Veterans sometimes find it difficult to maintain the same level of fitness they enjoyed while actively serving their country. Military meals are well-balanced with sufficient calories to fuel the body. Once back in civilian life, it becomes the job of the veteran to manage their micronutrient and macronutrient intake. They must also assure they get the exercise they need. Here are some nutrients that can help fuel your next workout.

Protein

Protein is an absolute necessity to maintain optimal levels for health. Protein is needed to repair muscle fiber that is torn while engaging in high-intensity workouts. Experts do not agree on how much protein is needed but one rule of thumb is to eat 0.36 grams of protein per pound of body weight. Up Fitness explains, “everyone’s health and diet needs are tailored to their body, and their goals. That being said, an increase in protein generally tends to lead to people feeling full and not wanting or craving foods outside of meal times.”

Animal protein is an excellent way to satisfy your protein needs. Foods like beans, peas, and lentils are available to veterans that do not eat meat. Some men worry that soy products may reduce testosterone levels, but evidence-based studies do not support this.

Fat

Veterans who need to lose a few pounds of body fat would do well to learn how to put their body in a state of ketosis. When in ketosis, your body converts the fat stores of your body into ketones that can be used as fuel for workouts.

Ketosis can be reached by eating a low amount of carbs and increasing the healthy fats consumed. Diet Doctor explains, “by eating low amounts of sugar, your body naturally produces more ketones, which provide the body with energy. The ideal is to get your body into a position where it burns fat 24-7.” Examples of good fats to consume are coconut oil, avocado oil, and olive oil.

Vitamin B

It is quite possible that B vitamins will be the most important vitamins for veterans looking to stay healthy and active once their active duty is completed. According to Age Immune, “B vitamins are used for energy production, red blood cells formation, body defense mechanism, and neurological support.” A well-balanced diet that includes whole grain, fruits, and vegetables will provide the needed B vitamins for energy production.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is necessary to maintain the health of bones and teeth. This fat-soluble vitamin becomes more important as individuals get older. Individuals with Vitamin D deficiencies may also find they do not have the energy to fuel workouts. According to Theralogix, “Vitamin D doesn’t only help in muscle development, but it also assists in maintaining better blood sugar control, improves testosterone levels, and can even improve your mood.” The sun is the best source of vitamin D, but supplements and fortified foods can also satisfy your vitamin D needs.

Exercise, Water, and Sleep

These three elements are not often viewed as nutrients. However, all individuals need to maintain an adequate amount of these elements to maintain optimal health. When adequate exercise is partnered with sufficient sleep and water consumption, hormones are balanced and the body has the fuel it needs for workouts and tissue repair.

It may seem difficult at first for the veteran who seeks to maintain optimal fitness levels. However, getting the right nutrition and remaining active can help them achieve this goal. The five nutrients discussed in the article are must-haves for veterans wishing to maintain fitness levels.

For future health events and virtual runs which go to help veterans, make sure to check out our events page! We are announcing new races and other events soon, so keep an eye on that page!


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