Before we get into post-workout supplements and what many people have recommended out there, let me state that the ultimate remedy to muscle recovery is eating healthy meals and having quality sleep. The rest are additional.
Living an overall healthy lifestyle is the most important step you can take to maximize your muscle development and recovery. No recovery method can make up for poor nutrition and a lack of rest.
Many people believe that using those overly expensive supplements on the market is a guaranteed way of achieving results in workouts. This is why there is an upward trend in the uptake of supplements for pre-and post-workout activities.
Indeed, supplements have numerous advantages, such as quick muscle recovery. Some tend to enhance your performance. But again, this all depends on your general lifestyle in terms of food and maximum rest for muscle repair.
I will therefore explore the two options we have – one of lifestyle and the other of supplements. Let’s begin with lifestyle:
Protein makes up a huge chunk of your muscle fibers. This is why your body needs to synthesize more protein during and after workouts to help in repairing torn muscles. Usually, what happens is that protein fibers in your muscles get damaged during workouts. Taking proteins after the activity gives your body the necessary nourishment to replace the damaged tissues.
Carbs in your body are processed and broken down into glycogen which is stored in the muscles. Whenever you are undertaking an extraneous activity that requires more energy, this glycogen is fast oxidized to release energy. Similarly, while working out, your body burns a lot of calories. The energy requirements at this point are increased as the metabolic rate is through the roof. Your body, therefore, uses the glycogen present to produce the required fuel.
To replenish the carbs content consumed, try white rice, potatoes, and sugar.
Eat an overall balanced diet.
Eating healthy protects you from not only diseases but also from suffering nutrient deficiencies. Such deficiencies may result in impaired muscle development and impede recovery. Eating healthy means, you minimize your consumption of ultra-processed foods and eating plenty of fruits and vegetables.
You are sure of losing water in your body as a result of exercise. Dehydration can deter your muscles from repairing themselves. You are further prone to lose more body fluids when you exercise under hot and humid conditions. After such workouts, you should take plenty of fluids, including water.
Sleep gives your muscles time to recover from exercise. People who exercise intensely need even more rest than the average person. Sleep deprivation may impair muscle recovery.
Massage helps your body after training to reduce muscle soreness and enhance flexibility.
Contrast water therapy
Contrast bath therapy involves alternating periods of submerging in hot water and freezing water.
Bath therapy may help reduce muscle soreness. Note that results are not uniform and may only favor seasoned athletes.
Cryotherapy is the technique of exposing your body to a freezing temperature for a few minutes. This technique works to reduce pain, inflammation, and muscle tiredness after an involving exercise.
Post-workout supplement ingredients
Glutamine is an amino acid that makes up proteins. Glutamine is also the most abundant free amino acid in your muscles and plasma. It helps in protein synthesis.
It is common in post-workout supplements because it significantly increases lean body mass in wrestlers and footballers.
Beta-alanine has been proven to increase cell carnosine levels which are taken up during intense activities. Such as exercises. This is, by extension developing and repairing torn muscles.
Beta-Alanine also promotes the formation of healthy proteins. Top of Form
This one is more popular in pre-workout supplements. However, judging by its potency in triggering muscle growth response, it might have significant use in post-workout supplements as well.
Studies have shown betaine to increase IGF-1 (growth hormone) while decreasing cortisol in the body. This is important because cortisol can have an extensive effect on testosterone, which will mean less muscle development.
L-Carnitine L-Tartrate is another amino acid. This one, however, plays the role of transporting cellular fatty acids into the mitochondria for energy synthesis.
Common types of post-workout supplements
Protein shakes and powders
These are shakes and powder supplement options that offer whole proteins. Many types of protein powders and shakes contain a complete spectrum of essential amino acids. Examples include Whey and collagen powders.
Branched-chain amino acids
Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine are branched-chain amino acids. These amino acid types can be found in many proteins. However, studies seem to conquer that consuming them independently elicits faster and more lean results than when bundled up as conventional protein. Branched-chain amino acid supplements have the ability to combat fatigue and reduce soreness after a workout.
Research on creatine consistently shows it can help improve muscular strength when combined with resistance training. It is used after workouts to enhance recovery from intense training by helping reduce muscle damage and inflammation. Creatine also helps to replenish your muscles’ glycogen stores.
Fish oi contains Omega-3 and beneficial fatty acids. This explains why many people take fish oil to improve heart health. However, this supplement can also be used as a post-workout supplement since omega-3s can help reduce inflammation.
Glutamine is another type of amino acid. It has been proved to reduce soreness and aid recovery after exercise.
Do I need a post-workout supplement?
There are two straightforward answers to this question. The first one is that, no, you don’t need post-workout supplements. The other one is, yes, you need them.
Let’s start with why you don’t need them:
My argument stems from the first paragraph of this article, where I categorically wrote that the only post-workout supplements you need are rest and food. I further went ahead and explained briefly this assertion giving you sleep, protein, carbs, and a generally balanced diet as feasible options for your post-workout recovery package.
Then, when is it necessary to use post-workout supplements? Here’s why;
Incorporating one of these products into your workout routine can significantly increase the rate at which you can build muscle mass, reduce soreness, and prepare your body for the next round of exercise. In other words, for someone who works out frequently or who wants to get the most out of their exercise routine, a post-workout supplement becomes really is necessary.
Workouts can be classified as strenuous activities. This is so because whenever you are working out, your body breaks down your muscle tissue. It does so to provide extra fuel, and this is what carbohydrates are for. Furthermore, straining your muscles results in tears that will need repair. That is what protein is for.
Unless this repair issue is addressed, you will not be performing optimally on your next workout session. Since you need to replenish the energy and at the same time have time to repair torn muscle fibers in a limited time, a post-workout supplement plan sounds like a sane option since it packs all these nutrients and food compounds.
Additionally, other than recovery, post-workout supplements help in muscle mass build-up and increasing your strength. Immediately after exercise, your body enters a state of relatively rapid muscle synthesis, during which it works to create new tissues to repair and reinforce those that were damaged by your workout.
Amazon Affiliate Disclaimer
As an affiliate, we earn from qualifying purchases. We get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.