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Supplements & Recovery

Supplements & Recovery

The relationship between supplements, fitness, and recovery. Should supplements be a part of your fitness and recovery routine?

Demystifying supplements: your fitness and recovery guide

The supplement industry is an interesting one. Millions of products make up an industry worth billions of dollars. The sheer number of supplements out there — and all of the related marketing jargon — can get really overwhelming. You may find yourself wondering which supplements you should take to support fitness and recovery, or if you should take them at all. We answer these questions here.

What to know about supplements

What to know about supplements

Supplements are very loosely regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. As it currently stands, the FDA can only investigate supplements after they’re already on the market.


The Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA) -- the law that stipulates how the supplement industry works -- essentially says that supplement companies are responsible for testing, labeling, and marketing their own products. This has led and still leads to questionable ingredients lists, and it’s important to be careful when selecting supplements.

Supplements for Workout Recovery

Supplements for Workout Recovery

Even though loosely regulated, supplements can certainly have a place in a healthy diet.  With a bit of due diligence, safe, high quality supplements are readily available in today's market.

A few key supplements such as protein, amino acids, carbohydrates, and electrolytes can help you reach your fitness goals by optimizing your workout recovery.

Protein and amino acids

Protein and amino acids

Protein is quite literally what your muscles are made of, and protein is made up of amino acids. Supplementing with one or both of these can support muscle repair and growth after workouts. However, it’s worth noting that amino acids may not provide an additional benefit if you already get enough protein.

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates

Carb lovers, rejoice: Implementing post-workout carbs into your diet is one of the best things you can do for muscle recovery. Consuming quick-digesting carbohydrates soon after a workout helps your body speedily replenish glycogen stores so your muscles can get on with repairs.

Electrolytes

Electrolytes

If you sweat, you need electrolytes. (Okay, you need them even if you don’t sweat, but you need more if you do). Electrolytes serve all sorts of functions in your body, one primary function being muscle contraction.

The minerals magnesium and calcium directly contribute to muscle function — without them, you’d suffer many, many cramps and other health consequences. Potassium and sodium help maintain fluid balance, so all of your cells stay properly hydrated. Rehydrating with an electrolyte beverage after workouts is a great way to support whole-body recovery.

Things to Consider

Things to Consider

Supplements are not a replacement for a healthy diet. It’s always best to take a food-first approach and use supplements to fill in any gaps or provide a boost in certain areas to meet fitness goals.

Frequently asked questions

  • Do Supplements Really Work?

    Some supplements work, some don’t. Some companies pride themselves on transparency and potency, while others swindle customers into buying bottles of mostly filler. This is why it’s critical to thoroughly research any supplements you’re interested in taking -- it’s the only way to avoid wasting your money on supplements that don’t work, or worse, taking supplements that are potentially harmful.

  • Do You Have to Take Supplements if You Work Out?

    There’s no rule saying everyone who exercises has to take supplements. Are athletes and avid exercisers likely in need of more nutrients than non-exercisers? Yes. But, most people, active or not, can get all of the nutrients they need through food. Dietary restrictions or health conditions make that more difficult for some people, and those people can certainly benefit from taking supplements.

  • Why Is Nutrition Important for Athletic Performance?

    Nutrition status plays a massively important role in your physical performance. The foods you eat can either fuel or dampen your athletic abilities. Supplements such as protein powder, creatine, post-workout carbohydrates, and amino acids can give you a boost and help you reach nutrition targets in areas you struggle with. For example, many people struggle to hit protein targets each day, and protein shakes are an easy way to reach those goals to fuel fitness performance.

Keys to recovery

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