Iron: A Critical Nutrient for the Outdoorsman

It’s time to actually get yourself in gear and get back into shape! You will not allow this upcoming year to be like the last. If you are reading this then there is a high probability you are an outdoorsman. We are a different type of athlete and what we put ourselves through on the trail, during a hunt, and so on requires a different view in what is considered “in shape” and what you should take to get to that point.

Don’t worry, we are here to help you and do our very best to keep things simple and to the point. What we can tell you right from the start, two of the best and simplest supplements that can make a huge difference in your fitness goals are Omega-3 Fatty acids, and Iron. The one we are focusing on here is Iron and most people don’t have any idea that iron is a critical nutrient our bodies need, and how much it can help you reach your fitness goals.

Before you can understand how iron will help you in your fitness goals and in the outdoors, you need to know what iron actually does for you. Iron helps with the production of red blood cells and hemoglobin, which is a protein that is responsible for carrying oxygen throughout the body. This has significant benefits for everything from mental focus, fatigue, muscle recovery, and more. Lets discuss the top 3 reasons iron will help you in fitness and the outdoors.

  1. Energy: Iron is a nutrient in our body that helps break down carbohydrates and utilize the glucose from carbs to keep us running. Being deficient in iron will make it less likely that our bodies are able to utilize the glucose for energy, especially during workouts, and can increase the likelihood that the glucose will be stored as fat. Studies show that iron supplementation can leave us less fatigued when we are pushing our muscles harder during exercise. If you struggle with fatigue, this can sometimes be diagnosed as anemia, which is often directly related to a low blood count and a person being iron deficient.
  2. Performance: As we mentioned earlier, red blood cells transport oxygen throughout the body, and during workouts, hikes, and exercise, oxygen rich blood is in high demand by your brain and muscles. You can actually lose iron through sweating and this will reduce performance all around. Iron supplementation will saturate your body with oxygen rich blood that help your brain and muscles use the glucose as energy during exercise. As outdoorsmen the concept of increasing red blood cell production extends to the issue of Altitude Sickness. A person deficient in iron is more likely to pick up altitude sickness at higher elevations, which can actually lead to death in severe cases.
  3. Recovery: This concept is simple. Your blood transfers nutrients and amino acids to your muscle to help you recover after exercise. By increasing your red blood cell count, your body is able to better utilize these nutrients by getting more to the needed areas faster.

How much iron do you need?

This number actually is very different between men and women. The average adult male who exercises regularly needs to take in roughly 8mg – 10mg per day to receive the benefits needed. Women need to take in more than double that at 18mg+ per day. If you tend to sweat a lot, lean towards a higher intake.

Iron in your food and supplements:

Iron can be found in foods such as meat, fish, dark green vegetables and beans. Deer steak contains about 3.8mg of iron in 3 ounces of meat. Now it p[probably is safe to assume that a larger portion than not of outdoorsmen don’t take in many dark leafy greens, which have numerous benefits, which are high in iron, so the supplements available at Built4TheHunt.com that offer the best to offset this would be the different “GREENS” supplements. You can find the ones from Legion Athletics, Bucked Up, MTN OPS, Truwild, and Bowmar Nutrition in the “Health & Wellness” section of the site.