The real work from your exercise routine happens after you put down the weights. Once your muscles have been sufficiently worn out, they begin the process of healing the damage done during your workout and repairing structural damage to the cells in your body that cause your muscles to expand and contract.
This process will happen on its own, but it can be greatly improved through the use of amino acid supplements, which can help shorten recovery times.
Types of Muscle Recovery Supplements
There are many options for muscle recovery supplements. Here are three types of popular muscle recovery supplements and the pros and cons of each.
Conventional Protein Supplements
Protein powder products are extremely popular at every level, from the weekend warriors who occasionally work out to professional athletes who rely on protein to build top-tier muscles. Protein supplements come in many forms – whey being the most popular – including some varieties that offer support for your health and fitness goals.
The whole proteins these supplements contain provide several nutrients that benefit active individuals, the most important of which are the amino acids that serve as the building blocks for protein. However, many protein-based supplements also include significant amounts of sugars and calories, which can actually hinder efforts to lose weight or improve your health.
Also known as adaptogens, these plant-based supplements are made using a number of herbs with often-unfamiliar names like schisandra, rhodiola, and astragalus. These herbs together have been shown to help counteract the effects of physical and mental stress, including those related to exercise. Many of these plants have been used in traditional medicine in cultures around the world, though more recently they have been the subjects of numerous clinical studies as well.
Adaptogens work by promoting equilibrium in key systems throughout the body, including the hypothalamic, pituitary, and adrenal glands (also called the HPA axis) and the immune-neuroendocrine system. The end result is that the effects of stress on the body are tempered, leading to a reduction in fatigue, greater physical endurance, and improved energy and mental acuity. However, it should be noted that research into these supplements is still ongoing, though most people can expect few, if any, side effects from adaptogens.
Amino Acid Supplements
In some ways, amino acids can be a more efficient version of whole proteins, like those found in shakes and powders. The primary difference is that amino acids act much faster than conventional protein supplements, though they offer a number of other benefits as well. The main amino acids found in fitness supplements are the three branched-chain amino acids, or BCAAs: leucine, isoleucine, and valine.
Because amino acid-based products offer free-form amino acids – in comparison to those in protein, which are linked together – they require almost no digestion before they are absorbed into the bloodstream. This allows them to take effect up to three times as fast as protein, and because they are designed to be lean and efficient, they come with far fewer calories and sugars as well.
Choosing the Best Muscle Recovery Supplement for You
Considering the high number of supplements available, it can be tough to pick out the one that best suits you. To help narrow your options, prioritize the effects that are most important to you. For instance, if you are trying to gain a significant amount of mass, a protein-based supplement may be your best choice since it comes with the calories and carbs to help you get bigger quickly. For long-term benefits, adding an adaptogenic herbal supplement to your daily routine may prove effective.
Whereas protein and adaptogens may help in the long term, amino acid supplements specialize in building lean muscle, boosting energy levels, and promoting a fast recovery after exercise. Products like Rapid Recovery also contain small amounts of carbs to replenish glycogen in the muscles, and they provide electrolytes to balance hydration, too.
High-Quality Recovery Supplements
No matter if you’re new to the fitness scene or a veteran who’s been working out for years, aminoVITAL® has a supplement that suits your needs.