Fitness

How supplements support my fitness routine

Fitness Expert Elle Linton in exercise poses

How supplements support my fitness routine

Fitness plays a big role in my life – both my working week and weekend socialising revolve around it! But in order to excel in my fitness pursuits, I have to also ensure that I’m thinking about my overall health. For me, it works to break these down into five pillars: regular movement, prioritising sleep, staying hydrated, eating well and taking my supplements.

Ideally, pillars one to four would fall into place naturally – but we all know that in today’s hectic world it’s not always achievable. This is where supplements come in, from speeding up my recovery after movement, so I can train again sooner, to filling in any nutritional gaps with vitamins I know are hard to get from foods, to feeding me the right nutrients to aid a good night’s sleep.

Supplements to support my daily routine

woman on conference call working from home

This often surprises people, but an average weekday for me can actually be quite sedentary. This is because a lot of work is now on my laptop as opposed to a physical gym. Most of the time I’m working from home, sending emails from my sofa. I do try to make an effort to do an indoor cycle, or at least walk to the Tube station and back to move my legs, but it’s usually nothing too intensive.

On these less ‘heart-rate-pumping’ days, I tend to stick to my core supplements – vitamin C, zinc, magnesium, iron and vitamin D.

Vitamin C can help to contribute to a healthy immune system but also supports collagen production. Collagen plays a role in providing skin with structure and maintaining bone health.

Zinc can also help your immune system to perform at its best (including shortening the length of a cold!) and also aids wound healing, making it great for the skin, too.

Magnesium (we’ll get to this in more detail later, too) supports healthy bones and muscles, and has also been linked to better mood and sleep. Iron, meanwhile, can reduce tiredness and fatigue throughout the day.

As for vitamin D, government advice is that everyone should consider taking a vitamin D supplement during autumn and winter, and people at higher risk of not getting enough vitamin D should take a daily supplement all year round. Vitamin D supports the body’s immune system, is linked to healthy bones, teeth and muscles, and is even linked to lower rates of depression and mood regulation.

Also read: What does vitamin C do? Everything you need to know

Supplements to support my fitness routine

On the weekend, I’ll usually opt for more high-energy or long-duration fitness pursuits such as a lengthy outdoor cycle. Pre-workout, I opt for caffeine in the form of coffee. Because that really does help performance, especially if you’re feeling a little low on energy. If you’re not a fan of coffee, you can also opt for caffeine supplements instead for that extra boost.

Then, post-workout, it’s all about recovery. I take amino acids as they’re key to building protein in the body – which is, in turn, vital to repair and build muscles. Magnesium, which forms a part of my daily routine, also helps with muscle soreness.

Tart cherry supplements are also good for supporting muscle strength, and help to speed recovery and reduce delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) after exercising. So, I rely on this for an extra recovery boost after intensive sessions or on race day.

Also read: Stamina to recover, these supplements can boost your workout

Supplements to support my monthly cycle

Five days before I’m due to start my period (I use a period-tracking app to keep an eye on this), I add omega-3 to my routine. Omega-3, a type of fatty acid that the body can’t produce itself, can improve eye health, mood, joint health and more.

But I added omega-3 to my routine after learning how it can help reduce inflammation in the body – inflammation is one of the main reasons we suffer discomfort during our periods, after all. I found out about this link after reading a book by Dr Stacy Sims called Roar (it’s all about the menstrual cycle and training as a female athlete), where she outlines research on how omega-3 can help people manage their PMS symptoms.

I know it sounds dramatic, but it was such a game-changer. It helped me to manage my symptoms leading up to and during my period. I went from taking painkillers to manage cramps to just taking supplements, and adding in a magnesium spray.

I also take higher doses of my core, day-to-day supplements (following safety guidelines and recommended dosage, of course) in the run-up to my period. Magnesium tablets became a part of my routine after Dr Sim’s suggestion too; like omega-3, I take it for five days in the run-up to my period. But I found it also really helps me with sleep, so I’ve made it a part of my day-to-day routine.

Also read: How to begin cycling for fitness

When I take my supplements throughout the day

woman-taking-supplements-with-woman

Previously, I used to take them all about half an hour before bed – sometimes the day would get in the way, I’d be going about my business, and then remember to take them as I’m unwinding from the day.

But more recently, I’ve been working on spreading them out and really optimising when I take supplements – adding magnesium to my gym kit, for my post-workout routine, for example.

I also noticed that, for me, iron is best taken with a little bit of food rather than on an empty stomach, as I have sensitivity there.

I’ve been taking my vitamin C and D in the morning, iron and zinc after a small snack, and magnesium either after a workout or before bed.

Omegas can be taken any time of day, but are best taken after a meal that contains fats – so I try to do that, if I remember, but I don’t hold myself to that too strictly!

Essentially, it’s about finding a routine that works for you and your lifestyle, too.

Also read: Which supplements should I take daily?

Read more from Fitness Expert Elle Linton here

[Disclaimer] Speak to your doctor before starting a new supplement regime.



Elle Linton

Elle Linton

Fitness Instructor

A Certified Fitness Instructor and Entrepreneur, Elle Linton – founder of the keep it simpElle community and blog – is on a mission to show us how powerful our bodies are and what they can achieve through fun physical movement that is rewarding and beneficial to all. With incredible expertise in cycling, running and more, she’ll be sharing her best exercise tips and tricks, so you can feel empowered to start or rekindle your fitness journey and up your physical wellbeing game.