I had a couple comments and questions regarding what supplements/things that Wes and myself do for recovery. I have put together this ultimate running workout recovery reference list to go through most of the items. Please remember this is just what we use and what personally works for us. It doesn’t mean it is necessary for everyone.
Everybody wants to be faster, run longer, become stronger, get leaner. We all strive for greatness. Strive to better ourselves.
This striving to better ourselves leads to us working our bodies hard. Putting them through stress, pain and suffering. Only to get up the next day and do it all over again.
We inevitably ask the question – how can I recover faster? This question is asked by every athlete. What exercise, supplement, yoga pose, nutritional factor, etc. It is only normal to ask these questions because we want the best out of bodies. We want to perform our best and become better.
And so, in this dire time of need, the Ultimate Workout Recovery Reference Sheet was born.
Let it the recovery begin.
Protein, Protein, Protein
Protein is a key building block in repair of muscular tissue. It is essential in the recovery process in order to repair damaged muscle from working out. Aim to consume 10-20 grams of protein at each meal. Also, post-workout is important as well.
Chlorella is a supplement you can take in capsule form or in a powder form (popular in green smoothies). It was shown to improve muscle recovery as well as make blood vessels healthier and more supple. We have taken this chlorella supplement before: Now Foods Organic Chlorella
Attempt to get about 5 grams of glutamine during the day and after a workout to optimize recovery. Glutamine is a potent amino acid that can help with muscle recovery and aid in the repair process of tissues. It also is good for your intestines.
Fluids helps to restore your blood volume and flush out wastes from your body. An increased blood volume will increase the amount of blood getting to your muscle and enhance muscle recovery.
Casein is a slow digesting protein that can help the body regenerate muscular tissue and prevent soreness and fatigue. Recommendations say to take this form of protein at night.
Lysine is a critical amino acid for building proteins and synthesizing enzymes, hormones and antibodies. It also is crucial in calcium absorption which is important in muscle function.
It also helps to reduce stress and lower cortisol levels. Reducing cortisol levels is vital in recovery.
Arginine has been shown to enhance both muscle recovery and possibly fracture healing times. The main mechanism behind it is that it enhances nitric oxide production which is a potent vasodilator in blood vessels. This allows more blood to reach tissues faster and enhance recovery of the muscular and bone tissue.
BCAA, branched chain amino acids, consist of leucine, isoleucine, and valine and all 3 of these amino acids help with muscle regeneration and repair. BCAA’s come in powder or pill form depending on your preference.
Turmeric is a natural anti-inflammatory. Many people get it from their diet in the form of mustard. But, you can also take it in the form of a supplement to help with inflammation naturally. It is a great alternative to take NSAIDS.
This supplement is a miracle supplement to my husband. It is also a huge fracture and muscle repair supplement in the bodybuilding community. Cissus has been shown in multiple studies to aid in bone fracture repair. Most studies have been done on it in regards to fracture healing by increasing collagen production. But, collagen is not only in bone but also tendons and muscle. Thus, why many applaud the benefits that Cissus has on both muscle and bone recovery. (source)
Fish oil is another natural anti-inflammatory that is natural and can be used in place of NSAIDS. Usually fish oil is obtained from pill form but can also be supplemented as a liquid form as well. My husband doesn’t take this quite as much as I do.
Carbohydrates are crucial to the recovery process and it is optimal to get a mix of carbs and protein immediately after a hard workout.
Citrulline Malate is an amino acid that helps the body to get rid of waste and toxins that exist in your muscles. This helps the recovery process of the muscle and leads to decreased muscle soreness and fatigue.
Beta-Alanine is helpful in buffering the pH of the blood. This buffering will help to delay the onset of muscle fatigue and soreness.
This supports nitric oxide production and helps to increase blood flow to the tissues of your body. This aids their function and allows them to recover at a higher level.
Easy & Short Run or Walk
Sometimes these shake-out runs or walks are enough to get the blood in your body pumping which helps to remove waste from the muscle and flush out the toxins. That is the idea behind it. This is the main theory behind many people doing easy low mileage runs in the afternoon in order to “flush” out their system and feel better the next day.
Bromelain comes from pineapple stems and as a supplement can be beneficial in its anti-inflammatory effects on the body.
Sleep is crucial in your body’s recovery and regeneration process. You should aim to get at least 6-8 hours of sleep per night.
Green tea has been shown before to be protective to muscles during physical exertion but now a study has shown that the catechins in green tea can help speed up muscle recovery after workouts. It was also shown to decrease muscle inflammation. (source) (source)
Potassium is very commonly found in bananas but can also be taken in supplemental form in order to obtain sufficient amounts for muscle recovery. Potassium allows for muscle regeneration and prevents DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness)
Cherry juice because of its high antioxidants and flavonoids was shown to decrease inflammatory markers in muscle thus indicating less muscle tissue damage. The study was actually performed on marathon runners. (source)
Magnesium has been called the natural muscle relaxer. It allows your muscles to relax and help them to function more efficiently. This allows the muscle recovery process to run more effectively when your muscles are relaxed and not actively working.
Bet you never heard of this one. Trimethylglycine (TMG) is an organic compound that is found in plants. It is typically consumed in supplemental form.
TMG was shown to stimulate muscle growth by increasing IGF-1. I won’t get too technical – but in the end it speeds up and stimulates muscle formation thus increasing recovery. A dozen or so studies have now shown that TMG is successful in stimulating muscle growth. (source) (source)
Vitamin D is most often obtained simply by being out in the sun light, but if you live in an area where there isn’t as much sun or when going outside is not easy, then it is vital to take a Vitamin D supplement. Plus, it is important in bone health. (source)
Start eating lemons, limes and grapefruit. Hesperidin is a flavonoid found in high concentration in the above fruit. Hesperidin was shown to stimulate recovery and development of muscle tissue. (source)
L-Carnitine is big in the bodybuilding world as a muscle recovery supplement. Besides the many anecdotal recovery benefits – L-Carnitine is a building block of protein formation so it is important in helping to rebuild muscle.
Creatine was shown in several studies to speed up muscle recovery and regeneration. The mechanism is thought to decrease the breakdown of muscle during exercise and thus lead to less muscle damage. (source)
This is a combination of zinc, magnesium, and aspartate. When these three forms of supplements are combined they help to promote sleep and muscle recovery according to many anecdotes and some small scale studies.
This one is controversial among a lot of people, I know. But some research exists and there are countless anecdotes by elite marathon runners and athletes as well as videos of them utilizing cryotherapy to speed up recovery.
As always rest is important for everyone. Your body needs rest sometimes in order to rebuild and recover properly. Make sure you give your body enough rest in your training schedule to allow for proper recovery and avoid injury.
THINGS TO CONSIDER AVOIDING
There you have it! That is about everything I can think of that we have used to help aid in recovery. Again, this is a very extensive list and is not meant to say that everyone needs to use each and every item. It is just what we have used/experimented with over time. Living with a very competitive runner you end up trying and researching a LOT on recovery.
What do you make sure to do for your body to help it recover?
Any favorite supplements?