The latest in our new series, we look at the five best supplements to use for recovery; helping you and your body gain balance after a tough workout.
Working out can be hard on the body, so helping the recovery process can be the difference between staying on track with your program, or missing a session because you’re not quite ready. Even worse, you could force yourself to exercise without the necessary recovery and risk injury or illness.
Zinc is needed to help your immune system and general health. The main reason for taking zinc? Our bodies aren’t able to store it, so taking it on board each day is your best bet.
You should aim to take between 10-15mg of zinc per day, and certainly never more than 40mg. Another key thing to watch out for with zinc; don’t take it with coffee or whole-grain foods; they can block absorption. It is better to take your zinc with animal protein if your dietary requirements allow, as that will promote absorption.
Possibly more apt for the advanced gym-goer or athlete, holy basil is an adaptogen. It balances out the hormone cortisol – otherwise known as the ‘stress hormone’ – and your neurotransmitter functions. As a result, it helps to reduce stress which in turn promotes recovery, as well as all the other benefits of reduced stress levels.
We recommend between 300mg and 1.9g of holy basil in a cup of green or white tea.
Another cortisol blocker, phosphatidyl serine blocks the secretion of the stress hormone which speeds up the recovery process. It can also, as a result, help prevent muscle soreness and generally manage the stresses of a hard workout. Better for people prone to high stress, we recommend 800mg taken after training or in the evening.
Magnesium helps with sleep, and sleep helps with muscle recovery and stress reduction. If you don’t have enough magnesium in your diet, it can lead to sleep issues. Take 350mg per day (the recommended maximum) but never take it on an empty stomach – have it with a meal or snack. Some studies have shown it is better absorbed through the skin, so try a magnesium spray instead if you are prone to an upset stomach.
Fish oil supplementation doesn’t only help you maintain your omega 3 fats, results of various studies have shown a link between fish oil supplements and decreased body fat in addition to reduced inflammation, making it a great choice for recovery purposes. Because fish oil supplements have also been linked to an increase in serotonin, it is also another stress reduction aid.
We recommend taking between 1g and 4g daily depending on the amount of oily fish you already consume.
Have you tried any of these five supplements for recovery purposes? Are you planning on trying them out? Let us know in the comments below…