Workout recovery is as important as the workout itself. Without proper healing, the body cannot use its full potential and the risk of injuries increases.
What makes up a good recovery includes an adequate sleep quality and quantity as well as enough rest between training sessions, adequate diet, stress management, and taking the right supplements, not only to fill the gaps and enhance one's health and healing mechanisms.
Here is a list of 6 supplements that can improve your fitness level and boost your recovery.
L-glutamine is an essential amino acid found in foods and supplements. It serves as a building block for proteins and it is the most abundant amino acid in the blood and human body.
Furthermore, research studies show that supplementation with glutamine can increase muscle glycogen synthesis. Glycogen is a polysaccharide of glucose that acts as a form of energy storage. After we complete a workout, we run out of glycogen stores. (1)
Taking glutamine after a workout can help prevent muscle breakdown, decrease muscle soreness and boost overall recovery.
Ashwagandha is an ancient herb used not only by athletes but also by anyone looking to reduce their stress levels and live a healthier life.
Higher stress levels are associated with slower recovery and worsened sleep. Ashwagandha is known to decrease stress, several studies prove.
A double-blinded study from 2012 investigated 64 participants with chronic stress. After 60 days of supplementing with 300mg of ashwagandha, the participants in the drug treatment group reported a 69% decrease in their symptoms of anxiety and insomnia, while the placebo group reported only an 11% reduction in the same symptoms. (2)
While ashwagandha does not impact the workout recovery itself, it promotes healthier stress levels and sleep, which are essential for proper muscle recovery.
Collagen is the main structural protein found in our bones, connective tissue, ligaments and tendons.
Taking good care of our bones is very important for workout recovery and reducing the risk of injuries.
Collagen supplements have been shown to promote bone health, build and repair muscles and prevent bone loss. Furthermore, it is a recommended supplement for those afflicted by bone and joint diseases. (3)
Collagen is the perfect recovery protein for athletes because it supports both bone and muscle health. While the body produces it naturally, collagen production starts to decrease with age, which results in thinner skin and bone density loss. (4) A high-quality and high-bioavailability collagen supplement can significantly slow down these negative effects.
The three main omega-3 fatty acids are alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). EPA and DHA are found in fish and seafood, while ALA is found in plant sources, such as nuts and seeds.
The body needs these fatty acids to function correctly. Supplementing with Omega-3s can have significant sports benefits, including reduced inflammation after a workout and decreased muscle soreness.
In a double-blinded study from 2017, 21 men were randomly assigned to two groups. In one of the groups, each man took 600 mg EPA and 260 mg DHA per day for eight weeks before exercising and continued this regimen for an additional five days. In the other control group, the men took placebo capsules.
After eight weeks of supplementing with omega-3, the fish oil group reported almost 40% less muscle soreness on day two post-exercise than the control group. (5)
Glucosamine sulfate is naturally found in cartilage, which is the tissue that cushions the joints. Glucosamine sulfate supplements are harvested from shellfish.
According to research, glucosamine sulfate is a powerful supplement for injury prevention and joint health. A study from 2019 found that taking at least 1.5g of glucosamine daily for three months can reduce the cartilage breakdown significantly in soccer and rugby players. (6)
While glucosamine sulfate does not have a direct impact on muscle recovery, it contributes to improving the function of the bones and joints. Glucosamine sulfate is a perfect combination with collagen, and supplementing these compounds together can help you experience quicker muscle recovery and pain-free movement. You can find these two powerful ingredients in our hydrolyzed bovine collagen FLEXIBLE by LEMAlab and start taking proper care of your muscles and bones.
Ginger is a plant that was first used to remedy sick stomachs by the Chinese. Nowadays, it turns out that this plant can decrease muscle pain and improve recovery.
In a 2009 study, 40 participants consumed raw or heat-treated ginger for 11 days after working out. There was a moderate-to-large reduction in muscle pain for the drug treatment group of participants compared to the control group. However, there was no significant difference in the results whether the participants were taking raw or heat-treated ginger. (7)
If you are looking for a way to boost your muscle recovery, remember that adequate sleep and diet are the most important factors determining your recovery. After ensuring that these lifestyle aspects are in place, you can choose which supplement to take and speed up your recovery.
A. Coqueiro, M. Rogero, ‘Glutamine as an Anti-Fatigue Amino Acid in Sports Nutrition’
R W Moskowitz, ‘Role of collagen hydrolysate in bone and joint disease’
C. Castelo-Branco , F. Pons, E. Gratacós, A. Fortuny, J. A. Vanrell, J, González-Merlo, ‘Relationship between skin collagen and bone changes during aging’
Eisuke Ochi, Yosuke Tsuchiya, ‘Effect of eicosapentaenoic acids-rich fish oil supplementation on motor nerve function after eccentric contractions’
Christopher D Black, Matthew P Herring, ‘Ginger (Zingiber officinale) reduces muscle pain caused by eccentric exercise’