When it comes to nutritional supplements, you need to choose the ones that will complement and support your training. That means deciding on your goals, learning which supplements will benefit those goals and consulting with your GP to find out if and where you need a nutritional boost.
Personal trainers have a variety of health goals, and the right supplements can help reach and manage those goals. So here are the best nutritional supplements for personal trainers and tips on how to get the maximum value from them.
If there’s one nutritional supplement it’s important to learn more about, protein is the one. Protein has been proven to boost athletic performance, help with building muscle and can encourage weight loss. So any personal trainer currently working with a calorie-focused diet should learn how protein intake should change during a calorie deficit.
Protein is what we refer to as a macronutrient. It’s one of the classes of nutrients often grouped with carbohydrates and fat because they all boost calories. The body breaks down protein from food or nutritional supplements into the amino acids it uses.
Many foods are high in protein, so if your diet matches your health goals, you likely won’t need protein supplements. Just makes sure that you’re eating plenty of:
- Lean beef
- Seafood (salmon is popular)
- Eggs, milk, cheese and yoghurt
- Peanut butter
- Lentils and beans
- Nuts and seeds.
As with all nutritional supplements, as long as your diet contains enough protein, you probably won’t need additional boosting supplements. However, vegetarians and vegans may need extra protein in their diets as they won’t be getting any from meat or fish.
Personal trainers require a lot of energy and need to find ways to ward off fatigue. That’s what vitamin B12 is for. A very large and complex vitamin, the muscles and the liver store B12, and it delivers a range of benefits, such as boosting bone density and reducing fatigue. Primarily found in meat products, B12 can be a challenge for those on a meat-free diet. However, non-animal foods such as spinach, mushrooms, potatoes and beetroot contain vitamin B12.
If your diet is low in B12, it’s a good idea to look for supplements. For a personal trainer, this is one of the most valuable vitamins to be aware of. That’s especially the case if you’re a successful personal trainer with a long list of clients, meaning your days are spent on multiple one-on-one sessions. B12 will help keep you alert and ready to tackle the next client on your daily schedule.
It is estimated that around 1 billion people worldwide suffer from vitamin D deficiency. It’s often called “the sunshine vitamin” because we get it from the sun, as well as from foods and supplements. It’s important because a lack of Vitamin D can lead to problems with your mood, bones, immune system and muscles.
While you need to ensure you’re getting the right level of vitamin D all year round, it’s essential to be extra sure during the winter. Many personal trainers take vitamin D supplements from October to March. While it’s fairly common knowledge vitamin D can combat depression, it’s also useful for:
- Improving weight loss
- Fighting inflammation
- Lowering high blood pressure
- Improving muscle strength.
So as you can imagine, it’s a nutritional supplement with a lot of value if you’re missing out on sunlight because you’re always in the gym! If you don’t plan to use supplements, then add the following foods with a high vitamin D component to your diet:
- Canned tuna
- Egg yolks
Magnesium isn’t a vitamin; it’s a chemical element. Most of us have come across magnesium in a school science class, watching it burn after waving it over a bunsen burner. Most people don’t know that magnesium plays a vital role in our bodies and is important to understand if you want to get fit and healthy. That’s partly because it helps improve the health of our DNA and RNA. However, for personal trainers, magnesium is beneficial because it can help to combat low energy levels.
Magnesium is a potent antioxidant that can boost exercise performance. That’s advantageous for personal trainers facing a long day with clients. Magnesium has many other benefits, from reducing anxiety and improving sleep to fighting off headaches and even reducing PMS symptoms. You will find magnesium in:
- Pumpkin seeds
- Dark chocolate
Another advantage of boosting your magnesium levels (whether via dietary changes or nutritional supplements) is it can reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. So it’s always worth being aware of your magnesium levels.
Your body can’t produce omega 3, so you need to get it from food or supplements. It’s a fatty acid crucial for allowing your body to function at maximum capability. As a fatty acid, the best source of omega 3 is in oily fish, such as salmon, mackerel, pilchards and trout. It’s a great supplement if you’re not eating enough fish, especially for your heart health.
Omega 3 can prevent blood clots and improve oxygen production. It protects the cardiovascular system and helps to soothe swollen joints — ideal for personal trainers! If you’re a vegan who avoids fish, then omega 3 is also found in some oils, such as linseed oil and flaxseed oil, as well as in some green and leafy vegetables and seeds and nuts. Foods like eggs and some frozen fish products have omega 3 added to them artificially.
Personal Trainers and Nutrition
Want to find out more about nutrition as a personal trainer? Take our Level 3 Nutrition for Sport & Exercise course. There’s no better way to develop a better understanding of the subject. Taking the course will also make it easier to help your clients meet their health goals through more balanced meal planning, and it looks great on your personal trainer CV.
Of course, a balanced diet is the better option to ensure you get all of the nutrition your body needs. That can be more challenging if you have dietary restrictions, but there are always options. Nutritional supplements for personal trainers can help boost your necessary nutrients, but these should only be used when you need the fuel.
It can be hard to stick to a balanced diet when running your own business as a personal trainer. That’s where nutritional supplements come in. Use them wisely, and your performance levels will only improve.
If you’re interested in signing up for our Level 3 Nutrition for Sport & Exercise, contact the team at The Fitness Group today. We can talk you through your options and even advise you on the financial support available.