Do you remember the first week of your gym routine? You were so determined to do everything from weight-lifting to performing bicep curls just to achieve your workout goals. You were not going to stop until you got your biceps bulging out or your form and shape streamlined.
However, as days went by, you realized that you needed something extra: a rest and recovery routine.
A workout routine isn’t complete without a rest and recovery plan. You need this to get the most out of your fitness routine and train much more effectively.
Unfortunately, most people lack an after-workout recovery, and you might be one of them. Somehow, we forget that, after a heavyweight training session, our muscles need a break for tissue repair and strength building.
All exercise activities, especially heavy workouts, put stress on the body and consequently cause mild damages to your muscle cells. While these changes are beneficial, you need to give your body time to realize the gain, and that’s what recovery is all about.
Recovery aims to repair worn-out muscles and tissues, eliminate waste products, and reduce muscle inflammation resulting from intensive workouts. Also, post-workout recovery is meant to replenish the nutrients and energy reserves necessary for muscle activities.
There are many ways to recover after heavy workouts. You could take plenty of water to replace lost fluids, eat healthy recovery foods, rest and relax, or take recovery supplements to replenish exhausted nutrients.
For most of us, it’s easier to swallow recovery supplement pills than getting on a recovery diet for tissue repair and nutrients replacements. The truth is, supplements work faster, and that’s why we prefer them to other solutions.
Luckily, the market understands the need, and therefore, you have plenty to choose from. However, since these supplements are all over, it’s not always easy to tell which ones are genuine. It takes time and personal research to get a legit product.
The Best Recovery Supplements
1. BCAAs (Branched Chain Amino Acids)
BCAAs are the most common recovery supplements at the moment. They’re made up of L-Leucine, L-Isoleucine, and L-Valine, which are among the amino acids present in a normal protein structure. However, in this case, they’re not bound.
During heavy workouts, when our glycogen levels go down, our bodies rely on these amino acids for energy. Therefore, soon after working out, we need to replace these nutrients for the body to regain normality.
BCAAs are known to increase amino acid absorption and consequently increase muscle protein synthesis. This prevents muscle break down, which is common with heavy workouts. Some studies have also revealed that BCAAs can facilitate weight loss and restore energy lost during workouts.
Research findings indicate that omega-3 fish oil is good for bodybuilding and post-workout recovery. It’s known to increase your recovery time after workout. Due to its inflammatory properties, omega-3 supplementation is known to reduce muscle damage and soreness.
Also, omega-3 boosts muscle metabolism and stimulates muscle protein synthesis. This helps your body to build and repair worn-out muscle cells after a workout.
There isn’t a recommended amount of omega-3 one should take for faster recovery, but adding this supplement to your diet isn’t a bad idea. To get enough of it, you can combine it with natural sources of omega-3, such as salmon.
3. Citrulline Malate
Apart from replenishing used nutrients, your body needs to get rid of toxic substances that accumulate in your system during a workout. That’s why you need a few doses of citrulline malate for post-workout recovery.
Ammonia is one of the main byproducts of exercise. It’s toxic and can impair performance during exercise activity. Citrulline malate is known to eliminate ammonia and other harmful byproducts of exercise from the body.
In addition to this, citrulline malate helps to restore the levels of adenosine tri-phosphate (ATP) to normal. As a result, it replenishes body energy lost during a workout.
While glutamine is the most abundant and naturally occurring amino acid in the body, those who engage in heavy workouts may need supplements to maintain the normal levels. Glutamine is produced in the skeletal muscles and plays an important role in muscle recovery.
In most cases, your body will deplete all the glutamine reserves during a workout. Glutamine deficiency in the body decreases endurance and lengthens the recovery process.
L-glutamine supplementation restores the levels of glutamine in the body and maintains protein balance in the body. This eliminates muscle soreness and protects you from muscle break down, accelerating the recovery process.
Curcumin is the anti-inflammatory substance found in tumeric. While you can get it directly from the plant, you may need to take it as a supplement to speed up its effect.
Whether taken in its natural form or as a supplement, curcumin reduces pain and swelling resulting from heavy workouts. Curcumin supplements are found in both liquid and solid form. Even so, the liquid supplement tends to be more absorbable. As such, it’s ideal for those seeking to get results faster.
How Long Does Recovery Take?
In most cases, a body needs anywhere between 24 and 48 hours to recover. Nevertheless, the recovery time depends on the intensity of the workout. For instance, workouts such as weightlifting that are more taxing on your muscles might need a longer time to recover. It could take five days for muscle soreness to go away completely after such workouts.
Embarking on your workout routine before your body fully recovers can be dangerous. Therefore, during this time, your body needs rest. You can skip the gym for a while until your muscles are ready for the next gym session.
Post-exercise recovery is very important for effective performance. While there are natural ways to recover from heavy exercises, it’s important to take recovery supplements to accelerate recovery. If you’re a gym veteran or a workout enthusiast, you may find these supplements useful.