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The importance of post workout recovery supplementation

The importance of post workout recovery supplementation

Nutrition plays a key role in exercise, health and everyday living.  For the athlete, proper nutrition and supplementation play an elevated role by allowing your body to function at a higher level when the right supplementation is used.  By increasing the supplements your body naturally uses to produce energy for exercise, you will theoretically have more energy for more exercise which results in a greater state of health and well being.

For most athletes, a lot of focus is placed on pre-workout supplementation.  This is a very smart idea on their part.  Unfortunately, many of those athletes fail to realize the importance of post exercise recovery supplements.  In short, the faster you recover from a workout, the more ready the body will be for the next workout.  This article discusses the importance and science behind recovery supplementation.

When it comes to the science of nutrition and exercise, there are two basic categories:  Pre-workout supplementation and post workout supplementation.  Pre-workout supplementation consists of everything you consume prior to a workout to ensure that you are giving your body what it needs to cope with the work load of exercise.  Post-recovery supplementation is everything you consume after your workout which helps you recover from exercise and gets your body ready for the next workout.

Post-recovery supplementation is an often overlooked aspect of nutrition.  The whole point of exercise is to induce a workload on your body in an attempt to physically, mentally, and biochemically break down the body.  This is a good thing because after you break down the body, it has to repair itself.  This is where we see all of our gains as athletes.  We never grow when we work out, we always grow when we rest and recover.  This is a very important aspect of exercise.  The faster you recover, the more nutrition you give your body post workout, the greater ability your body has to repair itself.

Now that we know when to take in your post workout supplementation, let’s look at what we can use to help this process:

Vitamin D-3 – Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin that is used in the absorption and utilization of calcium and phosphorous.  Vitamin D-3 acts to maintain Calcium balance, facilitates cellular differentiation, boosts immune system function, and regulates blood pressure.  D-3 also functions as a catalyst for insulin secretion during high insulin demands.

Calcium –   Calcium is essential to muscular growth and contraction, the maintenance of a regular heartbeat, and the transmission of nerve impulses.  Calcium acts in the prevention of muscle cramps.  Calcium also participates in the structure of protein molecules in DNA and RNA and also plays a role in enzyme activation.

Magnesium – Magnesium plays a vital part in the activation of enzymes involved in energy production systems on a cellular level.  It facilitates Calcium and Potassium cellular uptake.  It is essential in the process of regeneration and healing.

Vitamin C – Vitamin C is a supplement that is needed in over 300 of your body’s metabolic functions.  Some of these include tissue growth and repair and adrenal gland function.  Vitamin C is used in the metabolism of folic acid, tyrosine and phenylalanine needed for the repair of damaged muscle tissue.

Vitamin E (Natural) – Natural Vitamin E is necessary for tissue repair as well as plays a key role in healing by reducing scar tissue formation.  It has also been proven to reduce leg cramps.  Vitamin E prevents cellular damage through inhibition of lipids and the formation of free radicals.

Lactate (as calcium and magnesium lactate )  Magnesium Lactate and Calcium Lactate are involved on over 300 different metabolic enzymatic reactions.  Even more importantly, Calcium and Magnesium operate at a cellular level to maintain normal cell growth, function, and replication.

Maltodextrin is used as a carbohydrate based replenishment compound.  Recent research has shown that the most effective way to replenish carbohydrates in athletes is through modified starches called maltodextrins.  Maltodextrins fall between simple sugar and complex starches in structure which results in a more rapid absorption by the muscle without the insulin spikes or other associated GI problems attributed to other carbohydrate sources.  This type of replenishment will result in increased glycogen restoration with a greatly decreased fat conversion due to the lack of insulin spike.

Lastly, I always recommend protein as part of the post recovery drink.  Protein is the building blocks of muscles and has an abundant supply of amino acids.  Since the entire point of working out is to break down muscle tissue, what better supplement to add that the exact material that muscles are made of.  By supplementing with protein post workout, you will supply the body with what it needs to repair and rebuild those muscles you just vigorously worked.

I find myself educating patients most of the time on this subject matter.  The “energy drinks” that “replace electrolytes” are not as healthy as most people think.  The only reason why you see their names splattered all over the place is because they have the money to advertise.  Consuming these products may replenish a little salt that you sweated out, but it will not facilitate your recovery time.  So make sure that your post workout drink has at least a few of the items listed in this article.  You would be amazed at how much faster you recover, and more importantly, how little soreness is left after the workout with proper nutrition.

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