Keeping up with your exercise regimen is a lot easier when you recover quickly after a workout. For many athletes, reducing muscle damage and soreness is a top priority.
If recovery support is less than ideal, the benefits of high intensity activities can become a performance liability and contribute to greater tissue breakdown.
You want to look for foods and recovery supplements that support the muscles to promote recovery and also help relieve inflammation and discomfort associated with normal daily exercise and activity.
Here are some awesome foods and recovery supplements worth considering.
Tart Cherry Juice
Tart cherry juice is rapidly gaining popularity among elite athletes and weekend warriors as a drink that helps speed the recovery process. Antioxidant compounds found in tart cherries called anthocyanins are believed to work by helping to relieve inflammation associated with normal daily exercise and activity. Try drinking tart cherry concentrate on workout days for less pain and inflammation.
Tart cherry juice decreased some of the symptoms of exercise-induced muscle damage following strength training.
Here are some great options for including tart cherries into your diet:
- Drink tart cherry juice within 30 minutes after workouts
- Carry some dried tart cherries in your bag.
- Try a tart cherry smoothie using tart cherry juice, frozen tart cherries, or acerola cherry powder
Your morning coffee may be doing more than waking you up before an early morning workout. Studies show drinking coffee prior to a workout reduces muscles soreness and fatigue by nearly half. Caffeine affects a system in the brain and spinal cord involved in pain processing, which may be how it reduces pain. This decreased perception of soreness in the days after a strenuous resistance training workout may allow you to increase the number of training sessions in a given time period.
If you don’t have any medical contraindications to caffeine, the recommendation is to drink 8-16 ounces of coffee prior to a work out. You’ll also take advantage of caffeine’s well-documented ability to boost endurance.
Ice, Ice Baby
After exercise, a hot bath may feel really nice, but giving muscles a cold treatment, whether it be an ice bath, an ice bag or an ice treatment known as cryotherapy, after exercise is most beneficial. A hot bath will provide overall relaxation and mild pain relief, but icing actually prevents further muscle damage and speeds healing.
Arnica montana is an herbal version of Bengay and is extremely effective at easing pain. The plant can be applied to the skin in a gel or cream form and can help with swelling and soreness. Arnica is the most well-known and often used of the homeopathic remedies. Arnica montana is used in homeopathy for most types of injuries: bruises, sprains, muscle injuries, and falls. Arnica is used to reduce pain and to speed the healing process.
L-Glutamine supports muscle development, repair, and recovery from exercise, allowing for more frequent and intense exercise training. Glutamine promotes mental function by supplying a direct source of energy to the brain, and in addition, supports immune function and digestive health.
Specific Recovery Blends
These recovery formulas are designed to support the most important aspects of rapid recovery from high intensity training.
Maxim hGh supports lean body mass with amino acids L-Arginine, L-Glutamine, Glycine, and Taurine to promote recuperation and tissue repair. When taken before bed, this formulation supports endocrine balance and nitric oxide production to protect and maintain lean muscle.
Physio-Flex Maxx supports and maintains tendon and ligament health. It also contains an optimal blend of ingredients to promote connective tissue integrity after intense exercise.
Physio Recover promotes muscular strength, endurance, and recovery after exercise. It maintains lean muscle mass, supports healthy hormone levels, fluid balance, and oxygen utilization. Ideal for post-workout recovery nutrition. Contains high quantities of branched-chain amino acids and glutamine. Delicious strawberry watermelon powder.
Plan ahead and these muscle soreness recovery tips don’t take much effort to implement, and will be much worth it!
In Health and Happiness,
Kelly Harrington, MS, RDN
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist for Healthy Goods
Kuelhl, Kerry S. Efficacy of tart cherry juice in reducing muscle pain during running: a randomized controlled trial. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2010; 7:17.
Connolly, DAJ. Efficacy of a tart cherry juice blend in preventing the symptoms of muscle damage. Br J Sports Med. Aug 2006; 40(8):679-683.
Hausswirth, C. et al. Effects of whole-body cryotherapy vs. far-infrared vs. passive modalities on recovery from exercise-induced muscle damage in highly-trained runners. PLoS ONE 6(12): e27749.