Best Post-workout Supplements
After you’ve done the last rep, maximizing the amount of microdamage to the muscle fibers, or finished the last sprint on the treadmill, it’s time to focus on recovery.
Many people make the mistake of not paying enough attention to this. They think the recovery processes are stimulated by long massage sessions they cannot afford, painful ice baths, electrical stimulation, or other impractical esoteric means.
Best Post-Workout Supplements – The Basics
In reality, the most effective way to accelerate recovery and reduce muscle soreness is through proper nutrition.
Several key supplementation strategies can help a variety of body systems that need to recover from exercise.
1. Stimulating protein synthesis and tissue repair.
2. Recovery of energy substrates.
3. Reduction of muscle pain.
4. Fight inflammation.
5. Replenishment of stocks of essential nutrients in the body.
By focusing on these five strategies, you can modify your recovery requirements based on the type of training (such as developing strength and power or endurance), training frequency, or personal preference.
Following these nutritional strategies will ensure that you don’t have to push your hardest on the next high-intensity workout with sore and sore muscles.
1. Stimulating protein synthesis and tissue repair
Microdamage to muscle fibers during certain types of physical activity is the main cause of muscle soreness.
Amino acids stimulate protein synthesis and are the building blocks of the body, which can help repair tissue damaged during exercise.
According to recent studies, athletes who took protein after exercise gained 38 percent more muscle mass and 33 percent more strength gains than those who did not.
On average, protein supplementation caused an increase in muscle mass by 0.69 kg and maximum leg strength by 13.5 kg compared to the placebo control group. The average amount of protein consumed in excess of the usual diet was 50 grams.
Best Post-Workout Supplements – What to take?
Whey protein is considered to be the best supplement for accelerating recovery, as it is digested quickly and easily absorbed by the body, increasing the level of amino acids in the blood, which is necessary for the regeneration of damaged tissues.
It also has anti-inflammatory effects and increases the level of glutathione, an antioxidant produced by the body, which has been reported to increase lifespan and prevent many diseases.
Pea protein is another high-quality protein source that is suitable for vegans or those with a hard-to-whey protein tolerance.
Despite the fact that whey protein is low in lactose, some people have cases of its intolerance, especially when its quality is low.
Our Top Picks of Pea Protein
BCAAs are a branched-chain amino acid complex that contains high levels of leucine, an essential amino acid needed to trigger protein synthesis.
BCAAs can counteract the breakdown of muscle fibers during intense exercise. For example, taking 100 mg of BCAAs per kilogram of body weight reduces muscle soreness up to 48 hours after a training session and speeds up recovery.
How much to take?
It is believed that 20-25 grams of high quality protein should be taken to begin with post-workout, however, recent research suggests that more protein may be required for maximum recovery.
In recent studies, it was found that, regardless of the muscle mass of the subjects, 40 grams of whey protein stimulated muscle protein synthesis after training to a greater extent than 20 grams.
Another study found that a lean beef meal containing 70 grams of protein improved the body’s protein balance more than a similar meal containing only 40 grams of beef.
Based on these studies, it can be assumed that more protein is needed for optimal recovery.
The body’s protein balance includes not only those amino acids that are burned for energy or used to repair damaged tissues, but also those that are involved in the functioning of the immune system or are stored by the body for further use.
Our Top Picks of BCAA
3.Recovery of energy substrates
Depending on the intensity and duration of your exercise, the body uses two different sources of energy (or energy substrates): carbohydrates stored as glycogen and phosphocreatine, which is derived from creatine.
Phosphocreatine is stored in your muscle tissue and serves as a short-term energy source for very intense exercise of less than 15 seconds.
For example, it is used during the maximum deadlift approach or during the 100 meter sprint.
The body has the ability to replenish its stores of phosphocreatine, however, taking additional creatine increases the amount available in the muscles.
Glycogen is also stored in muscles. Breaking down during anaerobic glycolysis, it acts as the main energy substrate for high-intensity muscular work lasting up to two minutes.
In the same capacity, glycogen is used by the aerobic oxidative system with less intense prolonged muscle work.
Restoring glycogen stores requires carbohydrate intake from the diet. This is usually not a big deal unless you are a serious athlete who trains twice a day or competes.
The only exception is the combination of very intense workouts with low-carb diets. In this case, it is worth considering changing the diet.
The loading method can be used in taking creatine. This method leads to faster muscle saturation with creatine and therefore an increase in strength and weight (due to water retention).
The loading method consists of taking 0.30 grams of creatine per kilogram of body weight, then the dose is reduced to 5 grams per day.
Although loading leads to a faster increase in muscle creatine content, taking a lower dose (5 grams per day) for a long period of time can ultimately achieve the same level of muscle saturation with creatine.
It just takes longer. For this reason, the use of a creatine load is optional.
Taking carbohydrate supplements can improve athletic performance in certain situations.
For endurance training longer than 90 minutes, consume 0.9 grams of carbohydrate per kilogram of body weight per training hour, along with 0.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.
For recovery during multi-day competitions or with two intense and prolonged workouts per day, carbohydrate intake can be adjusted to 1.2 grams per kilogram of body weight per training hour.
Adding protein to carbohydrates in a 1: 2 to 1: 4 ratio can reduce carbohydrate requirements and improve glycogen recovery.
Our Top Picks of Carbohydrate Powders
Carbohydrate powders, gels, drinks, fruit juices are equally effective.
Experiment, choose what you like best and best tolerate (some carbohydrate powders and gels can irritate the gastrointestinal tract).
Supplements containing both glucose and fructose are recommended to restore muscle and liver glycogen stores.
4.Less muscle soreness
The most frustrating things about hard training are muscle aches and feelings of exhaustion after training. No one wants to struggle to climb stairs or suffer from pain in their leg muscles when bending over to get their shoes the day after heavy squats.
Creams are one of the most effective treatments for post-workout muscle soreness. Creams contain medicinal substances that are absorbed into the bloodstream through the skin, so they can easily and effectively relieve muscle pain.
What to take?
Recent research shows that curcumin – a substance derived from the spice turmeric – accelerates wound healing by improving cell regeneration and reducing inflammation.
The well-known magnesium, applied in the form of a cream or special bath flakes, can improve muscle regeneration by interacting with calcium that accumulates during intense muscle contractions.
The amount of magnesium in the body decreases rapidly during exercise, as it is involved in the regulation of blood pressure, muscle contractions and the process of binding insulin to its receptors in muscles.
Research shows that menthol reduces fight-training soreness in muscles by causing a feeling of coolness in the skin, thereby disrupting the connection of damaged fibers to the brain.
A group of male subjects applied menthol cream to muscles after performing eccentric repetitions that caused severe damage to the muscle fibers.
The use of the cream reduced muscle soreness by 63 percent compared to the other group using ice.
Our Top Picks of Curcumin
Acute inflammation is a normal part of the stress adaptation process. It is essential for the development of speed, strength and muscle mass.
However, when recovery is disrupted by over-exercising (which is not uncommon in professional athletes), life’s stresses, high cortisol levels, lack of sleep, poor diet, or all of these factors, inflammation can become a chronic problem that inhibits progress.
Various nutrients supply the body with antioxidants that help neutralize free radicals. Otherwise, lingering in the body, free radicals damage tissues and DNA, which leads to inflammation.
What to take?
Taurine is a popular amino acid that reduces oxidative stress to help athletes improve their performance.
It also improves fluid balance in muscle tissue, reducing muscle damage, which leads to a reduction in the duration of muscle soreness.
Taurine can be taken in capsule or powder form. One study in untrained men found that taking two grams of taurine and three grams of BCAAs three times a day promoted faster recovery from a workout that caused significant muscle trauma.
Research has shown that blueberries and cherries help eliminate metabolic waste products that accumulate during hard workouts, which can reduce muscle micro-trauma and relieve pain.
For example, strength tests in athletes have shown that blueberry juice accelerates muscle recovery after exercise.
Berries can be consumed in their natural form or as an additive in the form of juice (blueberry or cherry) or powder.
Avoid consuming these berries along with whey proteins, as protein peptides make it harder for the body to absorb antioxidants.
For their full absorption after taking whey protein, it should take from 30 minutes to an hour.
Our Top Picks of Taurine
Best Post-Workout Supplements Final Words
Natural coffee is one of the most effective ways to reduce post-workout muscle soreness and restore strength after percussion training. Coffee contains antioxidants that fight oxidative stress.
In addition, caffeine helps relieve pain by blocking the propagation of signals from pain receptors so that pain does not reach the central nervous system.
Immediate consumption of caffeine after exercise should be avoided because it raises cortisol just at a time when low levels of cortisol are needed to improve recovery.
Depending on when you exercise, you can have a cup of coffee in the morning, at lunchtime, or right after sleep the next day after a hard workout.