Back in the day, guys like Arnold who trained out in the sun at Muscle Beach never had to worry about vitamin D. It’s different today, when most gyms are indoors and the majority of our population is deficient in the “sunshine vitamin.” Many bodybuilders view supplements as falling into one of two categories: muscle or health—those that help you get bigger and those that support general well-being. Unfortunately, this is also the order in which they are ofen prioritized. Truth is, your body is an intricate web of cause and effect, and almost every vitamin and mineral has either a direct or indirect effect on muscle growth. Vitamin D, for example, is commonly associated with bone health—it supports calcium absorption and helps maintain calcium concentrations in the blood—but it’s also instrumental for effective training. If your muscles are strong and your bones are soft, you’re a serious injury waiting to happen. Moreover, vitamin D acts like a hormone in the body, impacts protein synthesis, and helps your nervous and muscular systems perform at their peak. But don’t just reach for the first vitamin D product you see. According to new research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, most vitamin D–fortified products, like the milk and orange juice you’ll find at your grocery store, use vitamin D2, an inferior version of vitamin D. Vitamin D3, research shows, is the best way to raise blood levels of vitamin D and is more effectively converted to the hormone that leads to many of vitamin D’s myriad benefits. If you don’t get a lot of sun, grab a daily vitamin D3 supplement and you might just start looking like the Oak.— FLEX