I try to hit my freggie (yes that’s fruits and veggies) goal of 7-9 servings daily.
I try to limit my processed foods.
I try to keep it whole, healthy and clean.
But even if I were a perfect specimen of an eater, as an athlete I’d still be reaching for vitamins. Not only do our bodies require more because of the work they perform, but our foods simply aren’t what they used to be.
Because of soil depletion, crops grown decades ago were much richer in vitamins
and minerals than the varieties most of us get today.
– Scientific American
Even if you buy organic, the studies are continuing to show that they’re just as depleted in nutrients. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to get what you need from food alone.
A breakdown of what we’ll cover:
- Why athletes need optimal vitamin levels
- How Vitamins Impact Performance
- Testing Your Vitamin Levels
Why do athletes need vitamins and supplements?
- Vitamins help turn food in to energy
- Low levels can mean fatigue and slowed recovery
- It doesn’t undo a bad diet, but supports good choices
- Provides some “insurance” that you’re meeting your needs
- Take with meals to improve absorption
- Those of us with food intolerances are often low in certain vitamins from removing food categories
- BONUS: Being low in specific nutrients can cause sugar or carb cravings
Great, now we see the benefits to adding some vitamins to all the great whole foods we’re eating.
What vitamins do runners need?
- B Complex
- Folic Acid
- Vitamin E
Here’s a quick chart to breakdown down some vitamins and how they benefite you as a runner!
There are a few vitamins missing from the list above because they aren’t appropriate for everyone, but are incredibly important if you find yourself low! Getting annual blood work as part of a check up or specifically for sports performance is key to knowing what you need.
Though I am outside daily, I find myself consistently low on Vitamin D which can me fatigue and mood issues!Iron
Iron is actually a problem for many athletes, who often don’t even know it because all of our pounding does actually deplete iron.When your iron is low, you feel fatigued, workouts that were easy become demanding, and performance falters. This is one that you need to be very careful when taking though! Talk to someone first.
Choosing and Using the Right Vitamins
I’m not one who will quickly say yes to any vitamin. You’d be amazed at the number of companies who approach me every week with a new vitamin or supplement just for runners. Most of them do look great…but here’s where I start:
- What does my body actually need?
- What am I not able to get enough of through food?
- Am I in a heavy training period where my body needs more support?
- What fillers are in the vitamin? How was it created? If it has lots of fillers that often reduces absorption.
- How does my body react to this vitamin? Many of them give me a stomach ache, not thanks.
- If it’s not quality and I can’t absorb it, not worth it! I’m open to paying more to get benefits.
In other words, stop taking a generic that isn’t formulated for your needs!
Get Tested To Find Out What You Need
I’ve talked before about my belief in blood tests, but often they feel out of reach due to cost or a pain because you need to go in to a lab.
Let me introduce you to Baze, which I have been using for over 9 months now. I’ve done a few different rounds of testing to see how my levels are changing throughout training and to continue adjusting my vitamins, so I only take what I need!
Step 1: Attach the small Baze device to my arm before breakfast. Let it collect a small blood sample.
Step 2: Repackage it and drop the box off with FedEx
Step 3: It’s analyzed in their lab and then reviewed by a nutritionist who makes recommendations on the amount of specific vitamins needed to optimize my energy, sleep and ultimately performance.Step 4: Baze sends you a months supply of the exact vitamins that you need. Each is in a daily pack, making it super easy to take with me when I travel and ensures I’m not wasting my time taking things I don’t need.
The first test was eye opening for me as I saw that I wasn’t just low in Omega-3 I was SEVERELY depleted, which can impact all kinds of things as you saw above!
Baze focuses on a small set of key nutrients right now because they have found them to have the biggest impact and again, we’re getting to do this from home!!! If you’re interested in trying it, use code RTTFBOOK for 50% off! That includes both your first test and first month of vitamins.
Another reason I’m a fan of Baze Vitamins is the QUALITY!!
I’m not sure how many more ways to say it, but if you’re taking a cheap multivitamin there’s a good chance fillers are in there or things you don’t need or you simply are able to absorb it.
- GMO Free
- Gluten Free
- Lactose Free
- No artificial colors
Just what you want in your vitamin!
We don’t all need the same things, which is why I often talk about using bloodwork to help us make the best choices. But it’s also really important to pay attention to how you feel!!
I won’t keep taking things if I don’t see a benefit after 3 weeks. And I won’t take things just because they’ve become popular.
Important Vitamin Timing Information
Vitamins are often fat or water soluble. I didn’t pay much attention to this until I realized that the curcumin I so adored for fighting inflammation was only semi-working because I was taking it on a empty stomach and it actually needed fat to really get in to my body!
Healthspan did a ton of great research to create many of the graphics provided throughout this post that include important details on timing!
Now that you know all about your sad veggies and what vitamins do, it’s time to make a choice. How are you going to support your mind and body to keep pushing forward?
Do you pay attention to what’s in your vitamins?
What keeps you mentally strong?
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This post is in partnership with Baze Vitamins. All opinions are my own.