Nutrition

Figuring Out Essential Vitamins & Minerals

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When I decided to become a fitness competitor in 2009, I started researching which supplements to incorporate into my training. I started with post-workout essentials like whey protein and glutamine. I also took branched chain amino acids during workouts and a pre-workout to give me a boost of energy when hitting the gym. As I learned how to lift weights and eat properly, I realized I was not just on a fitness journey; I was on a health quest.

I soon became more knowledgeable about supplements and training and wanted to optimize my health in every possible way. I began asking questions like, “Am I getting enough vitamins and minerals in my diet? Am I deficient in any? How can I find out?”

If you walk into a health food store or pharmacy and wander into the vitamin & mineral aisle, it’s easy to get overwhelmed! Vitamin A, B, C, D, E, K, calcium, magnesium- oh my! There are so many different options, where do you even start? This is why I suggest working with a naturopath who can guide you in the right direction.

Naturopathy is a form of alternative medicine employing a wide array of natural treatments, including homeopathy, herbalism, acupuncture, and diet & lifestyle counselling. The naturopath I worked with is part of a clinic that provides holistic care with several practitioners. The family doctor in the practice would see me and request blood tests so that we could look at the actual vitamin, mineral, and hormone levels in my bloodstream. From there we would look at sufficiencies or deficiencies to ensure I was taking the right vitamins in appropriate quantities.

Below is my personal vitamin & mineral plan to show how I started as a fitness competitor, and how my plan was adapted as my health journey changed. Please consult a professional before incorporating any new vitamins or minerals into your supplemental routine.

My Plan As A Fitness Competitor 

Vitamin D – overall health and strong and healthy bones

Vitamin C – immune system support

Vitamin B12 – increased energy

Magnesium – muscle recovery

Multivitamin – wide array of essential vitamins

Probiotic – builds good bacteria in the gut

Iron – blood cell production

In 2013, I started competing in obstacle course racing. I now train not only for muscle strength, but also for endurance. I continued to optimize my vitamin levels and intake over the past two years until a new health challenge came my way. In addition to being an obstacle course racer, I am now an MS warrior as well. In December 2014, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. I knew it was important to meet immediately with my naturopath to ensure my supplementation plan was right to help my body combat inflammation while still training as hard as possible.

Current Obstacle Course Racer & MS Warrior Plan

Vitamin D – overall health and strong and healthy bones

Vitamin C – boosts immune system

Vitamin B50 – maintains Vitamin B stores

Calcium – aids Vitamin D absorption

NAC – free radical scavenger supporting the body’s natural defence system

CoQ10 – improves energy and is a strong antioxidant

Fish Oil – Omega 3s for anti-inflammation

Higher Dose Probiotic – builds good bacteria in my gut after a steroid treatment in December to treat my MS symptoms

Magnesium – muscle recovery

By sharing my current supplementation plan, I want to encourage those living with auto-immune disorders to holistically optimize your health so that your body is in the best possible form to combat whatever you are dealing with. If you aren’t living with an auto-immune disease, then I hope I can inspire you to be proactive in your personal quest for better health.

Please ensure that you do full research on your own. Each vitamin explanation provided above is a standard top line statement, and is not all encompassing. The science behind vitamins and what they can do for us is fascinating; I hope this article has peeked your interest to learn more!

Robyn Baldwin is a self branded Alpha Female™. She is a former CFL cheerleader and fitness competitor, a published fitness model and writer, an eBook author, a FitFluential ambassador, a sponsored athlete with Magnum Nutraceuticals and a marketing manager. Robyn craves being busy, is a fan of women in the gym who embrace lifting weights, a yoga enthusiast, a runner, an obstacle racer, a spin instructor and fascinated with the nutritional side of health.

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