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Post Workout Recovery

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Training or competition can rapidly deplete energy stores and damage muscle tissue. Exercise requires specific macro and micromolecule uptake to minimise the damage to our system and enable a faster recovery from exercise (1). Although our individual needs vary person to person and workout to workout we can adhere to basic nutritional principles to improve recovery which will lead to:

" Decreased post exercise soreness
" Increased post workout energy levels
" Decreased micro trauma at muscle cell site
" Improved response to exercise stimulus

In short this means you will feel better post exercise and be able to return to training or competition more rapidly than without correct nutrition.

In addition to water consumption some post workout nutritional rules are applicable:

1.Rapidly absorbable carbohydrate source to replenish lost glycogen stores:
The best fluid replacement drinks include a combination of glucose and fructose polymers. Fructose although slower to absorb than glucose, provides a greater degree of liver glycogen repletion than glucose. (2)

2.Branch chain amino acids to stop catabolic process:
BCAA make up about one third of muscle protein. When we exercise muscle becomes catabolic and BCAA are broken down and excreted. Supplementing with BCAA at the time of muscle breakdown is the best insurance against catabolism. (3)

3.Micro filtered whey protein:
The ingestion of carbohydrates combined with protein increases insulin more rapidly than carbohydrates alone immediately post exercise. This is ideal as increased insulin causes the muscle cells to rapidly uptake micronutrients such as glycogen and branch chain amino acids (4). Additionally protein is the necessary nutrient required for muscle tissue repair.

4.HMB to minimise damage to muscle sheath
HMB has been proven to decrease that catabolic effect of exercise by acting as a protectionary agent for the muscle cell. It has been theorised that HMB attaches to the muscle sheath and when catabolic enzymes are activated to break down muscle tissue (at the time of exercise) HMB is broken away from storage at the muscle cell (potentially from the muscle sheath) sparing muscle tissue and stored protein. (5)

5.Vitamin C for its anti oxidant protection
Vitamin C is used by the body for the hydroxylation of the amino acids proline and lysine to form collagen, however it is the anti oxidant properties of vitamin C that are most useful. Exercise causes free radical damage, which is one of the many causes of muscle soreness (6). Anti oxidant needs are directly related to free radical damage.

You can make your own post workout drink if your needs are more specific. For example long distance runners use greater carbohydrate stores than weightlifters per session and require significantly greater carbohydrate intake post training. Regardless of your needs you should prioritise your post workout nutrition.

1.Chandler, R.M et al. Dietary Supplements effect the Anabolic Hormones After Weight -Training Exercise. J Appl Pysiol (1994); 76,2:839-845

2.Reiser et al. An insulinogenic effect of oral fructose inhumans during post prandial hyperglycemia Am J Clin Nutr 1987; 10:227-238

3.Blomstrand, et al. Administration of branch chain amino acids during sustained exercise- effects on exercise performance and on plasma concentration of some amino acids. Eur J Appl Physiol91991); 63:83-88

4.Zawadzki, K.M, et al. Carbohydrate-protein complex increases the rate of muscle glycogen storage after exercise. J Appl Physiol(1992);72,5:1854-1859

5. Nissen,S.L,et al. The effect of the leucine metabolite b-Hydroxy B Methylbutyrate on muscle metabolism during resistance exercise training. J Appl. Physiol (1996); 81,5: 2095-2104

6.Quintanilha A.IN:Miguel J, et al,eds. Handbook of free Radicals and Antioxidants.Boca Raton, FL:CRC Press,1989:133

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Neither nor the authors of this publication assume any liability for the information contained herein. The Information contained herein reflects only the opinion of the author and is in no way to be considered medical advice. Specific medical advice should be obtained from a licensed health care practitioner. Consult your physician before you begin any nutrition, exercise, or dietary supplement program.

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