Muscle Recovery: Essential to Your Body - p.2
CHAPTER 2 :
Eat and drink your way to a healthy body
Consuming Your Way to Recovery
It may not seem obvious, but a combination of hydration, diet, and supplements can do wonders for the muscles.
Hydration: During and After Exercise
Drinking fluids is a mantra repeated by coaches everywhere and for good reason: muscles are 75% water.
An article in the International Journal of Sports Medicine suggests that, both before and during exercise, hydration is key to maintaining fluid balance and can even improve endurance. It’s equally important, however, to not over-consume water during these stages, as suggested by an article in the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine. Finally, after a workout, consuming enough water is vital to helping digest essential nutrients and repairing damaged muscle.
The sought after protein resynthesis requires muscles be well-hydrated. Coupled with post-workout eating, saliva–which is comprised mostly of water–is necessary to help break down food, digest, and absorb all the nutrients you’re hoping to receive. In one study, as shown in the International Archives of Medicine, adequate hydration after a 90-minute run on a treadmill showed significantly faster heart rate recovery; this illustrates that hydrated bodies recover from exercise-induced stress faster.
Noteworthy: Don’t rely on the age-old test of urine to determine if you’re hydrated; that has been debunked in an article by the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine.
A good rule of thumb is to weigh yourself before and after a workout, drinking 1.5x the amount of weight lost.
Diet: Protein, Carbohydrates and Fat All Work Together
Nailing the right nutrition strategy post-workout can encourage quicker recovery, reduce soreness, build muscle, improve immunity and replenish glycogen.
Your next workout starts within the hour your last workout ended.
A study in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition shows that exercise triggers the breakdown of muscle protein, and it is therefore beneficial to consume an adequate amount of protein after a workout. Protein provides the body with necessary amino acids needed to repair and rebuild, and as shown in this article in The American Journal of Physiology, it also promotes the development of new muscle tissue.
Good sources of protein include: whey protein, whole eggs, cheese and smoked salmon.
Carbohydrates have a similarly important effect–they replenish glycogen stores. The amount of carbohydrate that is needed will depend on the type of exercise you do. According to the aforementioned study in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, consuming about 0.5 - 0.7 grams of carbohydrate per pound of body weight within 30 minutes of training can result in adequate glycogen resynthesis. Furthermore, insulin secretion promotes glycogen synthesis, and is more stimulated when carbs and protein are consumed simultaneously, according to an article in the Journal of Applied Physiology.
Carb sources are everywhere; but the optimal ones come from slow-release sources such as sweet potatoes, fruit, pasta and rice.
Unless you follow a particular diet, such as a Keto Diet or similar, fat shouldn’t be the main focus of an after workout meal, but it definitely should be part of it.
Good fat sources include avocados, coconut oil, nuts and seeds, as well as cheese such as cheddar, parmesan and brie.
Supplements: Protein, BCAAs and Omega-3s Build Muscle and Reduce Inflammation
HVMN have outlined for example which supplements runners should take; it’s best to focus on protein, BCAAs and omega-3s–all these supplements help optimise muscle recovery.
While most of us tend to think protein is best left to bodybuilders, protein can repair the muscle damage that occurs during a workout, reduce the response from the “stress hormone” cortisol, and speed up glycogen replacement. And that is true for us all. As suggested in this article in the Journal of Physiology, and this research paper in the Journal of Aging, protein also accelerates the resolution of muscle inflammation.
Whey, casein and soy are some of the most popular proteins. Whey is absorbed the fastest by the body, and according to an article in the American Physiological Society, it is largely considered the most effective protein for muscle protein synthesis. Casein protein is geared more toward long-term recovery because it takes hours to absorb. Try introducing whey immediately post-workout, while using casein protein before bed; research has shown that protein ingestion before sleep has been shown to stimulate muscle protein synthesis and improving overnight recovery.
Serious athletes should be taking about one gram of protein per pound of bodyweight, but we suggest that you use this as a rule of thumb and see what works best for you.
For vegans or others who might find it difficult to naturally consume enough protein, vegan friendly branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) can be a useful supplement.
Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. During exercise, the body breaks down protein into amino acids; those are absorbed and transported through the body to create new proteins that encourage building muscle. BCAAs help enhance muscle protein recovery by introducing more amino acids into the body. They preserve muscle glycogen stores, which fuel the muscles and minimise protein breakdown. Studies show that BCAAs are effective both for muscle recovery, as well as for immune system regulation.
Omega-3s, which are found in fish oils, have been found to contain anti-inflammatory properties that help sore muscles. Omega-3s can be found in various supplements, for example, Kado-3, by HVMN, is a supercharged krill and fish oil stack designed to assist daily brain and body metabolism. Ingredients in Kado-3 work together; like astaxanthin oil (a powerful antioxidant) to fight against the buildup of free radicals, and Vitamins K and D to protect bone health.
If you have read a bit about supplements, and especially if you have considered trying a Keto Diet which we mentioned earlier in this chapter, you may have heard of exogenous ketones, which can be beneficial toward both health and performance. HVMN Ketone can help muscle recovery; for example, those using HVMN Ketone have seen decreases in the breakdown of intramuscular glycogen and protein during exercise when compared to carbs alone, and there are many other benefits as shown in this study.
We hope that you will find some of the above information and suggestions helpful toward finding a suitable and balanced approach to your muscle recovery. If you want to know more about supplements we suggest you head over to the HVMN blog where you can find plenty of articles on the subject. Most important of all, don’t forget to stay hydrated! Always bring a water bottle with you to the studio. If you do not already have one, get yours here.
In the next chapter we will discuss the importance of sleep and other recovery techniques. So, watch this space!
For the other chapters in this article series please click the links below.
CHAPTER 1: Use stretching to warm up and relax
CHAPTER 2 : Eat and drink your way to a healthy body