Resistance training and aerobic exercise stress and damage muscle fibers, resulting in muscle soreness and inflammation that impedes muscle recovery. Proper muscle recovery helps repair damaged muscle tissue and prepare them for your next bout of exercise. When your muscles recover quickly, you can train more often — meaning better results.
Besides eating the right foods pre- and post-workout, research indicates that incorporating a few dietary supplements into your program can be an effective strategy for boosting muscle recovery and healing.
Vitamins C and E
In a 2013 study published in International Journal of Preventive Medicine, researchers studied the effects of vitamin E and C supplementation on recovery from exercise. Female athletes less oxidative stress following four weeks of workouts supplemented with the vitamins.
Researchers concluded that vitamin C and E supplementation does play a role in reducing muscle damage markers of aerobic exercise.
Victor Maridakis, a researcher in the department of kinesiology at the University of Georgia College of Education, and colleagues investigated the effects of caffeine consumption on exercise recovery, as per research published in the 2007 issue of the Journal of Pain.
Participants ingested caffeine or a placebo before performing quadriceps exercises. Scientists observed that the caffeine group had significant reductions in muscle pain post-workout compared with the placebo group.
A more recent study published in a 2013 issue of the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research showed that caffeine injgestion in the days following a strenuous resistance training workout reduces the severity of DOMS, or delayed-onset muscle soreness. This allows you to recover faster so you can fit in more training sessions and enhance your results.
Consume caffeine in coffee or in sports supplements, such as gels and drinks.
Protein for Recovery
Protein supplements may also aid in muscle recovery. Whey protein, a derivative from milk that you can add to drinks, enhances your whole body's ability to recovery post workout showed research published in a 2017 issue of Nutrients.
In this small study, researchers had trained men consume whey protein or a placebo following a tough resistance workout and again the following morning. Those who consumed the whey protein demonstrated improved protein balance — supporting greater muscle growth — and improved recovery.
Add whey protein to a smoothie with fresh fruit and skim milk, shake into juice or stir into water for consumption within 30 minutes of your workout.