Supplements to aid in recovery

I’ve been doing quite some reading on supplements that might help with recovery. A lot of conflicting studies and no real conclusive ones. These are some of the supplements i’ve been reading about: glutamine, magnesium, creatine, BCAA/EEA’s, l-carnitine, l-arginine, coQ10, glucosamine and others. Even though these supplements have their benefits, none of these benefits target better recovery (not proven at least).

I’m interested in suppelements and not nutrition like curcumin, tart cherry/pomegranate juice, fish oil, protein powder etc. as I already take those and consider them as a part of my diet. My conclusion is that good sleep + a good diet is all you need to recover better and that supplements specifically targeting recovery are a waste of money.

What you say?

I 100% agree with this


And time. Time for the body to recover. (This is the part I always want to forget).


While I think we can all agree that good sleep and well rounded diet is #1 and #2 on list, but perhaps its worthwhile to discuss the marginal pieces that can aid recovery. As an older cyclist who is 100% limited by how much training I can absorb, I’m keenly interested in anything else that can aid in recovery. Every little bits helps, as small as it may be. I’m finding anything over 500tss (TR TSS) is about all my body can currently handle. I’d love to get that up to 700+, but know I cant due to my inability to recover from those types of weeks.

That being said, other than diet and sleep, what else can help, even if just a little bit?


Moar Cowbells

If more cowbells got me faster, there would be a global cowbell shortage. Believe that!!

At the end of the day most of these compounds can be found in food (and are often only absorbed icw other micronutrietns making the stand alone form useless). That’s why I think that taking these supplements is a waste of time. Still interested in others’ experiences and thoughts though.

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Instead of post-workout whey protein shake, I use overnight casein protein, mixing it with raw cacao powder (2:1 ratio) for deeper sleep. Started consuming it ~2 weeks into SSBHV1 and it stopped tingling in feet during night (or i got used to training load, can’t tell for sure).

One way or another, during SSBHV2 i was way less fatigued than during SSBHV1.

Protein and carbs followed by rest and sleep


I take magnesium citrate before bed to help with recovery. I find after a big day I have tight legs and the magnesium helps the muscles relax and I sleep better.


Haven’t time to dig it out now, but the Sigma Nutrition podcast did one with a researcher who showed that there’s no benefit of one protein over another at night. I kinda sit on the fence though, and mix my evening whey with greek yogurt!

That’s notwithstanding the benefit if it helps you sleep better, which would be a big plus!

I usually take EAAs pre workout and magensium post workout and magensium actually made a significant impact. Tbh the EAAs might be have a placebo affect but i take them because you tend to get a worse amino acid profile from plant based protein which my diet is based around.

In regards to additional supplements i would get a blood test and use supplements accordingly.
I fixed my low Vitamin D, iron and kalium levels and my ftp improved and my recovery even more so.

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There’s very little evidence that shows supplements work. Despite this, I take a vitamin c effervescent every morning, and use powdered multi vitamin in my smoothies/ shakes/ yogurt and protein!

I don’t really consider whey a supplement either - if it was good enough for little miss muffet, it’s good enough for me! :grinning:

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Not specific to recovery - but I am taking vitamin D at a fairly high level this off-season. Hard to say what, if anything, it has done for me - but I have consistently tested low and want to make sure I’m ticking all of the boxes I can

I don’t do supplements. But, I can highly recommend compression boots as a recovery aid.

I’m 53 and was in a similar position last year. Too much intensity or too big of a week would leave me exhausted and tired.

What I found helped enormously was more long, slow distance base miles. Last spring I did 12 weeks of old school base miles and by the 8th week I was flying and faster than ever (breaking all my PRs). Now, big weeks don’t leave me buried and needing a recovery week.

Other things that seem to help with recovery is getting enough protein. I’m trying to get as a minimum 20grams x 4 or 5 times per day. 20 grams is the magic number that kicks off protein synthesis so it’s better to get a smaller dose several times per day rather than a larger does 2 or 3X per day.

Not underfueling on rides also helps. If I do a 60 mile, 3+ hour ride that burns 1800 calories, I need to eat a giant breakfast and bring along substantial food and then eat a good recovery meal afterwards. If I don’t I’m more likely to have sore legs and feel exhausted.


During the heart of last season, I took casein protein for about 2 months every night before bed and found that to be extremely helpful and I was stronger than ever. Perhaps it wouldn’t have mattered if it was whey or casein, but for me it worked - so I’m sticking with it!

True, i bought it because it’s label says “overnight protein” :slight_smile:

I guess in your case greek yogurt slows digestion, serving same purpose of providing protein longer to restore body.

N=1 is the most important research!


I picked up a copy of “The Plant Based Cyclist” that was put out by GCN and Nigel (can’t remember his last name right now, but he’s the nutrionist for EF Education First). He said EF gives the cyclist a protein drink after races/workouts to jump start recovery. If it’s going to be more than an hour or two before they can eat, that protein drink becomes a carb/protein recovery drink.