Let’s face it, exercising is hard! Whether you strength train, engage in cardio or challenge your flexibility with yoga, the best reward you can give your body after a tough workout is time to rest and recover. Exercise recovery is your body’s time to recharge – it’s a vital part of training to restore energy, replenish fluids and repair muscles to set you up for bigger gains next time around. So, what can you do to make sure you’re getting the most out of your recovery? Along with drinking plenty of fluids and getting a good night’s rest, you can take certain supplements. Here are 5 that we recommend.
While exercise has obvious benefits, it also puts stress on your body—and without proper recovery, it can increase cortisol, your main stress hormone. If your cortisol levels stay elevated, it can prolong the recovery phase and increase your risk of injury.1 Ashwagandha, an ancient root that’s long been used to manage stress, may help with this issue by keeping your cortisol under control, supporting your recovery—especially when you’re feeling physically tense after a tough workout.2,3
Inflammation and free radicals (substances that can damage your cells in high concentration) naturally occur after exercise, contributing to muscle growth, but too much inflammation can be hard on your body.4 Astaxanthin, an antioxidant that gives salmon and shrimp their distinctive pink color, may help protect cells from free radicals and promote a healthy inflammatory response, helping to repair your tissues after an intense session.5
Phytoplankton is a microalgae powerhouse packed with antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, amino acids and enzymes – including Superoxide Dismutase (SOD). SOD is an antioxidant enzyme that occurs naturally in your body, helping to protect your cells from free radicals after exercise.6,7
4. Water & electrolytes
Staying hydrated is always essential, but it’s especially important with exercise. When you sweat, you lose water and electrolytes, minerals that play a vital role in your body. If you’re not rehydrating during recovery, you’re not going to perform your best next time you’re at the gym.8 In fact, low levels can lead to nasty health effects like muscle cramps, dizziness and even irregular heartbeat.9 If you’re doing serious, sweaty workout sessions, take care to replenish your electrolytes. Fruit smoothies, coconut water and sports hydration packs are all good options.
Whether you’re an athlete, a fitness enthusiast or just starting to run your first mile, your body needs sleep. Regular shuteye is vital to recovery because it allows your body to rest and recharge the energy it spent during the day. If your eyes are shutting in the middle of your workout, you won’t perform your best and you may increase your risk of injury. L-Theanine is an amino acid with powerful antioxidant properties that protects cells from exercise-related free radical damage,11 and may also reduce sleep latency, the time it takes you to fall asleep.12
To learn about the 5 best nutrients to support your muscles, watch:
Sonya has a bachelor’s degree in Foods and Nutrition from San Diego State University. Before Persona, Sonya worked as a personal nutritionist and health educator where she coached hundreds of clients to empower them with knowledge about their own health status, as well as coach them to create healthy and sustainable lifestyle habits.
Do you have questions on how you may benefit from supplements? Reach out to one of our experts, or take Persona’s free nutrition assessment, and learn exactly what you need to take your wellness to the next level.