Posted: January 14, 2013

Hello Recovering Workout-aholic!

I am repeatedly asked  “what supplements do you take for recovery?”. Great question. The first thing I want to address, is that “recovering” is what your body is doing when it is not actively working out. There needs to be a constant flow of nutrients, protein, vitamins, minerals and supplements to make sure you recover properly. Recovery with supplements is easy provided the timing is right. Just as in meal timing, there is a right time to supplement. The body starts recovering as soon as you walk out the door of the gym. I usually keep a small tin of supplements in my car that I can take with my post workout shake within 30 minutes of my workout. If you take away one thing from this post, never miss that golden window of opportunity when your body needs an immediate replenishment of carbs, protein and vitamins. Protein powder can be kept in a baggie in your car, purse or gym bag, and I mix mine with a few powdered recovery blends. As soon as you have your meal following your shake, (that should be within 1-2 hours after), you can take the other supplements to insure your body replenishes what it used. By doing this, you will be ready for whatever you beat it up with next time! With the proper amount of rest, AND recovery supplements.

 The object is to minimize the damage to tissue, and keep the immune system functioning properly. You  also want to keep cortisol production low to help negate protein breakdown.  High levels of cortisol are present when the body is inflammed. Inflammation is what we create when we work out. By consuming a recovery supplemented drink immediately after a workout, you feed the body what it just depleted. A post workout drink is the best option since it can get into your bloodstream immediately and not have to be broken down by the digestion process. Studies have shown that for every 15 minutes following a workout, the body is in a state of “catabolsim”…which means breaking down. Since you just kicked ass in the gym, the last thing that you want to do is waste your precious hard earned muscle. You want to preserve it. There is a specific physiological order of changes that happen from the moment you stop working out. So the phase that we are going to be concerned with now, is the Recovery Phase. I will give you a general “recipe” for a post workout drink. The supplements that I am including come from a few different sources of information. Exercise scientists, and sports medicine gurus. You want to stimulate protein synthesis. You want to keep and preserve muscle tissue. Muscle tissue is metabolically active, so we want to keep feeding it what it needs so that it doesn’t break down. This recipe is for an average 150 lb. Male. Change the amounts according to your bodyweight and training levels.

The post workout drink can be a blend of the following:

15 g  Whey Protein Powder
40 g high glycemic carbohydrate  (powders must contain either maltodextrin, glucose or sucrose. Endurox R4 in orange is my personal favorite)

2 g Glutamine
2 g Leucine
1000 mg L-Lysine (lysine hydrochloride)
120 mg vitamin C
100-400 iu vitamin E

All of these can be purchased at any health food store. I find that Vitamin Shoppe has the most knowledgeable staff, and the best prices.

I take a host of other supplements daily. This is what I take AFTER every workout. Injuries, age, intensity, poor diets, not enough sleep and a host of other things prevent us from recovering properly. Give your body the extra boost it needs to get, and stay strong. Don’t let another workout go to waste. Recovering properly can make the difference between an ok looking, sort of strong body, to the leaner, bigger, more buff body you are working towards.

For detailed information on every phase of working out, including the Recovery Phase, check out my favorite “go to” book. It’s quite scientific, but the information is the most precise I have ever read on this subject. NUTRIENT TIMING by John Ivy,Ph.D., & Robert Portman,Ph.D.

Before starting any new plan of supplementation or physical activity, please check with your health care practitioner. This is not meant to take the place of any medical advice.

If this post interests you, scroll down to previous posts to see what other things might be holding you back from becoming your strongest, most healthy, and leanest ever!!

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