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What Exactly Are Recovery Supplements?

The general consensus among athletes suggests that the first 45 minutes after your workout are the most important for muscle recovery and grow. If you happen to miss this short window of time, there is an increased possibility of compromising your recovery ability by a significant margin. This could lead to multiple downsides, such as less energy, less gains, and prolonged muscle soreness – just to name a few. Fortunately, when all’s said & done, there’s still some good news

Taking at least one these four types of supplements immediately after your workout will improve your recovery rate, bring clarity and mental focus, and provide you with a motivational boost to conquer those reps once and for all. (We say at least one, but we recommend you take each type!)

Protein

Dubbed as one of the more important macronutrients to be taken right after a workout. Since your muscles are in dire need of amino acids after they’ve been broken down by rigorous exercise – fast digesting protein is a must. In fact, amino acids are the building blocks of protein, so in order to repair the muscle tissue that were damaged – a supplement such as whey protein would be a wise addition to your diet.

This is a crucial step for all athletes regardless of the type of sport they’re into, since whey protein stimulates muscle protein synthesis and promotes faster recovery and growth.

On the other hand, you’ll also need protein that works its way slowly and steadily into the muscles – such as casein. Casein will help with prolonging the muscle protein synthesis started by whey protein. When you carefully pair slow-acting and fast-acting protein formulations into your nutritional regimen – the following results will lead to quality gains in a faster and all-natural manner.

Carbohydrates

Carbs are that one macronutrient that most trainers overlook taking it after workout. Intense training leads to depletion of your muscle glycogen stores, which is where the body keeps most of its carbohydrate reserves. This can impair the body’s ability to maintain carbohydrate reserves in proper amounts – therefore compromising the quality and duration of your next workout.

Creatine

Taking creatine after a workout can increase your gains by as much as 10% relative to working out without including this compound in your diet. In addition to this fact, creatine is also a proven anabolic agent that can promote more power, strength, and motivation during your time at the gym.  

Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) 

As most of you know, branched-chain amino acids (or BCAAs in short) are comprised of three amino acids:

  • Leucine
  • Isoleucine
  • Valine

Most professional athletes consider these three amino acids to be essential in the normal development of muscle tissue during, and especially, post-workout. Leucine, for one, is directly responsible for ‘turning the lever’ on muscle protein synthesis. This amino acid also signals the body to secrete more insulin, leading to more nutrients converting to muscle mass, faster. Finally, BCAAs also play a major role in reducing the levels of the catabolic hormone cortisol in the body after workout.    

Recovery Supplements Tips

Taking recovery supplements won’t miraculously promote mind-blowing gains by itself – not if the other half of your training routine consists of poor diet choices, lack of sleep, and unbalanced alcohol intake – just to name a few. Rest and recovery are crucial parts of any training program – and some athletes would argue that it’s even more important than the training itself. Simply speaking, recovery is an essential step if you want progress to be made. The following three tips will enhance the effects of any recovery supplement product and will bring you closer to your training goals than ever before.

Plan ahead

The process of recovery has to be meticulously planned and perfectly executed if you want to see results fast. In addition, it’s important to remember that working out breaks your body down, uses all of your energy reserves, and causes a fatigue onset the day after. That’s why a proper recovery plan is a must.

Avoiding proper recovery can lead to what’s known as overreaching or overtraining syndrome. In fact, if the training is too frequent and too intense – it is most likely that exhaustion will occur. This exhaustion can lead to lots of physiological and mental changes that will negatively impact your workout routine.

Tip 1 – Include a recovery week every third-fifth week into your training. Perform with half the intensity and with lessened resistance. Meanwhile, take your recovery product as planned, and leave the building feeling energized and full with vigor.

Integrate recovery time between workouts

Athletes are also facing a symptom called ‘delayed onset muscle soreness’, or ‘DOMS’ for short, after a workout. Some beginners are even going so far as to base their progress on the intensity of DOMS during, and especially after, their exercises. This is a definite no-go, since DOMS isn’t really a reliable metric to track your progress in the long run.

Generally speaking, delayed onset muscle soreness manifests in the form of muscle soreness, decreased flexibility, reduced motion in the extremities, and a feeling of general stiffness. Going to the gym immediately after DOMS kicks in leaves an open door for potential injury and other serious physiological and mechanical problems.

Tip 2 – Rest at least 24-72 hours between strenuous workout sessions that involve the same groups of muscles. Submaximal training sessions require less rest as opposed to intense workouts.

Shut-eye is your friend

Sleep is so underused and underappreciated that it is slowly turning into a worldwide epidemic. The lack of sleep can trigger lots of unwanted symptoms, including reduced tolerance to training, lack of motivation and focus, and feelings of general fatigue – just to name a few. While you sleep, anabolic processes thrive and catabolic processes in the body decrease by a significant margin. Lack of proper shut-eye can disrupt the anabolic (muscle-building) processes to a greater extent – leading to all sorts of bad things for your health and well-being.

Tip 3 – Get rid of smartphones, notebooks, or anything that emits a blue light after 8:00 PM. Go to bed at the same time each night and try to get at least 8 hours of quality sleep. If needed, take a nap during the day, but limit your napping time to 30 minutes maximum. Opt for a recovery supplement that best fits your needs to improve the quality and quantity of your sleep patterns.    

Including these tips into your daily habits can maximise the impact of recovery supplements by as much as 15-20%. And given how important the recovery process turns out to be – grabbing a decent recovery supplement is an absolute no-brainer.