodybuilder knows just how much of a setback a cold can be for their training, so getting plenty of vitamin C is crucial.
Vitamin D – Vitamin D mainly comes from the sun rather than from our diets, though you can also get some from eating eggs. It also happens to be absolutely crucial for bodybuilders seeing as it plays a key role in regulating hormones and strengthening the bones.
Omega 3 Fatty Acid – Omega 3 fatty acid can increase your strength and performance in the gym by strengthening your central nervous system. It does this in turn by improving cell membrane permeability, thus enabling cells to communicate more efficiently.
Magnesium – Apart from being essential for brain health, magnesium is also critical for energy production in the body as well as for sleep, treating inflammation and aiding testosterone production. Athletes need extra magnesium because it gets lost when we sweat!
Zinc – Zinc is highly important for muscle growth too, as well as for brain function, mood and once again – testosterone production. Like magnesium, it’s often lost through sweat so it’s a good idea for bodybuilders to supplement.
Calcium – Calcium has been shown in studies to aid the power of muscle contractions and is also important for strengthening bones. It’s very important that bodybuilders ensure their bones are able to keep up with muscular strength increases as otherwise they may be inviting a fracture.