How important is iron & how much do you need?

The primary role of iron is to increase our blood’s oxygen carrying capacity, which is integral is ensuring that the muscle & other tissues in our body receive enough oxygen to function properly – especially when training. Intensive workout programs can result in individuals developing iron-deficiency anemia in which there is less oxygen circulating to muscle resulting in:

  • Decreased aerobic capacity
  • Fatigue
  • Reduced athletic performance

Therefore, it is crucial to ensure that athletes meet their iron requirements.

So, how much iron is required?

  • Athlete iron requirements are 1.3-1.7 time higher than non-athletes

    • Vegetarian athletes is another 1.8 times higher
  • Recommended Dietary Allowance

    • Men over 18 years old – 8 mg/day
    • Women 19 to 50 years old – 18 mg/day
    • Women over 51 years old – 8 mg/day

Where can I get my iron requirements from?

  • Beef, pork, oatmeal, lentils, dark green leafy veggies
  • Supplementation

Make sure you’re getting you optimal intake of iron in order to get the most out of your training!


  • NSCA, CSCS Study Guide

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