Your body is a complex network of deeply interconnected systems, and all of them are impacted to various degrees by heavy training. The process of effective recovery from this means doing more than just resting.
Your best course of action is to try and calm down your nervous system and give your joints and muscles the resources they need to recover. This requires a good night's sleep and physical relaxation—and if all else fails, utilizing supplements that can potentially help you maximize both.
Delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is viewed as something to be endured. And while anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen and acetaminophen have been shown to reduce pain, research has also shown they can have negative effects on muscle growth and protein synthesis—particularly in middle-aged and young men.
On the other hand, some natural supplements—such as spirulina, Boswellia serrata, and curcumin—have shown promise in helping relieve exercise-induced joint pain. Curcumin has powerful anti-inflammatory qualities, but its drawback is its poor absorption by the human body, requiring high doses to be effective.*
Boswellia serrata—also referred to as "Indian frankincense"—has been used for arthritis treatment in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries. And today, it has become a common ingredient in joint pain supplements.
Finally, there's spirulina—an algae species that has been making the rounds as a "superfood" supplement in recent years. And while it's most popular as a source of beta-carotene and protein, it has also shown remarkable anti-inflammatory potential.*
Many people don't realize that the stress that comes with intense training can affect your nervous system. People who inexplicably feel like they're "having a bad day" before even starting to exercise may just be tapped out from previous workouts.
There are supportive supplements for neural recovery, called "adaptogens," that can prevent or reduce the usual symptoms of neural stress, such as stomach ulceration, changes in mood, and cortisol release. They can also increase energy in fatigued people and give a solid mental boost, improving your performance during workouts and beyond.*
Two crucial adaptogens with these effects are ginseng and Rhodiola rosea. The first one has shown the ability to improve cognition and subjective well-being, while the latter reduces fatigue in various stressful situations.*
Furthermore, L-tyrosine seems to be effective when it comes to lowering stress responses. Somewhat uniquely, it works best when taken preemptively, while ginseng and Rhodiola rosea appear to be more effective when taken after a rise in stress levels.*
Rest and Recovery
There aren't many new and exciting options when it comes to non-pharmaceutical sleep support, as the most popular choices are still melatonin and valerian root. However, some recent studies suggest valerian extraction methods may play a larger role in efficacy than previously thought, so dosing is potentially harder to standardize than other supplements.*
On the other hand, melatonin is still a great jumping-off point for restful recovery. It can shorten the amount of time it takes you to fall asleep as well as helping you get higher-quality sleep, which is integral to your body's ability to properly recover.*
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.