The use of supplements in recent years for recovery has become more common than ever before. There is a high demand for quick and convenient solutions to kickstart the recovery process and ensure one is taking the right nutrients. I’ll go over a few must have supplements for post workout recovery.
Branched chain amino acids (BCAA’s) have become a staple supplement for athletes due to their role in muscle and energy production during exercise and therefore are commonly used immediately around or during one’s workout. They are made up of three essential aminos, leucine, isoleucine and valine. They have been found to significantly reduce muscular soreness and accelerate the growth and recovery process. Supplementing BCAA’s will also help prevent muscle breakdown, as your body will not be forced to eat into its own muscle tissue for energy. Consequently, protein synthesis will be kept high or in other words the body’s ability to effectively digest and absorb protein.
Protein is arguably the most important nutrient to take immediately after your workout, alongside carbohydrates. Your muscles have been broken down and therefore need repairing and rebuilding. However, you want to make sure you find one with only the best ingredients. When it comes to protein, quality over quantity is key.
Creatine monohydrate, or just “creatine,” is popular both as a single-ingredient powder and as an ingredient in pre- and post-workout formulas. However, the buzz among lifters that creatine directly makes your muscles huge is false.
Creatine, though, does allow training at a higher intensity, and if you are training at a higher intensity, it can lead to muscle increase. Not only will creatine help in strength gains but also a faster recovery.
Beta-alanine is another supplement that has solid science behind it. It’s an amino acid our body produces and uses to form a compound called carnosine, which is a fatigue-fighting compound. In normal conditions, beta-alanine is low in the blood, but supplementation can increase it in the blood and therefore increase the amount of fatigue-fighting carnosine. One review published in the journal amino acids found supplementing with beta-alanine can improve performance on high-intensity exercises that last between one and four minutes (maybe Fran?)
The benefits of taking beta-alanine may take up to two to four weeks to show. Give it time to work.
Fish oil is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids which offer numerous health benefits including keeping your heart, brain and eyes in good working order. Most importantly, fish oil decreases inflammation in the muscle and enhances body composition. Inflammation in the body is not only damaging for ones health, but severely impacts your ability to recover, lose fat and build muscle. You will reduce muscle inflammation and improve oxygen delivery, allowing your muscles to recover faster.
For me personally I notice a huge difference during my workout and post workout if I’m not taking these. Increase in muscle soreness and the lack of drive during the middle of the workouts was unbelievable without. We all put the time in the gym, be smart and and take care of your body outside the gym. If you are to start with one supplement I would start with BCAA’s. If we need a little more motivation during these Covid days try some of these supplements to get you back on track.
Written by: Wes Steel