Question: Should I use L-glutamine to reduce muscle soreness after a hard workout?
Answer: Supplementing with L-glutamine is an expensive way to get an amino acid .... you can get it in any protein-rich food. While L-glutamine might enhance recovery of patients in the hospital who have cancer, AIDS, or bowel problems and are not eating, the chances are that you, as a healthy athlete, can consume a multitude of amino acids (not just L-glutamine) through your diet.
Certainly, the best way to enhance recovery is to fuel up before exercise with a carb-protein snack (recovery can actually start pre-exercise, so the "tools" to recover are already in your system) and then to refuel afterwards, again with some carbs + protein. The carbs provide fuel and the protein heals and builds.
Some popular pre- and/or post-exercise options include yogurt, a little cereal/milk, half a sandwich, or lowfat chocolate milk--all in portions that settles well. You really don't need to buy engineered foods. Simply pay more attention to having the right foods readily available; don't let nutrition be your missing link.
What you eat pre-exercise should last you about 60 to 90 minutes, and then you want to target about 200 to 300 calories per hour. Some athletes choose gels because they are convenient, but you need not spend your money on engineered foods. They are more about convenience than necessity. Other athletes enjoy banana, gummy candy, dried fruit, rice crispie treats, twizzlers ... and carb-based food that tastes good and settles well. Experiment to figure out what foods and fluids work best for your body. By staying well fueled, you will be able to recover more easily.
My Sports Nutrition Guidebook offers abundant information and food tips about how to best fuel before, during and after exercise, so you can get the most from your workouts.
Eat wisely and well, and enjoy less muscle soreness and better workouts.
Nancy Clark MS RD CSSD
Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics