T Nation

supplements for RECOVERY


Hello everyone,
I am a female bike racer (xc mountain bike) looking for an edge in my training. I train on the bike 10-15hrs per week and am currently doing some pretty intense workouts (ie 10x2min hill repeats, all-out). I am looking for something that would actually give me a noticeable gain in recovery time (so I can do this an extra day per week). I have read that some of the guys seem to notice recovery improvements from Mag-10 but this doesn't seem to be recommended for women (even in low doses?). Anything else that might REALLY help? Thanks.


Surge will help you. Click on the store to buy it. It really is a great product and will definitely help you!


High-glycemic carbs and protein. Surge does this very well. Click on the store link on the left and read up on it. Its a great product. You can also try some stretching to increase blood flow and speed up recovery. People have also used hot and cold showers.

Mag-10 is not for women at any dosage.


Thanks guys,
Yeah, I've read JBs articles on recovery and have the carb/pro recovery drink down. I also stretch, massage, etc. I was looking for some extra help that was not illegal. I read some stuff on elitefitness by some endurance guys about anavar (which is supposedly an excellent choice for women) - are there any legal supplements that would have the same effect?


I cannot give you any advice on Anavar because I have no experience with it however I think you would do well with Powerdrive and Methoxy7. Powerdrive can be bought at the Biotest store and I will tell you it is a great way to boost your workouts. Methoxy7 however is discontinued because Biotest is supposed to come out with a better version(God only knows when that'll be)but you can still find it on the internet. I've seen Methoxy at The Vitamin Shoppe and on Ebay Ive used that as well with success. Hope this helps and good luck!


I advice taking some ALA w/ the glycemic carbs....


Lots of natural vitamin C for adrenals, reducing inflamation, and repairing connective tissue.

Epsom salt and baking soda baths for the adrenals and to just help relax.

Power Drive up to twice a day.

Lots of water (ok, sorry for the duh one).

Cold baths after a workout can help reduce extreme soreness, but I wouldn't do that if your adrenals or nervous system is shot.


yea Surge would help. Even though I dont use it the ingredients in it are good for post workout.


OK, you got me on this one:
"Epsom salt and baking soda baths for the adrenals " and
"I wouldn't do that (cold baths) if your adrenals or nervous system is shot."

Could you fill me in on the whole adrenal thing? I do take cold baths after particularly grueling workouts, esp when I have another one planned 48hrs later. When would your adrenals or nervous system be shot? After a race?

And I can't find too much more info on Methoxy - so that would be safe for females to take, as well?

Thanks for all the advice so far.


Hey, there, woof. Welcome to the board.

First off, Anavar is a steroid, and Mag-10 is a prohormone. I'm not sure that going either route is going to help you with RECOVERY. They might help you put on muscle. But Biotest, the company who makes/made Mag-10, has strongly stated (on more than one occasion) that Mag-10 is not designed to be used by women.

My quick thoughts on recovery would be first and foremost to make sure you're taking a good multi-vitamin, one that you need to take 2 or 3 times a day (divided doses).

Additionally, make sure you're getting about 800IU of a good mixed tocopherol/tocotrienol Vitamin E. Vitamin E is actually a "family" of compounds. You need all of 'em.

Vitamin C should be taken about 4 hours before any of your racing/biking sessions.

Make sure you're taking in quality carbs; nothing in a box. Your nutrition is important. You should be getting lots of green veggies (and other colors), along with 4 to 6 servings of fruit per day; once again, the variety of colors count! I'm talking blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, mangos, pinapple, strawberries, etc. Don't eat an apple over and over again.

Post workout nutrition, as has been mentioned, is a huge opportunity. You should have glycogen stores properly refilled post-exercise. Start with something like Surge. Read John Berardi's article, "Solving the Post Workout Puzzle," I & II, to see what's going on with your body PWO.

Sleep is critical. Make sure you're getting all you can possibly get. If you have any trouble sleeping, let me know, and I'll make some recommendations.

If you're serious about your training, you should be keeping a food log to manage caloric intake, meet minimums, and see at different macronutrient ratios how your body is responding and how you're holding up.

No one's asked, but are you getting 1.5g of protein times your lean body mass?

Another thing you should be monitoring is your morning temp and pulse. When morning temp drops (below normal) and resting heart rate rises (above normal), it's usually an indication of overtraining. Just something you can do proactively if you're looking for peak performance.

Make sure you're getting enough fat in your diet. It sounds like your workouts/sessions are intense, very anaerobic and glycogen dependent/driven, but intramuscular triglycerides (IMTGs) make a contribution to energy expenditure. Since you have performance goals, I'd hate to see you taking in less than 25% of your calories from fat. But the fat should be quality fat. No fried food or transfatty acids.

Do some research on EPA & DHA found in fish oil. Read the chapter on athletic performance in Barry Sears' book, "The Omega Zone." It's one of the few supps I've taken where there is a noticable effect on cognition and endurance, both. And to top it off, EPA & DHA are ANTI-inflammatory.

Just some of my "quick" thoughts. If you have any other questions, don't hesitate to ask.


Thanks TT for the well thought out reply. To address your points one by one:
I do know that anavar is a steroid, but it is apparently the steroid of choice for endurance athletes because it increases strength gains with minimal size/weight gains. It also spares muscle tissue during weight loss. It is my thought that steroids do indeed work by enhancing recovery, letting an athlete perform more intense workouts in a given amount of time, and therefore increasing performance, be that in lbs of weight lifted or running/biking speed, etc. I was looking for a legal substance that might do the same (let me train hard more frequently). Would methoxy due the trick?

Mulit V: Uhhh I currently take the Sam?s club multi ? are these bad?
E: I take 400mg of d-alpha toco ? I can up that to 800mg.
C: I take 500 mg at night ? I can move that to 4 hrs pre-workout

Diet: I understand the concept (much learned from the very knowledgeable people on this very site!) and for the most part stick to it. When not in an out of control snacking fit, I eat mostly a mixture of old fashioned and steel cut oats, a whey/casein mix (in oats), skim milk (in oats ? sorry can?t stomach it made w/ water), grapefruits, apples, strawberries, lowfat cottage cheese, natty PB, chicken, 95% lean burger, salmon, tuna, lots of veggies and salads, whole wheat bread and pasta. Oh, and I just started taking 6 NOW brand omega 3 pills a day ? I think that is 3grams. About 2 months ago I tracked every morsel w/ fitday and lost about 5 lbs in 3 weeks at about 1000cal deficit/day. I think this was way too fast, as soon afterward I gained 2-3 of it back when I totally gave in to severe carb cravings and have had problems ever since. I do think I need to start up the log again as I think my primary problem is eating too little during the day, then losing control in the evening. When I lose control, I tend to eat mostly simple carbs.

I think I have PWO covered and I have read JB?s articles.

Sleep is usually pretty good ? I try not to use an alarm clock.

I know about RHR monitoring and sometime even do it ;p!

As far as nutrient ratios: I prob get more like 1.2g Pro per lb of lean mass. My ratios (when I used fitday) were ~22/34/44 for fat/pro/CHO.

So I feel like I have most things in order but am kind of at a performance plateau and looking for an extra edge. I am currently at 15% BF and this has been another plateau for me for YEARS (I would LOVE to be 11-12%). I do know what I should eat but CANNOT suppress the cravings and eventually just snack away (last night I downed at least a cup of dry raisen bran cereal, 1 or 2 cookies and 2 squares of dark choc:(!). Low carb is not an option because I train 10-15hrs per week and need carbs to fuel my workouts/races. Any help you can offer would be great.


woof here is something I found about methoxy

Methoxy-7? Metabolic Drive Formula

The new Methoxy-7, now with 7-Hydroxy-EC (patent pending), is supercharged to be many times more effective than the old methoxy. It's designed to increase lean mass without the negatives associated with steroids. Among other things, Methoxy-7 increases nitrogen retention and protein synthesis. Funny, those are some of the same reasons why steroids work.

It?s also been shown to reduce body fat (users report a "hardening effect"), lower cholesterol and improve the body's ability to utilize oxygen. This is a great supplement for men looking to put on muscle. But, since Methoxy-7 is anabolic, without being androgenic, it?s the perfect "next level" supplement for women, too. In fact, the feedback we?ve received from women is astounding. Many that were considering using a mild cycle of steroids changed their minds after trying Methoxy-7.

Although it?s great for a mass program, my favorite use of Methoxy-7 is for dieting. Not only does it seem to speed up the fat loss process (although it?s not a stimulant), it also helps me keep my lean muscle mass while shedding the fat. Good stuff, and the best selling formula as recently been improved. Basically, you?ll be able to use less and yet get better results. Plus, it has a great new bubble gum flavor.

The lowdown:

? Helps you put on muscle

? Helps you keep muscle when dieting

? Helps you lose fat

? For men and women

? For all the details on the new Methoxy-7, click


I can see that you're going to give me a run for my money, girl! (grin)

Re steroids, I would prefer to defer to the guys on the Steroid forum. Anavar is not something you can get on your own. You need to either get it illegally or get a doctor to write you a prescription. I'm not making any moral or legal judgments. It's just not my area of expertise.

Methoxy is a hardening agent. It is to some degree LBM protective (not like Anavar). It has nutrient partitioning benefits. It's worth experimenting with, a bottle or two. Take it at max dosage or higher (1.5 times dosing recommendations) if you're not using Biotest's version.

My definition of a "good" multi-vitamin is just one that you're required to take 3 times a day. When you take a vitamin, the body takes all of what it requires at that precise time and excretes the rest. If you take a smaller (divided doses), you're providing the body less at any given time, but the body is utilizing a higher percentage. Consider it insurance because it's not anything you're ever going to feel.

Re a good vitamin E complex, look at Solaray's Liquid Vitamin E. It has the whole complex (delta, gamma, alpha, beta, tocopherols and tocotrienols, both). Read up on it to see why I'm recommending the complex.

The reason for taking Vitamins C & E is that they protect the water soluble and fat soluble portion of the body. When you create energy (from either stored fat or glycogen), free radicals are created. Vitamins C & E quench those free radicals. That's why you want to take 1g of Vitamin C before every workout. It does help with recovery, too.

Up the Vitamin E to 800IU (not mg), yes, but as I said, get the complex. Once again, this is not something you're going to "feel." Nonetheless, considering the intensity of your workouts, it's very important.

Your choice of food looks excellent. Awesome!

Re your BF%, women carry between 9 and 12% ESSENTIAL fat. If you try to get down that low, performance will very likely suffer. Fitness competitors have to balance taking their BF% down to a point that they look fit, but can still perform their routine on stage. I worked with a boxer who took his BF% down too low. Performance suffered. You need to be aware that taking your BF% lower may work against your performance/athletic goals. It may boil down to what your higher priority
is: appearance or performance.

So let me ask you a question because I'm not sure. What is your goal: BF%, scale weight, recovery or athletic performance?


hey tampa terry- what would you reccomend for somebody who has a hard time falling asleep. i would think sleep would be the #1 way to enhance recovery.


Hey, Mike. There are 3 things you should look at or experiment with. Try each one individually to evaluate how you respond, and then you can use them in any combination.

  • ZMA
  • Melatonin
  • L-Theanine

ZMA additionally supports T levels. It's a great supp for anyone (male or female) that works out. But taken before bed (though not at the same time as calcium, with which it competes), it helps people get to sleep. ZMA stands for Zinc Magnesium Aspartate.

The trick with melatonin is finding an effective dosage. Some people need very little. Some people need larger amounts. Try 1g one hour before bed, taking another gram every hour until you fall asleep. If you wake up groggy, reduce the dosage slowly.

L-Theanine is a relaxing amino acid. Try a couple of capsules, once again an hour before bed. It will calm/slow you down, which is helpful when trying to fall asleep.

None of the stuff above is addictive, nor will it interfere with REM sleep.


After reading the great responses from Tampa Terry and Paulie, I can only offer what has worked for me.

Surge has increased my recovery amazingly.
ZMA has helped my recovery and sleep.
Power Drive helps me focus during my workouts.

The fish oils and flax oil helps me with recovery. I can tell when I'm running low on the fat intake.

As for ANAVAR, I've never taken the stuff I don't know what it's like.


Thanks a lot TT,
I do want to clarify my reason to bring up anavar: I certainly was NOT interested in actually taking anavar since I do compete and thus that would not be cool. I was looking for a LEGAL performance aid that might have a similar affect. So - it looks like Methoxy might be worth a try. I am going to see if I can find some online somewhere and hopefully Biotest will get the new, improved version out quickly. I wonder why they cancelled the old (but that's another thread).

Thanks also for the vitamin advice. I think I may add in some ZMA. I was wondering if my dosage of Omega-3 was enough - what do you suggest?

As far as BF, my #1 concern in performance. Power to weight is a huge factor since there are a lot of hills where I race. I feel like I have average BF% amongst my competition, but I am tall so any weight I can lose should help. Think "Lance Armstrong" light!

Thanks again everyone!


The best overall mulits to my knowledge is Supernutrition Opti Pak. MUCH better than what you see at the grocery stores which are absolutely crap. Trust me on this. Another one is from LEF (Life Extention Foundation, LEF.org). Both are very well formulated and have high absorption rate compared to others that you see at the grocery stores and even GNC and alike stores. I agree with TT on everything. One more thing. Saturated fat is not your enemy. It's the refined fat/oil (vegetable oil of any source) as they tend to have trans fat and high ratio of omega 6s to 3s which can affect your health. Same thing for eggs,beef, etc that are raised in places that don't even see the sun at all and get feed on all kinds of crap. It's better to get the ones that actually go out in the sun and eat grasses, etc whatever is natural. This affect the profile of lipid in their body. Huge difference. Same thing with butter. Raw butter directly from pastured fed cows are much better if you can find it and use it instead of refined oil.


Another good multi is Usana Essentials.


Okay, woof, I've got you. You are looking for something roughly/equally equivalent to Anavar that is legal.

As much as I love Methoxy, and as much as I am looking forward to the super-charged version that is coming out, I still don't think it's on the same level as Anavar. However, I can't think of any supp that would be on the same level. For its nutrient partitioning benefits and for its ability to protect LBM to some degree, Methoxy is most definitely worth your testing.

One thing I would like to see you do is buy some bulk BCAA powder. I like MRM's product because of the taste. They should be included in your water bottle. I'd have to look up dosage for you, but I'd definitely lean towards the aggressive end of the dosing range.

Blam & Tungsten both mentioned excellent muti-vitamins. I use LEF's version myself; 67 different ingredients at OPTIMAL dosages, not RDA.

Re the flaxseed oil, what's your TBW? I calculate fat requirements based on LBM.

Honestly -- and you've got to know this -- your situation is very technically challenging. On the one hand you have to take in sufficient carbs to maintain the energy output. However it's difficult to lose BF on a high(er) carb diet. Your situation almost needs professional management. I've worked with marathon runners before who wanted to lose weight -- actually, they very much wanted to preserve LBM and lose BF (not weight). However, energy levels needed to be managed as well, or performance suffered. It takes a lot of precision and experimenting to put together a plan that allows you to do both. And the maintstream approach to endurance athletes losing weight is not terribly effective. You'll lose weight, yes, if you cut calories, but it's not "weight" you want to lose.

I'll give you a running start, though.

Start by calculating your protein and fat requirements. Divide those up equally between your 6 meals. Don't overly worry about P+F/P+C food combining. There are performance/athletic advantages to fat loading of IMTGs.

One exception. Don't take in fat with your Surge and don't take in fat in the two starchy-carb P+C meals PWO.

As a general approach, eat P+F meals prior to biking activity. Think of carbs as gas that fills the tanks (muscles). You don't have to fill up prior to starting your car if you filled up after the trip. Eating P+F will keep you from spiking insulin and will promote the burning of fat.

From there do whatever biking you're going to do. Take your Surge at the 1 hour point. Take in 100g of carbs per hour PWO in the form of starchy carbs. That number should include the Surge you take in. Your goal at your low BF% is to lose no more than 1/2 pound to 1 pound per week. Get a scale that weighs in tenths of a pound.

When increasing or cutting calories, do so by 250 kcal per day. That roughly equates to 1/2 pound per week.

You're just going to have to experiment and fine-tune and test things, woof. That's the best I can do for you on the forum.

If you have any other questions, don't hesitate to ask