When it comes to working out, how do you know if you’re recovered enough from crushing it the day before or you’re struggling to recover?
Now there’s the customary muscle aches, stiffness and soreness that comes a day or two after a great workout then subsides and then there’s the aches, pains and stiffness that never seem to go away.
Perhaps you find you’re repeatedly trying to roll out, stretch or massage a certain area that just won’t seem to stop nagging you.
Or maybe you’ve ignored that problem area hoping it will go away on it’s own but now you’re popping pain meds, fatiguing quicker in workouts and you’ve had to drop weights to get in the same amount of reps.
Chances are this problem area might even be waking you up in the middle of the night reminding you that it’s still there.
If this sounds familiar your body is telling you it needs a little help in the recovery department.
Diet & lifestyle have a lot to do with how efficient your body is at post workout recovery.
You Can’t Eat Junk Food & Expect Quick Workout Recovery.
If you’re grabbing fast food, eating chips, drinking soda and slamming back energy drinks to keep you going during the day…
You’re going to struggle with post workout recovery.
Processed foods contain chemicals that bog down the digestive system decreasing the amount of nutrients, vitamins & minerals that are absorbed.
Consuming over 300 mg of caffeine a day prevents the body from absorbing key nutrients for muscle recovery such as magnesium, molybdenum, calcium, b vitamins and more!
Excessive Sugar, Alcohol, & Caffeine Keep Your Body Inflamed.
When you rely on sugar and caffeine during the day for energy and alcohol to wind down at night you’re interfering with your cell’s ability to repair from the day’s activities.
Alcohol hijacks the liver and keeps it from processing what’s released into the blood stream when muscle is damaged during a strenuous workout thus keeping you inflamed longer.
Sugar triggers the liver to make fatty acids that trigger inflammation throughout the body.
So when you consume sugar, alcohol & caffeine on a regular basis you are preventing your body from being able to process the cellular waste products produced as a result of strenuous exercise.
Add life’s stressors, working long hours & lack of sleep to the mix, the reason you’re using the sugar, alcohol & caffeine in the first place, and you confuse your cells.
You cells end up prioritizing survival mechanisms over workout recovery.
How Well You Manage Stress Predicts Your Ability to Recovery Effectively.
The better you are at infusing your daily routines with stress relieving breaks & activities the lower your cortisol will be over time.
Acute stressors cause your cortisol and blood sugar to elevate thus keeping you inflamed longer.
Long term stress, PTSD, & trauma deplete the body’s ability to make cortisol thus causing you to struggle to regulate inflammation in your body.
Stress depletes B vitamins that are crucial to your recovery & ability to make energy.
A quality multivitamin with higher amounts of B vitamins or a B complex in addition to your multivitamin can be extremely useful to boost recovery.
Here’s a list of the vitamins & minerals depleted by stress that you want to make sure are in your supplements:
B6 – (in the form of Pyridoxyl-5-Phosphate aka P5P is best) – 30-50 mg a day
B5 (pantothenic acid) – 100 mg a day
B1 thiamin – 100 mg a day
B2 riboflavin – 20-50 mg a day
B3 niacin – 20-50 mg a day
B12 – 500-5000 mcg a day (test levels prior to taking high dosages to prevent liver damage)
B9 Folate – 400 – 800 mcg a day
Magnesium – 300 – 500 mg a day
Zinc – 30-50 mg a day
If you’re struggling to put your stress in check there are a few things you want to consider.
Stressed Out Cells Can’t Detox
The engines in your cells need to be running on all cylinders to clear lactic acid effectively.
If the cells are lacking magnesium or B vitamins they are unable to make energy and detox effectively leaving you with excess lactic acid causing pain.
The longer you’ve been in fight or flight mode the higher the chance your cells are headed toward mitochondrial fatigue, a condition where cells build up toxic by products of metabolism.
This condition is one of the causes of chronic pain.
Supplementing with a combination of amino acids, antioxidants or cellular energy boosting molecules such as the following can be quite effective:
Coenzyme Q 10 – 100-300 mg a day
NAD+ – 350-700 mg a day
L-carnitine – 1,000-1,500 mg a day
Glycine – 6 grams (nightly after dinner in water)
Nitric Oxide Boosting formulas – Berkeley Life Professional – enhances circulation
Since pain is a manifestation of decreased circulation in a given area, therapies that increase circulation can be incredibly useful to aid with recovery.
Improve Circulation to Speed Up Recovery
Infrared light therapy, acupuncture, contrast hydrotherapy, mobility, yoga and lymphatic drainage are great therapies to add to your recovery routines as they all promote circulation.
In Chinese Medicine pain is a result of “stuck blood”.
If blood is considered stuck so are the inflammatory proteins that surround the area of concern.
Those inflammatory proteins send messages back to the brain that the area is still healing and that keeps the process going.
Adding in therapies to boost circulation can aid in speeding up the recovery process.
Stress is a huge factor that often decreases circulation to areas that most need it.
Sadly, chronic stress is the contributor to many chronic injuries & conditions.
The Higher Your Cortisol Over Time the Lower Your Testosterone Dips
Are you noticing low libido, decreased muscle mass, fatigue, & brain fog in addition to chronic aches, pains or injuries?
All of those are signs of low testosterone and a reason to assess your levels.
Ladies can also have low testosterone and will exhibit the same signs as guys when it comes to low testosterone.
When testosterone levels drop it’s common to have lowered levels of progesterone as well causing insomnia and anxiety in males & females.
The less you sleep the harder it is for your body to recover from life’s stressors & workouts.
Testing of saliva hormones or urine hormone metabolites is crucial to know if your hormones are interfering with your workout recovery.
Once you know your levels you can determine if bio-identical hormone replacement, supplements or herbs are the best way to counter your imbalances.
Recovery is Optimal When Hormones are Balanced
Not everyone needs hormone replacement to boost post workout recovery.
Hormone imbalances can be put into check with the right combinations of habits, herbs, vitamins & minerals.
Natural testosterone production can be supported with the following options:
DHEA/pregnenolone combinations – stimulates brain to testes or ovaries signaling to make more testosterone
Ashwagandha – 400-1900 mg a day – lowers elevated cortisol & boosts testosterone as it helps the body adapt to stress
Zinc – 50 mg a day – optimizes testosterone production & elimination from body
Vitamin D – 5,000 IU a day – regulates hormone production
Magnesium – 500 mg a day – aids in hormone production
Getting at least 6-8 hours of sleep a night – if insomnia – consider progesterone supplementation if it is low in males & females
Lifting weights & being active daily
Managing stress effectively
It’s common for women to struggle with tendon and ligament injuries when estradiol, the most beneficial estrogen of the three estrogens, is deficient.
As women age, in the case of overtraining, or not eating enough nutrients, estradiol can be depleted.
Natural estradiol production in cycling women can be supported with the following:
**Note: use these the first 1/2 of the cycle from day one to mid-cycle then use progesterone supporting seeds**
ground pumpkin, flax or chia seeds – 2 tbsp a day mix or match
fish oil – 3 grams
maintain carbohydrate consumption above 75 grams a day
ground sesame or sunflower seeds – 2 tbsp a day to support progesterone mid cycle to start of the period
Natural estradiol production in menopausal women can be supported with:
pumpkin, flax, or chia – 2 tbsp a day mix or match
fish oil – 3 grams a day
red raspberry leaf
maintain carbohydrate consumption above 75 grams a day
**Note: progesterone can be supported with ground sesame or sunflower 2 tbsp a day with the estradiol supporting seeds**
Delayed Recovery Is a Warning Sign that Your Body is Depleted
When your body becomes out of balance it gives you signals so that you pay attention to it.
Pain, chronic injuries and fatigue are a warning sign that you are overtraining and it’s likely you are deficient in certain nutrients & you may have hormone imbalances.
Start with lifestyle factors & diet then move to the more advanced interventions.
It’s best to test your vitamin, mineral and antioxidant status as well as hormone status to target your areas of need and speed up your recovery.
Once you have test results you can target your specific recovery needs.
If you’re sick of being in pain & not making the gains you’d like to, it’s time to find out what’s really going on.
Don’t waste another day not getting the benefits out of your workouts.
Curious about how well you are recovering and want to chat?
I offer FREE 1:1 Recovery Assessments – click HERE to schedule a chat today.
Note: The author has an affiliate link with Designs for Health Supplements .