Recovery is a key component to any training program that will affect your results. Interestingly, new research in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise found that individuals with a higher body fat percentage will experience a greater inflammatory response from resistance training than those with less body fat, which will inhibit recovery and adaptation.
Luckily, there are a few strategies that can be used to speed recovery and support fat loss and adaptations, even for individuals with excess body fat:
#1: Boost your antioxidant levels by eating plenty of antioxidant-rich foods at every meal to ensure you are getting a consistent protective dose of nutrients that help eradicate inflammation. For example, research shows that adding a serving of blueberries, tart cherries, or red raspberries to a high-protein breakfast will shift the acute environment in the body to one that is anti-inflammatory.
#2: Other antioxidant-rich foods you should include in your diet are dark leafy green vegetables, artichokes, beans, walnuts, pecans, olive oil, dark chocolate, and many spices such as turmeric and cinnamon.
#3: Supplement with curcumin—a spice derived from the spice turmeric—that can help tamp down inflammation and promote muscle recovery.
#4: Supplement with protein after training. Research shows that by taking a protein supplement that is high in the amino acid leucine will decrease the inflammatory response to eccentric training, and help speed recovery and restore protein synthesis. Whey protein is highest in leucine but pea or rice protein can be used as well.
#5: Take branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) with training. BCAAs include leucine, isoleucine, and valine and they have been shown to minimize muscle damage from exercise and accelerate recovery. Obviously, since they are so high in leucine, they are especially effective for protecting against inflammation. Plus, HMB, a metabolite of leucine, has been shown to maintain the structural component within muscle cell membranes, which leads to less protein degradation.
#6: Use massage, active release technique, and other recovery therapies to minimize the post-workout inflammatory response. Although research indicates therapeutic methods may not be as effective as dietary methods, massage can help minimize the inflammatory response and provide stress reduction to support adaptation.