Recovery is just as important as training is for building muscle tone and reaching your fitness goals. When you lift weights or push your body through a tough workout, you are breaking down your muscle tissue. The body then works to repair this muscle tissue and build it back stronger so as to avoid future damage. The result is stronger and larger muscle tissue. This process occurs during recovery when we are sleeping and on our off days (or days we don’t workout). However, without proper recovery time, your body cannot properly repair and build back your muscle tissue. This will leave you feeling sore, fatigued, and nowhere nearer to your fitness goals. Sleep is one of the most important factors in recovery with nutrition being next best. What we feed our bodies plays a huge role in recovery time. Your body needs certain nutrients in order to properly heal itself. Supplements provide an easy way to get more nutrients in our diet through pill, capsule, or power form. Below are some of the best supplements for post-workout recovery you should have in your kitchen cupboard.
Whey Protein Isolate
Protein is essential for building and repairing muscle tissue. Whey protein isolate contains the added benefit of Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAAS) which help in building, rebuilding, and repairing muscle breakdown and encouraging muscle growth. It’s also a more easily digestible protein, meaning its vital nutrients are delivered to your muscle tissue faster for more rapid recovery. Taking whey protein before, after, or during your workout helps to stimulate protein synthesis and minimize protein breakdown which are essential processes for muscle recovery.
Collagen is a naturally occurring protein in the body needed to build bone, muscle tissue, ligaments, tendons, and joint cartilage. It’s also necessary for building and repairing skin tissue, hair, and nails. Collagen is not a complete protein, but it does have 8 out of the 9 essential amino acids that make a complete protein. These amino acids aid in muscle recovery and repair. Because collagen levels naturally decrease as we age, it’s important to get collagen through diet and collagen supplements.
L-glutamine is an amino acid most vital to reducing muscle breakdown and boosting the immune system. L-glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in the human body but it is quickly depleted after hard workouts. To prevent muscle breakdown and a compromised immune system, we must quickly replenish L-glutamine levels through supplementation. Though our bodies do make L-glutamine on its own, it can’t replenish it fast enough after strenuous workouts.
Electrolytes are electrically charged water soluble minerals that help maintain the pH balance in our body and keep us hydrated. They send electrical impulses throughout the body that are necessary for muscle contraction and normal muscle function. Electrolytes aid in muscle recovery by maintaining the proper alkalizing balance muscles need to function smoothly and maintain blood flow. If you are low on electrolytes after a workout, you may experience more soreness and a longer recovery time.
Fish Oil (Omega-3 Fatty Acids)
Fish oil supplements are mostly composed of omega-3 fatty acids which are essential fats our bodies need for eye health and heart health. Omega-3s are useful in preventing inflammation and stiffness that occurs post-workout. This effect is due to its antioxidant properties that fight free radicals and inflammation. If you are susceptible to joint pain or stiffness after working out, you should consider a fish oil supplement to alleviate the problem.
Magnesium is a mineral that is crucial to normal bodily function. It aids in muscle recovery by helping them relax. A magnesium deficiency can lead to muscle cramping, especially after a tough workout. Magnesium assists in muscle contraction, bone health, heart rythym, and helps keep our blood pressure normal. To prevent soreness, consider taking a regular magnesium supplement.
Supplements Aid In Recovery
While nothing can beat a good night’s sleep, nutrition plays just as important a role in muscle recovery. Supplements make getting the right nutrients easier, especially when you are following a strict workout and diet plan. It’s important to feed your body the right vitamins and minerals it needs to perform at its best. Consider making some of these supplements part of your daily routine to achieve the maximum results from your workouts.