Hey Angels and Alphas,
We can all agree that eating a balanced diet full of high-quality, nutrient-dense foods is the foundation of a healthy lifestyle. There’s no magic supplement or vitamin mix that can replace the importance of this foundation.
But when it comes to performing at the highest levels, regular gym-goers, athletes, and people who don’t even work out are all looking to do more and go above and beyond their generally healthy diet by incorporating more phytonutrients into their nutritional regimes.
That’s why if you’re looking to achieve a specific performance goal, be it fat burning, better gut health, or more endurance during your workouts, there are specific foods and ingredients out there that will help you do all of it and more.
Today, we’re here to explore some of these nutritional options as related to your goal and what you’re looking to achieve.
If you’re looking to improve endurance, try spirulina.
And here’s why. Spirulina is a blue-green algae that has gotten a lot of rap in the fitness community as a superfood. But it’s chock-full of phytonutrients that can be very beneficial to your athletic performance and they can further prevent fatigue. There’s limited research on the topic out there, but the research that’s out suggests that antioxidants inside spirulina can lead to postponed time to exhaustion during training. Try adding some in your morning smoothie and see how you feel.
If you’re looking to build lean muscle, try leucine.
Leucine is an essential amino acid (this means your body doesn’t make it and therefore you have to consume it through your diet.) It helps your body build and maintain muscle mass. When compared to other aminos, leucine has shown to be very easily and rapidly digested, becoming an efficient way for athletes to stimulate muscle synthesis on demand. Some great sources of leucine include beef, eggs, tofu, and tuna.
If you’re looking to burn more fat, try green tea.
Green tea is known across the board as one of the healthiest beverages out there. Green tea, such as matcha, has been directly linked to positively impacting countless health conditions such as heart disease, obesity, and more.
The most important aspect that athletes look for in green tea is its ability to improve your metabolic flexibility… this means your body’s ability to switch between using carbohydrates or fats for energy.
Research on the topic is mixed, and mostly in non-human subjects, but there’s outstanding evidence suggesting that increased consumption of green tea can increase the oxidation of fat in the body by up to 20 percent.
If you want faster recovery, try coffee.
That’s right! If you’re only taking in your coffee before your workouts, you’re missing out. Caffeine has been documented to boost the rapid refueling of muscle glycogen. For the best effect, consume caffeine alongside some carbs within an hour of your training.
If you want to achieve better intervals, try beta-alanine.
Your body simply cannot produce its own supply of beta-alanine or get enough of it from animal proteins. And what’s worse, athletic bodies usually have higher demands for beta-alanine. Vegetarians are especially at risk of not producing enough to meet their needs. There’s a ton of evidence suggesting beta-alanine can improve your HIIT bouts by limiting muscle acidosis. In one study, participants saw a 19 percent improvement in HIIT intervals, and another study showed us that 10K runs are easier with beta-alanine supplementation.
If you’re looking to improve your focus, try choline.
Choline is an essential nutrient that the brain uses to send messages to cells throughout your body. It might also be key to staying focused during training. While most adults do get an adequate amount of choline from food sources such as meats, fish, peas, and egg yolks, endurance training depletes your choline stores and you usually have higher choline intake needs post-workout and if you’re currently pregnant. Make sure to stock up on choline either in supplement form or inside the above-mentioned nutritional choices.
If you want to reduce inflammation, try olive oil.
If you’ve swapped away olive oil for coconut oil, it’s time to switch back if you have some empty calorie space. There’s a reason olive oil is key in the Mediterranean diet, known so well for its anti-inflammatory properties.
If you want a stronger gut, try oatmeal.
Oats contain a massive amount of beta-glucan fiber. It’s a resistant starch and acts as a prebiotic. Prebiotics can help feed probiotics inside your gut, and are therefore essential in feeding the healthy gut bacteria. For the athletes who have inconsistent bowel movements or sensitive stomachs, improving your gut microbiome should be one of the main goals. Consuming overnight oats, oat bars, or porridge bowls can be massively beneficial.