The Importance of a Multivitamin by Stuart MacEwan
As a trainer and nutritionist, I’m frequently asked what supplements I take and recommend. I often get a disappointed look when I explain that I don’t recommend many supplements. I’ll quickly explain that unless absolutely necessary, your money should be spent on real, unprocessed food and not on chemically laden supplements as a food replacement. No matter what your goal in life/fitness, food is always the answer to getting results, not a pill, powder or shake.
After this initial dialogue, I will then explain that some supplements are worth looking at if a client’s diet is squared away already with great food choices. I might recommend a pre-workout for someone who is very tired from a long day at work and needs an energy boost to workout. If you are dieting for a show, I might guide you to an amino acid supplement to help you retain your hard earned muscle while dropping weight. A recovery protein shake after your workout can be an easy body boost too. But it’s important not to overdo the supplementation thing. It takes focus away on the importance of eating regular meals of whole foods.
One item I will always recommend, regardless of age, gender, fitness goal or diet, is the inclusion of a good multivitamin in your diet. The reason is simple… it’s extremely hard for most busy clients to eat the right foods in the right amounts to get the full compliment of daily vitamins and minerals from their diet. Even a person who carefully crafts a daily dietary regimen with all the best variety of fruits, vegetables, dairy, meats and grains will almost certainly fall short in some way on their vitamin intake. Therefore, a multivitamin makes an excellent insurance to shore up any minor dietary deficiencies.
The importance of vitamins and minerals is that they are the little workers that help your body craft macronutrients like protein, carbohydrates, water and fat into new muscle and tissue. Having all your vitamins and minerals allows your body to be efficient in healing itself while you sleep.
Finding a good multivitamin is easy. Assuming you don’t have a medical issue such as anemia (and there are specific multivitamin supplements for anemia too) you just need to pick one that is made to be taken at least twice a day. GNC, Vitamin Shoppe, and most Rite Aid stores will have a selection from different companies. In order to have a constant availability of your vitamins and minerals, a multivitamin should be taken in the morning when you wake up, and then in the evening before bed. This ensures that the water-soluble vitamins that you will eliminate in your urine will be replaced and available for your body to use again throughout the day and evening. Don’t take a one-a-day multiple times a day… they are designed to have a full days compliment of vitamins and can lead to upper levels of toxicity if taken more often then recommended. Instead, look at the vitamin label and choose one that says 2 (or more) servings a day. Then divide those servings up, morning and night. Easy!
I personally play around every year or so with a different multivitamin, just to see who is doing what on the market. One I come back to again and again is GNC’s Mega men product. Its not terribly expensive ($40 every 3 months) and it digests easily so no upset tummy. I encourage you to experiment with brands to find your favorite!
One last thing… A multivitamin is no excuse for eating a ton of crap. Junk food is still junk food and a multivitamin won’t change that. So eat well, drink lots of water, and take your multivitamin. To your health!