There are two keys to effective bodybuilding and physique training: effective workouts and great recovery.
Nutrition is absolutely essential to the latter, which means that poor nutritional health is enough to sink your results. If you feel like ruining all your gains, then ignore this article.
However, if you’d like to make the most of your hard work in the gym, stick with us. Because today, we’re going to discuss the best multivitamin for bodybuilding and why our fav, Performance Lab’s Whole-Food Multivitamin, might be what’s missing from your routine.
Why do you Need A Multivitamin in the First Place?
The point of a multivitamin is simple: top up your nutrient intake without having to force more food into your face. Alternatively, it’s a great way of reducing your calorie intake while still boosting your nutrient intake.
Depending on your goal, a multivitamin can be a great way of combatting food-restriction or letting you take a break from eating 10 meals!
There are a few things that a multivitamin offers that you probably aren’t getting elsewhere:
Extreme convenience with a simple capsule
Increased concentration of some pain-in-the-ass nutrients that are tough to find in food
Maximum effective ingredients without the filler
Far more control over your intake and specific numbers for what you’re going to get
These make for a better outcome almost every time. However, they do come with a few problems.
Absorption and Nutrients: Why Wholefoods Are Important
Many multivitamins are ineffective because they’re made cheaply from poor-quality (synthetic) sources. These just go straight through you without absorbing.
This is why we’re specifically discussing wholefood multivitamins. Products in this class – like Performance Lab’s Whole-Food Multi – are considered as ‘food cultured’ multivitamins as they are specifically ‘grown and harvested’ to contain the nutrients found in whole-foods.
The science on this one is still emerging, but it leans on a point we all suspected: wholefoods are the best mechanism for nutrients 90% of the time. A supplement that uses food cultured vitamins and minerals (which offers all nutrients found in a whole food complex) will be your best option.
The point is you’re getting all the complex nutrient-matrices (complete with enzymes and cofactors) naturally found in whole-foods via a convenient capsule. Sure, you could eat an ass-ton of broccoli, but what if you cut out all the extras but kept the nutrients?
This is the convenience we love that makes Performance Lab’s Whole-Food Multi such a good choice. Broccoli might be great for you, but it tastes like sweaty grass.
How Can a Multivitamin Support Muscle Growth?
Sure, you know multivitamins are for supporting health
But you don’t just want to be healthy, you want to be massive and strong and shredded. We all want to be, but what is a multivitamin going to do for building meaty shoulders?
More than you might think. The short answer is this: the things that support health and wellbeing in moderation support muscle growth and performance when you push the envelope.
The long answer is four key pointers on what your body uses vitamins and minerals for, and why they’re important. Energy transfer, hormonal health, metabolic health, and protein synthesis.
1. Energy transfer
Everything is about energy. Getting it, storing it, transferring it, sensing it, and using it to recover.
Your body’s energy status at the system- and local- levels determine what happens to your muscle and fat levels. Energy deficiency is how fat loss works, while energy availability is necessary for maintaining and building muscle.
Vitamins and minerals are essential in this process. Energy efficiency supports muscle growth when you’re massing and maintaining muscle while you’re cutting. This is the best of both worlds. Adding up these effects over your career, you’ll see significant differences.
Key vitamins and minerals for energy transfer: B vitamins, Vitamin D, Iron, Zinc, Copper
2. Hormonal health
Hormones are the slow-messaging systems. They’re the way your body communicates with its tissues, but these slower-acting compounds respond to chronic nutritional changes/deficiencies. If you’re messing up here, it’s going to show up big time.
If you’re missing out on key vitamins or minerals, you’re going to suffer at the hormonal level.[ii]Anabolic compounds like testosterone, insulin, and growth hormone are tied into your vitamin and mineral intake.
If you’re missing out on any of these, you’re going to trip over and minimize your own results. These are easy to fix so, if you’re missing out on gains because of limited hormonal health, you’ll be kicking yourself.
The hormonal systems in your body are complicated. We’re going to over-simplify them like this: hormonal health requires not being deficient, while optimal levels support optimal growth. Simple enough to understand, but it requires a little effort in your diet and high-quality supplementation.
Key vitamins and minerals for hormonal health: vitamin D, zinc, magnesium, chromium, iodine
3. Metabolic health
You know what damages your results? Processing food, energy, and key development processes inefficiently. If you’re eating well and training well but you have poor metabolic health, you’re just hamstringing your own training.
This has a lot of factors – things like sleep and training volume are obviously important – but metabolic health relies on not being nutrient deficient.
This is one of our favorite areas for evaluating a multivitamin and Performance Lab’s Whole-Food multivitamin is our fav because it handles this well. The point is to get the best from what you eat, use nutrients well, and support recovery and optimal functioning.
Nutrients like Magnesium and B vitamins are absolutely essential – but they’re deficient in most people. If you’re part of this “most people” category, you’re missing out on results you’ve already worked for.
Key vitamins and minerals for metabolic health:B vitamins, Vitamin D, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, manganese, zinc
4. Direct muscle gains
There are some vitamins and minerals that participate directly in muscle action or the myoprotein synthesis process (the way your body builds more muscle).
These are more obvious than the rest: if you don’t have enough of them, you’re not going to build muscle effectively[iii]. This is an easy fix, an obvious problem, and it impacts your day-to-day workout performance as well as your muscle gain potential.
This combination of this dual-effect – reduced performance and reduced recovery – adds up to a significant impediment to your results.
Performance supplements are designed to support optimum results, not just “clinically non-deficient”. Performance Lab’s Whole-Food multivitamin is performance by name and design, with a focus on the compounds most important for effective workouts and effective growth between them.
Key vitamins and minerals for direct muscle gains: B vitamins, vitamin D, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium, calcium, iron, vitamin K, zinc
What Makes the Best Multivitamin for Bodybuilding?
Obviously, you’re seeing some trends in the compounds we discussed above. The key vitamins and minerals for these categories overlap heavily. We use the presence, source, and dose of these to establish just how useful a multivitamin is going to be to your performance and wellbeing.
These are the criteria you need to look out for when you’re shopping for a multivitamin. We also used this exact criterion to pick our favorite multivitamin for bodybuilding, the Performance Lab multivitamin from wholefood sources.
Here’s what you need, why you need it, and what to watch out for:
B vitamins: a whole 12 of them. These are key to energy metabolism and effective muscular/metabolic health. Being deficient here is a huge concern since they’re so common for key processes.
Vitamin C:tendons, ligaments, and fascia are all key to effective performance. These aren’t as glamorous as bulging muscles, but they make all your heavy lifting possible. They take stress during exercise and vitamin C is key to regulating the repair of these tissues. The biggest muscle gains come with stretch-mediated exercise, so taking care of your body is the key to longevity and being your best for longer.
Vitamin D: the most common deficiency, with estimates suggesting it affects up to 75% of Americans. You can’t let yourself fall into this group, since it affects everything from brain health to testosterone levels to mood. Supporting maximum progress means supporting vitamin D intake with a D3-rich supplement.
Magnesium: speaking of common deficiencies, magnesium is right up there. It’s a key electrolyte, but it also supports metabolism and is key for getting the most from food and energy. With over 300 roles in the body, deficiency here is a catastrophe.
Zinc: a classic performance mineral. Low levels of zinc can stunt growth and hormonal health in men, while it has over 100 roles in the body – primarily in energy metabolism. Missing out means reduced performance and less effective muscle-sparing.
Calcium: health benefits are big with calcium. You’ll experience better bone and muscle health, as well as reduced risk of certain cancers during the aging process. Calcium is the key compound for muscle excitability and contraction – something you’ll need lots of to reach your physique’s potential.
Potassium: the answer to balancing sodium, this compound is key to reducing muscle soreness. It combats water retention in the body, supports healthy blood pressure, and combats build-up of residual calcium and other waste products in the muscles.
There are other important vitamins to support health – such as vitamins A, E and K – but these are the most important if your sights are set on maximal muscle growth.
What we love about Performance Lab’s Whole-Food Multi is the focus it places on these crucial nutrients. If you’ve got performance goals, you need a performance product – and this is exactly the attitude that put this product at the top of our list.
Putting your basics first and concentrating on nutrients is the key to getting the most from your physique. If you’re interested in reaching your potential, you need to avoid silly mistakes like deficiency in common vitamins and minerals.
You can combine this kind of product with specific supplements to achieve your goals. Sticking with Performance Lab, their SPORT T-Booster stacks perfectly with this multivitamin to support massing with pro-muscle compounds. For fat loss, the SPORT Fat Burner help you tighten up while preventing water retention and boosting muscle-sparing.
Performance Lab also have a kickass BCAA supplement too, allowing you to big up your intake of the three key nutrients – Leucine, Valine and Isoleucine. Performance Lab SPORT BCAA is perfect for muscle maintenance and protein synthesis, lean muscle development, growth factors and muscle energy. An added boost to your pump and additional help for your recovery.
If you want to be your best, you need to fuel with the best. Big performance with the basics separates the best from the rest and give you the competitive advantage. At the very least, an effective multivitamin provides peace of mind that you’re not making silly mistakes.
Invest in your results and leave the “what ifs” to other people.