What’s your favorite workout? Do you look forward to hitting the weights, or are high-intensity bodyweight exercises more your speed? Or maybe hard cardio sessions get you feeling the burn.
Why not all of these? Whatever your workout of choice or your fitness goals, one thing you want is to keep improving.
Like a lot of athletes, though, you may have had your down moments when your muscles won’t respond quite in the way you want. You’re tired and sore, or worse, injured, and you find you’re getting in a rut. What can you do to get back on track and back in the gym?
Why Recovery is Important, and How Natural Supplements Can Help
What’s the most important part of your workout routine? Those strength sets? Adding some extra cardio work? Or pushing your limits on a challenging new WOD? If you think that fitness comes only from what you do in the gym, you’re not looking at the big picture.
It turns out that the most important part of your routine is recovery. Recovery is when your body adapts to the work you’ve performed and prepares itself for the next training load. Without adequate recovery, you’ll soon hit your limits. With recovery, your body’s muscles will be healed and prepared to go to the next level as you increase your training.
There are smart and simple ways to ensure muscle recovery. Getting enough rest is important, as is eating a balanced diet that incorporates enough protein and carbohydrates. But, the addition of natural ingredients to aid muscle recovery can speed recovery and get you back into the gym even more quickly. The right supplements can help decrease inflammation in your muscles, speeding the recovery cycle.
Game-Changing Natural Ingredients
Here are some tried and tested natural ingredients that can help speed your recovery and keep you in the game.
Ashwagandha might be best known for its use in natural Indian medicine, Ayurveda, as a stress reliever. But it also has a role in reducing muscle stress and aiding in recovery. Ashwagandha’s ability to combat body stress and inflammation seems to be why.
Our bodies produce stress hormones in response to stress, both mental and physical. While important, these hormones have the harmful effect of breaking down muscle and increasing fat storage — not desirable when we’re trying to build lean muscle. Ashwagandha’s ability to decrease stress levels makes it easier for our muscles to recover from the stress of a hard workout.
When shopping for ashwagandha, purity and potency are important. Look for KSM66 Ashwagandha. This trademarked form of ashwagandha has the highest potency available, is all-natural, and is sourced directly from the plant to you. You’ll find KSM66 ashwagandha in ASYSTEM Superhuman Supplements.
A side effect of heavy exercise is the release of free radicals in our cells. Free radicals trigger an inflammatory response that can damage our muscles, leading to exhaustion, increased susceptibility to injury, and delayed muscle recovery. Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, has been shown to have a positive effect on training recovery by offsetting the production of free radicals.
A study in the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine reported an improvement in the speed of muscle recovery with subjects who took curcumin supplements, compared to a placebo. A mouse study tested recovery from downhill running with curcumin supplementation and found evidence to support their hypothesis that curcumin could reduce inflammation caused by eccentric muscle loading.
Also known as CoQ10, this compound is produced naturally throughout our bodies and is found in abundance in the mitochondria of our cells. As we exercise, the mitochondria are called upon to do more work to power and repair our muscles, increasing the need for adequate stocks of CoQ10.
It seems logical that supplementing with CoQ10 will help with muscle performance and recovery, and studies suggest that this is true. A study of trained and untrained subjects found a correlation between exercise performance and recovery in those who took CoQ10 supplements compared to those who did not.
The powerful antioxidant effects of CoQ10 look like a winner for gym rats, but be alert for side effects. While regarded as safe to use, some users report stomach upset and lower blood pressure when using Coenzyme Q10 supplements, so be cautious if you already deal with these two types of issues.
If you’ve been putting your muscles under stress at the gym, inflammation not only will make them sore, but it will also slow the recovery that sets you up for bigger efforts at your next workout. CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties may be just the ticket to speeding up recovery time and getting you back in the gym for your next workout.
An article in Men’s Health examined the role of CBD use by athletes, and concluded that CBD showed a lot of promise in helping athletes to recover more quickly from the stress of workouts. Either taken orally or used as a topical rub, CBD delivers.
While there is still a need for rigorous empirical studies, CBD has not been shown to have any ill effects and is generally well tolerated, so there’s no harm in giving it a shot. Just make sure to follow the dosing instructions specific to the form you’re taking it as!
Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)
BCAAs are a well-known natural supplement in the body-building and powerlifting world. Our bodies contain many amino acids, of which three (leucine, isoleucine, and valine) are known as branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) because of their structure. These amino acids are found in protein-rich foods and play a major role in muscle development.
There are some other attractive benefits of BCAAs for gym rats as well, including decreasing post-workout muscle soreness. This muscle soreness is caused by tiny tears and other damages to muscle fibers, and BCAAs seem to have the potential to promote muscle repair and alleviate this soreness.
Studies have shown decreased muscle soreness compared to a placebo group when performing a set of exercises after BCAA supplementation, giving us good evidence that BCAAs really do what they say they’ll do!
Add These to Your Recovery Toolkit
Supplementing your diet with natural ingredients can make a difference in muscle recovery. But there are also some other smart ways to decrease pain and speed recovery.
- Topical analgesics are a smart way to soothe a problem spot. Look for gels that use natural ingredients, like ASYSTEM’s Radical Relief Gel Roll-On.
- Massage is used by elite athletes to recover after workouts and events. Scheduling a regular massage can help you too.
- Compression garments are a smart way to increase blood flow and aid healing, particularly for tired and sore legs.
- Ice is an old standby, and an effective way to reduce spot inflammation. Or, if you’re brave enough, try an ice bath to knock down inflammation throughout your body.
- A regular stretching routine is a great way to warm or cool down.
- Eat to recover by having a high-protein bar or shake after you hit the gym.
Supplement Like Your Health Depends On It!
Setting up a smart training plan and putting in the time will yield big benefits for your health if you stick to it. By using smart natural ingredients to supplement your diet and promote overall wellness, you’ll stand a better chance of being able to stick to your program. Don’t wait until you’re too tired and sore to crawl out of bed to try incorporating performance-boosting supplements to your daily routine. Check out ASYSTEM’s all natural supplements here, and set yourself up for success!