The body utilizes glucose as first fuel during exercise, as a result this smokes out lactic acid into the muscle. A build up of lactic acid is the burn you feel in your muscles during intense workout.

Lactic acid is the end product of anaerobic fermentation. A side effect of lactic acid is the increase of muscle pH. The muscle has a pH of about 7, but during exercise it can be brought down to 6.6 because of the presence of lactic acid.

When the body is undergoing strenuous exercise, we begin to breathe faster and our bodies require more oxygen than we can breathe.

Although the body generates most of its energy through aerobic respiration, meaning with the help of oxygen, there will come a time during exercise when it will have to provide oxygen anaerobically.That’s when lactic acid accumulation occurs and can hamper your exercise.

There are ways by which you can reduce this apart from stretching and improving your breathing technique. Diet and exercise go hand in hand and what we eat truly define us and our glycogen stores.

Incorporating these 5 foods in your diet will help you through your workout with feeling the burn!


Beetroot is rich in nitrates, which act as vasodilator and increase the blood vessel radius enabling faster and longer oxygen availability during exercise.

This means lesser lactic acid buildup due to aerobic energy cycle as primary fuel. To get the most benefit consume 200-250ml beetroot juice 2 hours prior your exercise to improve strength and endurance.


Bromelain is the active ingredient found in Pineapple and contributes to its muscle healing properties. It acts by digesting the damaged muscle and reducing inflammation.

Bromelain is also used in tenderizing meats as it’s a proteolytic enzyme. This is an effective food to have post workout to reduce muscle soreness caused by lactic acid burn.


Green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale and its counterparts like broccoli are rich in magnesium and Vitamin B that help prevent and relieve muscle soreness and spasms that may accompany lactic acid buildup.

It also ensures your muscles are getting enough oxygen during workout. The body uses magnesium to build proteins, for healthy nerve function and for muscle contraction, such as the beating of your heart and voluntary movements of your large skeletal muscles.

Incorporating magnesium rich foods into the diet can help with muscle performance, including the speedy recovery from lactic acid buildup.


Indian gooseberry or Amla is one of the richest source of Vitamin C providing about 600mg/100g. It reduces lactic acid buildup and reduces muscle soreness due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

Have one amla a day and meet your RDA requirement and enjoy workout without worrying about the burn.


Indian fatty fishes like mackerel and sardine are rich in essential fatty acid omega-3. Omega-3 is known to have anti-inflammatory properties and considered to be one of the most important nutrient post workout.

They help in muscle growth and recovery. Other sources of omega-3 include walnut, flaxseed and chiaseed.

Apart from utilizing the benefit of these foods make sure that 30 mins to 2 hours before your workout you have a whole complex food balanced in carbohydrate, protein and fat.

Hydrating your body well with 8-10 glasses a day ensures fluid and electrolyte replenishment after a workout and reduces muscle cramping and soreness.

Do not forget to stretch! Sip on water during workout to replenish fluid lost through sweat. Eat a post workout meal with carbohydrate and protein ration 3:1 within 2-3 hours window to replenish your glycogen stores and restrict muscle breakdown.

Ryan Fernando is an Award-winning celebrity Sports Nutritionist with 2GUINNESS world record and 2 Olympic medals under his belt. His client list include Olympic wrestler Sushil Kumar, cricketer Shikhar Dhawan & bollywood superstars Aamir Khan & Abhishek Bachchan. He is Chief Nutritionist at QUA Nutrition Signature Clinics.

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