Nutrition, training, and supplementation. These are the three pillars of performance for any athlete, strength sports competitor, or even the average trainee at the gym looking to stay healthy and fit. If you are looking for an edge in your training, start by analyzing your commitment to the three pillars. If you lack in any of them, your performance will suffer as a result.
Is your diet nutritious?
Are you consuming organic, nutrient-dense foods?
Do you understand the basics of counting calories and the importance of eating clean? Is your training progressing? Do you use correct form and exercise execution?
If the answer to all those questions is yes, then are you supplementing your diet for optimum workout recovery?
1. Protein Powder
Many people misinterpret stiff muscles with lactic acid build up, but the reality is that lactic acid clears the bloodstream quickly. Training stress creates microscopic tears in muscle tissues, that’s why you feel sore the day after a hard workout. Your body absorbs proteins from food to repair the muscular system, the more protein available in your diet, the faster your recovery.
Add a few scoops of whey isolate protein powder, or hemp protein powder to your diet. Blend it in with your morning smoothie, or mix it with some macadamia nut butter and almond flour for a tasty post-workout treat.
2. Creatine Monohydrate
A cost-effective supplement with excellent results, creatine is the most researched recovery and performance supplement available. Creatine supplementation increases muscular hydration and recovery from weight-training stress.
Extended creatine supplementation, for periods of three weeks or longer, will yield improvements in muscle recovery, strength, and endurance. Mix 5 grams of creatine monohydrate with 200ml of dextrose in water, 45 minutes before training. Take another serving with your post-workout protein shake for best results.
This traditional herbal medicine has tremendous value to athletes. There are thousands of case studies proving doses of 500 mg to 1,250 mg are effective at improving exercise recovery. Regular use of ashwagandha increases levels of stamina while improving strength, and enhancing neural function that’s vital in creating the “mind-muscle” connection during training.
Ashwagandha stabilizes mood, improves focus in the gym, and increases levels of energy during your workout. The herbal compound has a potent anti-inflammatory effect on the body that reduces systemic inflammation from workout stress. A KSM 66 ashwagandha supplement contains the highest-quality form of the plant. Ensure that your supplement is blended with piperine to provide maximum bioavailability and absorption.
4. Branch Chain Amino Acids
Branch chain amino acids, leucine, isoleucine, and valine are the building blocks of protein. Use BCAA’s during your workout to help speed up the recovery process. An ideal supplement for vegan and vegetarian athletes that lack complete protein sources in their diets, such as those found in meat and dairy products. By supporting your nutrition with BCAA’s, you can continue your vegan lifestyle and boost your recovery from training.
Branch chain amino acids, such as leucine, assist in protein synthesis and prevent protein degradation in muscle tissue. Look for BCAA formulas that you can mix with your workout water. Most flavored BCAA powder supplements contain zero-calories and taste refreshing.
5. Citrulline Malate
Citrulline is a by-product of conversion of the amino acid arginine into nitric oxide by the body. Supplementing with citrulline malate increases activity in the urea cycle, improving absorption of ammonia from your muscles as you work out, thereby preventing the onset of fatigue.
The synergistic combination of both malate and L-citrulline increase levels of ATP production during exercise. Workout with higher-levels of intensity and increase your work capacity. Supplement with 5 to 10 grams of citrulline malate taken before and after your workout.