Did you know I supplement with ZMA? I’m not outing myself with anything weird or wacky, just want to share with y’all how this formula of zinc, magnesium aspartate and vitamin B6 has helped me tremendously the last several years. Yes, being a runner and general fitness enthusiast is a great way to stay healthy, but it can also take a toll when you’re not taking care of yourself – I know this firsthand. Increased levels of physical exercise can deplete the minerals, vitamins and nutrients that are essential for protein synthesis, muscle maintenance / building, and testosterone production. This is when I had a light bulb moment – no wonder I was feeling so run down, worn out and stuck in a performance rut.
I was already taking magnesium and vitamin B6 at the suggestion of my physician, but with little discernible effect. However, when I found the specific formulation of ZMA, I started noticing some improvements – and now, I’m afraid NOT to take it! Here are the main reasons why I like ZMA, and why you may be interested too – but of course, please consult with a trusted medical professional first.
Boost Testosterone: You may be surprised to find out that women produce testosterone too, although in much lower levels than men. A lack of adequate testosterone, regardless of gender, can make you feel tired and lethargic as you go about your daily schedule and (blush) not in the mood at night. Blood work at a doctor’s appointment a couple years ago showed I needed to boost up this hormone and, compared to some other options out there, I felt that ZMA supplementation would be an all-natural and gentle way to kick things up a bit without growing any hair on my chest! One study has shown that testosterone in men increases as much as 30% when taking ZMA.
Deepen Sleep: I have a troubled history with getting enough quality sleep. That’s bad on so many levels – not only do I feel grouchy in the morning, but I am often unable to execute my workouts as planned. Falling into deep REM sleep is vital for muscle recovery and proper testosterone production – all of this action happens at a higher rate while we are snoozing soundly. ZMA is taken about an hour before bed on an empty stomach and encourages a deeper, more productive sleep.
Achieve Strength Gains and Improve Performance: Studies have shown that ZMA supplementation has many benefits for athletes. As mentioned earlier, due to the taxing demands we put on our bodies, athletes lose more minerals and nutrients than the general population. These exercise stress caused deficiencies need to be continually replenished to stay healthy. When properly replenished and recovered, the body can continue to train and build strength at levels that yield performance improvements. A study on football players during 8 weeks of spring training revealed that those taking ZMA had 2.5 more gains in muscle strength than the placebo group. While I don’t exactly have a football player physique, I do count on nightly ZMA to help mend my muscles so that I can tackle the next day of running and working out!
Lean Body Composition: A nice side benefit of taking ZMA is that the little boost in testosterone helps me stay lean with a much higher percentage of muscle mass compared to body fat. Now, you can’t just take ZMA and think you will drop weight like crazy – it doesn’t work that way AT ALL! You definitely need to be mindful of your diet (I eat a higher protein, lower-carb diet) and genetic body type. I’m an ectomorph, which in terms of body building, has been described as someone with “thin limbs and stringy muscles” – lol, no worries about bulking up here!
Swanson Vitamins makes a good ZMA (above), but I also really like this ZMA that you can get from the Vitamin Shoppe, it’s one of their top sellers — plus, the Vitamin Shoppe has FREE SHIPPING on orders over $25. WHoohoo.
Load up on ZMA and other vitamins, supplements and products for healthy living at Vitamin Shoppe!
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