Intense exercise like training for a marathon or heavyweight lifting takes a physical toll on your body. But dedicated athletes, bodybuilders and even people who exercise often as part of their weekly schedule usually just want to get back to their exercise again soon after a heavy workout session. Part of any good training program requires a rest period for the body to restore its lost nutrients and for the muscles to relax and hypertrophy (grow bigger). During this period, it is important to take in the right amount of nutrients, so that your body can recover and be completely ready for the next workout.
If you exercise once a day, which is reasonable for any training program, your rest period is about 20 to 24 hours between workouts, and this is the time to give your body everything it needs. It may be important to take additional supplements, on top of a healthy diet, to prepare your body for the next session. This article discusses 5 supplements that will not only help your body recover, but give it a boost, so you can keep going and get stronger with each passing workout. For expert reviews on these supplements, and many more, visit Review Critic, where a team of knowledgeable professionals determine the best brands for these kinds of supplements.
CoQ10 (coenzyme Q10) is a vitamin-like molecule that features, quite importantly, in cellular respiration – the process by which the cells in your body (especially muscle cells) produce energy. Without coenzyme Q10, the body would be 19 times less efficient at making energy! Although the body produces its own coenzyme Q10, taking more can help improve energy production in muscles, and thus improve recovery. It can also improve stamina for a longer workout.
CoQ10 is also a powerful antioxidant. An intense workout produces high levels of oxygen radicals in the body, which can damage muscles and cause slower recovery. Antioxidants like CoQ10 remove oxygen radicals to keep the cells from being damaged.
2. Nitric Oxide Supplements
Nitric oxide improves blood flow in the body, which brings more nutrients and oxygen to the recovering muscles. Most supplements do not contain actual nitric oxide, as this is not easily absorbed and does not really last long in the body. Rather, they contain the ingredients to improve the production of nitric oxide by the endothelium – the inner wall of blood vessels.
Nitric oxide is made from L-arginine, so make sure that the supplements contains that amino acid. Most good nitric oxide supplements also contain natural extracts like beetroot extract, pycnogenol and quercetin, which contain antioxidants and nitrate. As explained before, antioxidants are very important for muscle recovery.
3. Holy Basil
Holy basil is a plant from South East Asia that contains a number of substances called adaptogens. Adaptogens are compounds that are released to counteract biological stress. Intense exercise is a form of biological stress because it uses up oxygen and glucose in the body, and releases metabolic by-products like lactic acid. This causes the release of a stress hormone called cortisol. Cortisol is released to decrease inflammation, but it also causes a reduced uptake of glucose by muscle cells. Without enough glucose, the muscle cells are unable to rebuild their energy stores in time for the next workout, which can result in muscle fatigue and cramps. Holy basil functions to decrease the negative effects of stress, like that of cortisol, by reducing the levels of these stress hormones, thus improving glucose uptake and muscle recovery.
Saffron extract causes the release of a chemical messenger called serotonin. Serotonin is linked to mood stability which causes a feel-good sensation that improves motivation and mood. This improved mood helps people to be mentally motivated to exercise more. Saffron also contains a variety of vitamins and minerals like manganese, vitamin C, magnesium, iron, potassium and vitamin B6. All of these nutrients contribute in a variety of ways to recovery after exercise especially magnesium which helps to relax the muscle.
5. Raspberry Ketones
Raspberry ketones cause fat cells to release their contents so that the fats can be used as an energy source. The energy can be used to build muscle tissue and restore any lost components that the muscles need. Just as importantly, they cause the levels of something called uncoupling protein to be increased which works hand in hand with coenzyme Q10 to produce a greater amount of energy.