The Best Recovery Supplements for Athletes
Train hard, recover harder. So many athletes put all their efforts into their training, but then forget about proper recovery! This leads to feeling constantly sore and low energy. But no worries, I have built out a list just for you that includes the best recovery supplements and tricks for athletes to make sure you make the most of your return to training and adequately rebuild and recover.
There are various different time points and fueling strategies throughout the day to maximize your recovery after training. To help guide you through the recovery process, I have provided a timeline below with the best recovery supplement in each time period!
Not prioritizing your recovery is a big mistake and can hurt your on field results. By maximizing recovery throughout the day, you will prevent soreness, decrease your risk for injury and maximize future training
1-2-3 Recovery Timeline
1. Before training
Guess what? Your post-workout recovery starts before your first training session. I see many soccer players forgetting about proper fueling before training, resulting in fatigue, lethargic and poor performance.
Don’t just rely on your protein shake to help you recover! To ensure proper recovery and performance, I recommend making sure you get in a proper pre-workout meal and snack. If you are looking for more pre-workout fuel ideas, I break down exactly how you need to fuel before.
I recommend a proper pre-workout meal and snack. To assist you, I recommend you follow my pre-workout fueling training guidelines to maximize your results.
Collagen + Vitamin C for Injury Prevention
In addition to a proper fuel and hydration, many soccer players benefit from taking collagen peptides for joint and tendon health (especially my rehab girls). Though beneficial for performance, consuming an adequate amount of this supplement is challenging since many whole foods do not contain collagen – especially if you are plant based! Check out my recommendation below.
Collagen + Vitamin C: Pair 15g of collagen with 50mg of vitamin C 45 minutes to 1 hour before training.
I recommend mixing 15mg of Vital peptides (you will need a scoop + a half) with 8 oz of orange juice.
2. After training
Recovery Protein + Carbohydrates
Making sure you are getting adequate amounts of recovery protein and carbohydrates <2 hours after a training session is essential to jump start the rebuilding process.
Protein is the macronutrient that plays the biggest role in muscle protein synthesis. As a result, it is essential to fuel with at least 20g-30g of protein in after a workout to kick start the rebuilding and muscle recovery process.
Carbohydrates are also an important macronutrient to incorporate for post training recovery because it is their job to replenish depleted stored energy from training. Insufficient carbohydrate intake will result in increased fatigue on the field, lower endurance, and decreased strength.
Additionally, in-adequate carbohydrates after a training session won’t allow protein to do “its job” in the body.
If carbohydrate intake is insufficient to replenish energy stores, protein will be used for energy replenishment.
Recommended Recovery Ratio
I recommend my soccer girls have a 3:1 ratio carbohydrate to protein ratio post workout to maximize recovery. An easy real life example could be a simple post workout drink of chocolate milk or a recovery protein shake with 20g protein and 60g of carbohydrates.
While we always want “food first, supplements second”, many athletes struggle with getting inadequate protein/energy after training. A recovery protein powder can be very beneficial if you struggle with fueling after training.
Recommend Protein Powders for Recovery
For my college/professional athletes, I recommend
These brands are some of the best post workout supplements as they are high quality and third party tested. If you are looking for a cheaper recovery protein (but still relatively high quality) that is not banned substance tested, I recommend optimum nutrition.
3. At night
Tart Cherry Juice Concentrate
The best recovery supplement for night time muscle recovery is a tart cherry juice concentrate. Tart cherry juice concentrate is one of the best recovery supplements for soccer players after a hard training session. This is one of the best recovery supplements for muscle recovery as tart cherry juice concentrate is rich in polyphenols and also contains a small amount of natural melatonin. This will help you with decreasing total body inflammation and also help with sleep quality.
All tart cherry juice concentrate is not created equal though! Because of this, you have to make sure there is a minimum of 55 cherries in your tart cherry juice dosing. This can be challenging when you purchase a juice from the store since the amount of cherries in the concentrate is unknown. To ensure you are getting the most out of your supplement, I recommend the following:
- Concentrate: Take 1 dixie cup 30 minutes before bed or add it to a smoothie!
- Cheribundi: Consume 1 bottle or 8 fluid ounces 30 minutes before bed
If you want to perform your best, you have to prioritize recovery. Make sure to fuel your body with enough nutrients to support this. Incorporating these tips and recovery supplements into your diet can help achieve your athletic goals!
We help athletes build a strong recovery plan in the Performance Fueling Club (PFC). PFC is an online sports nutrition coaching program that helps athletes with flexible on-demand content and live nutrition coaching with a sports dietitian.
If you are looking to up your recovery game, I encourage you to sign up today. We currently have open enrollment, and I would love to help support you in getting to your goals!