Want to be the best? Then master the basics.
A strong foundation of nutrition and training is vital. Most of you already know that, right? But where people tend to mess up is what they do beyond the plate and beyond the gym. You also need muscle recovery. Hard training takes a heavy toll on the body, so we’re going to talk a little about rest, about real food, and about how you can use science to give you the edge for your training, results and overall performance.
Get to the Top: Start with the Basics
There is one group of thought in the fitness field that believes you can get everything you need nutritionally from food. And while this is true (in theory) the reality is that most people don’t. Why? Mostly because they don’t know how to get their nutrition from a drive-thru window. And when they try to discover how to get everything they need from food what you run into is a lot of confusing and conflicting information.
And to make matters worse, even when they get close to the right nutritional recipe, they may find that the food itself is tainted, injected, depleted, altered, and just not as nutritionally dense or pure as they would hope.This is where the benefits of nutritional science come in. If you’re serious about fitness and a high level of training results, there are a few dietary supplements that you should be adding to your workout plans.
Below are some of the best supplements for muscle recovery.
Branched Chain Amino Acids for Muscle Recovery
Branched chain amino acids, or BCAA, are the building blocks of protein and important to muscle recovery and growth. They have been used for muscle recovery and to aid in the treatment of various medical problems, such as victims of traumatic injuries and, perhaps most important for athletes, the regulation and increase of fatty acid catabolism.
While a diet adequate in protein most likely provides sufficient levels of BCAA, supplementation can be beneficial.
It is important to recognize that a good BCAA supplement will contain a blend of essential amino acids. Essential amino acids are those that cannot be made by the body and must be provided through food and supplementation.
BCAA’s are available in both powder and pill form, with some liquids also available. The effects may not be immediately noticeable, but over an extended period of training, results can be impressive.
For those looking to streamline their supplementation, leucine has been claimed by some to be the most effective amino acids for muscle recovery. In addition, when the BCAA formula provides extra vitamins and immune support, and ingredients like Biotin to enhance absorption, you will find that you are really getting your money’s worth.
Protein Powder for Building Muscle
Many athletes and bodybuilders limit their protein intake to animal proteins only. While the amino acid profile of various animal proteins is often better than vegetable proteins, there are studies indicating that vegetable and grain based proteins provide similar benefits to animal protein.
Benefits of supplementing with protein powder include improved body composition and quicker recovery.
Creatine has been a somewhat controversial supplement for reasons that have thus far not been proved. While not strictly for muscle recovery, it does improve the ability of many individuals to tolerate higher workloads. In order for a muscle to contract, it must have sufficient amounts of adenosine triphosphate, or ATP.
When a muscle contracts, a molecule from ATP is used, resulting in adenosine diphosphate, or ADP. Only ATP can be used by muscle to fuel another contraction. Supplying the muscles with extra ATP can make for longer and harder workouts before fatigue sets in.
Proper hydration and carbohydrate intake are important in order for creatine to be maximally effective.
GABA is a nonessential amino acid that helps to relax the brain and improve the quality of rest. Proper training and nutrition means little if the body is not allowed adequate rest.
Relaxation and adequate sleep is vital to tissue repair, nervous system recovery, immunity to infections like the common cold and psychological well-being.
Although GABA supplementation may have little to no effect on actual muscle tissue, the benefits can be greater than any other supplement available over the counter.