Can you guess why your muscles feel sore after intense exercise?
Besides the accumulation of lactic acid and other waste products, micro tears are a major factor at play. This painful effect is a natural consequence of lifting heavier weights than your body is used to, and is necessary to promote muscle growth. Still… Man, these tears hurt.
Of course, to ensure consistent growth and optimal performance, muscle tears have to be repaired. To speed up this process, many pre-workout blends feature extra ingredients to enhance recovery and get you in shape faster.
As a rule, muscle repairers work in at least one of the following ways:
- They provide the ”building blocks” your body needs to repair the micro tears in your muscles (proteins, carbs, vitamins, amino acids)
- They reduce local inflammation to alleviate muscle soreness
- They enhance the elimination of waste products that contribute to muscle fatigue and damage
- They counteract the action of cortisol, your body’s primary stress hormone which contributes to the breakdown of muscle
The first principle is pretty straightforward. Give your body enough macro- and micronutrients and your muscles will recover faster. For example, some proteins to build new muscle and carbs to refuel glycogen stores.
Local inflammation can be reduced by taking natural antioxidants (these are abundant in fruit, vegetables, and all plant products), mild OTC meds like aspirin, or applying anti-inflammatory creams or gels. CBD has amazing anti-inflammatory properties as well.
You can also enhance the elimination of waste products just by drinking more water. Simple as that. Proper hydration won’t be a magic solution to your muscle soreness, but will surely help a lot.
But enough of the general principles, let’s take a look at some specific supplements that could further speed up the process!
What muscle repairers are most often included in pre-workout blends (PWBs)?
- L-carnitine L-tartrate (LCLT) speeds up waste elimination, improves oxygen usage in the muscles, and acts as a mild antioxidant too. As a pleasant bonus, studies indicate that LCLT somewhat increases the number of androgen receptors in men, meaning that LCLT could increase the effect of testosterone without directly increasing the levels of this hormone.
- Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) improve post-exercise muscle synthesis and enhance muscle recovery after low-to-moderate muscle damage. Be sure to couple BCAAs with a healthy amount of proteins to further improve muscle recovery and growth.
- Glutamine is an amino acid that plays a major role in muscle synthesis. Studies show that glutamine supplementation may speed up muscle recovery and reduce muscle soreness, most likely by helping to repair the tears after exercise
- Phosphatidylserine is a phospholipid that has been confirmed to fight off exercise-related stress and attenuate the resulting cortisol levels. Taking into account that cortisol has a clear catabolic action (meaning in contributes to muscle breakdown), reducing cortisol should help with muscle recovery
Do you need muscle repairers in you pre-workout?
Strictly speaking, you don’t need them, but they won’t hurt either. Your muscles will recover anyway, it’s all a matter of time. If you want this process to be faster and smoother, getting a few extra supplements may be a good idea.
To Be Continued…
-The Cost Plus Nutrition Team