Recovery ... the main word to your success lies here. With it you will see massive gains, increased strength and a rock-hard physique. Without it you will be weak, worn down, scrawny and injured. Here lies the difference from a champion and a nobody. If your training success is important to you then read on to learn how to take maximum control of this vary important variable through the use of different natural supplements.
This article will focus on several different natural supplements that I incorporate into the customized nutrition and supplementation programs that I design for world class powerlifters and strength athletes. Lifters like to know what their favorite powerlifter is doing in training but also what they are eating and supplements they are taking in.
This article will let you in on some of the secret supplements that they use to take their recovery to the next level. Recovery is the name of the game if you are serious about posting big numbers. Just ask any top athlete not just powerlifters and they will tell you the same thing.
Natural supplements can make a world of difference in how you recover from your training sessions. Especially when your nutrition plan is dialed in and then you intelligently incorporate different formulas; then you will see what I am talking about.
You now have a formula for recovery success. So sit back and enjoy this article that will shed some light on a topic that most powerlifters know little about!
Oh, I have written about this numerous times over the years but how many lifters still make this mistake again and again. It is either out of ignorance or just laziness but no matter what your excuse it is time to jack it up! Protein is the key not only to muscle growth but it is also needed to help repair and replenish all the damage you did in the gym last time with those heavy squats and deadlifts.
Now most lifters diets that I have analyzed have shown me over the last decade that powerlifters and other strength athletes are not taking in enough protein. Not even close to say the least. Powerlifters know how to get in some cheesecake after a workout but trying to get them to down a protein shake and I might as well have told them to drink acid.
It is time now for lifters to wake the hell up and start jacking their protein through the roof because along with that protein so will that total go through the roof. Without enough protein in your diet you will take a lot longer to recover from your workouts and this is just one area that your competitor that is taking in enough protein will have an advantage over you.
I recommend that you get in a minimum of 1 gram of protein per pound of weight per day. This is as simple as it gets here folks, it doesn't take a lot of rocket science here in the calculations. If you weigh 250 pounds you better get in at least 250 grams of complete quality protein in everyday of the year.
No, not just the days that you train, like some like to believe, but everyday. For those hardcore lifters looking to take this up a notch even more then I recommend 1.5-2.5 grams per pound of weight in protein. Yes this may sound like a lot but results speak for themselves and my athletes, over 60 World and National Powerlifting champions can attest to that!
So for a lot of my athletes who weight 250 pounds I have many of them consuming 500 grams of protein per day. Yes that is right! Day in and day out they are consuming large amounts of protein because that is what it takes to get the job done for strength, mass and most importantly recovery!Recommended Brands:
The brands that I personally like and use with my athletes are: At Large Nutrition's Nitrean, PrimaForce's Substance WPI as well as the many customized blends that I have designed using the great products from True Protein. Travis Mash drinks Substance WPI like its water.
He goes through at least 6-to-8 containers per month. Yes you heard that right. With him drinking 4-to-5 protein shakes per day you better believe he goes through it fast. Phil Harrington's main protein choice is Nitrean. This super blend is no doubt responsible for helping him greatly since he incorporated it in his plan.
Mike Brown the Teenage phenom's choice is the great blends from True Protein. All three of these guys go through more protein in a month then some of you use all year. This will show you how seriously these world class athletes take their protein intake. Shouldn't you?
Including a protein powder into your supplement plan will help you increase your rate of recovery
Nitrean is the ultimate protein matrix for sustained release and recovery!
Essential Fatty Acids are another area to look at when trying to maximize your recovery. These good fats are needed by the body to help in numerous processes.
I have always pushed the "Increase your Fats" theory with powerlifters but instead of increasing their olive oil, flax oil and almond intake most of them used the excuse to increase their burger and fries intake. I have written numerous times the many benefits of consuming more healthy fats in your diet.
EFA supplements that I really like are: Ascenta Nutra Sea Herring Oil (my top notch Omega 3 supplement). Plus the taste is great. It provides a super concentrated dose of EPA and DHA in every serving and these are two Omega 3 fats that probably 99% of all powerlifters around the world are deficient in.
Garry Frank and Mike Brown are very big on this product right here. They consume more of it then some of you do water. You don't know what you are missing until you actually incorporate them into your program and then you will see what I am talking about.
As for a combination of Omega 3-6-9 oil, I prefer Udo's Choice Oil Blend. This is by far the best combination oil and is good for those who are deficient in all of their EFA's. Omega 3 fats are very important for reducing inflammation that occurs in your tendons, joints and muscles following that crazy bench workout.
These fats also play a major role in cell membrane fluids as well. Your joints and tendons couldn't find a better friend than Mr. Omega 3 Fat especially in the form of DHA and EPA.
You can ask any one of my athletes that has suffered from painful joints and how my high dose EFA protocol has helped them greatly ease the joint pain that they have even suffered for years with. Take it from me and numerous other world class powerlifters in the know ... get in your fats.
Udo's Oil blend is the perfect Omega 3-6-9 formula for powerlifters
Nutra Sea Herring Oil is the best Omega 3 Supplement ever created!
Post Workout Supplementation
This is another area that many lifters ignore completely. In the hour after your training session lies the window of opportunity for not only your muscle growth and strength but also for recovery. The time period after your training is some of the most critical of times and as an intelligent lifter you must know how to take advantage of this.
I don't want to go in-depth here as just this section alone could be an article series so I will just scrape the surface to help you have a brief understanding.
After your training session your body, and let's not forget your muscle cells, are just begging for some nutrients. But that greasy steak and cheese sub with half a loaf of garlic bread is not what the doctor ordered, that is for sure.
Your body needs nutrients fast, and specific ones in specific amounts, to help shut down cortisol production and to increase protein synthesis at lightning speed. How many hours will it be before the amino acids from your steak sub actually reach your muscle cells? It will be several hours minimum and that is way too long for them to wait.
The thing to remember is that the food and supplements that you consume right after your workout and the 3-hour period after your training session has finished is paramount to the rate in which you will recover.
Optimal Multivitamin/Mineral Formula
This is often an overlooked area in regard to recovery. Making sure that you get the proper amount of micronutrients in your nutrition plan is critical for your recovery. How can you recover from squatting more than 800 pounds when you are deficient in multiple micronutrients?
How are you going to repair microtrauma inflicted on your muscle fibers when you are lacking the nutrients that are responsible for basic physiological processes and functions in your body? Your body needs a proper spectrum of both fat and water soluble vitamins for it to function at its optimal level.
Let's not forget your minerals and electrolytes as well. They are also critical not only for keeping your body healthy but also for recovery.Recommended Brands:
I have broken down this section into two different types of formulas. The first is a multivitamin formula that contains numerous other nutrients including digestive enzymes, herbs and more. The second is a multivitamin/mineral formula composed all in one tablet.
1. Other Nutrients In Formula:
For the first category I highly recommend the Animal Pak from Universal Nutrition. It is one of the most complex formulas on the market today. Garry Frank loves these packs and so does another good friend of mine; super bench presser Joe Ladnier. Just send Joe an email to see exactly what I am talking about.
2. Multivitamin/Mineral Formula:
In the second category I like Multi Plus from At Large Nutrition. It is also a very comprehensive formula that is formulated in a single tablet. It is great for those that don't like to suck back 12 pills at a time like the Animal Pak and aren't looking for all the bells and whistles.
Multi Plus is a true powerlifter's multivitamin making it a head and shoulders cut above the other "one a day" formulas that line the store shelves. That is why it is the choice of Phil Harrington when he is looking to maximize his micronutrient intake to the max. Go with either one and you can't go wrong!
Not using a good multivitamin is like driving a race car without a seatbelt ... don't be an idiot!
Multi-Plus is the ultimate multivitamin/mineral formula for the powerlifter!
Oh now you have your ears all perked up and listening eh? You bet you do! Testosterone is the King of Powerlifting hormones. But why is that? Testosterone is the hormone that makes a man a man. It is the hormone that makes you aggressive. It is the hormone that makes you want to get under a max PR squat and rep it out until your nose bleeds.
This is a powerlifter's hormone and any lifter that is interested in getting stronger should be looking to maximize it. Your recovery is also dependant on your testosterone level. If you have a high testosterone level you will recover from your workouts much faster. If you have a low testosterone level it will take much longer to recover and you will also feel more worn down after an intense training session.
This is why those lifters who are "Chemically Enhanced" and use Testosterone as their base drug, their level of recovery will be phenomenal. A drug-free lifter and a chemically enhanced lifter are not only in different classes due to the strength gains that Testosterone can give you, but also the affect it has on your rate of recovery.
If you think that Testosterone has nothing to do with recovery then it is time to wake up and smell the coffee. Why do you think that younger lifters recover from their workouts faster then master lifters? There are several factors that control this but the Testosterone level is a major key.Recommended Brands:
Supplements that I have found to be very effective in increasing your testosterone level are Fenotest and Fuze. Fenotest is made by a company called SciVation. It is a combination of several different ingredients that help to elevate your testosterone through different pathways.
Fuze is made by a company called PrimaForce. This is a Tribulus based product and is no doubt one of the best on the market today. Finding a good quality Tribulus extract formula is a very hard thing to do as many on the market contain a very low saponin content basically making it as useful as grass clippings.
The stacking of both of these products is quite powerful and will not only help your rate of recovery but will also increase your strength and really jack up your sex drive. Now you may be thinking that I may be over exaggerating on the last fact but just give it a try and you will see exactly what I am talking about.
You will feel like a rabbit in no time at all. Oh, by the way, I will let you in on a little secret here. This super test boosting stack is just one of the formulas that Travis Mash uses to help keep his Test levels in tip top shape. If it can work wonders for Travis then just think what it can do for you.
The FUZE and FENOTEST stack is one of the most potent natural testosterone boosters available!
I have mentioned this over and over in many of my columns. One thing with powerlifters is that if you tell them anything just once then you can guarantee that they will either forget it or just ignore it all together. Vitamin C is important for numerous functions in the body.
Vitamin C has been shown to help reduce Cortisol levels and elevate Testosterone at the same time. Both of these physiological changes play a major role in your rate of recovery. It has also been shown to heal soft tissues and collagen at an increased rate. This is exactly what you need when you are training all out in the gym.
Let's not forget the major benefits that it has at supporting our immune system. If you don't think that alone plays a major role in your recovery think again. You are only as strong as your immune system and if this is your weak link every pathogen south of the Mississippi will take you down.
So like I have preached before numerous times, get in the Vitamin C. Then see how much of a difference it makes in keeping you healthy and well recovered.
Vitamin C helps rebuild and repair soft tissues that are damaged from hard training.
There you have it folks, the first part of this two part series on how to properly choose the right supplements to increase your rate of recovery. I hope that I opened the eyes of lifters that have been left in the dark in regard to implementing supplements for recovery.
Remember your workout was only as good as the recovery plan that you incorporate when it's all over. Contrast showers, whirlpool sessions, sauna and massage are not the only tools in your recovery toolbox. Nutrition and supplementation is another area that most lifters have ignored only to their loss.
If you have been one of the guilty it is time to take advantage of the information that I present to you in this series so that you can truly benefit your training in hopes of a bigger total. Just remember if you don't maximize your rate of recovery from the info that I just mentioned I can guarantee your competition will!
All of the products mentioned in the article receive my Nutrition XP3 "Seal of Approval."