Bodybuilders spend much of their time in the gym “pumping iron,” but dumbbells aren’t the only type of iron that bodybuilders need to get strong.
Perhaps that fatigue they may be feeling goes beyond just missing a few hours of sleep or pushing their body to its limits. Iron deficiencies are one of the most common reasons that bodybuilders feel fatigued on a regular basis.
Why Bodybuilders Need Iron
Iron is an essential mineral for everyone’s health, but especially for bodybuilders. This important mineral is a structural component of enzymes and proteins that cells need to grow and adapt.
In the human body, iron makes up hemoglobin, which is a protein in red blood cells that’s responsible for taking oxygen to different parts of the body. Once oxygen reaches the tissues, a protein called myoglobin carries it to your muscles. Efficiently using oxygen is a key factor in athletic training and muscle building.
Bodybuilders need their muscles to be performing at 100% for workouts, training sessions, and competitions. Bodybuilding experts recommend that women between the ages of 19 and 50 get 18 milligrams of iron per day and that men in that age range get 8 milligrams per day. Since women lose iron in their monthly menstrual flow each month, female bodybuilders need to especially monitor their iron levels. Also, bodybuilders on vegan or vegetarian diets should monitor the amount of iron in their blood since they aren’t getting iron from red meat.
Iron Deficiency Symptoms in Bodybuilders
Iron deficiencies in bodybuilders can mean that muscles don’t recover as well between sets. If muscles can be provided with more oxygen through iron transport, they can work longer and harder when they’re needed.
These are some of the most common symptoms of an iron deficiency that bodybuilders experience.
- Muscle fatigue
- Overall fatigue
- Lack of mental clarity
- Difficulty maintaining a consistent body temperature
- Weak immune system
- Why Iron Deficiency is Common in Bodybuilders
Since bodybuilders’ workout is more intense than that of an average person, their diet requires more nutrients of varying types. Iron deficiencies often build up over time in stages, starting with an iron intake that doesn’t meet the needs of your growing muscles.
The amount of iron intake and how much is lost through bodily fluids determines the iron balance. And the quantity of iron that the body absorbs depends upon how much is eaten, what foods are eaten, and what foods are paired together during meals.
Supplementing with Iron on a Bodybuilding Diet
Many bodybuilders are already very familiar with sports and nutrition supplements to build lean muscle, reduce fat, and boost metabolism. Iron can be derived from healthy foods; however, bodybuilders’ diets are often restrictive and very regimented. On days leading up to competition in particular, there may be less variety in the foods that are eaten, based upon a trainer’s recommendations.
Fergon iron supplements are strong enough for any bodybuilder, yet gentle enough not to disrupt your workout routine if you are a bodybuilder. If your diet isn’t allowing you to get the iron you need to be competitive, supplementation may help you achieve peak performance while pursuing your fitness goals.