Feeling sore from those workouts? Finding it hard to recover?
Well…you could be missing some essential vitamins in your diet that help aid in muscle recovery. While rest days are imperative to healing muscles, vitamins can help even more. Some people enjoy the feeling of being sore after an intense workout. It makes them feel like they actually did something. But some other people may find muscle soreness to be a burden the next day, especially if you have an active job. If you’re one of the people that needs to recover faster, try adding some new vitamins to your diet.
SORE MUSCLE RECOVERY 101
It is important to have an understanding about what sore muscle is and why it occurs. There are two types of muscle soreness: immediate and delayed. Immediate muscle soreness is that pain you feel during your workout. You know when people say, “feel the burn,” this is what immediate muscle soreness is. You can also feel this kind of soreness right after a workout. Immediate muscle soreness isn’t anything to worry about. It dissipates quickly, only lasting a couple of seconds to a couple of minutes. Stretching right after a workout can relieve you right away. The muscle soreness that most people experience is delayed onset muscle soreness, DOMS.
This is the soreness that has you walking up the stairs funny or makes it tough for you to sit on the toilet! Delayed onset muscle soreness happens as a natural adaptive process. Your body goes through this after an intense workout. It occurs from microscopic tears in the muscle tissue and the surrounding tissues. DOMS usually occurs 24-48 hours following a workout and will dissipate about 72 hours later. DOMS usually occurs in beginner exercisers, people who increase the intensity of their workouts, or after trying a new workout. Your muscles have to get used to this new level of intensity and stress you are putting on it.
VITAMINS TO REDUCE PAIN AND MUSCLE SORENESS
Your muscles do eventually recover following a workout. There are many things you can do to help with muscle pain and soreness. The number one thing is rest! If you are an experienced exerciser, you probably have your split training days where you workout one muscle group on one day and a different muscle group the next. You would never work out your legs three days in a row. They would never have a chance to recover! Recovery is important for more reasons than just reducing pain. When you rest, that’s when your muscles grow! Each time you tear the muscle fibers, they grow as they are healing. But adding some important vitamins to your diet can help to reduce this pain and soreness and will aid in recovery.
Absorbic acid is an water-soluble vitamin. It also acts as a powerful antioxidant. Vitamin C plays a major role in repairing connective tissue collagen. The connective tissue is what attaches your muscles to your bones. Each time you put stress on the muscle, you are tearing the surrounding connective tissue. Including vitamin C into your diet can help repair that tissue, reducing pain and inflammation. This antioxidant also will help fight against free radical damage to your muscles! Here are a few excellent sources of vitamin C: green and red bell peppers, citrus fruits, broccoli, sweet potatoes, and blueberries.
There have been multiple studies about the importance of this fat soluble vitamin. Vitamin D plays a crucial role in the absorption of calcium and phosphorus, two very important minerals needed for the bones and muscles during exercise. Calcium works to keep your bones strong and healthy and phosphorus plays a role in the production of ATP, which is what makes your muscles contract. Vitamin D has also been shown to reduce inflammation and boost the immune system. Step outside and get some sunlight to absorb some of this vitamin or include foods like fatty fish, milk, and eggs in your diet.
During strenuous exercise, your body produces creatine phosphokinase, CPK, into the blood stream. This can cause a build up in the blood stream, creating inflammation. Vitamin E, another fat soluble vitamin, aids in blood circulation. When the blood is circulating efficiently, your body is able to rid itself of CPK. It is also an excellent antioxidant, protecting your muscles from free radical damage. Add sunflower seeds, almonds, wheat germ, and olives to your diet to get a great dose of this vitamin.
Vitamin B Complex
The B Complex vitamin is composed of a bunch of different B vitamins. It includes thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pyridoxine (B6), cobalamin (B12), pantothenic acid, and biotin. Each of these vitamins play a critical role in many different functions. A lot of people only take certain B vitamins but to get the best benefits of this group, taking the B complex is your best bet. The B vitamins help to metabolize proteins. Protein is an extremely important part of sore muscle recovery and repair. Take a B complex with your protein shake following your workout and you’ll be golden. The B vitamins are also a great source of energy. Some people leave the gym feeling lethargic. Adding B complex to your diet can help kick you out of the funk and feeling energized for the rest of the day. Great sources of B vitamins include red meat, chicken, eggs, milk, and dark, leafy green vegetables.
Though some people enjoy the feeling of being sore, it can be a burden to others. By incorporating more of these vitamins into your diet, you should notice a a rapid muscle recovery time and a change in the way your muscles feel. It is also best to get your vitamins from food sources. A lot of people look to taking the actual vitamin pills, which is fine, but getting them directly from food allows for better absorption. Better absorption equals faster recovery!