Glutamine Post Workout: How to Decrease Your Recovery Time
You’ve just come back from the gym, you’re all sweaty, and you’re feeling great! Not only did you push yourself hard in your workout, but you feel happy because you’re making progress with your fitness goals.
So, you walk in the door, and the first thing that you think is “What can I eat?” Your workout has drained your body of energy, so you NEED to put nutrients and energy back in your body.
What should you eat to refuel and recover? Do you need any specific nutrients to help post workout?
Three Essential Nutrients for After You Workout
After you exercise, your body is depleted of energy. In order to replenish and have the raw materials needed to build new muscles, your body needs two macronutrients: protein and carbohydrates. Here’s how they work to help you recover:
Protein — Muscles are made from protein. Your body NEEDS protein in order to repair the muscle fibers that have just been broken down during your workouts. Eating protein after a workout gives your body the amino acids necessary to make repairs and build MORE lean muscle fiber, so it’s important that you eat at least 20 grams of protein immediately after a workout.
Fast-acting protein like whey is ideal for quick nutrition, as it is digested and absorbed rapidly after you consume it. But, if you choose, you can mix in a slow-acting protein like casein in order to prolong the repair process. Or, if you don’t want a protein shake, you can just chow down on a steak, a grilled cheese, or a nice omelet!
BCAAs — If you’re getting your post-workout protein from meat, eggs, or cheese, it’s a good idea to supplement your post-workout meal with Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs). These are a specific type of amino acids that the body needs to build new muscles and refuel.
Consuming BCAAs will help to replenish the energy you have just burned during your workout. Adding BCAAs to your diet prevents muscle catabolism (breakdown), ensuring maximum muscle gain.
Whey protein is a rich source of BCAAs, which is why it is frequently recommended as an ideal post-workout protein.
Carbs — Carbohydrates are what your body uses for energy during exercise, so eating carbs after your workout will give your body the calories it needs to continue functioning well after the workout and replenish your energy stores.
It takes time to repair your body and replenish the burned energy, and fast-acting carbs (simple, not complex carbs–meaning with little dietary fiber) are ideal for quick energy. You only need a few hundred calories of carbs to refuel.
An ideal post-workout snack is a whey protein shake with an added banana or other fruit. For ideas, check out our recipe section.
Benefits of Glutamine Post Workout
While protein and carbs are essential for every workout, they might not be enough to help you fully recover, reduce inflammation, support your immune system or build the most muscle you can. Adding glutamine for muscle repair can support your recovery even more. .
If you have just blasted through a workout, here’s why it may be a good idea to add some glutamine post workout to your recovery plan.
Glutamine is one of the most important amino acids your body needs to function, as it helps to repair the muscles after you’ve worked hard, boosts your intestinal health, and enhances the function of both your brain and immune system.
Taking glutamine for muscle recovery is essential. The main reason is that glutamine is used up during physical activity. The more intense your workout, the more glutamine is used. It can take up to a week for your body to fully replenish the glutamine after a tough exercise session.
When your body does not have enough glutamine for recovery, soreness and pain linger much longer that you might like.
Other glutamine benefits include:
Promotes lean muscle synthesis.
Supports optimal healing after a workout or injury
Helps maintain a healthy weight.
Supports gut integrity and healthy digestion.
With all these benefits for keeping you healthy, why not add some glutamine to your post-workout routine?
How to Take Glutamine for Recovery
The simplest way to add glutamine to your routine is to take a glutamine supplement. You can either take the glutamine on its own or add it to your post-workout shake to provide your body with the amino acid needed to get those muscles back in working shape, and at a much faster rate.
If you are looking into a glutamine supplement, here’s what you need to know. You want to find a glutamine supplement that ISN’T L-Glutamine, as this form of the amino acid is a cheap, synthetic version of glutamine.
Plus L-glutamine is impractical. It tends to be unstable in contact with water, heat, basic, or acidic solutions. This means you can’t mix it with any liquid or fruit, as this will denature the L-glutamine.
Ideally, you need a glutamine supplement called “Covalent Bonded Glutamine”, as this type of glutamine can withstand heat and is stable in all solutions.
How much glutamine should you take? The ideal dosage of glutamine is 3-6 grams per day. But, according to the experts, up to 20-30 grams per day is considered safe.
There are also some foods that are a good source of glutamine for recovery that you might want to consider adding to a post-workout meal.
If you want to add more glutamine to your diet, here are a few foods that contain this amino acid:
- Diary products
Eat more of these foods, and you’ll give your body a lot of the glutamine it needs. Include at least three or four of these foods into your post-workout meal for optimum results.
While good nutrition is a good first step, glutamine is a great way to support optimal post-workout recovery. Whether you choose to take a supplement or just eat more glutamine-rich foods, your muscles and body will thank you.
- Stark M, Lukaszuk J, Prawitz A, Salacinski A. Protein timing and its effects on muscular hypertrophy and strength in individuals engaged in weight-training. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2012;9(1):54.
Gleeson M. Dosing and efficacy of glutamine supplementation in human exercise and sport training. J Nutr. 2008;138(10):2045S – 2049S.