Sponsored post: As well as regular fitness and strength training, good nutrition is essential to help get your body in balance to perform at its healthiest and best. A.Vogel Nutritionist Emma Thornton gives advice on how to nourish your body to increase your chances of a successful and healthy season

5 essential nutrients

With regular exercise, your supplies of electrolytes can easily become depleted, leaving you feeling overwhelmed and worn out. Five nutrients to focus on that will help your body maintain normal muscle function, recover efficiently and help reduce those feelings of tiredness and fatigue are:

Nutrients and their food sources
Magnesium: Wholegrains, dried fruit, nuts and seeds
Zinc: Variety of protein foods, including seafood, lean meats and poultry, eggs, legumes (beans and peas), nuts, seeds, and soy products. Oysters, red meat, and poultry
Potassium: Avocados, spinach, sweet potato, beetroot
Calcium: Seeds, cheese, yoghurt, beans, lentils
Vitamin D3: Very few foods provide Vitamin D3. Beef liver, cheese, egg yolks and fatty fish

For a handy formula containing all five nutrients, try A.Vogel Balance Mineral Drink, a strawberry flavoured powdered food supplement that contains generous levels of magnesium, zinc, potassium, calcium and vitamin D. This makes it a great option to help reduce fatigue, improving energy, and replace lost electrolytes.

A.Vogel Balance Mineral Drink: £6.99, 7 x 5.5g sachets, www.avogel.co.uk, independent health stores

Get back on track with herbal help

Training hard is inevitably accompanied by the occasional ache and pain, not to mention schedule-ruining sprains and strains. “Muscle aches, sprains and pains can often crop up as part of a training regime. Most of us want to get back on track as soon as possible, and this can be made easier by keeping natural help from Arnica at the ready,” says Emma.

“Arnica has been shown in research to work as effectively as a topical Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug (NSAIDs) to reduce swelling, joint and muscle pain and inflammation.”

A.Vogel Atrogel Arnica Gel: £7.25 (50ml) £11.99 (100ml) www.avogel.co.uk, Boots and Holland & Barrett

Atrogel is a traditional herbal medicinal product containing fresh herb extract of Arnica Montana which is used for symptomatic relief of muscular aches, pains and stiffness, sprains, bruises and swelling after contusions, exclusively based upon long-standing use as a traditional remedy. Atrogel is easy to apply, and comes in a handy tube that can be kept in your gym bag. Using Atrogel on your muscles and joints post-exercise can help reduce swelling and aching helping you to recover more quickly and get back on track.

Sporty super juice – Beat it with beets!

“Beetroot juice is a natural source of potassium which contributes to normal muscle function, great for athletic performance. Potassium also helps to maintain normal blood pressure, ensuring that oxygen availability throughout your body is maintained,” explains Emma. “Beetroot juice is also an excellent source of nitrates, and both these and potassium are thought to have a positive effect on blood flow and muscle recovery, and are important for helping to manage blood pressure. Research has shown that consuming just 100g of beetroot juice, or beetroot juice enriched bread, could help to significantly reduce blood pressure in as quickly as 24 hours.

“If beetroot juice is able to dilate your blood vessels in order to affect blood pressure, then it’s likely that it’s also able to increase your oxygen availability. If your utilisation of oxygen improves, then so should you endurance and overall sporting performance too. A small study on professional cyclists aimed to put this very idea to the test. They weren’t disappointed, and found that by consuming just 70ml of beetroot juice before a bout of exercise, athletes were able to significantly improve their oxygen utilisation and performance times.  A wise choice then for your pre-workout drink!”

Biotta Beetroot is a source of potassium which helps maintain normal muscle function. Biotta juices go through a lacto-fermentation process which means they support the production of naturally occurring, gut-friendly L+ lactic acid.

Biotta Beetroot juice: 500ml RRP 3.99 from www.avogel.co.uk and health stores