Post-workout recovery is paramount no matter what your fitness goal may be. Almost every fitness expert also agrees that the recovery phase of the workout is the most essential for developing muscle growth and performance. Training non-stop, five times a day is impressive, but it could actually be a detriment to your performance goals. If you are not giving your body the proper fuel that it needs to recover better and stronger for the next workout, then your entire workout could be for nothing. Dipping your toes into the world of post-workout supplements can be daunting to say the least as there are just so many different options to choose from. Although supplements are a great way to boost recovery it is sometimes difficult to know which supplements are legit and which supplements are just a waste of money. In this post I will share with you four of the best post-workout supplements that are currently on the market.
- Creatine Monohydrate
Creatine monohydrate, or just creatine for short, is a very popular single ingredient powder as well as an ingredient in pre and pos-workout formulas. Creatine allows your muscles to function at a higher intensity than normal, which can lead to you lifting more weight, and thus gaining more muscle. A study published in the Journal of International Society of Sports Nutrition found that those who took creatine recovered faster from their workouts than those who did not use creatine.
L-glutamine is an amino acid (the building blocks of proteins) that plays a major role in muscle repair after a long workout. One study reported that supplementing L-glutamine after strength-based workouts drastically decreased the effect of delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). L-glutamine is found in most protein powders but can also be taken by itself in pill, powder or liquid form.
- Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)
If there is a magic formula that can help your muscles recover faster after workouts, the closest thing to it is BCAAs, which include the amino acids of leucine, isoleucine and valine. During exercise, when glycogen levels get low, the body relies on leucine, isoleucine and valine for energy, so, post-workout, it is very important that you are able to replenish these amino acid stores. One study from the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness found that BCAA supplementation may also reduce muscle damage and another study found that BCAAs may help you to handle back to back sessions easier as well.
Beta-alanine is another supplement that is backed up by hard science. Beta-alanine is an amino acid that our body produces and uses to form carnosine, a compound that fights fatigue. It has been found that supplementing with beta-alanine can improve performance on high intensity exercises that last between 1 and 4 minutes. Also important to note that it takes two to four weeks for the benefits of beta-alanine to show, so make sure that you give the supplement enough time to work.