Energy, Inflammation and Recovery

by PillarPerformance 1070 views Supplements

Energy, Inflammation and Recovery

Why micros are your answer to powering your performance goals. For athletes of all types, one of the biggest challenges is getting enough. 

Enough training, but also enough rest and recovery, usually squeezed amongst other life responsibilities – like work and time with family and friends. So showing up to training ready to capitalise, and then arriving at an event fit, healthy, recovered and injury-free – is a delicate balance of art, science, patience and persistence. 

It requires a good training program, good nutrition and plenty of quality sleep. Getting your nutrition right – with enough of the right foods at the right time is a good start – but when you are constantly pushing the outer edges of your physical limits, you might also want to pay attention to the smaller details. 

Micronutrients are literally the ‘small’ nutrients that are now fast movers in the performance nutrition space for good reason. Macros – the three big players in the nutrition world – are known and well understood: carbs provide fuel for energy and brainpower; protein for muscle growth and recovery; fat for energy and health. However, in addition to what our bodies and various bodily systems need to function are the less visible micronutrients – vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients – paying attention to these smaller details will pay big dividends when it comes to performance.

Energy – for maximising training and performance outcomes: 

To optimise key training sessions you need to go in well fuelled. Nailing repeats, pushing PBs on the track or in the gym, and ticking off those quality sessions can really test energy systems – but it’s more than just carbs and calories you need. 

B vitamins help convert food into energy (metabolism), as well as play critical roles in hormone synthesis, creating co-factors and brain neurotransmitters. There are 8 B vitamins: B1 – thiamine; B2 – riboflavin; B3 – niacin; B5 – pantothenic acid; B6 – pyridoxine; B7 – biotin; B9 – folate; B12 – cobalamin. We need all these B group vitamins, as they work together to ensure energy levels are high and our brains are functioning well. The richest sources? Meat, dairy, seafood and eggs. This does mean that vegan or vegetarian diets can be at risk of B vitamin deficiencies, but even meat-eating athletes can experience deficiencies based on high training loads and metabolic needs. A quality supplement of the B complex vitamins can help support athletes through high training loads, and can particularly be of benefit for those avoiding or minimising animal food sources.

Ultra B by Pillar Performance

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  • Support health stress response in the body
  • Support nervous system function
  • Promote energy levels
  • Help to enhance general health and wellbeing
  • Relieve tiredness and fatigue
  • Support cognitive function
  • Banned substance tested

Recovery – for consistency, so you can back up and train again: 

While you may have smashed out a great session, the key to progression is consistency. In other words, your ability to get out there and continue to have good sessions week-on-week. This means recovery is king. Sleep and rest (and a well-considered training program) are obviously key, but also nutrition and the role that it has to play in recovery and sleep. The first step? Getting adequate amounts of protein, carbs and fluids post-session to replenish glycogen, repair muscle damage and rehydrate. Beyond that, nutrients such as magnesium also have a crucial role to play.  Magnesium is essential for so many bodily functions; from muscle contraction/relaxation, energy production and metabolism, recovery and healing, bone health, cognitive function and mood. Magnesium also acts on the nervous system, reducing the perception of fatigue and easing muscle contractions. 

A shortfall of magnesium can limit energy production leading to fatigue, lethargy, reduced power, muscle twitches or cramps. Chronic deficiencies of magnesium are also implicated in reduced bone mineral density and increased risk of osteoporosis as well as anaemia, depression, and irregular heart rate. As a result of magnesium’s role in energy production, carbohydrate and fat metabolism, protein synthesis and recovery – demands are clearly higher in active athletes. In addition, athletes in hard training can lose significant amounts of magnesium through sweat.

While magnesium is found in a wide array of foods – from whole grains to leafy greens, legumes, nuts and seeds – studies show many people have relatively low intakes from food sources alone. When supplementing with magnesium glycinate dihydrate, the ideal time for a supplement is a half-hour before bed as this particular form supports relaxation and promotes good sleep. 

Triple Magnesium by Pillar Performance

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  • Reduce muscle cramps
  • It helps to decrease mild muscle spasms/twitches
  • Support muscle health
  • Enhance body adaption to stress
  • Support nervous system health
  • Reduce sleeplessness
  • Three specific forms of magnesium for better absorbability
  • Natural berry flavour with added natural strawberry and beetroot extract
  • Free from gluten, dairy, nuts, egg, sugar
  • Hasta Certified

Inflammation control – to help keep you on track: 

Inflammation is a natural – and desired – response to any trauma, including that of training. The only way to adapt and get fitter, faster or stronger is through hard training, which means acute damage to muscles, and higher levels of stress and inflammation in body systems. Body tissues, including joints, respond positively to this type of inflammation. However when inflammation becomes chronic or accumulates with too little recovery, then more serious damage can occur. 

From a dietary perspective, we know that there are certain foods that promote inflammation – alcohol, sugars and processed foods being some of the worst culprits. Sugars in the form of sports food, drinks, bars, and gels are pretty staple in many athletes' weekly or daily intakes (and do serve a purpose). However, these must be carefully balanced with a large intake of anti-inflammatory foods like fish (and other seafood rich in Omega 3 fats), leafy greens, nuts, and herbs. Even then, dietary sources alone may not be enough to support in times of high stress or dealing with injury when certain nutrients are required in concentrated doses and with specific timing.

Common injuries or complaints amongst athletes include tendon issues and joint pain – especially as connective tissue becomes worn or more brittle with age. Ingredients like chondroitin and hyaluronic acid form the structural building blocks of connective tissue, needed for joint function and mobility, and support tendon flexibility and strength. While curcumin, the active component of turmeric, known as a powerful anti-inflammatory ingredient, has also been shown to help reduce joint pain and stiffness. Getting adequate amounts of these components through supplements is the best bet. 

Primal by Anabolix Nutrition

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  • Support joint health
  • Maintain cartilage health 
  • Relieve mild joint pain 
  • Help support a healthy inflammation response 


The article was written by Pip Taylor. A former professional triathlete and now a leading Accredited Sports Dietitian. She's part of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Medical Commission, a Director of the Board for Sports Dietitians Australia and Chair of the AFL Sports Dietitians Association. She's also part of the Pillar Performance team. 

You can connect with Pip Taylor HERE