Pilates improves your mind and body, helping you gain more focus and a stronger, leaner physique. However, you may struggle with motivation to perform the exercises or suffer with joint pain and muscle spasms during or after the workout. Though most Pilates exercises are quite gentle, they can also be challenging for those who are new to the program.
Even with a healthy diet, you may not get enough nutrients to help your body recover during a workout. In fact, you may not even have the drive to start a workout in the first place. By introducing certain vitamins and supplements to your diet, you may see improvements in your energy, focus and strength while doing Pilates.
Why take vitamins and supplements during Pilates?
Pilates teaches you how to move efficiently as you train different muscle groups at once. No matter how beneficial Pilates may seem, it’s hard to gain positive results if you lack the energy or deal with joint pain during the exercises. If you have anxiety, depression or fatigue, you may skip Pilates altogether and miss out on all the benefits that come with it.
Supplementing your diet with essential vitamins and nutrients can help you overcome joint pain, combat muscle aches, relieve anxiety and gain more energy. You’ll feel more focused during the workout and have the energy to complete all the exercises.
Some people may need a multivitamin if they can’t meet their recommended daily allowance of vitamins and minerals from their diets. Others may only need one or two vitamins to help boost their energy or repair muscle damage.
What to look for when shopping
Before you buy your first supplement, you should first:
- Understand what you lack from your diet. Are you getting enough protein? Do you eat enough fruits and vegetables with your meals?
- Read the labels carefully. Check out the percentages of each supplement, and see if it meets or exceeds the recommended daily allowance.
- Check out supplement reviews & rankings online. Compare different brands, and read various reviews from those who have bought them. What works for some may not necessarily work for you.
- Visit a few supplement blogs for additional information. Some bloggers may give tips and tricks to maximize a supplement’s effectiveness and help you gain more insight into vitamins as a whole.
L-theanine, a nonessential amino acid, forms the building block for proteins. Found in black and green tea, this amino acid has a similar chemical structure to glutamate, a naturally occurring amino acid in your brain. A study conducted in 2013 found that L-theanine reduced anxiety in graduate students as they were assigned stressful work. People also use this amino acid for treating their anxiety and improving their focus.
Since Pilates requires focus and concentration to perform the movements, L-theanine may help to clear your mind during the exercises. With less anxiety, you commit to the slow yet challenging routine and leave your worry behind. With greater focus, you learn how to control the movements and your breathing, which can help reduce your stress when it’s done properly.
Omega-3 fatty acids may provide numerous health benefits, according to the Mayo Clinic. Fish oil contains two essential omega-3 fatty acids: docosahexaenoic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid. Studies have shown that these acids may promote greater heart health, reduce depression and help with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Fish oil also contains vitamin D, an essential nutrient for maintaining healthy bones and protecting against cancer and diabetes.
Your heart rate and blood flow increase as you exercise. Fish oil supplements can help reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes and prevent an abnormal heartbeat. The vitamin D in the fish oil will help strengthen your bones as they support your body weight during the exercises. Since fish oil helps with depression, it may improve your mood, refresh your mind and help you reap the benefits of each movement in the routine.
Joint & bone support vitamins
Joint and bone support vitamins contain many different substances to help build and repair your joints, bones and cartilage. These supplements may contain up to five or six different vitamins and compounds for targeting different areas of your body.
Glucosamine and chondroitin are two common ingredients found in these supplements, both occurring naturally in healthy cartilage. When taken together, they may help relieve pain, improve joint mobility and slow the progress of osteoarthritis damage. These support vitamins may also contain calcium and vitamin D, a powerful combination of essential nutrients. While calcium aids in bone health, growth and repair, vitamin D maintains bone structure and helps reduce the loss of calcium in your body.
Pilates not only improves muscle elasticity but also joint mobility. The more you bend and stretch, the more force you exert on your joints. You need optimum joint mobility to perform Pilates moves efficiently. Taking these supplements may help relieve pain in your joints during a session, allowing you to perform the exercises to your fullest extent.
Ascorbic acid, better known as vitamin C, is a water-soluble antioxidant. Because your body doesn’t make or store this vitamin, you have to get it from certain foods such as fruits and vegetables. It helps your body grow and repair tissue, including collagen for making tendons, ligaments and cartilage. Vitamin C not only aids in healing wounds but also boosting the immune system. Though vitamin C deficiency is rare in North America, some people may not get enough from their diets alone.
Pilates conditions your entire body, including your joints. It balances your strength and flexibility, making you more agile and less prone to injury. Taking vitamin C while doing Pilates may help you recover from the workouts more quickly. Since it repairs muscle tissue, you’ll experience less downtime between workouts. Vitamin C also aids in collagen growth, so your tendons and ligaments will benefit from this supplement as you stretch and flex your way to better health.
Protein bars or powders
Protein not only helps to build strong bones, muscles and cartilage but also enzymes, blood and hormones. It’s a vital building block for healthy skin, hair and nails. This nutrient is abundant in red meat, poultry and fish, including nuts, beans, peas and rice. It provides many benefits such as preserving and building muscle, reducing hunger, improving the immune system and coping with stress. Protein is such an important part of the human body that you would not exist without it.
During Pilates exercises, you’re developing a stronger core and back, gaining lean muscle and improving your flexibility. Each hold or repetitive movement creates small micro tears in your muscles. Consuming protein bars or powders before or after your workout sends the protein to each muscle, helping to rebuild it and make it stronger than before. With stronger muscles, you can perform the exercises even better and progress further in your workout. This is a solid list of the 10 best protein powders to consider.
Vitamin B12 is found in meat, fish and dairy products and used to treat fatigue, memory loss and depression. It’s an important vitamin for your metabolism and the proper development of your blood cells, brain and nerves. Adults require at least 2.4 micrograms daily; however, they may not get enough from food alone. Some doctors administer vitamin B12 shots to their patients to help them overcome fatigue and other symptoms of B12 deficiency.
You need enough energy and drive to start and perform your Pilates exercises. Taking vitamin B12 supplements before a workout may give you a boost and help you see the entire session through to the end. Vitamin B12 combats depression and gets you up and going again. Because Pilates helps to reduce stress, combining vitamin B12 with your workouts could do wonders for your mind and overall health.
Magnesium does so much for your mind and body, from regulating your blood pressure to building strong bones. It keeps your heart rhythm steady and calms your nerves. This mineral also helps with digestion, relieves muscle aches and increases your energy levels. Unfortunately, magnesium deficiencies are common in the U.S. and may lead to inflammation, heart disease and diabetes.
Pilates is a mind-body workout. Not only does it improve your muscle strength and flexibility but also your concentration and spinal alignment. An anxious, nervous mind will only hinder your progress. If you’re not getting enough magnesium in your diet, it could lead to inflammation and cause more pain and discomfort during your workout. Magnesium relieves spasms and pain caused by overexerting your muscles and keeps you calm and focused while performing the exercises. It’s an important supplement for improving your Pilates exercises and life outside of the gym.
Now that you’ve powered up with all your supplements, try downloading the 100 day Pilates challenge! At the end of 100 days, we hope you’ll feel happier, focused, stronger, and more centered.
About Rick Grimes
Rick Grimes is a former pro soccer player who now focuses his efforts on helping people better themselves. You can check him out on Google+ to find more of his articles on health, fitness, supplements, nutrition and more.