Do you find yourself in a state of complete exhaustion, soreness, and pain after finishing an intense workout? Is it common for you to feel weak after exercising? Does your body feel the need to constantly apply ice packs or heat pads for an effective post-workout recovery? If the answer to one or all of these questions is a big YES, it’s time to think about your post-workout recovery strategy. Read on as we uncover the best post-workout supplements for muscle and pain recovery.
What is a Post-Workout Supplement?
When you work out, you are putting stress on your body. From the tears in your muscles that help you grow stronger to the loss of minerals due to sweat, a workout can leave you feeling worn out if you don’t recover properly. A post-workout "recovery" supplement could be anything that helps your body deal with (and recover from) the negative effects of rigorous physical activity, including the loss of muscle, oxidative damage, and a feeling of fatigue and pain. Supplements such as l-glutamine, omega-3s, vitamins, and protein are all popular options.
Workout supplements not only aid in recovery, but they can also help boost your performance in the gym and help you see better health results in the end, including losing weight, maintaining energy, or increasing nutrient levels.
Top Post-Workout Recovery Supplements & Their Benefits
Adding the right vitamins and minerals to your diet can really boost your workout performance. Here's a look at some powerful workout supplements that can aid the recovery process, along with the key benefits of each.
A naturally-occurring amino acid found in humans, meat, and fish, creatine enables you to produce energy rapidly. Creatine workout supplements help the body retain maximum water content (making your muscles feel and look fuller). The wide-ranging advantages of creatine supplements make them an excellent choice for workout enthusiasts. You can take these workout supplements in the form of pills or powders that can be mixed with smoothies and juices.
Protein is critical for both muscle building as well as muscle repair, making it the most important ingredient in your workout supplements. The benefits of protein powder supplements are closely linked to muscle growth and muscle recovery, making protein supplements ideal for post-workout recovery.
A common question that people often ask is whether protein supplements should be taken before or after a workout. It all depends on the type! There are various options, including soy, whey isolate, whey concentrate, pea, and casein. While some protein types (like whey) are digested rapidly, others (like casein) take longer to digest and start performing. Most protein supplements also contain peptides that enable blood flow to your muscles, so it’s best take them as soon as you complete your workout.
Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) Supplements
Made of three of the nine "essential" amino acids (valine, leucine, and isoleucine), BCAAs are considered great for the human body because they can prevent muscle breakdown and enhance performance. BCAA supplements contain Beta-Alanine, HMB (beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate), l-lysine, etc., which help retain skeletal muscle and curtail muscle catabolism aiding your post-workout recovery.
You need vitamins whether you workout or not. And you need them even more if you workout regularly! Post-workout vitamin supplements can help you retain energy, metabolize carbs for fuel, and protect your body from oxidative stress. If you are looking for something that can help you in your post-workout recovery, these advantages of vitamin supplements are unarguable. You can add them to your post-workout shakes to delay the onset of muscle soreness.
A favorite among bodybuilders and athletes, this amino acid is known to aid muscle growth and minimize muscle breakdown. L-glutamine dietary supplements have gained popularity because of their ability to help decrease muscle fatigue and soreness while also boosting your growth hormones.These post-workout recovery supplements loaded with amino acids could also increase the leucine levels in your muscle fibers and enable fat burning.
Omega-3 Fish Oil Supplements
The most important thing to ensure during your post-workout recovery is preventing muscle breakdown, fatigue, and soreness. This is exactly what omega-3 fish oil supplements help you ensure.
By assisting in rebuilding your cell membranes, joint tissues, and muscles, fish oil supplements have strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. The presence of essential omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) aids your body's muscle regeneration and protein synthesis processes. You can take your omega-3 fish oil supplements with carbs and BCAAs to ensure maximum impact after your workout.
According to research, citrulline supplements can significantly reduce post-exercise muscle soreness. The "non-essential" amino acid citrulline is produced naturally by our bodies, but taking it in supplement form can benefit you in more ways than one, especially after exercising. Citrulline supplements can help increase the growth hormones and improve blood flow by enabling nitric oxide production. The most popular forms of citrulline are L-citrulline and citrulline malate.
Coenzyme Q10 or CoQ10 is naturally produced by the body. However, as is the case with the aforementioned supplements, adequate supplemental amounts of CoQ10 can help in your post-workout recovery by energizing you and reducing fatigue levels after a strenuous workout, according to research. The benefits of CoQ10 supplements also include helping increase your threshold for cellular damage caused by exercise.
Research indicates that curcumin-based supplements can help delay the onset of muscle soreness after workout and also attenuate muscle damage by limiting muscle loss. Curcumin, the active compound found in turmeric, can minimize exercise-induced muscle damage and oxidative stress. Curcumin is typically rich in polyphenols and has high anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
It is important that you do your research and consult a professional nutritionist (or doctor) before you start taking any recovery supplements. Every person’s body is different, and finding the right workout supplements for your body and activity type can really help boost your performance. With the right balance of vitamins and minerals, recovering from a workout will be easier than ever and you’ll be on the right track toward seeing your best results!
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