Recovery is the name of the game when it comes to post-workout nutrition, specifically after a weight-training session. Why? When we lift weights, tiny tears form in the muscles. As those tears heal, the muscles grow bigger and stronger. Sore muscles mean changes are happening in those muscles and muscle repair is underway. The body uses proper nutrients and blood to do the repair work.
Here are three nutrients that have been proven to improve recovery and accelerate training results:
Whey Protein Powder
One critical component of any good post-workout meal is a high-quality protein source. If you're anything like me after a workout, you are immediately running to your next appointment or task. Because of this, you are not likely able to get a whole-food meal. A great solution is to choose a high-quality protein powder.
Whey protein has many benefits and is a perfect complement to any post-workout meal. Whey protein has a very high biological value and is absorbed and processed by the body quickly and efficiently. By ingesting whey protein, it releases the essential amino acids your body craves to begin that critical recovery process.
Whey, a bovine milk derivative, is one of the best nutrients for recovery because it is a “fast-acting” protein that directly gets to work on the repair of your muscle fibers that you tore up during a tough workout.
You can easily mix it in with water, milk, or nut milk in a shaker bottle to implement post-workout for maximum effect.
Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)
After whey protein, BCAAs are a good next step, particularly if you are looking to support muscle recovery without the extra calories of a protein shake product.
BCAAs are comprised of a group of three essential amino acids: leucine, isoleucine, and valine. BCAAs are considered essential because your body cannot produce them. You have to ingest them through diet or supplementation to reap their benefits.
Each of the amino acids in this product plays a different role in improving muscle recovery, energy, and endurance. The primary purpose of a BCAA supplement is to help you get through the most challenging workouts. Plus, they taste phenomenal!
Creatine is a time-tested, scientifically proven way to increase strength and lean body mass. Creatine is found naturally in the human body. Its primary role is to recycle ATP (energy for your cells) in the brain and muscle tissue. Creatine works like a personal physical therapist after you destroy your muscle tissue in a workout or brain tissue after a big test. It gives you energy during your high-intensity workouts by saturating your muscles with renewed energy fostering an environment where you are able to push beyond your limits in ways you wouldn’t be able to without it.
The general recommended dosage is 5 grams per day. It’s essential to take it daily since it builds up in your system over time. Plus, you can take it any time of the day, and you will reap the same benefits.
So there you have it. Three time-tested, proven nutrients that can increase recovery and performance. Give them a try and watch your body respond!
– By Amy Jo Palmquest, a NUTRISHOP® store owner/spokesperson, an ACE-certified personal trainer with a degree in exercise science and nutrition, a wife and mother of three. Learn more at AmyJoPalmquest.com.