Salty sweat and sore muscles. You know exactly what that post-workout feeling is all about. Training and exercise increase the amount of catabolic ("breakdown") hormones circulating in your blood. These hormones help breakdown glycogen and fat to fuel your workout. Even after your workout has ended, these hormones continue to float around in the blood and break down muscle tissue. No pain, no gain, right? Well, not necessarily. Without adequate nutrient recovery, this catabolic phase can continue for hours. The soreness in your muscles is a painful reminder. The results are counterproductive; instead of building muscle, you're damaging muscle. On top of that, inflammation and oxidative stress sets in. The results are also discouraging because this compromises your future athletic performance. The question is: do you have a recovery plan? Instead of wasting your workout, make sure the following nutrients are found in your supplement arsenal. Whether you are an athlete or just starting to adapt to a new exercise program, this information is for you! First things first, though. Adequate calories and protein is a must! If the body doesn't receive enough carbohydrate to fuel activity, it will tap into protein stores. The body's first target for protein is, of course, our muscle mass. Protect your muscle mass, get enough carbohydrates to fuel your workout.
Hundreds of studies attest to the effectiveness of creatine in improving strength and performance. It works by increasing creatine phosphate levels. Creatine phosphate supplies energy muscles need for contraction. A study published in Life Sciences found that 5 days of creatine supplementation in experienced marathon runners reduced cell damage and inflammation after an exhaustive, intense 30 km race.
Beta-alanine is a similiar nutrient of interest. How does it work? During intense bouts of exercise, high energy demands force the body to shift to a type of metabolism that produces many acidic H+ ions. Carnosine helps buffer the changing pH. Without beta-alanine, however, carnosine cannot be produced. Research shows that beta-alanine supplementation increases muscle carnosine levels and decreases fatigue. When combined with creatine, results are even better. A study conducted over the course of 10 weeks on collegiate football players showed better improvements in strength, muscle mass, and percent body fat with creatine plus beta-alanine users compared to creatine only. Their muscles were complete with enough buffers to allow for better recovery.
Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)
BCAAs (eg, isoleucine, leucine, and valine) have been heavily tested and proven to help reduce muscle damage, especially from endurance exercise. Athletes completed three intense cycling sessions and then were given a single dose of BCAAs during their workout. Results show that muscle breakdown was suppressed with a single dose of BCAAs compared to the placebo group.
Here's a nutrient that you may not have associated with workout recovery at first. However, when you have high concentrations of omega-3 in your blood, you're effectively decreasing levels of pro-inflammatory chemicals, some of which are a result of exercise In one study, conducted on 40 healthy males that were not athletically trained, subjects were given either omega-3 or a placebo supplement for 2 weeks. The placebo group noted higher levels of IL-6 and CRP, markers of inflammation. Various studies show that doses of omega-3 fatty acids from 1.8-3 grams per day of omega-3 help minimize muscle soreness that results from strenuous strength exercise. Wouldn't it be easy if you had all these muscle-protective nutrients in one place? Start your workout right with PreFuel, EnergyFirst's best-selling athletic performance blend. It's revamped to include creatine, beta-alanine, and BCAAs, plus an antioxidant blend to mop up exercise-induced free radicals that lead to oxidative stress. Also, OmegaEnergy fish oil is a high-quality omega-3 fatty acid supplement with multiple whole-body benefits, muscle recovery included.
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