Is Ashwagandha Beneficial for Muscle Growth and Recovery?

Short answer: 

Ashwagandha is a helpful medicinal herb that has been shown to reduce stress and aid in muscle growth. There have been shown to be very few if any negative side effects to taking ashwagandha.  If you are an individual who is looking to completely maximize muscle gain and recovery, then Ashwagandha should definitely be on your supplement list, but certainly not as a substitute for greater variables, such as proper nutrition and exercise


In the world of fitness and exercise, millions of individuals are looking to improve themselves. These millions of individuals have a variety of goals and aspirations. Some people are simply trying to “get in shape” for their own life’s longevity, while fitness and the gym is life for a select few. For each of these differing aspirations, different steps must be taken, some steps bigger than others. Some people’s first step is exactly that, the first step, into a gym that is. For many, the hardest thing is to even get started. There is so much information out there, and for anyone, let alone a new lifter can be dizzying. Other people’s next step may be a little; le farther ahead in the fitness journey than the previous person, in being that they might just need to inform themselves on maybe a better workout regimen, or diet plan. While even the most advanced lifters and fanatics might be looking for the next best thing to boost themselves above their set competitors, whether that be other people competing at a powerlifting meet, or the individual competing with themselves to outperform their previous bests. Despite how varied all of these individuals may be, they still have one thing in common that all of them need to accomplish to succeed. Recovery. 


 For every fitness enthusiast on the scale of newbie to fanatic recovery is the most important aspect of exercise. After all, exercise itself is simply put, the breakdown of muscle, and without the correct “building blocks” to build those muscles back stronger, nothing will be accomplished other than the perpetual soreness and the feeling of constant weakness and exhaustion.  Without these proper building blocks, your body will be like a car stuck in the mud, spinning its tires effortlessly until the vehicle finally has nothing left and breaks down completely. These “building blocks” or simply known in the fitness and personal health industry as different parts of  Recovery. It is often said that in order to perform at one’s best truly, “you need to recover as hard as you train” which is certainly true if not slightly underexaggerated. An example of this is easy to see in an athlete’s lifestyle. They might train for a few hours out of the day at most, but after that, the remaining 18-22 hours of the day are really where the “gains” are made. These precious recovery hours must be spent doing not just anything however, they must be fully utilized. Recovery can be broken down into two basic categories, sleep, and nutrition. Sleep is relatively self-revealing, but nutrition is where it gets more complicated. 


Without getting into the minutiae of proper nutrition and every diet plan in the world (there is a lot of them), let’s stick to the basics of what the human body needs to recover and build muscle back after it has been stretched and broken down. Muscle is built back primarily by protein. There are varying amounts of protein recommended, based on the individuals lifestyle, age, and even sex. In general, the more someone works out their muscles, the more protein their body needs to fully recover, but this has diminishing returns. Apart from protein, the other biggest factors in muscle recovery are water intake and even supplements.

Imagine, you are a big gym rat, you work out nearly every day and you have plenty of rest and eat right (at least most of the time). For a person like this, their progress may seem to slow, and they might even feel like they have reached their potential. To this person, other forms of enhancing their recovery are highly considerable. Many look to harmful drugs, which is not the focus of today, but instead to supplementation. Supplementation is really an umbrella term for anything taken in addition to the normal aforementioned nutrition and sleep. Many supplements’ main purpose is to enhance the human body’s ability to rest. Great everyday examples of these would be Melatonin and vitamins. Most people have definitely heard of supplements like creatine, protein powder, or even BCAA’s if you are particularly informed, but most have never heard of the relatively new supplement called Ashwagandha.


Ashwagandha is actually relatively ancient and has been used in Asian and African medicine for many hundreds of years. In general, ashwagandha has been used and prescribed in some cases, to help with inflammation, high blood pressure as well as stress, and anxiety. Now in terms of health benefits from a fitness standpoint, ashwagandha has not been thoroughly researched enough to truly know all of its benefits, but certainly, many have been shown. Ashwagandha most noticeably affects Cortisol, or rather the regulation of it. Cortical is known to most as the “stress hormone. ” This hormone is released in times of stress similar to the way adrenaline is released in response to stressful stimuli. With too much cortisol, the human body will struggle to pack on muscle or to even keep the muscle. Ashwagandha’s relationship to Cortisol is to simply regulate it and reduce its negative effects on the body, allowing the individual to put on muscle. Not only has Ashwagandha been shown to reduce stress and anxiety, but it also has been shown to increase testosterone in men which certainly is very advantageous for muscle growth.





Ashwagandha is a helpful medicinal herb that has been shown to reduce stress and thereby aid in muscle growth. There has been shown to be very little if any negative side effects to taking ashwagandha, however, this supplement has not been tested with respect to pregnant women, and also has been shown to have a close relation to nightshade plants, which some people have an allergic reaction to. If you are an individual out there who is looking to completely maximize their muscle gain and recovery, then Ashwagandha should definitely be on your supplement list, but certainly not as a substitute for greater variables, such as proper nutrition and exercise. 


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