Six months after many people had to make drastic life changes due to the coronavirus pandemic, many people have gone a little bit crazy. Millions have moved from office work to home work. The gyms were closed, reopened, and in some cases closed again. Many of us now have a first name with our local UberEats drivers.
Despite these adversities, people have stuck to their fitness. Home workouts like the ones offered in BodyFit are becoming increasingly popular. Exercise equipment is selling out as people keep their home gyms in stock. (Good luck finding a kettlebell.)
1. Maintaining your health is crucial
One of the obvious challenges for athletes remains to be kept up to date. It doesn’t matter how hard you work in the gym. If your body isn’t healthy, it doesn’t have the energy it needs to build muscle and strength. One way for home gymnasts to make sure they are doing what they can do for their health is to keep track of vitamin D intake.
Vitamin D is an important driver for the human immune system. The main source for most people is the sun because sunlight activates chemical pathways in human skin that can produce vitamin D. Unfortunately, it suffocates those trails when cooped up inside for longer distances. This is especially true for those who live north of the 37th parallel, where sunlight is generally less intense – all in the northern part of the US and all of Europe! Taking vitamin D as a dietary supplement can make a huge difference in being in control of your health and bridging the gap between you and all the sunlight you don’t get at home. *
2. When times are short, supplements can save you money
Athletes, especially bodybuilders, follow (or at least should) strict dietary restrictions. Hitting certain macros daily takes a lot of time and energy to buy, prepare, cook, and consume all of the nutrients needed to perfect that body, especially if you are one of the many unfortunate workers who lost their jobs this year to have.
Dietary supplements are a great way to fill the nutritional gaps caused by tight budgets. Are you struggling with your monthly grocery budget due to all of the chicken breasts you buy? Try some protein powder. Whey protein is significantly cheaper and easier to prepare per serving. Multivitamins are also great for those who are struggling to keep up with the many fruits and vegetables required to meet the RDIs for vitamins and minerals. While nothing can replace nutrients consumed by a healthy diet, vitamins in supplement form are far better than no vitamins at all.
3. Diversity is the spice of life
With many of the country’s restaurants and eateries either closed or closed at certain times, we are on our own when it comes to achieving a varied diet. No more walking to the local smoothie shop for our morning pick up service; No more dinners at our favorite hole in the wall. At the moment our food bubble has shrunk significantly. What remains is our own ability to cook, and unfortunately not everyone is the master in the kitchen that they want.
Going to the grocery store and buying ingredients is only the first step to consuming it. There is also a lot of work involved in preparing and cooking the food, which can be more difficult than it looks. If you feel like your diet is out of whack, nutritional supplements may be for you – at least for the short term, until you learn how to make your favorite dishes.
4. The stress can be worse than you think
Stress is nothing new to many. Whether it’s a big interview, a blind date, or even an intense workout, we constantly expose ourselves to temporary stress. By and large, the human body makes a wonderful contribution to dealing with this stress through various mechanisms. Sometimes, however, these inner defenses can turn us on.
For example, one of the main reactions that the body has to stress is the release of cortisol, a catabolic hormone whose job it is to activate the breakdown of energy stores. This leads to the breakdown of glycogen into glucose, muscle protein catabolism and fatty acid oxidation, reactions which cause negligible changes in the short term.
However, over time, they can lead to serious problems. If you are constantly under stress, cortisol will be there all the time trying to “help”. With persistently increased stress due to the coronavirus pandemic, many people are at risk of chronically elevated cortisol. While the oxidation of extra fatty acids seems like a good idea now, a major problem is not storing fats for when they are needed. And muscle protein breakdown is definitely a problem for those trying to increase strength and size. Even the breakdown of glycogen can seriously affect an athlete’s ability to exercise at high intensity.
Fortunately, we’ve learned that certain ingredients can help deal with these persistent stresses. For example, Ashwagandha contains active chemicals called withanolides, which have been shown in many clinical studies to significantly reduce the body’s cortisol response to stress. *
If it looks like the weight of the world is on your shoulders all the time, give ashwagandha a try and see if you don’t feel better. *
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.