The time immediately after and in between workouts is just as important to your fitness progress as the time you spend in the gym. Following a workout, your muscles are depleted of key nutrients and broken down on the cellular level from the stresses of hard training. Post-workout nutrition is crucial to initiating the recovery progress. Some key supplements can accelerate this process.
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During exercise, your body loses water and electrolytes through perspiration. For workouts lasting more than an hour, water alone may not be enough to adequately rehydrate you.
For extended exercise, MayoClinic.com recommends sports drinks to replace water, electrolytes and glucose. Sports drinks can be used both during and after exercise to boost recovery and performance.
Creatine is a naturally occurring compound already present in muscle cells. As you train, creatine is used to produce energy for muscle contraction. The more creatine you store, the harder and longer you can train.
In addition to providing energy, creatine pulls water into muscles, adding size and volume. Following exercise, insulin sensitivity is elevated, allowing your body to store more nutrients.
Taking a creatine supplement mixed with a simple sugar after your workout allows you to use insulin as a carrier to store more creatine than at any other time. Creatine is regarded as safe by the American Council on Exercise, with only mild side effects such as dehydration reported.
During recovery from exercise, protein is used by your body to build new muscle tissue and halt the breakdown of existing tissue that typically occurs during training.
The faster protein can be assimilated, the sooner muscle wasting is halted. Whey protein is a a great post-workout protein source because it's digested quickly and provides high amounts of the essential amino acids — those your body cannot produce on its own. Immediately following exercise, drink a shake containing whey protein, along with creatine and a fast-digesting carbohydrate.