Q & A - Recovery Supplementation
- 'What are the best supplements to help with recovery?'
Straight away you guys know Supps42 strongly believes no body needs supplements and a whole food diet should always be our main priority. With that said, supplements do offer an element of need that whole food meals do not. For those who are time poor, inconsistent with their nutrition, travel etc. supplements do have their place in our life and can greatly assist our health and fitness goals.
In terms of recovery, the below supplements are ones in which we believe would benefit literally anyone regardless of your goals. Whether you're hitting the weights to build muscle, you're on the cardio equipment for weight loss, you're on the footy field and require a certain level of performance or you've just been told by your doctor to perform some sort of physical exercise, these are the ones that will assist your recovery!
Protein are the building blocks of muscle tissue! If you're training you're creating little micro-tears within your muscles thus require something to repair these tears and rebuild muscle tissue. That's where protein comes into play! Think of protein like the bricks required to build a house!
As touched on above, we obviously want to prioritize getting our protein in from whole food sources (chicken, beef, eggs etc.) however doing this consistently every day can be an issue. Supplementing with a protein powder, allows you to quickly feed your muscles the required nutrients it needs to continue this recovery process.
Protein powder is readily absorbed and super easy and convenient to take, making it a perfect option for someone who's on the go or who find themselves struggling to eat whole food meals every day.
If we continue to picture our body like a house, in that the protein are the bricks, the man who actually builds the house is Glutamine. Glutamine will take protein and actually layer it over the top of each other and help your muscles recover from those exercise sessions.
It works synergistically with protein to get rid of pain and reduce your chance of injury! Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid found in muscle tissue, so by supplementing with it and putting more in, you're basically replenishing what's lost during strenuous physical activity.
It's particularly beneficial for those who in a calorie deficit looking to lose body fat yet preserve there lean muscle mass!
These are those bright, colored drinks you'll typically see people drinking during their training sessions at the gym or whilst their cycling etc. BCCA's stand for Branch Chain Amino Acids and they are the 3 amino acids that form the bulk of your muscle tissue.
They do not require blood for digestion and therefore are perfect to drink during your session. Eg, if you drank a protein shake during your session, it does take blood to digest that protein thus if you're drawing more blood to the stomach for digestion, you have less blood floating around your body providing glucose and oxygen to your muscles where you need it whilst you're training.
Think of BCAA's are more bricks required to build the house, working again in unison protein to aid in muscle repair and muscle recovery. Most will typically contain electrolytes as well to keep you hydrated!
Saving the best for last, Magnesium is very important for your recovery because it's the mineral responsible for causing relaxation in muscle tissue. Below is a real basic biology lesson that details how Magnesium is so important in our recovery;
- Pretend we have a calf muscle. Calcium ions (which we typically have enough of) will flood in the tendons and cause that calf muscle to contract.
- It's magnesium's responsibility then, to flood in to the fat tendons in that calf, and then cause it to go back to that relaxed state.
- We typically have enough calcium to contract yet we don't have enough Magnesium for the above process, thus causing our muscles to get tight & throw off our balances.
If you're a victim of muscle cramps, that's a surefire sign that your Magnesium deficit thus supplementing with it will help the muscle relax, correct any imbalances, elongate the muscle again so we're not tight and on top of that, improve our quality of sleep since we're not in as much pain any longer.
The Big Four
So to recap, these are in our opinion, the top 4 supplements to help with recovery no matter what your training goals are.
- Protein powder - building blocks of your muscle tissue, you need protein to turn into muscle tissue
- Glutamine - the man that grabs the protein and lays it over the top of the little micro-tears in the muscle to get rid of pain and help with recovery and growth
- BCAA's - gives our body the actual ingredients to recover and provide our muscles energy without causing a blood conflict and starving the body of blood when it needs it during training
- Magnesium - helps relax tight muscle tissues, correct any imbalances and help us sleep