Allowing your muscles to recover between workouts is as important as the exercise itself. After all, there's a reason why you're achy for a day or two following back-to-back Core Fusion classes. Strenuous workouts cause physical tissue damage, and your body needs ample time to heal. Recuperating after a tough workout, however, doesn't mean taking to the couch with a bowl of Cherry Garcia ice cream. Add these three muscle-boosting nutrients to your diet, and you'll be back to your warrior ways in no time.
Create Collagen: Vitamin C
Go ahead and pour yourself a morning glass of OJ. Vitamin C is essential for the creation of collagen in the body. Collagen is a protein that helps repair skin cells, scar tissue, tendons, ligaments and blood vessels. For optimal muscle repair and rehabilitation, a daily dose of 60 mg of vitamin C is recommended.
Fortunately enough, there should be no shortage of vitamin C in your kitchen. All it takes is half-a-cup of broccoli, one cup of cantaloupe or a medium size orange to get your needed vitamin C.
Speed Up Circulation: Vitamin E
Vitamin E protects the body from an enzyme called creatine phosphokinase (CPK), which is a protein that seeps into the blood following vigorous exercise. When the body is injured, CPK levels rise. Vitamin E increases blood circulation, and in doing so helps rid the body of this enzyme more efficiently.
Ideally, consume 15 mg (equal to 30 IU) of vitamin E after a sweat-session to expedite muscle repair. You can satisfy almost one-fifth of this recommended amount by eating a cup of spinach. Vitamin E is also found in corn, nuts, seeds and other green leafy veggies.
Manage Your Muscles: Magnesium
Too little magnesium in the body can result in muscle tension, cramping and spasms, so it's no wonder that this alkaline element plays a role in muscle repair. Vital to proper muscle and nerve function, magnesium boosts the body's ability to synthesize the proteins that make your muscle grow.
Whether you're a Hogan-esque bodybuilder or not, small amounts of magnesium-about 320 mg for women and 410 mg for men-can speed up muscle growth. Get your daily dose of magnesium by snacking on pumpkin seeds, spinach, soybeans, sunflower seeds, black beans and salmon.