The Question:

When training you are beating your body up so it will adapt and become stronger. However during this process the body starts to break down especially if a recovery plan is not in place.

What are the best supplements for recovery?

What are the worst supplements for recovery?

What is a good daily/weekly plan for including those recovery products?

Bonus Question: Have you used this plan in the past/present and what success did you have with it? Would you have changed anything?

Show off your knowledge to the world!

The Winners:

1. TinyMan View Profile

2. Owen70 View Profile

3. LJ57 View Profile

3. mikeynice2000 View Profile

1st Place - TinyMan

View This Author's BodySpace Here.

When training you are beating your body up so it will adapt and become stronger. However during this process the body starts to break down especially if a recovery plan is not in place.

It is very well accepted in the world of weightlifting and bodybuilding that of course, the diet and exercise program come first. For example, a typical serious 'lifter' will consume 4-7 meals per day, and keep track of what they are eating.

Additionally, they follow a rigorous, well-planned exercise program that is designed for gaining strength and mass, while lowering the risk of injury and overtraining. However, there are several supplements that aid with recovery and the prevention of conditions such as Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS).

Instead of touching on the very basics such as whey protein, creatine, and glutamine however, I will introduce and discuss several less commonly known supplements, which are all highly effective.

Supplements For Recovery

What Are The Best Supplements For Recovery?


One of the most common intra and post workout recovery supplements right now are Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAA's). The BCAA's consist of: L-Leucine, L-Isoleucine, and L-Valine. These are three of the amino acids that are found in normal protein structures, however in this form they are considered to be unbound.

This increases the rate of absorption of amino acids, and allows the amino acids to be shuttled into the blood plasma. By taking the BCAA's in particular, muscle catabolism (the breakdown of muscle) can be prevented quickly, especially for usage in high-volume cardio work.

For these, I recommend one of the following:

Waxy Maize Starch:

Another of the very new supplements to hit market popularity is actually a carbohydrate typically referred to as Waxy Maize Starch. First commercially produced in the 1940's, WMS is almost 100% amylopectin, and unlike other products contains almost no amylose (making it more texturally stable) 1.

There are a few unusual properties of WMS, one of which being the absorption of this carbohydrate. While most carbohydrates are passed to the intestinal tract and broken down to simple sugars for absorption, WMS passes directly through the gastric lining, without needing the gastric emptying for uptake.

Additionally, WMS avoids the huge rollercoaster of an insulin ride (needed for the processing of carbohydrates) that is commonly associated with maltodextrin.

By the uptake of this high molecular weight carbohydrate so quickly, WMS is driven into the muscle cells and muscle glycogen is quickly replenished. In addition to providing more of a muscle fullness appearance, this allows the rebuilding and repair of muscle tissue to begin earlier, as the carbohydrates provide fuel for the body.


Briefly, a supplement that has made a splash in the endurance world is Beta-Alanine. This forms a di-peptide with L-Histidine, forming the compound Carnosine.

Carnosine works by the reduction of H+ (hydrogen ions) forming in the blood plasma, which ordinarily will cause a drop in pH (acidic condition) 5. By reduction, Carnosine will essentially buffer the overall pH of the body, which delays the onset of fatigue and eventually, failure. In recovery, the stabilization of pH means a lower amount of potential damage to tissue and muscle, due to the changing conditions of the body.

One of the biggest misconceptions of Carnosine, largely spread by a few companies, is that Carnosine is not meant to buffer against Lactic Acid. Lactic Acid is actually a vital intermediary in the energy cycle, and reduction of such would be detrimental to performance.

Unfortunately, one of the other problems largely plaguing Carnosine is under dosing, or high prices. Companies have been quick to create capped Beta-Alanine. While no less effective (and no more), capped Beta-Alanine is more expensive per gram, yet is both tasteless and dissolves completely.

Citrulline Malate:

Lastly, one of the most overlooked supplements out there is Citrulline Malate. Citrulline Malate is one of the most beneficial supplements for both weight lifting and cardio, yet is often overlooked by athletes, or horribly under dosed.

Many products will contain only 1-2g of Citrulline Malate per serving to be used daily, whereas typical accepted values for dosing start at 5g per day, and only move up from there. One of the biggest benefits of Citrulline is that it helps to remove ammonia from the body.

All exercise produces ammonia, which is toxic to the body and will impair performance through a workout 2. Citrulline however, will help reduce not only ammonia, but other potentially harmful byproducts of exercise. The story however, does not even end here!

Citrulline also works in recovery by enhancing the production of Adenosine Tri-Phosphate (ATP). Directly after working out when supplies are low, citrulline helps to bring those levels back to normal levels. If that wasn't enough, properties such as: Malic Acid promoting Krebs Cycle, NO production, conversion to L-Arginine, and buffering against Lactic Acid buildup 2 are all known properties of Citrulline.

To this day, citrulline remains one of my favorite supplements; however is one of the recovery and performance supplements that gets used the least.

Worst Supplements

What Are The Worst Supplements For Recovery?

It is harder to deal with supplements that don't work, as the entire supplementation industry is built around rather vague science, and often the marketing runs away from any science, making outrageous claims about muscle and mass growth, and also about the instant recovery that a user will feel on their product.

While there are a myriad of products that would fall under this category, it would take an entire book to begin debunking all of them. Instead, it would make more sense to consider some general supplements that are not known for recovery, or just have shaky science surrounding them.

Nitric Oxide:

The first off the bat is Nitric Oxide (NO). At this point in the game, consumers have seen just about every imaginable promise from NO producers: massive gains, 'cut' looks, super recovery, GH increases, etc. Unfortunately, much of these claims are based on selling more product, not through careful scientific consideration.

For recovery, the standard argument given is that by increasing the vein size, it allows for higher blood flow to the muscle tissue, providing more nutrients. While in theory this sounds great, there is essentially no evidence to back up that this is actually valid.

Since the movement of nutrients depends largely on active transport (moving against the nutrient gradient), it would seem more appropriate that an increase in transport activity leads to greater nutrient concentration, not simply moving the nutrients faster.

However, Nitric Oxide runs into one potential problem that may not only hinder recovery, it may also hinder performance in the gym. That is, Nitric Oxide has been long known to inhibit entry of Ca2+ into the mitochondria 3.

Quoted from Karl-Franzens-University Graz:

"Nitric oxide (NO) is a key modulator of cellular Ca(2+) signalling and a determinant of mitochondrial function. Here, we demonstrate that NO governs capacitative Ca(2+) entry (CCE) into HEK293 cells by impairment of mitochondrial Ca(2+) handling....

"Moreover, buffering of intracellular Ca(2+) by use of N,N'-[1,2-ethanediylbis(oxy-2,1-phenylene)] bis [N-[25-[(acetyloxy) methoxy]-2-oxoethyl]]-, bis[(acetyloxy)methyl] ester (BAPTA/AM) eliminated inhibition of CCE by NO, indicating that the observed inhibitory effects are based on an intracellular, Ca(2+) dependent-regulatory process. 6. Our data demonstrate that NO effectively inhibits CCE cells by cGMP-independent suppression of mitochondrial function. We suggest disruption of local Ca(2+) handling by mitochondria as a key mechanism of NO induced suppression of CCE."

This means that by taking NO, the movement of calcium into the mitochondria (an absolutely necessary mineral) is impaired, and can decrease the performance of mitochondria. Mitochondria are essentially the powerhouse of energy, providing almost all energy required for humans to function. For the lifter, this can lead to decreased performance in the gym, and decreased recovery.


That said, one of the biggest problems of poor supplements come from under dosing. First, understand what is meant by a 'proprietary blend.' Essentially, this is a mix of ingredients that under FDA ruling, allows companies to have multiple compounds, but only release the total amount per serving of those compounds, not their individual amounts. However, proprietary blends must also be listed in descending order of how much they contain.

When examining products, it is difficult to tell through some proprietary blends, but some of the simpler ones can be easily recognized for merely adding under dosed ingredients. These products can be identified that they will contribute far less to both performance and recovery, and money should be better spent on products that are effectively dosed.

Daily/Weekly Plan

What Is A Good Daily/Weekly Plan For Including Those Recovery Products?

It is next to impossible to predict a daily or weekly plan to a generalized audience; however it is possible to give some reasonable ranges for certain supplements. That said, to really create a supplementation regime, more information is required such as: age, weight, diet, and goals. Then, a plan can be created around those, specific to the person. However, here are a few dosing tips for supplements:

  • Creatine: 5g total creatine per day
  • Beta-Alanine: 4-6g daily, split into 2g doses (2-3 doses daily)
  • Citrulline Malate: 5-15g per day. Higher doses generally provide better results; however can be expensive as the dosage increases.
  • Waxy Maize Starch: 50g or more post-workout, with a protein source such as whey
  • Cordycep Strains: Follow product recommendations


Have You Used This Plan In The Past/Present And What Success Did You Have With It? Would You Have Changed Anything?

At this point, I have used many non-hormonal products, and have a wide-ranging experience with some of the more popular ingredients even though I do not typically purchase the most popular products. Everything listed so far I have personally used at varying doses, and to date I am still a great believer in Citrulline Malate.

By far, it is one of the most under-estimated substances available, yet does not receive the popularity that it deserves, because it is typically under dosed too badly to produce much more than a Nitric Oxide ('pump') effect. I encourage users interested in Citrulline Malate to do so, and try it out in the 6-10g range, to begin to fully experience the benefits of high dosing.

Overall, I have followed this sort of idea for a recovery stack, and it has delivered the expected results. It will never beat a good diet and training, however as supplements work, it does give the extra edge for training, while keeping the costs down. By using bulk powders, and low-margin, high quality companies, I have been able to keep my costs down for supplements.

Had I been able to change anything to date, it would have been my usage of Cordycep strains. I was fortunate enough to receive a supplement of Cordycep that was of high quality; however the product and my goals and training did not match up well.

While the product performed as promised, my low volume, low cardio training did not allow the supplement to perform to max capacity. Read more about my experiences with this product: It is necessary to choose supplements that best fit the goals and training plan, and in this instance I had not chosen the correct fit for my training.


2nd Place - Owen70

View This Author's BodySpace Here.

Growing Out Of The Gym

Supplementing Your Way To A Fast And Efficient Recovery

Everyday bodybuilders are bombarded with a multitude of options when it comes to products to use for enhance workouts. Enhanced focus, better pumps, harder muscles: every claim imaginable is invoked in order to secure a bodybuilders attention.

What some less intelligent marketers so often miss out on is the fact that at most, bodybuilders spend 6 hours in the gym lifting, and similar or lesser amount during the week doing cardio. This is unfortunate, because as any experienced lifter knows, recovery is as much if not more important to muscle gain and fat loss as the time we spend in the gym.

Have you ever spent days in agony after a horrendous leg session, d@mning the day you ever decided to do walking lunges? Fortunately for you, science has given us ways to escape the suffering induced by Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, i.e. DOMS. Or maybe you've spent the drive to the gym, maybe even your in-between set rest periods questioning why you bother with the gym? We also have options here; as the option is often not purely psychological motivation, as it is neurological depletion.

This article will look at recovery as it pertains to intra and inter-set recovery, and also inter-session recovery. Although highly related, differences are present, and understanding them is key to any trainer's, recreational or competitive, success.

Intra-Set Recovery

When thinking about "recovery" we often forget that it exist in ANY form, even the split-seconds that compose the inter-rep recovery of a weightlifter's training session. Several proven supplements especially shine in this role.


One of most talked-about supplements recently is this di-peptide composed of l-histidine and carnosine. It exerts effects by buffering the H+ ions involved in muscle contraction. That means that Beta-alanine helps to stop lactic acid, fondly known as "the burn", from cutting your sets short.

Logic tells us that more reps at a given weight, equals more gains. It really is that simple. To replicate dosages used in studies, try 1-3 grams of Beta-Alanine 2-3 times daily to build up cellular carnosine levels. You should begin to see gains in 2-3 weeks.

Finally, a phenomena known as parathesia occurs with ingestion of Beta-alanine, do not be afraid of the "pins and needles" feeling it induces. You can help negate the parathesia by cutting the dosages up into less beta-alanine, more frequently, and ingesting B-A with food.

Citrulline Malate:

One of the superstars of the recovery word is this compound consisting of the amino acid citrulline and a molecule of malate. Citrulline Malate (CM) is most often seen in the physiology as an intermediate in the urea cycle, which is cycle that produces much waste in the body.

Citrulline Malate helps to put the Urea cycles' waste products out of your way, allowing you to take the fast-track to muscle gains. Dosages are generally around 3 grams, taken before and after training on training days, or a 3 gram dose split evenly across non-training days.

Inter-set Recovery

This is one of the more researched area of performance, which means that we have two proven stars in this category. Although there are many supplements which could possibly be effective in this rule, I've chosen the two most effective. However, beta-alanine would also probably be a good bet here if you could afford it, at the same dosages suggested previously.

Creatine Monohydrate (Or Any Type For That Matter):

You were probably wondering when it would show its ugly, proven mug; creatine is the superstar of inter-set recovery. Creatine does two main things for performance athletes: it super-hydrates muscle cells, and it boost the production of ATP (which drives athlete's [bodybuilders are athletes, remember] performance).

I'm not going to get into the specifics of creatine, lets surmise it to say that if you aren't supplementing with at least 3 grams of creatine monohydrate a day, you are missing out on the most proven, the most inexpensive, and the most beneficial increaser of performance we currently know of.

Just for your information, creatine supplementation of 5 grams (creatine monohydrate dose or equivalent) before and after training or that dosage split evenly across non-training days works for %99 of trainers.

Citrulline Malate:

Once again, CM outperforms (no pun intended) other challengers in the inter-set recovery category. CM is significant in inter-set recovery for the role that it plays in ATP production and Phosphocreatine recovery. You know, the two CM's, creatine monohydrate and citrulline malate sound like the quite the potent, effective, and monetarily efficient stack, don't they.

Once again, try 3 grams of Citrulline Malate before and after training; on non-training days dose 6 grams split evenly across the day into 3 gram dosages 12 hours apart.

Inter-Session Recovery

Here we are presented with the longest period of rest, and thus the largest opportunity to influence recovery. Obviously, protein's and carbohydrates are not supplements, but due to their importance in inter-session recovery they are included.

Fast-Acting Protein Sources:

Protein is important for what should be obvious reasons. Without getting into the science, protein should be consumed in amounts relative to your body weight. Shoot for 0.1-.3 grams of protein in the form of whey protein hydrosylate, whey protein isolate, or casein hydrosylate. Whatever the source, attempt to drink it ASAP following your training session, if not during your training session.


Carbohydrates are important in two ways to inter-session recovery. First, they cause an insulin spike which helps to drive your fast-acting protein source and inter-workout session supplements into your muscle cells quickly and efficiently; secondly, they help to restore muscle glycogen levels, therefore ensuring protein synthesis (muscle-building) rates are maximized.

Carbohydrate intake to maximize recovery really depends on how hard you worked out and your physique goals. Basically, if you're trying to get shredded, use less carbohydrates, and vice versa if you're trying to gain lean mass.

Concurrently, to enhance performance to its maximum potential, increase post and during-workout ingestion to help exploit all potential muscle glycogen storage. Some perfect carbohydrate sources include dextrose, maltodextrin, and waxy maize starch.

However, until the benefits of waxy maize are verified through more intensive and less-biased research than is currently supporting it, I would really recommend plain old maltodextrin or dextrose to the average financially concerned trainee. Similarly to the protein, try to ingest carbohydrates as soon as you can post-workout, if not during the workout.

Overall Recovery

Branched Chain Amino Acids (Especially Leucine):

If you look into any of the current research coming out, you'll see why these old-school acids are back in vogue. For article length reasons, I'll list BCAA's benefits as increased protein synthesis, reduced perception of fatigue (see relation of serotonin to BCAA's), and reduced DOMS. Shoot for 1-2 grams of BCAA's for every 20lbs you weigh.

Cramping Your Recovery Style

I can't think of any supplements that really hamper your recovery - just huge wastes of money. Some good examples of glutamine (digestion issues), HMB (until more research backs it up), and expensive super-formulas (no normal trainee could afford suggested dosing schemes.)

Honestly, I don't believe or have reason to believe that any supplements really inhibit recovery. Sure, Arachidonic Acid will increase DOMS, and stimulants will maybe make you strung out, but these are not negatives I think outweigh the products' benefits. For instance, consider the recent study that cites caffeine's ability to actually CUT Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness.

Optimizing Your Recovery

An Ideal Workout Supplementation Plan would consist of (using a 6:00 P.M. workout for example purposes)

5:30 P.M.

6:00-7 PM Workout Sip Throughout Workout:

7:15 PM

Until next weight session (between meals, on an empty stomach)

Have I Used This Type Of Protocol Before?

Yes. It is one of the main reasons that I often get asked that-ever intelligent question of, "Dude what are you on" or "d-bol or test?" Recovery is one of the least thought of, most undervalued aspects of bodybuilding. A sad fact, because if trainees would realize its importance we would have a lot more people looking the part of a reader and not wondering "Why am I doing this?"

3rd Place - LJ57

View This Author's BodySpace Here.

Supplements For Recovery

What Are The Best Supplements For Recovery?


Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in the body and makes up more than 60% of the amino acid pool inside muscles. Following an intense bout of exercise, it can take hours before your body is able to rebuild its supply of glutamine.

Symptoms of overtraining are associated with low levels of glutamine and this leads to a serious problem with recovery. By supplementing with glutamine you may support your body's ability to recover from strenuous training. Glutamine also helps to increase protein synthesis, aids in the health of the gastrointestinal tract, and enhance immune functioning, all of which are vital for proper recovery.


Branched chain amino acids (BCAA) are one of the most important supplements for improving recovery. They are comprised of leucine, isoleucine, and valine. The most important of these three amino acids is leucine which is used up at the highest rate of all BCAA's. It, together with the other BCAA's, can increase protein synthesis, prevent protein breakdown, and speed up recovery.

Whey Protein:

Whey protein is a vital supplement for recovery. Protein in general is used by muscles for repairing and rebuilding, but whey in particular has numerous benefits in aiding recovery that go beyond the basic benefits of protein consumption.

Whey is rapidly absorbed, easily digested, and has the highest concentration of BCAA's of any source of protein. It is best consumed immediately after a workout when it will be absorbed rapidly and used to aid the body in recovery.

Waxy Maize Starch:

Waxy Maize Starch (WMS) is a relatively new carbohydrate product that has a high molecular weight. It is vital to replenish depleted muscle glycogen following a workout, and the more rapidly this can be done the better. WMS bypasses the stomach and is absorbed in the intestines which allows faster replenishment of glycogen.


Adaptogens are herbal supplements that increase the body's resistance to stress. This stress can come from intense training, daily life, and environmental factors. Together the stress can seriously impact the ability of the body to recover after strenuous exercise.

Prolonged periods can even result in symptoms of overtraining and a grinding halt to progress. Adaptogens can counteract the effects of stress and even reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Ashwagandha, rhodiola rosea, and panax ginseng are a few of the more effective adaptogens available as supplements. By using one or more of these herbal supplements, one can greatly enhance recovery.

Natural Testosterone Boosters:

Natural Testosterone Boosters can be very helpful in promoting recovery. Testosterone levels can be decreased with intense training while cortisol is increased. The best approach to use with natural testosterone boosters is to choose a formula that contains several ingredients that directly and/or indirectly increase testosterone. Look for a product with effective ingredients like tribulus terrestris, avena sativa, and nettle root.


Antioxidants are often overlooked as supplements that can aid in the body's recovery from training. Unfortunately, many people cast these aside and neglect the fact that they are vital for recovery. Antioxidants help protect the body from the negative effects of free radicals which can greatly hinder the recovery process.

Following intense exercise, there is an abundance of free radicals circulating throughout the body. You will find a numerous amount of antioxidants available in supplemental form with some being more effective than others.

A good strategy for incorporating antioxidants into a recovery stack is to pick a few and take them 2-3 times per day with one of those doses taken immediately after a workout. Green tea extract, grape seed extract, and resveratrol make an excellent combination of antioxidants that can effectively fight free radicals and promote better recovery.


A multiple vitamin/mineral formula is the foundation of any supplement stack designed to optimize recovery. Before you consider other supplements, you should first invest in a high quality multi vitamin/mineral. Even if your diet is close to flawless, it is a good idea to ensure that all bases are covered and that your body has the necessary vitamins and minerals it needs to promote recovery.

Worst Supplements

What Are The Worst Supplements For Recovery?

Amino Acid Tablets:

Amino acid tablets have ingredients that are very beneficial in promoting recovery including essential amino acids which include the three BCAA's. The problem is that they contain only a miniscule amount and nowhere near enough to impart any benefit. You would need to consume handful after handful of these tablets for there to be even the remote possibility that they might be beneficial.

These tablets should be relegated to the annals of bodybuilding history and replaced with a powdered BCAA product.


Glycocyamine was once believed to have the potential ability to assist the body in manufacturing creatine. It has been marketed as a creatine precursor that may allow creatine nonresponders to enjoy the benefits of creatine. Unfortunately, this has not only been shown to be ineffective, but could also be dangerous.

Glycocyamine can raise homocysteine levels which could ultimately lead to cardiovascular disease. It is much wiser to stick with creatine monohydrate or another form that has been demonstrated to be beneficial. Many creatine nonresponders may get results from dicreatine malate, Kre-Alkalyn, or creatine ethyl ester. As you can see, there are far better alternatives than glycocyamine.

Daily/Weekly Plan

What Is A Good Daily/Weekly Plan For Including Those Recovery Products?

All of the products above should be taken on a daily basis. However, many of them should be timed so that they are taken when they will be best utilized for the purpose of recovery.

Whey Protein:

Whey protein should be taken daily as needed. It can be used to supplement the protein you get from whole food sources in your diet as well as serve as a great post workout drink. Consume 30-40 grams of whey immediately after workout to promote better recovery.


BCAA's are best used immediately before, as well as during, an intense workout. A good dosage is 20-25 grams of BCAA's.


Glutamine can be taken in divided doses throughout the day, and one dose of 5-10 grams should be consumed after a workout. It is common to take 20-25 grams per day.


Adaptogens such as rhodiola, ashwagandha, and panax ginseng should be taken 2-3 times per day. If you choose to use a single adaptogen then simply follow the directions on the label. If you decide to take several different herbal ingredients, it is usually best to purchase an adaptogen formula that has an effective dose of each and every ingredient.

Waxy Maize Starch:

Waxy Maize Starch should be taken immediately upon completing a strenuous workout. A 40-50 gram serving taken with whey protein would be an optimal way to enhance recovery.

Natural Testosterone Booster:

A natural testosterone booster should be taken according to the instructions on the label. Some of these products may be taken as few as once daily and as much as three times per day. All of these products, however, should be cycled on and off. If the label does not indicate how this cycling should be done, then a 6 week on, 4 week off period should suffice.


Antioxidants should be taken three times per day with meals.

Multi Vitamin/Mineral:

Most multiple vitamin/mineral formulas are made to be taken once per day, usually with breakfast. However, you will find some products that are split up so they can be taken 2-3 times per day. For most people, taking a multi once in the morning is the best route to go.


Have You Used This Plan In The Past/Present And What Success Did You Have With It? Would You Have Changed Anything?

I use all of the products mentioned above on a daily basis and have done so for about two years with the exception of waxy maize starch, which is a recent addition. I cannot say I would change anything that I have outlined in this plan.

I have noticed greater recovery and a drastic reduction in muscle soreness from the use of supplements described here. In addition, I am sure my immune system is functioning better and I am keeping myself at minimal risk for experiencing symptoms of overtraining.

3rd Place - mikeynice2000

View This Author's BodySpace Here.

Recovery Supplements

What Are The Best Supplements For Recovery?


Creatine monohydrate is a fantastic supplement for acute recovery, and it creates an ever-ready lifting environment. As you work out your muscles fatigue quickly in high intensity activities.

In brief and highly intense work, such as heavy weight training the Phosphagen or Phosphocreatine (PC) system is utilized for energy. The fuel for these powerful contractions comes from ATP (Adenosine Tri Phosphate). Upon contraction ATP's (Energy) are broken down via other enzymes into ADP molecules (Adenosine Di Phosphate). This is where creatine phosphate is critical.

As ATP is broken down it is rapidly replenished from creatine phosphate molecules (creatine Kinase) to provide more contractions. ADP + another phosphate elicited from the creatine stores = more ATP for more contractions.

This will allow athletes to get 10 repetitions when they would have only gotten 9, and overload the muscles; a critical technique for gaining strength and size Supplementing creatine leads to larger creatine pools stored in muscle tissue.

Simply by numbers more stored phosphates allow more ATP's to be produced at muscular crossbridges, and provide for more numerous and more powerful contractions. Creatines that contain a large amount of simple sugar will be the best for recovery, as they will rapidly replace glycogen stores that were burned up exercising.

The more rapidly these stores are refilled the less likely an individual is to go into a catabolic state. Full glycogen stores also promote protein synthesis: the most vital process in recovery.


L-Glutamine is the most prevalent amino acid in the human bloodstream. It is also found in skeletal muscle and most organ tissue. Glutamine levels are massively depleted in prolonged exercise making its supplementation more necessary then preferable.

Since Glutamine serves an immune function in wound healing, its muscular healing properties are extensive. These properties come from Glutamine's ability to keep the muscle cells hydrated; this is even more important to cell volume because muscle cells are nearly 70% water.

It works to prevent muscle wasting more than anything else by volumizing the cells and promoting the most important piece of muscle recovery, protein synthesis. The fact that Creatine supplements cause muscle cells to hold more water, and Glutamine works to keep cells hydrated means that these two supplements would compliment one another very well if taken in a stack. (At the same time)


HMB works as a protein breakdown suppressor. While the physiology of this fairly new product is still uncertain, it is thought that HMB inhibits the degradation of muscle proteins during exercise. This will actually prevent the breakdown of tissue and speed up tissue repair.

I added HMB to my list based primarily on personal experience, as it has not been studied extensively. My experience with HMB is that my muscular soreness was at an all time low and recovery happened extremely fast. I am a once a week bencher and squatter and I am able to get both my legs and chest almost unbearably sore.

When I cycled HMB in with my creatine, the soreness could just not be achieved as it had in the past. The training was just as intense, lots of sets of deep, heavy squats and chest workouts that included a lot of barbells coming down very high on the chest.

These techniques that had fried my muscles before went from about 5 day soreness to 2-3 days max. This leads me to believe the theory that HMB actually prevents a portion of the initial muscle breakdown making recovery much more speedy and dramatic.


Protein intake is crucial to muscular growth as it contains essential amino acids that are ultimately the building blocks of lean tissue. Muscles are extremely sensitive after exercise and the uptake of protein is elevated at that time. This is when Whey protein which has a rapid uptake into the bloodstream is a great supplement.

Whey can be absorbed quickly with a small amount of simple sugar and begin to rebuild tissue that was broken down in training. Whey typically lasts about 60 minutes in the body, leaving the muscles in what could be a catabolic state. This is why I advise taking a whey/casein mixture.

Casein is released slowly into the bloodstream and some say can last in the body 4 to as much as 8 hours. This makes casein an excellent late night supplement as long fasts, like 8 hours of sleep can result in empty glycogen stores, and depleted protein levels. Both of these things are extremely detrimental to protein synthesis and ultimately will put a stop to recovery.


While I know its not a supplement, it is a huge aid in recovery. Plain and simple the body heals while sleeping. Just like you make your greatest growth gains while at rest, your best time to recover is while sleeping. The same concept applies to recovering from sickness applies to recovering from hard training.

You are essentially breaking down your own body and it takes rest to recover from that. 8, 9, in some cases 10 hours a night are needed to help restore the body after serious bouts of training.

Worst Supplements

What Are The Worst Supplements For Recovery?


I'm referring primarily to fat burners in this section. The stimulant caffeine works to delay the onset of fatigue which allows people to work for very long periods of time. While people may try to lump creatine and caffeine together this is an incorrect grouping because of the intensity and duration of the work that can be done.

Creatine assists in energy replenishment for brief explosive work. Caffeine brings about a greater sense of focus and determination that can lead novice users to work out for hours. As this over training takes place the caffeine also acts as a diuretic. Water is lost at a more rapid rate because of the higher level of work and heart rate, as well as being sucked from the muscle tissue from the chemical effect of the caffeine.

The loss of water will decrease the volume of muscle cells making them more susceptible to damage. Cramps can also occur which will contract the muscle so violently that recovery will take many days. The primary detriment to recovery comes from the water loss incurred.


While many people use alcohol in moderation for the effects it may have on heart health, it can really hurt recovery time. Alcohol inhibits protein synthesis which is the main mechanism for muscle recovery. Alcohol also acts as a diuretic in the same manner as caffeine.

Alcohol can be particularly damaging if caffeine and creatine supplementation are in effect. Both the caffeine and creatine will allow the athlete to complete a greater level of work. When a greater amount of work is completed recovery is even more necessary.

If alcohol inhibits protein synthesis then ingesting alcohol while the muscles are broken down will lead to not making any gains. Alcohol also works to block anti-diuretic hormone which helps to keep water in the body especially during exercise. When this is blocked more water is lost in the form of urine again causing a decrease in cell volume and efficiency.

A Good Plan...

Implementation of these supplements could come in a very simple stack. I believe that all four together would bring about the best results as far as speedy recovery and gains in mass/strength. Glutamine and HMB would be taken several times a day totaling about 15-20 grams of glutamine and HMB would depend on the individuals weight.

I'm told that a useful amount of HMB would be about a gram per every 10 pounds of bodyweight. This is hard to do because HMB is expensive and since the pills are only a gram each a 120 pill bottle would last a 200 pound individual about 6 days. However, it should be included in this stack.

Creatine would then be taken immediately after training along with a carb that is high in glycemic value. With that dose of creatine would come a combination of whey and casein so that the muscle can absorb liberally for the next few hours. Casein should then be ingested again about 30 minutes prior to sleep. This stack would keep the body out of a catabolic state all day long and that would lead to the most speedy recovery.

Have I Used This Plan...

I supplemented similarly to this a few years back. My stack included creatine and HMB. I also took whey protein with my lunch and immediately after working out. I didn't take any casein or glutamine which I would obviously add this time around. I believe that the glutamine and creatine in conjunction would really give the muscles a very full look.

I feel the HMB may have been the vital piece as I said before, I just could not get the same level of soreness while taking it. Staying anabolic is the key to recovery and all of these supplements work well. It has gotten cheaper because its so old now, but I feel the newer generations offer little more for a lot more money.

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