It doesn’t take long after you start training to realize the importance of your diet. In fact, your diet is just as important, if not more important, than your time spent training.
While tracking your macros (carbs, fats, and protein) is one of the most popular ways to track your nutrition, this method doesn’t take into account micronutrients. Your macros could be perfect, but you still may not get the results you want if you lack the nutrients needed for some critical reactions that form new muscle tissue.
So, what exactly do you need?
B vitamins (specifically B2, B6, and folate) are used in the process of amino acid metabolism and transformation into new muscle tissue.
Sources: Beans, dark green leafy vegetables, cruciferous vegetables, yogurt, sweet potatoes, bell peppers, beets, bananas, and all meats.
Vitamin D is crucial in the regulation of muscle functioning and protein synthesis. Studies have shown that people who have low levels of vitamin D have decreased strength. In addition, vitamin D may also help to promote insulin resistance.
Sources: Salmon, cow’s milk, tuna, eggs, and some mushrooms.
Chromium has been shown to help protect against muscle breakdown and can help to increase insulin sensitivity.
Sources: Beef, wheat, barley, shrimp, tomato, and broccoli.
Zinc has a similar impact on muscle as chromium. It may be a factor in insulin signaling and the creation of muscle.
Sources: Red meat, spinach, asparagus, seeds, and beans.
Iodine is critical in the production of thyroid hormones. These hormones then help to promote protein synthesis.
Sources: Scallops, cod fish, yogurt, and shrimp
Magnesium is found in every muscle in your body and plays an important role in muscle contraction. It can help to reduce fatigue and muscle cramps.
Sources: Green leafy vegetables, garlic, seeds, nuts, and bran.
When you're setting up your diet, make sure you take these micronutrients into account! Eating a pile of chicken and brown rice may look good on paper, but if you truly want to improve your performance, you need to go beyond macros.
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