Supplements are tricky, it can be challenging to know which supplements are legit and which ones are a waste of money. In this article I’ll tell you the top 5 supplements that actually help with workout recovery.
Last week in part 1 I went over the 5 fundamental components of workout recovery, those 5 fundamentals are non-negotiable, if any one of them is missing you could be sabotaging your workout recovery. So if you missed last week’s article click here to read it. This week I want to focus on Supplements to help your workout recovery. Supplements are not a magic pill. They do not take the place of proper training and nutrition and rest but they can help. So let’s get right into my pick for the top 5 supplements for workout recovery:
- Multivitamin. I know that doesn’t sound very exciting. But taking a daily multivitamin is good insurance your body is getting all the nutrients it needs, to perform at its best, and to heal and recover from exercise at its best. For example Vitamin A supports protein synthesis, and Vitamin C works to protect muscle cells from free radicals, and B Complex Vitamins help your cells produce the energy needed for tissue repairs. Dosage. For Most multivitamins the dosage is one or two per day, just follow the instructions on the label.
- Omega 3 Fish Oil. As an anti-inflammatory, Omega 3 supplements were shown in studies to reduce muscle soreness and swelling after exercise, meaning your muscles are recovering better and faster. Omega 3 fatty acids have also been shown to increase protein synthesis. Not to mention the long list of benefits such as: increased heart health, brain health, skin eyes and joint health, and many others. Dosage: Full disclosure: You can get enough omega-3s by eating 12 ounces of fatty fish twice per week, such as salmon or mackerel or herring. Or if you don’t eat that much fish a week you could use a supplement. For overall health benefits, a good intake of omega-3 fatty acids is 1.5-3 grams per day. Most fish oil capsules are not 100% Omega 3s so you have to read the label. If you are more active, athletes and bodybuilders have been known to take up to 6g per day but I that’s probably overkill for most of us.
- Branched Chain Amino Acids or BCAAs. There are 20 different amino acids that make up protein. Nine of the 20 are considered essential amino acids, meaning they can’t be made by your body and must be obtained through your diet. Of those nine essential amino acids, three are the branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs): leucine, isoleucine and valine. The words “Branched chain” just refers to their chemical structure. Since the 1980s there has been a high interest in Branched Chain Amino Acids by sports scientists. Data shows that BCAA supplementation reduces muscle protein breakdown and promotes muscle-protein synthesis. BCAAs have also been shown to reduce muscle soreness after a workout and therefore speed up recovery time. Dosage: The recommended dosage for men is 15-20 grams per day, and for women 3-5 grams per day, taken right around the time of your workout, either just before or just after or even during your workout. Most BCAA products come as a powder you mix with cold water. This also helps make sure you drink plenty of water.
- L-Glutamine. L-Glutamine is another amino acid, it is the most abundant amino acid in your body. Your body can synthesize it so it is not considered an essential amino acid. So why on earth would you want to supplement with glutamine? Well, your body’s requirements for glutamine may at times outpace your body’s ability to make it, making glutamine “conditionally” essential, such as in the case of critically hurt or sick people. The benefits of glutamine supplementation in the critically hurt and sick have led some researchers to propose that it may be useful for people who are engaged in heavy exercise. The data reports that glutamine supplementation reduced muscle soreness and improved strength recovery. In another study, Leucine, one of the branched chain amino acids, taken with glutamine led to better strength recovery than leucine alone, although both groups experienced reduced muscle soreness. Glutamine is also a major fuel for your immune system. After prolonged exercise glutamine levels in your body drop, and this reduction correlates with an increased risk of infection. In a study of endurance athletes Glutamine supplementation significantly reduced the occurrence of infection. All this tells us that glutamine supplementation can help with our workout recovery in many different ways. Dosage. The recommended dosage for glutamine is 2-5 grams supplemented just before or after training. Glutamine is recommended to be taken with BCAAs, which is why some products contain both ingredients.
- Whey protein. Whey protein is a protein found in dairy products. It is a byproduct of the cheese-making process. Whey protein is a complete protein, meaning it provides all of the essential amino acids, making it an ideal choice as a protein supplement. Whey is also a fast digesting protein. Dosage: Studies have shown that taking 20-40 grams of whey protein post workout seems to maximize your body’s ability to recover after exercise. Plus you can take it as needed throughout the day to ensure you meet your body’s protein needs.
Again supplements can be tricky. Because nutritional supplements are regulated as “food” and not medicine, manufacturers don’t even need to prove their products are effective. Even though it is illegal to make false or misleading claims, the FDA doesn’t actively police the supplement industry. They usually only take action after getting consumer complaints.
So you have to be careful, pay attention to customer reviews, and only buy from companies you trust, like Spirit and Muscle (shameless plug). I have a special gift for you, a way to say thanks for reading this article – and that gift is $20 to spend at the Spirit and Muscle store when it opens. There’s no minimum order, it’s not a percent or buy-one-get-one where you have to spend money, it’s literally $20 cash value to spend however you want, on supplements you trust, at the S&M store, as my simple way to say thank you. Full disclosure: The only thing you’ll have to pay out of pocket is shipping, but it’s very reasonable. To get your $20 gift visit the link below.
Thanks for reading, and God bless you!