What is a Post-Workout Recovery Supplement?
What is a Recovery Supplement?
(Click 0n Nutritional Terms And Reference Numbers in Blue For More Info)
The importance of recovery after exercise is summed up by the old adage: “You can only train as hard as you can rest”. In addition to getting sufficient rest, it is also important that we consume the right nutrients at the right time and in the right amounts after exercise if we are to optimise our gains in fitness and muscle size and strength.
The two nutrients that are most emphasised in the post-exercise period are carbohydrate and protein. This is because moderate to high intensity cardiovascular exercise and resistance-based workouts (e.g., three to four sets using ~ 6–20 repetition maximum loads) rely extensively on carbohydrate as a fuel source (1). Therefore, the body’s Glycogen stores are extremely important but also limited. For example, performing just six sets of 12 repetitions of the leg extension exercise has been shown to reduce glycogen stores in the Vastus Lateralis by 39% (1). As glycogen levels decline, our ability to maintain exercise intensity and work output decrease while rates of tissue breakdown increase (1).
In light of this, the need to optimise our glycogen stores becomes clear. This is best achieved by consuming carbohydrate in the first 30 minutes after exercise and again every two hours for the next four to six hours (1). Combining a high-quality protein with carbohydrate can further enhance our ability to replenish our glycogen stores. It can also stimulate significant increases in Muscle Protein Synthesis and help to minimise muscle damage, promote a favourable hormone balance and accelerate recovery from intense exercise (1).
While the importance of ingesting key nutrients in the period immediately after exercise is evident, our appetite can be suppressed after training, particularly high intensity training, making it difficult to consume the recommended nutrients within the specified time period. This is where a recovery supplement can play a valuable role. These contain a combination of substances designed to be consumed after exercise to allow us to recover more quickly and fully, and so maximise our training gains. For example, these include:
- Maltodextrin, an easy-to-digest Complex Carbohydrate made from corn, potato or rice starch, which is absorbed as quickly as glucose and provides a rapid supply of energy during the important post- exercise refuelling period.
- The advanced form of carbohydrate cluster dextrin, or highly branched cyclic dextrin, which differs from other High GI Carbohydrates such as maltodextrin as it provides a sustained release of energy, rather than a sudden rise in blood sugar and its accompanying large insulin response, ensuring that your body receives a steady supply of carbohydrate.
- Glucose, the simple sugar which provides the body with its primary source of energy and is a component of many carbohydrates. It is rapidly absorbed and enters the blood stream easily to be transported around the body where it can help to replenish depleted glycogen stores.
- The Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) L-Leucine, L-Isoleucine and L- Valine, which play a vital role in muscle growth and repair, help to prevent the breakdown of muscle during exercise, reduce exercise induced fatigue and muscle soreness, and enhance recovery.
- The Conditionally Essential Amino Acid L-Glutamine, which makes up approximately 60 percent of skeletal muscle and plays an important role in protein synthesis, enhances carbohydrate storage after exercise, reduces post-exercise muscle soreness and increases testosterone, growth hormone and IGF-1 levels.
- The conditionally essential amino acid taurine, which helps to increase strength, fat oxidation during exercise, cardiovascular performance, exercise time to exhaustion and maximal workload, while reducing exercise induced muscle damage, Oxidative Stress and fatigue.
Three types of whey protein are also included: concentrate, isolate and hydrolysed.
- Low temperature undenatured whey protein concentrate is a form of whey protein typically low in fat and cholesterol, containing bioactive compounds as well as growth factors and carbohydrates in the form of lactose, and is quickly absorbed by the body. It is also rich in both branch chain amino acids (BCAAs) glutamine.
- Low temperature undenatured whey protein isolate is a form of whey protein, which has undergone greater processing than whey concentrate. This may result in a reduction in some bioactive compounds and growth factors, but provides a greater proteincontent and lower levels of carbohydrates, lactose and fat than whey concentrate.
- Hydrolysed whey protein is an ultrapure form of whey protein that comprises smaller protein particles known as peptides. These are easily absorbed in the body providing faster rate of digestion and absorption.
This combination of different forms of whey protein provides you with a quick and easily digested supply of muscle building Amino Acids into the blood stream which not only helps to ensure optimum muscle growth and recovery but also optimum replenishment of glycogen stores.
What are the benefits of a recovery supplement?
The key ingredients of Time 4 Recovery have been shown scientifically to benefit exercise performance and recovery in a number of ways. These include, but are not limited to:
- Increasing muscle Protein Synthesis, resulting in greater muscle hypertrophy (1,2,10,12,15,26,27,28,29,38,39)
- Increasing muscular strength (2,15,17,23,29,39)
- Improving Anaerobic Power (3)
- Improving endurance performance (4,5,7,8,13,20,21,24,25)
- Enhancing post-exercise recovery (1,5,22,23,36,37,38,41)
- Reducing exercise induced fatigue (31,32,33)
- Decreasing muscle soreness after resistance training (17,35,36)
- Replenishing Glycogen stores (1,6,11,13,14,19)
- Reducing feelings of perceived effort during exercise (9,30)
- Decreasing post-exercise tissue damage (22,34,35,37,38,42,43,44,45)
- Restoring immune function and reducing the Immunosuppressive effects of heavy-load training (18,40,41)
- Increasing Testosterone and IGF-1 levels (15)
- Increasing Growth Hormone levels (15,16)
- Decreasing Cortisol levels (15)
Why use Time 4 Recovery?
While some people are concerned that carbohydrates may cause weight gain, the science and experience tell us that the consumption of the right type of carbohydrate at the right time is essential for high intensity exercise performance, recovery and optimal muscle growth and strength. Consequently, we have added a blend of fast and slower acting carbohydrates to quickly normalise post exercise blood sugar levels and replenish your glycogen stores which are essential for initiating and sustaining the recovery process.
We have also added a blend of whey proteins, including fast acting isolate and hydrolysate to ensure that your muscles receive the Amino Acids essential for recovery, repair and growth as quickly as possible in the post exercise period, and have further boosted the amino acid pool with extra glutamine and BCAAs.
This easy to consume and digest formula is specifically designed for use immediately post workout and is not filling, so you will still be able to consume your next meal comfortably.
Note: We would only recommend using the fast-acting isolate and hydrolysate whey proteins with carbohydrate post-exercise when it is important to get amino acids and carbohydrate into the muscles as quickly as possible to optimise recovery.
At any other time of the day, we would recommend taking a blended time release protein formula such as our Time 4 Whey Protein.