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Post Exercise Recovery

In this article, we discuss how nutritional therapy, lifestyle factors and supplement advice can help to reduce fatigue and muscle soreness post-exercise. It is also important to consume the right nutrients to support muscle growth and maintenance.

What is post exercise recovery and why is nutritional therapy important?

During exercise, the body undergoes various changes due to exertion, such as muscle damage, glycogen depletion and fluid loss. In which case, post-exercise recovery is referring to the steps taken to restore the body's energy stores, repair damaged tissues, and facilitate the removal of metabolic waste products, such as lactic acid[i].

Repairing damaged muscle: During exercise, muscle is broken down, and the foods consumed afterwards can aid in tissue repair as well as rebuilding and strengthening muscles. Eating 20-40 grams of high-quality, lean protein after a workout is said to optimise protein synthesis to repair muscles and enhance muscle growth[ii].

Supplement recommendations for exercise recovery

Wild Nutrition Vegan Protein + Superfood Blend / Planet Paleo Organic Bone Broth Sport Protein - Banana & Vanilla: an adequate amount of protein post-exercise helps stimulate muscle protein synthesis, promoting muscle growth and recovery. Including protein in your post-workout meals or snacks can support muscle repair, reduce muscle soreness and enhance overall recovery from exercise[iii].

Sun Warrior, Warrior Blend Protein Vanilla: With a focus on Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) including leucine, isoleucine, and valine are amino acids that can aid in muscle recovery and reduce exercise-induced muscle damage[iv].

Pure Encapsulations Acetyl-L-Carnitine 500mg: a form of carnitine, Acetyl-L-Carnitine is an amino acid-like compound that plays a role in energy metabolism. Acetyl-L-carnitine is believed to enhance exercise recovery by aiding in the transport of fatty acids into the mitochondria, where they can be used for energy production[v].

Viridian High Potency Magnesium: Magnesium plays a very important role in muscle relaxation as well as energy metabolism. So, supplementing with magnesium is thought to help relieve muscle cramps and support recovery post-exercise[vi].

Terranova Avena Sativa & Tart Cherry Super Blend: Tart cherries contain compounds that have been shown to reduce muscle soreness and inflammation, which could be helpful in exercise recovery[vii].

Our favourites for a relaxing massage or post-exercise soak:

Jones The Bones Oil & Bath Salts: The perfect pair for bathing and body post exercise. Helps to alleviate muscle tension after all sports, including running, dancing and cycling.

Dr. Hauschka Birch Arnica Energising Body Oil: This is a body oil for those who like to keep active. A revitalising Birch Arnica Energising Body Oil with its minty-citrus scent refreshes the skin after exercise or the sauna, cycling and hiking tours, or physical labour. Its circulation-boosting and muscle-relaxing properties also make it a particularly good massage oil.

Moa Fortifying Green Bath Potion: An invigorating herbal blend, is sure to put the spring back in your step. Includes peppermint and fennel with a pleasant, fresh and uplifting scent.

Olverum Bath Oil: A customer favourite for relaxing muscles and restoring energy post exercise.

Dietary suggestions for exercise recovery

After you finish exercising, your body works to rebuild the energy stored in your muscles (called glycogen) and repair the muscles themselves. Eating the right foods with carbohydrates and protein soon after your workout can help your body do this faster. This helps your body by reducing muscle damage, helping your muscles grow, replenishing energy stores and improving recovery.

Combining carbohydrates and protein for post-workout meals or snacks can help recovery from exercise[viii][ix][x].

Balanced post-workout ideas:

Grilled chicken breast with a side of quinoa and steamed vegetables.

Greek yogurt with a sprinkle of granola and mixed berries.

Toasted sourdough with avocado and scrambled eggs.

A protein smoothie made with banana, spinach, milk (or plant milk), and protein powder.

Baked salmon with roasted sweet potatoes and a side salad.

The Bowen Technique and Post Exercise Recovery

For any aches, pains or strains the Bowen Technique is an excellent treatment to help speed up healing in the body. Use this treatment as a regular part of your routine, maybe once per month, or alternatively a course of three treatments each a week apart to address specific concerns.

Lifestyle suggestions for exercise recovery

Get enough rest and sleep to allow your body to recover and repair after exercise[xi].

Stay hydrated by drinking enough water throughout the day to replenish fluid loss during exercise[xii].

Incorporate gentle stretching or low-intensity activities like walking or light cycling to promote blood flow and aid in muscle recovery[xiii].

Listen to your body and give yourself enough time between workouts to avoid overtraining and reduce the risk of injuries[xiv].

Consider using techniques such as foam rolling or massage to help alleviate muscle soreness and improve recovery[xv].

What is overtraining syndrome?

Overtraining syndrome is a condition seen in athletes undergoing excessive exercise without adequate rest and recovery. This may then lead to a decline in physical performance as well as a host of various other symptoms[xvi].

Can poor recovery from exercise point towards other conditions?

Poor recovery from exercise can also potentially be an indicator or a symptom of chronic fatigue, a condition which becomes apparent by persistent and debilitating fatigue that is not relieved by rest and is often worsened by physical or mental exertion. Other associated conditions include adrenal fatigue and fibromyalgia [xvii]. You can read more about these conditions in our other Therapedia entries, and please also see our testing options below.

Functional testing options for exercise recovery

If you struggle with recovering from exercise and it’s a notable issue causing extreme or prolonged fatigue, it may be worth considering functional testing. Hormone testing - assessing hormone levels, such as cortisol and thyroid hormones, is used to identify hormonal imbalances that could contribute to fatigue[xviii][xix]. Adrenal Stress Index / Complete Hormone Panel - DUTCH Test

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Please note that the information contained within this website does not and should not replace medical advice, and is not intended to treat or diagnose. We always recommend you consult with your doctor. Our Nutritional Therapy team is highly trained and we offer one to one Nutritional Therapy Consultations, which are designed to be complementary to any medical treatment from a functional medicine approach, as well as offering a preventative & optimal health focus.