Often many of us girls hold back from training our hardest or we fail to continue working out after starting a gym program because of getting tired during the workout or the soreness and stiffness felt. Nutritional companies have spent millions researching the body's reaction to exercise for both strength and endurance training, and have developed many female friendly products to maximize recovery and nutrient replenishment.
Investing resources for optimal recovery is necessary because the body doesn't repair in the gym. Once your workout is done, your body starts a process of recovery and it is complex and takes several of the right factors.
Supplementing your body with 2 of the most popular of such factors will capitalize on the effort and time you already put into your hard work at the gym.
When we say we want to be "toned" this means we don't just want to become a smaller size but to have some muscle firmness to us. To accomplish this we need to make sure we burn off the flab from our female problem areas rather then from burning off our muscles.
Supplementing with L-Glutamine will help with this. 60% of the amino acids found in skeletal muscles is Glutamine.1 Glutamine itself is about 20% nitrogen, making it the primary transporter of nitrogen into your muscle cells, playing a key role in protein synthesis.1
While training, Glutamine levels are depleted in the body, impairing strength, stamina, and recovery. It could take up to 6 days for Glutamine levels to return to normal (i.e., recover). Supplementing with L-Glutamine can minimize breakdown of muscle tissue by providing a positive nitrogen balance, and improve protein metabolism.1
Creatine has a reputation as what men use to try to put on a lot of size. However, the fundamentals of creatine is basically to provide skeletal muscles with more energy, which is beneficial for our girly workouts who's goal is not to get "huge".
Creatine increases ATP (adenosine triphosphate), which is what's used as energy in skeletal muscles.2 ATP is the initial fuel muscles use in contraction by releasing a phosphate resulting in a remaining ADP (adenosine diphosphate).
This is where creatine phosphate comes in and gives it's phosphate to ADP to make another ATP.2 Hence, more creatine means more ATP, which means more energy and strength. Keeping your muscles with an ample supply of creatine will prevent you from wearing out during your weigh training session.
Interview With Dr. Ryan
To help us understand more of the complicated subject of muscle recovery I had the honor of questioning our expert Dr. David Ryan. I geared this towards the divas since we are usually the majority at a competition and there are plenty of articles for the meaty men already.
[ Q ] What Happens When We Train?
[ Dr. Ryan ] Well Brigitte, that's a very good question and I'm glad you've asked. When we exercise our body goes through many chemical changes. These are triggered by the mechanical effects of muscle contraction, increased heat, toxic production, and other factors.
If you think about it, our muscles are energy storage centers. They hold more and more energy in them to do work and swell up to accomplish the task. Scientist cannot agree on whether hypertrophy or hyperplasia occurs within a muscle. My personal opinion is that both occur to some degree.
The point to make here is that after you are done exercising, your muscles need to recover. In the world of science related to the human body, there are not many laws. Wolfe's Law indicates that whenever you stress a tissue, the tissue comes back stronger.
When you are in the sun, your skin is under stress, it responds by a slight burn and then a tan. Other things that stress your body result in adaptation to that stress.
When you lift a weight, your body reacts to that stress and if you provide a proper environment, it will adapt and you will become stronger and store more energy. This is the main reason to take a hard look at recovery.
[ Q ] What Is "Recovery"?
[ Dr. Ryan ] Recovery is your body's ability to adapt to stress being placed on it. "Recover" simply means to get back, regain, or restore. This is probably a good time to point out that the harder and more intense that the stress is, the longer and better that the environment needs to be for the body to recover. It is also important to realize that muscles, nerves, and many other tissues must recover.
[ Q ] What Are Recovery Possibilities With Siet, Sleep, Mental Attitude?
[ Dr. Ryan ] Several factors go into recovery and your diet must be adequate to provide enough energy, protein, and other essential nutrients to make it possible. Sleep is another major factor for your muscles to recover. It is a point when our body shuts down and focuses on repairing itself.
Many women feel that cutting out sleep is the only way they could make time for all that's expected of them, but putting in at least 8 hours of sleep as a priority in their schedule will not only help them recover from training, but also help them be more efficient in all their daily activities.
Your mental attitude is also essential to proper recovery. If you are very driven beware of overtraining. Luckily there is a simple way to determine if you are giving your body enough time to recover. All you have to do is take your heart rate every morning before you get out of bed. If you determine that your heart rate has increased over 10 beats/minute for longer than two days, as compared to your normal average heart rate, then you are likely over trained.
[ Q ] What Benefit Is Stretching, The Hot Tub Or Sauna, Or Massage To Recovery, If Any?
[ Dr. Ryan ] Several other things help you to recover quicker. Using a Sauna, meditation, prayer, massage, manicures/pedicures, extra sleep, stretching, and other things that offer you relaxation can provide your body with a "boost" towards getting a faster recovery.
[ Q ] What Happens If You Fail To Train Consistently?
[ Dr. Ryan ] Your body builds up an ability to recover over time. Having a consistent workout, allows you to train and build up the resistance to that training. Your body thrives on this routine. Inconsistent exercise does not provide the proper environment to recover. It only takes 48 hours to lose your body's adaptive response to cardiovascular fitness. It takes approximately 6 months, to lose only 50% of your strength gains.
[ Q ] Does Training To Failure Have Any Value?
[ Dr. Ryan ] Given the proper training environment, your body can quickly recover from a very stressful workout. For many years I spent time training to failure, with Mike Mentzer, who is really the pioneer of this type of training.
However, I would not recommend this type of training for most ladies simply due to the fact that they do not have the mental training, nor do they have the right environment to recover. Again, a simple test is the resting heart rate test in the morning.
[ Q ] How Should Us Girls Train?
[ Dr. Ryan ] Most people, both male and female, do best with training for sets and repetitions. It is important to know what type of fiber type your body is primarily composed of and then began an exercise program that is geared towards stimulating it.
[ Q ] What Supplements Are Best For Females To Help Recovery?
[ Dr. Ryan ] In my professional opinion, you must have an equal amount of protein and carbohydrates in your diet. You should get your body fat tested, determine how much muscle you have, then you determine how may grams you need to eat from that amount of weight for your proteins and carbohydrates everyday.
For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, and your lean body weight is 135 pounds, then you must eat at least 135g of carbohydrates and 135g of protein per day. Failure to do this, will result in a delayed recovery and possible injury.
|LEAN BODY MASS (LBM) PROTEIN/CARB CALCULATOR
Beware of what kind of carbohydrates you eat and when, and what your protein sources are and when, but those are in depth subjects covered in other brilliant articles here on Bodybuilding.com.
The important thing to realize, after you are done working out your body requires lots of energy and small amounts of protein. The further you are away from the workout, the less energy or body needs and the more protein you can absorb. Getting this timing down separates men from mice and requires a great deal of time, discipline, and planning.
[ Q ] Creatine And Glutamine Are Popular Supplements. How Should The Ladies Approach Them?
[ Dr. Ryan ] I have written several articles on creatine and the amount that you should probably take. Some women have no success with creatine while other have great success. Same with the effects of Glutamine. Some feel find great effects with Glutamine while others haven't.
A systematic trial and error is about the only way that you will be able to successfully determine what is right for you. Taking these supplements will not hurt you in any way but you may find them to help tremendously, so they're worth a shot.
[ Q ] You Already Spoke About Protein, So You Have Anything Else To Add?
[ Dr. Ryan ] Protein is by far the most vital factor that will impact the ability and speed of your body's recovery. What protein sources provide which essential and non-essential amino acids and should be taken at what point in the day will determine how successful you will be with your ability to train efficiently and effectively.
Proper protein intake will weigh heavily for muscle recovery. Please study the protein topic in-depth from the immense availability of articles we have.
Thank you Dr. Ryan for sharing your wisdom about training and muscle recovery! As discussed, the initial uncomfortable consequences us girls could encounter after training could be greatly mitigated by proper supplementation.
Taking advantage of the information about muscle recovery and the technology of engineered supplementation available to us these days will keep you energized and at your full potential post training.
If you fail to provide your body with the tools it needs to restore itself right, not only will that result in you not making the first call outs or looks hotter than your friend in that mini-skirt, it will not reap a return on the investment you put into training and could lead to serious injury.