Accelerated Recovery Cocktail


Note from Dr. Mike: I wrote this article a couple of years ago and it was never published. So, some things have changed, as Todd and I don’t train together anymore (he moved to CT and I moved to NY). However, the meat of this piece is still great. I return to this protocol personally and with clients whenever recovery needs to be accelerated due to excessive fatigue. It isn’t something that you use all the time (a couple times a year max) but it is a good tool to have in your fitness toolbox.

A couple of weeks ago, my training partner Todd Bumgardner crashed. Not in a car, but physiologically. Back in December, Todd culminated a 3 year journey by pulling 600lbs.


He has since (maybe a little too quickly) recommitted to pulling 700lbs at a powerlifting meet at the end of April. Despite proper periodization of his training, Todd hit a wall. It was a Friday morning around 6:20am, 20 minutes into our training session, and he looked like crap. Light weights felt heavy, the bar was moving slow off the ground….Todd was in trouble.

He adjusted his sets and loads that day in accordance with the effort his body was able to give, but I could tell he was fried. Walking back to my office for our post workout nutrition he looked at me and said, “I’m in trouble. I feel like crap. I gotta find a way to get recharged and get back on track.”

When we got back to my office I outlined for Todd an Accelerated Recovery Protocol that I had been tweaking and testing with clients. Todd was in the worst shape of anyone I had seen in a while, so this would be the perfect opportunity to test its effectiveness.

The Accelerated Recovery Cocktail and protocol worked better than I could have expected with Todd, and if it could fix him in the bad physiological situation he was in, I know it will help you. So here is the cocktail, the why behind the components, and the protocol. Next time accumulated fatigue is about to ruin your training cycle, use this to kick it in the face and keep training.

Accelerated Recovery Cocktail

  • 10g BCAA
  • ½ serving Biotest Superfood
  • 5 grams creatine monohydrate

Mix it in water and drink straight up (the flavor of the superfood takes a little of the edge off the taste of pure BCAAs) or add in some liquid flavoring.


Deconstructing the Accelerated Recovery Cocktail

Why these components? Here’s what they each bring to the table:


Branched chain amino acids have a wide variety of impacts on our physiology, most beyond what we think of their normal function as. BCAAs play a key role in the Accelerated Recovery Cocktail because of this wide span of physiological improvements.

  1. BCAAs can reduce muscle soreness
  2. BCAAs can reduce mental fatigue
  3. BCAAs can lessen inflammation due to training
  4. BCAAs can improve mood
  5. BCAAs can improve anabolic signaling
  6. BCAAs can modulate immune function following training

As you can see, BCAAs play an important role in muscle building and recovery beyond leucine’s interaction with mTOR.


Creatine is a muscle builder – no question. But creatine also has some other unique actions which lend it to be a very useful component of the Accelerated Recovery Cocktail.


Creatine helps superhydrate your muscles. Because creatine is osmotically active, it can superhydrate your muscles by pulling more water into your muscle cells. The best part is that it superhydrates your muscles without impacting thermoregulation or causing dehydration. In an interview Brad Schoenfeld did with T-Nation, he noted the link between muscle cell hydration and growth,

“There’s evidence that the increased hydration of the cell associated with sarcoplasmic hypertrophy may mediate a hypertrophic response, thus leading to subsequent increases in contractile hypertrophy.”

A lesser known function of creatine is that it can increase insulin sensitivity. In order to accelerate recovery, we need to increase nutrient delivery to the muscles. The added bump in insulin sensitivity we get from creatine can help with that.


Superfood is high powered antioxidant support. I take one or two servings every day. It contains concentrated sources of a wide variety of berries and vegetables ranging from wild blueberries to wasabi and kale. While many of us eat our fruits and vegetables because ‘they are good for us’, the antioxidants they provide have key actions for accelerating recovery. These are my 3 favorite recovery accelerating antioxidants and some of their known functions.


Catechins, antioxidants found in green tea, can suppress muscle oxidative stress and decrease muscular inflammation.

Anthocyanins, the antioxidants found in blueberries and pomegranates, have been shown to enhance insulin sensitivity, improve immune function, and decrease oxidative stress following intense exercise, and optimize peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs) leading to improvements in fat oxidation and glucose uptake.

Ellagic acid, an antioxidant found in berries and pomegranates, can upregulate DNA repair genes while also decreasing DNA oxidative damage.

Combining BCAAs, creatine, and the antioxidants in Superfood gives us a multi-pronged approach to accelerating recovery – one that can, and should, be used every day. However, during times of excessive drain on our systems, I have started loading these nutrients to drastically accelerate recovery.

The Accelerated Recovery Cocktail Protocol

Here’s the protocol and specifically how Todd implemented it over the weekend following the training session where he crashed.


  • 6-8am (Workout) – 50g carbohydrates, 20g protein, 10g BCAA, 5 grams creatine monohydrate
  • 9:00am – Breakfast
  • 11:00am – Accelerated Recovery Cocktail
  • 1:00pm – Lunch
  • 3:00pm – Accelerated Recovery Cocktail
  • 5:00pm – Dinner
  • 7:00pm – Accelerated Recovery Cocktail
  • 8:00pm – Dinner 2
  • 10:00pm – Accelerated Recovery Cocktail & ZMA before bed

Saturday & Sunday

  • 8am – Accelerated Recovery Cocktail
  • 9:00am – Breakfast
  • 11:00am – Accelerated Recovery Cocktail
  • 1:00pm – Lunch
  • 3:00pm – Accelerated Recovery Cocktail
  • 5:00pm – Dinner
  • 7:00pm – Accelerated Recovery Cocktail
  • 8:00pm – Dinner 2
  • 10:00pm – Accelerated Recovery Cocktail & ZMA before bed

Todd showed up to meet me at my office at 5:45am on Monday morning a different man. The first thing he said to me was that he followed the protocol religiously all weekend and it “saved his training cycle”. He was back on track to finish this phase of his training and pull 700lbs in April.

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