by Kasey Hutchinson, RD, LMT
In previous posts, I shared how to address hydration and delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) and how to consume essential macronutrients for post exercise recovery. In this post, I would like to share a few supplements that may be beneficial for recovery.
Taurine is an organic acid found in skeletal muscle and has many biological functions such as membrane stabilization, antioxidant capacity, osmoregulation and calcium homeostasis regulation. Studies show that 50 mg of taurine daily reduced delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) and oxidative stress. When taken in combination with branched chain amino acids, it also reduced post exercise inflammation.
Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)
Proteins are made of smaller molecules called amino acids, three of them are known as branched chain amino acids. These are leucine, isoleucine and valine. They are easily converted into glucose for energy. When we exercise at high intensity and run out of glycogen, our bodies will attack our muscles to scavenge for these BCAAs. Therefore, BCAA supplementation can reduce muscle damage, protein breakdown and soreness. BCAAs exist in normal food however, so their supplementation is not necessary but it does offer a quick and easy way to ensure your muscles are protected from exercise induced damages.
Caffeine can spare glycogen use and help our bodies use more fat for energy during exercise, thereby reducing the effects of DOMS. A recent study shows that consuming 5 mg of caffeine per kg of body weight 24 hours after exercise can be effective at reducing muscle soreness and enhancing recovery. For a person weighing about 150 lbs, that is a couple cups of coffee the day after working out. This seems counter-intuitive since caffeine is a known diuretic, however combined with its high anti-oxidant content, coffee can be safely included into your recovery routine even if it is nearly a day after!
Collagen hydrosylate is beneficial for the injured athlete or those who experience tendon and cartilage joint pain. This product is simply made from animal products, but a great vegan substitution is pectin. Taking 15 grams of gelatin prior to rehabilitation exercise can enhance the healing process for injured athletes, and reduce exercise induced joint pain in non-injured athletes. Simply add some to your smoothies or make jellies from this product for best results.
Meal and Snack Ideas
Let’s put the information shared in this and previous posts to practical use with some yummy meal and snack ideas.
1. Wild caught salmon with baked potatoes and arugula salad
2. Smoothie with chia seeds, RAWrLIFE plant protein, banana, spinach, mixed berries, spirulina, matcha powder
3. Oatmeal, chia seeds, banana chips, peanut butter and beet root powder (If you are on the trail for a couple days, this is the ultimate light weight breakfast!!)
4. Greek yogurt parfait with 1 cup Greek yogurt, 3 table spoons of chia seeds, 2 tablespoons of honey, 1/2 cup of blueberries. Add 2 pieces of toast with peanut butter, honey and banana
5. Baked tofu sandwich with red bell pepper, zucchini, flax oil drizzle, onion and spinach on a whole wheat ciabatta with a side of cherry-beet juice (here is a similar recipe for inspiration: tofu sandwich)
6. Avocado toast with cottage cheese and tomatoes
7. Sweet potato, squash and black bean enchiladas
8. Tofu, turmeric, brown rice bowl
9. Chia pudding
10. Tuna salad sandwich whole wheat *try it with flax oil instead of mayo for extra anti-inflammatory fats!
12. Egg salad sandwich with tumeric, flax oil, lettuce, tomato and onion on toasted wheat bread
11. Add a “health shot” to your meal: garlic, honey, lemon juice, turmeric, kale, banana, and super greens powder (spinach powder, spirulina, probiotics). Stick it in a blender with water, bottoms up!
Thanks for reading and I hope you have enjoyed my series of posts about the importance of post-exercise nutrition.
DISCLAIMER: THIS IS GENERAL NUTRITION ADVICE AND YOU SHOULD TALK WITH YOUR PHYSICIAN BEFORE IMPLEMENTING ANY DIETARY OR LIFESTYLE CHANGES. ALWAYS CHECK NUTRITION LABELS AND INGREDIENT LISTS TO MAKE SURE FOOD ITEMS WILL WORK FOR YOU.
About the author:
Kasey Hutchinson, RD, LMT is a registered dietitian, massage therapist and outdoor enthusiast. She lives in the Rocky Mountains of Montana where she enjoys backpacking, camping, rock climbing and back country snowboarding every chance she gets. Kasey’s passion for health, nutrition and the great outdoors fuels her curiosity to discover the best foods for backcountry missions and overall health. Kasey hopes to inspire people to live a vibrant, fulfilling life using outdoor exercise and healthy food as the vehicle for success. For more information about Kasey’s background and services, check out www.vibrantnutritionrd.com. You can also follow Kasey’s outdoor adventures and culinary tips via Instagram.
Coleman, E., & Rosenbloom, C. (2012). Sports Nutrition: A Practice Manual for Professionals. Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics.
Gleeson, M. (2008). Dosing and Efficacy of Glutamine Supplementation in Human Exercise and Sport Training. The Journal of Nutrition,138(10).
Kim, J., & Lee, J. (2014). A review of nutritional intervention on delayed onset muscle soreness. Part I. Journal of Exercise Rehabilitation,10(6), 349-356.
Legault, Z., Bagnall, N., & Kimmerly, D. S. (2015). The Influence of Oral L-Glutamine Supplementation on Muscle Strength Recovery and Soreness Following Unilateral Knee Extension Eccentric Exercise. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism,25(5), 417-426.
Mueller, K., & Hingst, J. (2013). The athletes guide to sports supplements. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.