If you want to get the most out of your workout, then you need to be thinking about post-exercise recovery and how best to achieve this. Thousands of studies have proven that certain supplements can not only help repair muscles after exercise but also enhance performance during your workout. Read on to discover the best supplements to aid recovery.
Magnesium is probably the most researched and recommended nutrient when it comes to post-exercise recovery. This is because it is absolutely essential in protein metabolism. When you exercise your muscles, microscopic tears occur on a cellular level. It is when the body repairs these tears that the new muscle is formed and the muscles become bigger and stronger than before.
Magnesium plays an imperative role in protein synthesis as it is necessary for the activation of amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and of course protein is what makes up most of muscle tissue. Unlike some other nutrients and due to advances in farming and poorer quality of soil, magnesium is not found so abundantly in food like it once was and so it is a good idea to take a supplement – especially if you are exercising regularly. Another thing to bear in mind is that protein is essential in the absorption of magnesium. So if your diet isn’t giving you enough protein, taking magnesium supplements won’t be as effective as they won’t be absorbed properly. If this is the case, it would be a good idea to increase protein intake with food first, but if you’re busy, exercising very regularly or just struggle to get enough protein in your diet – supplementation would be required. We have both Whey and Faba Bean (vegan friendly) protein powders available in many flavours which can be used in conjunction with magnesium capsules during training.
ZMA is a unique combination of Zinc, Magnesium and Vitamin B6 designed to increase post-exercise recovery by inducing sleep and improving sleep quality. Zinc is important in the production of new cells and tissues, and B6 helps to absorb both magnesium and zinc. ZMA helps to achieve deeper sleep and so encourages the body to enter a recovery and repair state. If you’re having trouble sleeping, this could be a better choice than magnesium alone. However, if you eat meat and/or fish then your diet should be high in both zinc and B6 anyway – and so it may be better going for magnesium citrate. Read more about ZMA and it’s benefits in our recent article here.
Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)
BCAAs have a side-chain branch in their chemical composition which differs from that of other amino acids. We don’t want to bore you with science but what you do need to know is that BCAAs (leucine, isoleucine and valine) is that they are ‘essential’, which means you cannot synthesise them in the body, so you must get your intake from dietary sources or supplements.
Studies have shown that use of BCAAs can reduce the effects of DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) which is the experience of sore muscles you get 1-2 days following intense exercise. Such soreness can leave you with discomfort and pain, but may also prevent you from further exercise until the DOMS have subsided.
For more information on BCAA’s and their benefits – read our full dedicated article right here.
Thanks for reading,
Natural Nutrients Nutritionist