After you’ve finished a good exercise session, there’s another major factor you need to consider to get the most out of your hard work. And that is your recovery.
Good nutrition is one of the keys to muscle recovery. Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet gives your muscles the tools they need to recover from heavy activity, and this can help you heal and ultimately improve your overall performance. Here’s why your diet matters just as much as your training, and which foods you should be eating to maximize your muscle recovery.
Why good nutrition matters for muscle recovery
When you’re working out intensely, your muscles use a lot of energy and come under a ton of stress. When those muscles perform high-intensity exercises, they can become damaged and develop tiny microscopic tears in the muscle tissue, which can then become inflamed, stiff, and sore as they heal.
Muscle fatigue can also trigger your nerves to become hyper-excited, blasting those muscles with repetitive and uncontrollable signals to contract. This can then lead to involuntary muscle cramps and contribute further to the pain of delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) in the following days.
So in order to properly repair the damage from your workout and refuel your energy stores, you need good nutrition.
Taking supplements such as HOTSHOT Sports Shots pre or post workout helps to minimize the excessive firing of motor neurons that can contribute to muscle cramping and subsequent soreness, you should also be eating nutritious foods to give your muscles all the ingredients that they need to repair and grow.
A good recovery diet would ideally contain plenty of healthy complex carbohydrates to help refuel your energy stores, as well as lots of protein to help drive protein synthesis and repair the damaged muscle tissues.
What Are Some Foods That Help With Muscle Recovery?
When you eat carbohydrates, your body stores some of those sugars in a form called glycogen in your muscles. During high-intensity exercises, your muscles use glycogen for energy, so they need to be replenished afterwards to avoid depletion and help recovery. Sweet potatoes are a great source of healthy complex carbohydrates. They’re also a good source of Vitamin A, a powerful antioxidant.
Nuts & seeds
Nuts and seeds are packed with nutrients like zinc that can spur on muscle recovery. Nuts are also a good source of healthy fats like the ALA, another type of omega-3 fatty acid that helps with muscle recovery after a workout.
Bananas are full of carps which help reload muscles with Glycogen and help minimize muscle breakdown. Bananas are also a great source of potassium, an electrolyte that helps trigger muscle movement and contraction.
Greek yogurt is a great snack for muscle recovery since it contains so much protein, especially when compared to other processed yogurts. One study found that participants who ate Greek yogurt after their workouts showed significant improvements in their muscle strength, size, and overall body composition when compared to a control group using a placebo pudding.
Similarly, cottage cheese is an excellent food to add to your list of diet staples since it contains both whey and casein, which are the two different proteins found in milk products that are linked to protein synthesis and muscle recovery. For the best results, combine your cottage cheese with fruits for healthy carbohydrates and to round out your tasty post-workout snack.
One egg has roughly 7 grams of complete protein for only 70 calories. But you’ll want to make sure that you’re eating the full egg, not just the egg white, for the maximum muscle recovery benefits: while eating the egg whites alone can save you some fat and calories, a study found that eating whole eggs led to better protein synthesis.
In addition to protein and carbohydrates, healthy dietary fats are also thought to help your muscles recover from a good workout. In particular, the omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA are thought to help with protein synthesis and are even thought to help reduce muscle breakdown in older adults!
The best natural sources of DHA and EPA are fatty, cold-water fish like salmon, tuna, and mackerel, though some people also take fish oil pills if fish is not a regular part of their diet.
Getting enough protein is one of the cornerstones of muscle recovery after a workout. Protein, which is composed of several different amino acids, can help repair the damage done to your muscle during a workout, and the American Council on Exercise recommends that about 15-30% of your calories during the day should come from protein depending on your physical activity level. Jerky is an excellent healthy snack for helping you recover after a workout since it’s made from dehydrated meats. Animal-based protein sources are complete proteins, which means that they have all the amino acids necessary for muscle recovery.
Tart fruit juice
Some athletes swear by antioxidant-rich fruit juices like cranberry juice and tart cherry juice to help alleviate their soreness in the days following a workout. This is likely because these fruits are full of plant-based antioxidants, which can help minimize inflammation that leads to exercise-induced pain and soreness.
The foods you eat are nearly as important as the workouts that you do when it comes to fitness since your diet plays such a major role in your muscle recovery. Help your muscles recover from the physical damage of your physical activities by including plenty of protein-rich foods, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats, and consider using HOTSHOT Sports Shots to target the neurological drivers of muscle pain and soreness before they even start.