If you were one of the many people (including myself) to get sick with COVID-19, you most likely noticed extreme weakness, fatigue, and a decreased overall zest for life. Even though I was fully vaccinated, I became very sick for 11 straight days with a fever of 102.5 or higher. When it was finally over, I could barely walk one block from my house without having to stop to catch my breath. Even if you didn’t get sick, the lack of activity due to lockdowns, gyms being closed, and limited outdoor activities contributed to decreases in your physical capabilities. This blog will help you get back on track with your active lifestyle and activity levels.
Getting back your fitness level
When we look at getting back on track with our fitness level, there are several areas in which we need to place our attention:
- Set Reasonable Goals
- Pre-Workout Support
Setting Reasonable Goals
The first of these four areas involves no supplements and is a critical component in avoiding failing to get back in shape. If you look at my blog from a few years ago, you will find the details behind the setting and achieving your goals. The simple steps are:
- Define your goal
- Outline the steps needed
- Set a timeline
- Ask for Help
- Consider possible delays or roadblocks
- Reward yourself
- Put it in writing
- Don’t give up!
Please take some time to read the blog to get the details behind each point. Setting and following your goals will give you the added support you need to get back into your active lifestyle.
While many fitness experts may have a much different list of supplements, I am trying to keep this simple and is not intended for a high-level athlete. Pre-workout supplements should be consumed primarily to improve your energy level, decrease workout fatigue and decrease soreness. Here is a quick list of supplements to consider:
Adaptogens- If you aren’t familiar with the term adaptogen, it is an ingredient (usually a botanical) that helps your body adapt to physical or mental stressors. In our example, two specific adaptogens are best; Rhodiola (Rhodiolife®) and Ashwagandha (Sensoril®). Sensoril® (patented ashwagandha) has numerous clinical studies regarding exercise and activity. Studies show it helps increase upper and lower body strength, supports recovery post-workout, decreases muscle soreness, improves endurance, helps decrease knee swelling, and improves joint function. Rhodiolife® has studies showing it supports sustained energy and faster recovery and can reduce the effects of prolonged and minor physical exhaustion that results in fatigue.
Antioxidants- Antioxidants could easily fit into all areas of our discussion. Antioxidants play an essential role in neutralizing the free radicals we produce when exercising. Free radicals can cause damage to your muscles, increase fatigue and decrease your ability to recover and rebuild. In the area of antioxidants, there are several I consume to help protect my body and support my daily exercise programs: Astaxanthin (AstaPure®), Curcumin (HydroCurc®), and Ubiquinol. Others are awesome for active lifestyle support, but these three have their unique benefits. AstaPure® helps decrease muscle fatigue and is one of nature’s most potent antioxidants, HydroCurc® because of the reasons that follow below, and Ubiquinol because it is one of my favorite cardiovascular antioxidants as well as supporting energy production.
Energy Support- I love three non-caffeine supplements that help you feel more energetic without the caffeine buzz: SibeliusTM: Sage, Zynamite®, and Carnipure®. SibeliusTM: Sage doesn’t have any specific studies regarding workouts, but my personal experience taking this herb is that it energizes my brain and makes me feel like working out. Zynamite®, on the other hand, does have clinical proof that it provides energy boosts and supports muscle performance. Finally, Carnipure® has studies showing it improves energy levels, decreases muscle fatigue and soreness, and helps to burn fat. If you feel ambitious, all three together would be a great start to your workout.
While discussing energy, consider some dietary additions such as more protein, fats (Essential Fatty Acids like Omega-3s), and complex carbohydrates. These will help give your body the fuel to burn during your activity.
Decrease Soreness- Two ingredients come to mind immediately because I recently wrote about them in blogs. The first is PEA or Levagen®+. PEA or Palmitoylethanolamide has a dual mechanism of action to help enhance muscle regeneration, and it is clinically proven for exercise-induced inflammation. The most bioavailable form of PEA is Levagen®+ (the brand of PEA I take). Because PEA helps with muscle regeneration (repair and production), it can be essential to help support your body as you expose it to increased exercise. Additionally, reducing exercise-induced inflammation will help you recover quicker and not feel sore.
The second ingredient recently mentioned is HydroCurc®. This is the most bioavailable form of curcumin available. HydroCurc® uses patented technology to help improve its absorption into your bloodstream to work quicker. Studies with HydroCurc® show it helps with exercise recovery, reduces lactic acid levels post-exercise, reduces joint pain and discomfort, and supports overall joint health. These two are an excellent 1-2 punch for helping your body as you begin to exercise again. There is nothing worse than feeling sore the next day, which can deter you from working out again.
This is where I might sound like a broken record. Luckily in the supplement world, there are supplements with multiple benefits. For example, reading above on decreasing muscle soreness, we see that AstaPure®, Levagen®+, Carnipure®, Sensoril®, and HydroCurc® all have studies showing they help with recovery. Additionally, supplements such as Omega-3s, antioxidants, branch chain amino acids (BCAAs), and l-glutamine play an essential role.
Omega-3s- omega-3 fatty acids are proven to help post-workout inflammation and faster recovery.
Antioxidants- antioxidants can act as an anti-inflammatory and help reduce chronic inflammation and help you with faster recovery.
BCCAs- Without consuming enough amino acids (what makes up protein and muscle), your body will lose muscle or not create/repair muscle after your activity. BCCAs will help assure your body can repair, rebuild, and restore your muscle and lead to a faster recovery.
L-glutamine- is one of the best supplements for muscle recovery due to its ability to reduce muscle breakdown and post-workout soreness. With less soreness and faster recovery, you can increase your workouts.
We are going to be redundant again with this section. The supplements mentioned in Recovery are also essential for rebuilding your muscles post-workout. Throw in the benefits from the Pre-workout section, and we have little need to add to our list. Taking a blend of supplements from each category will get you on your way to rebuilding your body and strength.
Where do you go from here?
Whether or not COVID-19 impacted your activity levels or you realize that you haven’t been that active over your lifetime, now is the perfect time to start over. Set up your goals, follow them, and add the critical supplements mentioned above to get yourself into an active lifestyle and avoid pitfalls such as fatigue, damage, and muscle loss. Let’s take a proactive role in our lifestyle. We will improve in many other areas of our lives, such as immune health, mental health, cardiovascular health, bone health, blood sugar levels, cognitive function, increased energy, etc. So get out there and start moving!