The whole idea around training is to get bigger, stronger, and healthier. However, training often makes us feel sore, tired, and stiff. This is a part of the recovery process, and a vital part at that, especially for those looking for muscle growth or athletic performance. Obviously, we need to continue our efforts, but we can’t if we are all sore and stiff. So, what do you do? Use these three supplements as part of your recovery to get you back in the gym faster, and beat delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS).
1. Fish oil
Fish oil is one of the most neglected products on the market. Its versatility is unending, with it helping everything from cognitive function, heart health, connective tissue, and even helping you burn fat better. It is also extremely effective in assisting with the recovery process.
Fish oil is a source of Omega 3, made up of EPA and DHA. These two essential fatty acids are involved in a number of cell processes as well as having anti-inflammatory properties, helping muscle tissue recovery post-exercise. This is due to the fact that fish oil, and DHA and EPA more specifically, strengthen cell membranes and reduce oxidative effects on cells. A recommended dosage of fish oil is one gramme a day, but to help you reduce the effects of DOMS, a dosage of two grammes a day is recommended.
2. Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA)
You may have noticed that BCAA’s are in almost every pre-workout, intra-workout, added to post-workout drinks, and are made by almost every company. They are the one of the most effective to reduce the effects of DOMS. This is mainly due to leucine (the central component to BCAA’s) being the trigger for muscle protein synthesis (MPS), which kickstarts the muscle repairing process.
The high concentrations of leucine in whey proteins, BCAA’s, and other supplements ensures that the muscle fibres that are broken down during training, are repaired just as quickly. This results in you being able to train a muscle group that much harder before it gives out because it is being repaired as soon as it is damaged. They also reduce your recovery time between workouts dramatically, allowing you to train muscle groups harder, longer, and more frequently. This is what makes them such an effective recovery agent.
L-carnitine was a relatively forgotten supplement until it was looked at for its fat burning benefits. L-carnitine is an essential active agent for releasing fat from the cell, without which fat cannot actually be used. However, it is not being seen for its true potential as a complete recovery agent. L-carnitine assists in removing ammonia from blood, increasing blood flow and enhancing post-exercise tissue repair. It still isn’t completely clear how this is achieved, but studies have shown that a dosage as low as two grammes a day can lessen the effects of DOMS and muscle damage. That, combined with burning a little extra fat, is kind of a two-for-one deal.
DOMS is painful, uncomfortable, and just plain annoying, turning everyday tasks into mountainous events. The recovery process is where the effects of DOMS are really felt, and improving the process is the key to reducing the effects of DOMS. They may not ever be totally done away with; muscle soreness is a good indication that you have worked hard and pushed your muscles to the edge. However, you can make things a little easier, and get yourself back in the gym bigger, stronger, and quicker.