What To Eat For Muscle Recovery

There’s absolutely no feeling quite like the muscle soreness that can occur after a hard gym session or weight training session.

The stiffness, pain, and physical weakness brought on by severe muscle soreness after working out is known as DOMS, or delayed onset muscle soreness, and is one of the biggest barriers to recovery and continued activity for anyone who trains to the limit.

Finding ways to reduce the severity of these issues as well as relieve or help prevent their symptoms is something that a lot of people struggle with, as quite often it’s newer lifters who suffer most severely from this condition.

Lifters who are less experienced are both more likely to work out beyond their limits, and less likely to be adapted to and prepared for the muscle soreness that comes with training.

What To Eat For Muscle Recovery
But even so, experienced lifters and athletes can also suffer from DOMS, unfortunately, it’s just part and parcel of training, and in a sense its the body’s natural process of letting you know you’ve just done something extremely arduous, and that it really needs some crucial time to rest and recover.

This recovery time is where the body adapts and first begins the process of strengthening and building muscle, which is why rest days are so important as part of any training regime.

On your rest days, and every other day for that matter, there is one thing you can do to keep improving yourself and getting the progress and gains you deserve, and this is eating right.

Many people overlook diet and its importance in fitness, which often stunts and reduces the efforts of lifters and fitness enthusiasts all over the world.

In this guide we’re going to look at what to eat to help aid muscle recovery, regardless of your experience level, to help you get the crucial nutrients you need to fuel your body and its development.

After all, the famous expression, ‘abs are made in the kitchen, not the gym’ is truer than most people want to admit, and the same could be said for all of the muscles and strengths you hope to develop.

So let's take a look at the foods themselves.

Protein. Protein. Protein!

Protein is the number one most important food group for muscle recovery, and this is because protein is what actually fuels the repair work your body needs to do.

When you work out, what’s actually happening is that you’re tearing and damaging your muscles at a microscopic level, and these tiny ruptures caused by working out, as well as lactic acid build up, are what cause the soreness, and what allows your muscle to grow back stronger and bigger.

Protein is what the body uses to make these repairs, as well as other things like the crucial micronutrients, vitamins, minerals, and other things like BCAA’s, are crucial to facilitating maximum efficiency during this recovery process.

There are many great sources of protein, but by far the best and most popular is meat, particularly lean beef, and poultry as well as eggs.

Aside from this, there are other equally important and protein-rich foods that are more than adequate for meat, such as various beans and legumes, as well as nuts and fish.

Fish in particular is great because it is full of high-quality fats and nutrients that are really healthy for other bodily functions too.

Tart Cherry Juice

Antioxidants are much-lauded and discussed by nutritionists and are somewhat of a fad, with their benefits leading to outlandish claims of massive benefits.

While these are sometimes overblown, in the case of muscle soreness, anti-inflammatories are actually critical as they directly combat and reduce the body’s natural response to this process, which is inflammation, which partly causes the soreness.

This juice, in particular, is high in a compound called anthocyanin which has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties which can reduce the soreness you actually feel when suffering from DOMS, making it a good treatment for the actual pain you feel and reducing it down to an acceptable level, as well as potential accelerating your recovery.

Pomegranate Juice

Pomegranate juice is another popular choice that is a great source of polyphenols, which are another type of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory that can help reduce inflammation and ease soreness, helping you get through the recovery process more easily.

Watermelon And Watermelon Juice

Watermelon juice and watermelon are great as they are rich in the amino acid known as L-citrulline. 

As you may know, amino acids are the building blocks of proteins and can form a part of your diet to help with protein uptake and provision, however, this acid in particular also has antioxidant effects and can help increase blood circulation as well as improve available cellular energy.

Watermelon And Watermelon Juice


Vegetables are really important as they are packed full of various micronutrients, minerals, and vitamins essential for recovery, as well as fiber which will help you process protein-rich foods much more efficiently and healthily.

Green Tea

Green tea is well known for its health benefits, particularly in dieting and weight loss, but it's also a great thing for athletes and fitness enthusiasts due to its anti-inflammatory properties.

It's relaxing and low in calories and it's very beneficial, making it a great alternative to coffee and other less healthy beverages.


If you’re looking to add a little flavor and a little anti-inflammatory goodness to your food, turmeric is the best option and is well known for its amazing anti-inflammatory properties.

Use it whenever you can to make your meals more palatable and help stave off the aches and pains of hard workout sessions.

Final Thoughts

There are tons of great options for foods and drinks you can use to reduce and treat DOMS, so there’s no need to suffer in silence. Aside from eating the right foods, knowing what to take for muscle recovery such as supplements can also get you feeling 100% again as soon as possible.

Take control of your recovery process and give your body everything it needs to heal, and you’ll find yourself progressing more quickly than ever, and dealing with less and less physical pain, regardless of how hard you work out.

Kevin Harris