Monday, July 30, 2012

Supplements That Help You Recover

Recovery is so important when you are training.  In fact it is more important than most people think.  If you don't recover properly it can negate all the hard work.  Recovery involves many factors.  Proper sleep, reducing stress, diet and the right supplements will all help with your recovery.  If you get really confused reading all the labels on the sports nutrition supplements then make sure you keep reading.  You can take 20 different things and hope one works or you can take the best ones know they are working and spend less money.  There are a few very important supplements for recovery:

  • Your foundation supplement should always be a quality multiple vitamin.  These contain valuable nutrients and are a great reassurance that you are not missing anything.  They also contain antioxidants that are essential for recovery.  Natures Way Alive is a good brand. GNC has a few good multiple vitamins specific for Men and Women.  Life Extension has a great multiple vitamin however you will need to take up to 9 pills per day unless you buy the powder.  
  • Glutamine or BCAA's - I would do either one of these
    • Many protein supplements are fortified with Glutamine.  I wouldn't count on this being enough or in the right form.  Glutamine is going to be best taken alone on an empty stomach.  Some amino acids will compete with other amino acids so taking it alone you can be sure you are getting the most from it.  Also take it in powder form and take about 5 grams once or twice a day.  You can take it before or after workout and before bed....basically anytime throughout the day when you have an empty stomach.  You can mix the powder with a little carbohydrate such as Gatorade or orange juice.   Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in your muscles and is depleted more than any other amino acid when you train.  Replenishing it will help your  muscles recovery and grow.  One additional benefit of Glutamine is that it will help boost your immune system.  This is a great benefit because as good as training is for you it lowers your immune system.  
    • Branched Chain Amino Acids are another supplement that is great for recovery.  I would take them just like you would take Glutamine.  I would also get the powder form.  Don't take BCAA's with Glutamine.  
  • Protein - your muscles need protein to grow.  It is very hard to get enough protein through food alone so a supplement will sometimes be necessary.  You should get close to your goal bodyweight in grams of protein per day.  If you can do this through food and not a supplement then that is great.  If you need to do a supplement there are many to choose from.  I would get one depending on your specific needs.  Some people prefer whey which is probably the most popular.  If you are vegetarian they have options for you such as pea protein and soy.  Casein (which is from milk) is great taken at night because it is slower absorbed.  When you sleep your body goes through the recovery process.  Taking a timed released or casein protein before bed may be beneficial in helping with recovery.  
  • Antioxidants as I mentioned before will help with recovery.  There are so many antioxidants you can take. In fact you can spend your entire paycheck on different supplements.  I stick to one of the best ones.  CoQ10 in the form of Ubiquinol and 200mg a day is what I would take.  
I could go on and on and trust me there are many more supplements you could take.  I try to keep it simple and stick to supplements with the most documented research behind them.  I know these work.  Just make sure you buy a quality brand name product.  Don't buy a no name product that is cheap.  It may not be up to the standards of the better name brand products.  With an industry and is not really regulated I stick to the bigger name brands that I know.

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