Don't Exercise Harder — Exercise Smarter

The following tips will keep your body in tip-top shape before, during, and after a workout. Be as consistent as you can to optimize your body’s ability to recover from a strenuous workout.

Post-Workout Muscle Mocktail

Immediately after your workout, drink 20 g BCAA in a glass of water to relieve sore muscles. Then add:

  • Magnesium glycinate (400 mg) with food
  • CoQ10 (200 mg) with food
  • 1/2 tsp topical magnesium applied behind the knees
  • Repletion protein shake: 1 tablespoon L-glutamine powder, 1 to 2 scoops whey protein, 1 cup/150 g berries, 1 scoop greens powder, 1 cup/240 ml water, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, stevia to sweeten. Blend with ice.

Building and Repairing Muscle

An essential part of building and repairing muscles is with branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs). What are BCAAs? BCAAs are composed of the amino acids leucine, isoleucine, and valine and can be used directly by muscle tissue for energy, which is why I love to take them immediately following a workout.

During intense weight training, the body’s need for BCAAs is increased so it can continue to build muscle tissue. So, to increase performance, take 10 g of BCAAs before and/or after a strenuous workout; this will help replace BCAAs in the muscle, improve muscle recovery, and minimize the effects of overtraining.

BCAAs not only help to make other amino acids in the body but they also improve your energy levels throughout the day. Ideally, you should take your BCAAs at a time when you are not consuming other proteins so they don’t compete for absorption.

Another option is to supplement with pea protein. Pea protein has an excellent array of amino acids, including high levels of BCAAs, and is extremely digestible because it is dairy- and gluten-free.

Partners in Crime

Nutrients are team-oriented workers; they always work best in conjunction with other particular nutrients, since that is how they occur in nature. To optimize the effectiveness of BCAA supplementation, you should take them with the following nutritional cofactors:

    • Chromium picolinate: Chromium is a nutrient that increases the efficacy of insulin, a hormone composed of 91 amino acids. Insulin is the most essential link in the muscle-building chain. Chromium improves protein synthesis in the body, sweeping up free amino acids from the blood stream and helping them enter the cells. In other words, chromium helps preserve muscle. Chromium dosage: 200 to 400 mcg per day.

 

  • Zinc and vitamin B6: Zinc regulates insulin and B6 is the cofactor. As athletes increase their protein intake, so should they increase vitamin B6 to help drive amino acids into the cells. Dosage: 25 mg zinc and 25 mg B6 per day.

Protein Power

Strenuous workouts, especially cardio, can break down muscle in the body, so make sure you are eating enough protein. An optimal goal is to eat at least 1 to 1.2 g of protein per pound of body weight in order to fight muscle wasting during training. Pair this at each meal with recovery-friendly complex carbs, such as sweet potatoes, brown rice, legumes, hummus, and winter squashes.

Protein smoothies are a quick and easy way to make sure you’re getting enough protein. Both pre- and post-workout, make sure you take BCAAs (10 grams) in your water to nourish your muscles and prevent wasting.

Magical Magnesium

Magnesium is needed by more than three hundred enzymes in the body. Topical magnesium helps raise DHEA levels, which ultimately helps to keep you lean and your mojo going. If you’re deficient in magnesium, you may be impairing your ability to synthesize DHEA in the body. Either way, both are depleted by stress, yet both help manage stress.

Magnesium deficiency is common in patients with diabetes, chronic fatigue syndrome, heart arrhythmias, mitral valve prolapse, heart attacks, and asthma. To optimize your magnesium levels on a daily basis, here’s what you need to do each evening:

  1. Take a magnesium mixture at bedtime: combine glycinate, orotate, taurate, and fumarate for a total of 400 mg magnesium. Don’t worry; this will not cause diarrhea. Instead, it will be absorbed by the muscles, gut, and brain.
  2. Soak in a warm bath sprinkled with 2 to 4 cups of Epsom salts. Soak for at least 15 minutes to let the magnesium absorb into your skin.
  3. Rub two pumps of topical magnesium cream behind each knee, where it is quickly absorbed. You can rub it into the soles of your feet, too. Topical magnesium is a great way to administer magnesium to kids, who are often deficient in magnesium due to high stress and high-sugar diets.