Maybe it’s the amazing drugs in Canada, but Alberta’s Wolverine can withstand nearly anything—all the way down to the cellular level—thanks to his self-regeneration abilities. His body, if damaged or destroyed, recovers far faster than any of us mere mortals. The guy rallied from a gunshot wound, a sword through the chest, and an atomic bomb—in minutes! And don’t get us started on poisons and diseases—he’s immune. These powers give Wolverine, who’s more than 100 years old, more endurance and slow down the aging process. No wonder Hugh Jackman looks like he does after 17 years playing this guy.
Recover Like Wolverine
Odds are you’ll never be able to take a bullet to the dome and walk away, like Wolverine in 2003’s X2. But some of Logan’s other ultrarecovery abilities can be achieved through careful planning and meal prep.
Look at the Big Picture
“Pay attention to your overall diet,” notes Ryan Andrews, R.D., a strength and conditioning specialist and a coach with Precision Nutrition. “That includes how much food you’re eating, staying in tune with your hunger cues, and follow- ing a diet made up of high-quality, minimally processed foods.” In other words, think of your overall recovery efforts as the sum everything that enters your system pre-, intra-, and post-workout.
Time it Up
After Wolverine gets through turn- ing sentinels into confetti he enjoys lighting a cigar and downing a brew (presumably Labatt Blue). Adopt a different plan of attack. “After your workout, your muscles are primed to restore glycogen and protein levels,” says Erica Giovinazzo, R.D., a CrossFit coach and nutritionist with Brick CrossFit in Los Angeles. “Stick with lean, quick-digesting protein sources, such as a protein shake, chicken breast, egg whites, or fish.
“Give your body 30 to 60 minutes to recover so it can focus on digesting the nutrients,” she says.
Go to Collagen
The high levels of glycine in collagen protein might help preserve your joints during high-volume training periods. While there’s no recommended dose of glycine—an amino acid that supports collagen, tendon, and ligament growth—diet alone most likely won’t provide a sufficient amount since it’s most abundant in the animal parts humans don’t usually eat: tendons, ligaments, and bones. Meat, dairy, and eggs provide minimal amounts. The collagen in our joints, tendons, ligaments, and throughout our body will not optimally repair itself after heavy intense training sessions. What’s more, a study published in Current Medical Research and Opinion concluded that after 24 weeks of supplementing with collagen hydro- lysate, participants experienced less activity-related joint pain.
Lean on Leucine
This branched-chain amino acid helps to kick-start your muscles’ synthesis response, so you begin the recovery process faster, says Brad Schoenfeld, Ph.D., director of the Human Performance Lab at CUNY Lehman College in the Bronx, NY. “Research has shown that there’s a leucine threshold of about 2 to 3 g that’s ideal for spiking a response post-workout,” he says. Foods high in leucine include chicken, soybeans, beef, nuts, seeds, fish, and beans.