I have a healthy diet most of the time. Why do I need supplements?
The sad truth is that the notion of a balanced diet will provide all you need is a myth. You cannot obtain all of the nutrients your body requires from your diet, and here's why:
- An ever-increasing body of research reveals that food alone does not supply all of the micronutrients we need to prevent deficiency, let alone achieve optimal health. For hard-training athletes, that's sobering since we need even more nutrients than non-athletes do.
- Very few of us have routine access to fresh, locally grown foods. Much of our diet comes from foods grown far away, picked when unripe, and then trucked across the continent. Nutritional content may be hampered or depleted.
- Even if our diet could supply all we need, it's unlikely that we eat as ideally or as consistently as we think we do. For example, are you really eating the 5-6 servings of vegetables the USDA recommends each and every day?
A healthy diet is still important. What does this entail?
We're not suggesting that you can neglect your diet and have all of your nutrient needs covered by taking scads of pills. No supplement program takes priority over a healthy diet - that's a no-brainer. Supplementation means just what the word implies, it's supplementary. The vitamins and minerals we take simply add to a healthy diet.
Eating healthy means:
- Eating whole grains
- Avoiding packaged, processed, or junk food
- Consuming a low-sodium diet
- Enjoying a variety of foods, including local, organic fruits and vegetables, plus foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids
- Avoiding artificial ingredients
- Minimal consumption of simple sugars and saturated fats
The goal of supplementation
For an active person, supplements help bridge the gap between what you need and what you're actually getting from your diet. Consistently consuming the best possible diet and enhancing it with a smart supplement program is the best way to optimize your nutrition. The nutrients that you take should accomplish one or more of the following:
- Provide adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals to maximize overall health. Athletes need a multivitamin/mineral supplement that contains more than the bare bones minimum Referenced Daily Intake (RDI) amounts.
- Provide a wide range of antioxidants to support enhanced immunity and cardiovascular function by neutralizing cell-damaging free radicals produced by increased physical activity.
- Provide key substrates to enhance and ensure efficient production of energy.
- Provide support for mitochondrial health. In our view, the longer you can stimulate the number, lifespan, and health of the mitochondria (the energy producing furnaces in the cells), the longer you will live and the better you will perform.
Hammer Nutrition produces nearly two dozen supplements, all designed with a specific purpose to provide maximal benefit. To start your supplementation program we suggest taking the following products first:
- Premium Insurance Caps - The multivitamin/mineral supplement calibrated using the Optimum Daily Intake (ODI) standard, perfect for athletes.
- Race Caps Supreme - Provides Coenzyme Q10, idebenone, and other substrates (think spark plugs) that help maintain efficient energy production.
- Mito Caps - Supplies r-alpha lipoic acid and acetyl-L-carnitine, which support enhanced mitochondrial health and function.
- EndurOmega - Rich in two sought-after omega-3 essential fatty acids, DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), which provide extraordinary benefits for athletic performance and overall health, particularly cardiovascular health.
- Super Antioxidant - An ultra-potent antioxidant formula which reduces soreness and fatigue, improves circulation, and boosts your immune system.
- AO Booster - Its unique antioxidant formula protects against damaging fat-soluble-produced free radicals. It also helps reduce post-workout muscle soreness and inflammation while providing benefits for your eyes and skin.
Supplements are aptly named - they supplement a good diet and provide ideal amounts of important nutrients that even the best of diets struggle to deliver. Remember, supplements don't replace a good diet, quality training, or adequate recovery, but they can take your athletic performance to the next level. If you want to perform your best in workouts and races and, even more importantly, enjoy optimal health (not minimal, optimal!) - then daily supplementation is not optional, it's essential.