Exercise and diet are important components of your all-around health. But they may not give your body everything it needs to maintain balance and strength. One way to stay at your peak is to ensure you’re getting the correct daily doses of vitamins by choosing the right blend of foods and beverages. If you’re not getting all that you need through your meals alone, you can choose to take supplements – such as chewing or swallowing pills.

But where do you get started? Here’s an overview of the 13 primary vitamins you should be taking and the great things they do for you.

The following vitamins are fat-soluble, which means your body absorbs them and they can be used for an extended period of time (as opposed to water-soluble vitamins, which we’ll discuss in Part 2). But all vitamins have a time frame of efficiency, and a maximum limit that can be useful at one time. Therefore, taking more than 100% of your prescribed vitamins doesn’t actually help you more; whatever can’t be used by the body in the window of time the vitamins are present in your system are just flushed away.

Knowing how your body interacts with vitamins is important; with this knowledge, you can time when you take them and with what meals.

  • Vitamin A – helps your bones, hair, teeth, skin and soft tissue. It’s found in milk, cheese, liver, kidney and fish oils.
  • Vitamin D – is produced by your body after it’s been in the sun and helps your bones by supporting your body’s intake of calcium. Rather than eating the right foods, be sure you’re out in the sunshine on a regular basis.
  • Vitamin E – is an antioxidant that helps you form red blood cells and process vitamin K. It’s found in wheat germ, corn, olives nuts and various green plants.
  • Vitamin K – helps your blood coagulate and is theorized to help bone growth. It’s found in a lot of foods starting with C or S: cereal, cauliflower, cabbage or soy and spinach.

Check back next week for the rest of your need-to-know vitamins and how they help your body stay strong and healthy. Have immediate questions? Feel free to ask one of the nutritionists on staff at our Greenville gym.

Do you find it difficult to get out of bed and visit your local Greenville gym? Does it often seem easier to just pick up fast-food on the way home than make smarter eating decisions? One of the hardest obstacles when you’re trying to stay fit and healthy is finding the motivation. But there is a tried and true system to stay motivated, and that’s the buddy system.

When people feel like they’re trying to meet their fitness objectives alone, it can seem daunting. When you skip a trip to the gym or do 5 reps instead of 15, no one’s going to hold you accountable except for you—and this can make it easier to cheat or slack. But when there’s someone else nearby who you trust to keep you on track, suddenly your successes become even more rewarding and you find a new drive to succeed. Creating a workout buddy system for accountability is one of the easiest, most powerful ways to stay focused on your exercise and diet aspirations.

Your buddy doesn’t necessarily have to be your best friend. You could ask someone from you office to join you, or even your spouse. If you visit our Greenville gym often, you may notice others who frequently come in at the same time as you. You can approach someone and ask if they’d like to be your gym buddy, someone who might make plans to meet you at the treadmill at 2 p.m. on Tuesdays or regularly grab a smoothie with you after your spin class. And this person will notice when you’re not there. Just knowing that someone other than you is paying attention to your successes or failures can be a powerful motivator. Of course, a personal trainer is someone who will always keep you on track and be a helpful participant in your fitness regimen.

You can also invest in a generalized support system, where you constantly keep your family and friends updated about your workout goals. You can keep them abreast of the gym classes you’ve joined, or discuss how you feel about your latest workout or weight loss. By sharing your experiences, it welcomes others into your world. They can offer feedback or just listen. Either way, it gives you a personal team of cheerleaders to encourage your positive, healthy actions–ultimately helping you stay motivated and meet all of your fitness aspirations.