With the constant improvements in workout supplement research and quality of ingredients, there are now a number of products that are ideal for supporting both muscle growth and the often neglected factor of growth – muscle recovery.
One key supplement that is being used to support muscle recovery is L-glutamine. L-glutamine is an amino acid which is utilized to support muscle growth and recovery but this is only true when it’s supplemented correctly!
In this article, I’ll cover when to take L-glutamine for muscle recovery and also the kind of doses you should be taking for maximum effectiveness.
What is L-Glutamine
L-glutamine is an amino acid and plays a crucial part in the body’s immune system, protein structure, and intestinal health. It is naturally produced by the body and it’s also found in various foods, like animal products including eggs, meat, milk, as well as other products like rice.
Although it’s naturally occurring, L-glutamine is increasingly popular as a supplement for those working out, playing sports, and bodybuilding. This is because L-glutamine has been shown to help with muscle recovery, leading to less need for rest days which can potentially increase muscle growth.
It does this by benefiting protein synthesis rates, which are essentially the processes through which cells use protein to build structures like muscle. L-glutamine also helps muscle recovery through the transportation of nitrogen. Nitrogen is used in building muscle tissue, and the body needs to be in a positive state of nitrogen levels in order to optimize muscle building.
Check out this video on the benefits of L-glutamine and why it’s an important workout supplement:
As L-glutamine plays a crucial role in muscle repair and growth it’s an important supplement to consider when working out. Here I’m going to cover some of the main questions people have about L-glutamine and explain how you can use it to optimize your workout recovery.
When Is the Best Time To Take L-Glutamine for Muscle Recovery
For muscle recovery, the best time to take L-glutamine is within half an hour of finishing your workout. This is a crucial window of time for your body to absorb nutrients. Consuming L-glutamine in this window enables it to be effectively absorbed for post-workout muscle recovery.
To expand on this a bit more, when you work out your muscles are strained especially if you’re doing an intense workout. This can lead to small tears in the tissue. As a result, you might find it harder to workout the following day, or even days later, because the muscles are still recovering.
Taking L-glutamine helps with muscle recovery due to its role in protein synthesis. As a result, it can help your muscles to recover from the strain during a workout. For L-glutamine to be most effective in helping muscle recovery you want to take it in the short window of time after working out, to ensure it’s immediately absorbed and starts to help your muscles.
That’s why I’d recommend taking L-glutamine within half an hour of finishing your workout if you want to see maximum benefits for post-workout muscle recovery.
L-glutamine combined with other forms of workout recovery like massage can help reduce muscle soreness.
How Much L-Glutamine Should I Take Post-Workout?
Your intake of L-glutamine will depend on what your goals are in using this supplement, your activity level, and workout session. For those doing a regular resistance-training workout then the dosage recommendations will usually be between 2 and 6 grams up to 1-hour post-workout.
A dosage of 2 to 6 grams should be sufficient to ensure that you’re achieving muscle recovery after a workout. But for people who are doing intense bodybuilding or intensive sport and exercise activities then the dosage levels are going to be higher.
These higher doses are usually around 10-12g. This is because more intensive exercise is going to put more strain on your muscles and therefore require higher levels to combat this stress. With that said,
Overall though, you should also follow the guidance given on the supplement you’re taking and avoid going over the dosage recommendations, as like with any supplement this can lead to bad side effects.
L-Glutamine Before and After a Workout
As with pretty much all supplements, you’ll see debates around whether it’s best to take them before or after, or both before and after, working out. Like I mentioned already, the best time to take L-glutamine is after a workout due to its benefits for muscle recovery.
There isn’t much evidence to suggest that there are any benefits from separating your dosage into before and after exercise, so I would recommend just sticking with taking L-glutamine after a workout. This way you’ll get the maximum benefits from it.
Incorporating L-glutamine into your post-workout routine should be pretty easy. Powdered forms of L-glutamine in particular are easy to just mix in with your post-workout shake.
Should You Take L-Glutamine on Rest Days
Supplements like L-glutamine when taken for muscle recovery are designed to be taken on days when you’re working out. The reason for this is that when you exercise your body goes through a lot of strain. Lifting weights, for example, is going to put pressure on your muscles.
So L-glutamine is designed to help combat these adverse effects that you experience when working out and in doing so promotes muscle recovery. Therefore it doesn’t make sense to take a supplement designed for muscle recovery on days when you aren’t working out.
With this being said though L-glutamine has benefits beyond helping muscle recovery. It has been shown to support immunity and intestinal health as well as other functions in the body. So if you’re looking for benefits beyond muscle recovery then it can be helpful to continue taking L-glutamine on rest days.
You might also see debates around taking supplements on rest days to maintain your supplement load. However, these debates are usually about supplements like creatine which require continued doses on rest days to keep levels up as opposed to amino acids like L-glutamine.
The bottom line then is if you’re using L-glutamine purely for muscle recovery then I wouldn’t recommend taking it on rest days, you can save money on the product by just incorporating it in as necessary.
However, if you want to maintain your supplement load or you’re using L-glutamine for other reasons as well as muscle recovery then it’s worth taking on rest days too.
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