When we consider getting bigger and stronger in the gym, we often think of our muscles first and for good reason. If we are trying to increase aspects of our appearance or simply become stronger, most of the effort needs to be done with our muscles. However, our brain and our body are not as separated as we might believe.
Instead, the brain and the body are a single unit, which helps us to achieve a stronger and more aesthetically pleasing physique. For example, all of the body enhancing hormones, such as testosterone, growth hormone, and others, are released through signals from the brain. Our brain is intertwined with our body.
If this concept is strange, that’s probably because it is uncommon. Most people don’t think in this way, which is why we’ve got a list of 3 surprising nutrients that will change both your body and body.
Mind and Body Enhanced
#1. Creatine Monohydrate – long the favorite of bodybuilders and strength athletes alike, creatine monohydrate is a naturally occurring molecule found in many animal products. Creatine is essential for life and although we can create our own, the more supplemental creatine that we take the more optimal (to a point).
The interesting thing is how creatine works. In every cell, creatine helps with the production of energy (ATP), which is why it helps to grow muscle. Our muscles have more energy, can lift heavier weights, and produce better results. By the same token, creatine can do this for our cells in the brain. Numerous studies, including one thorough double-blind, placebo controlled creatine study showed increased cognitive performance via supplementation.
In fact, creatine monohydrate is one of the best places to start for improving mental energy, preventing neurological decline, and a host of other advantages.
#2. Choline – even though creatine might not be new, choline assuredly is. For many strength athletes and bodybuilders, choline doesn’t register in the list of body enhancing supplements, but it is a great option. The primary use for choline is as a raw ingredient for a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine.
When we have more acetylcholine in our system, we not only improve our learning ability and memory (a function of our brain), but we also have more enhanced motor control for becoming bigger and stronger. One study showed that a choline molecule called alpha GPC could increase strength (power output) by up to 14%. That’s quite a large increase for something that helps both brain and body!
#3. Omega-3 (DHA / EPA) – another supplement that bodybuilders may have overlooked are called omega-3 fatty acids. Specifically DHA and EPA, this is most often sourced from fish oil, which is helpful for a number of reasons. For one thing, omega-3 fatty acids help to decrease inflammation, reduce oxidative stress, and help protect neurons in the brain from dying.
For a bodybuilder or strength athlete, the omega-3 fatty acids help muscles to absorb water and fully hydrate. The standard American diet usually provides gaps, which can hinder muscle and strength gains. Omega-3 fatty acids help our cells interact more effectively, which is a huge boon for muscle growth. A simple fish oil supplement or sardines could do on a daily basis.
Food First: Increasing Physical and Mental Capabilities
Even though we have given you supplemental options, the first priority for anyone is to get these nutrients through natural food options. Simply eating lean and red meats will provide adequate creatine, adding fish can help with omega-3 fatty acids, and eggs will do the trick for choline.
If these foods aren’t appealing, supplements are a great option, but they should not be the first line of defense. Get your dietary habits in order first so you can benefit fully from your mind to your body.