What are recovery supplements?

Recovery supplements help your body to repair muscle after exercise

Image source: Lance Bellers
Recovery supplements help your body to repair muscle after exercise

After a workout, your muscles need to recover and repair. The 30 – 60 minute period following a training session is referred to as the ‘anabolic window’. Anabolic means the body is primed to construct muscle tissue.

In order to take advantage of the anabolic state, you need to take on board a sufficient amount of muscle building nutrients. If you don’t, your body will switch to the catabolic state and instead burn muscle for fuel. Recovery supplements are designed to help you refuel at this critical time.

The benefits

Recovery supplements can help to:

  • Repair muscle tissue and avoid muscle wastage
  • Speed up the recovery process
  • Build new muscle tissue
  • Optimise the benefits of workout while you are resting
  • Replenish nutrients quickly and easily in one tablet or scoop
  • Get your body ready for the next session sooner
  • Which recovery supplement?

    Recovery supplements contain fast acting creatine, proteins and carbohydrates, to help your body launch the repair and recovery process immediately after workout.

    Whey protein – stimulates muscle protein synthesis
    Casein – prolongs muscle protein synthesis
    Carbs – release energy to help muscles restore glutamine levels
    Creatine – acts as an antioxidant to assist with muscle repair
    BCAAs – the three most critical amino acids needed for muscle growth
    Vitamins/Minerals – to replace essential nutrients lost during exercise

    Recovery supplements come in tablet, capsule, pill or powder form and are blends of a range of nutrients designed to give your body a much needed boost, post workout.

    An example of a recovery supplement is Matrix Recovery. This blends protein, carbohydrates, and vitamins in a ratio believed optimal for muscle tissue recovery.

    Boosting recovery

    If you don’t get the right amount of nutrients into your body post-workout, you run the risk of suffering muscle wastage. Without adequate nutrition, the body burns muscle tissue for fuel.

    For the athlete or weightlifter, recovery supplements are formulated to enhance recovery, making sure the body is fighting fit for the next session.

    Check out the ingredients of any recovery supplement before taking it. Look for a formula that combines whey protein, fast digesting carbohydrates, added BCAAs, and some or all of the following: casein, creatine, l-glutamine, vitamin/mineral complex, and an antioxidant complex.

    How to use recovery supplements

    The time to take a recovery supplement is immediately after working out, when the body is storing more glycogen in the muscles. This helps the body to optimise its ability to repair and build muscle while in the anabolic state.

    You could stack your own range of products, or you could use a specially formulated recovery supplement blend that has done the measuring and balancing for you.

    Pick a formula that meets your needs and stick with it for at least 6 weeks, giving it plenty of time to see if it works for your individual body type, metabolism and programme of activity.

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