If you've ever been told that your muscles are sore after a workout due to lactic acid build-up, you've been told a myth. Muscle soreness, or better termed Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) is caused by microtrauma to muscle fibres due to exercises that lengthen or contract the muscle. Your muscles are attempting to adapt to the exercise, thus the feelings of tenderness you experience 24 to 72 hours after an exercise.
Muscle soreness after a workout can cause great inconvenience, whether for your personal mobility or comfort. Being able to reduce muscle inflammation is typically dependant on a dietary plan which includes food and supplements to prevent your muscles from getting overtly sore, or to speed up muscle recovery. Here are some essentials you should incorporate into your diet to help recover faster.
Branched Chain Amino Acids are used as fuel to grow and repair your muscles, and it increases the natural levels of growth hormones in your body, and decreases the levels of cortisol — a component which breaks down your muscles during workout. BCAAs also delay fatigue, allowing you to reduce physical exhaustion so you can work out harder, longer and reap greater results. Taking BCAAs during and after a workout is an effective way to boost muscle recovery.
Containing carnosine, beta-alanine helps to reduce the hydrogen ions within your muscles that causes a pH imbalance that causes fatigue. Beta-alanine stabilises the pH conditions within your muscle, improving recovery and lowering the amount of muscle and tissue damage inflicted.
FAST-ACTING PROTEIN SOURCES
Most accessible in the form of whey protein, fast-acting protein sources are the foundation to any post-workout recovery regime. Best consumed immediately after your workout, whey protein helps your body to rebuild muscle fibres through protein synthesis — a process that helps improve muscle recovery and gains.
Following a hard workout, your muscles are severely depleted of glucose (usable energy) and glycogen (stored energy) for energy. As these deplete the hormone cortisol is released, this is your body's 'stress' hormone and it has very catabolic effects. What cortisol does is eat up muscle tissue for protein and convert it into glucose, resulting in a loss of muscle! The way to counteract this and maintain your gains is by eating carbs that quickly boost your insulin levels.
Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, salmon contains two key acids — EPA and DHA. These are anti-inflammatory acids, which decrease the presence of inflammation-causing cytokines in your body so you not only recover faster, but salmon also lowers the severity of DOMS in the first place. Alternatively, go with a fish oil supplement instead.
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