When you’re going to the gym, you want to maximize the whole experience. Whether you’re training to be stronger, get larger muscles, or lose weight, you’d want to make sure that all your effort is worth it.
Aside from that, you want to recover quickly after a very intense workout. After all, who wants an extremely sore body in the days following a training session? It might even affect your performance in the following days if you train again.
That’s why it’s important to support your workout with drinks that can help you perform at your best! This is where post-workout drinks and supplements come in.
What Is a Post-Workout Drink or Supplement?
As the name suggests, these are supplements that are supposed to be taken after your workout. The ingredients are specifically formulated to help you increase your metabolism and help you recover faster from your intense workout.
When you use pre-workouts consistently, you’ll be able to maintain high-intensity workouts for longer and recover faster right after.
How Do Post-Workout Drinks or Supplements Work?
Usually, food or drinks to take are recommended after a workout. This helps you supply the needed nutrients for your muscles to recover from your strenuous workout. It is also suggested that you drink lots of water because you can become dehydrated during a workout.
Unfortunately, not everyone has the time to prepare meals or smoothies after a workout. That’s why it’s more convenient to have supplements to get the nutrients you need. It’s also more convenient because you get higher amounts of nutrients, like protein, carbohydrates, electrolytes, and glutamine. These are all important for building muscle and helping them recover.
What Are Some of the Ingredients in Post Workout Drinks and Supplements?
Finding the best post-workout drinks can be quite a complicated task. There are just so many options in the market today! To help you choose better, here are some of the ingredients found in post-workout drinks and supplements. Knowing what each ingredient does for you can help you identify what you need.
Carbohydrates give you the energy you need to function and move. This is why they get depleted significantly after an intense workout. Consuming carbohydrates after a workout will help you replenish the lost carbohydrates. This can help you get your energy back and avoid being all grumpy from hunger and fatigue.
It also helps you reduce the risk of energy because you get back the energy you need to get on with the rest of your day.
Consuming protein after an intense workout session can help your body build muscle proteins. This is extremely important for individuals who are training to get stronger muscles. With working out, you break down your muscle tissues so that they can rebuild themselves to be bigger. Protein helps your body do this.
You become dehydrated when you work out because water is needed to synthesize energy. Since you’re doing a tough workout, you’ll need all the energy you can get! Aside from that, your body temperature increases when you do high-repetition sets and lift heavy weights. As a response, your body tries to regulate that temperature using water.
Having electrolytes in your post-workout drink or supplement can help you get back the water you lost during the workout.
People usually associate vitamin C with a supplement they need to take when they have a common cold. But vitamin C actually plays an essential role in helping your body cope with stress. It’s an antioxidant that helps you deal with metabolic stress.
When you’re working out, your body is technically going through metabolic stress. Having vitamin C in your post-workout supplement can help you cope with that stress.
A BCAA Blend
BCAA stands for branched-chain amino acids. This blend consists of a mixture of three important amino acids, namely, leucine, isoleucine, and valine. The body uses these amino acids to help digest food, repair body tissue, and promote growth, just to name a few.
These amino acids are commonly found in protein sources, like meat and eggs. They are essential for individuals who are working out to build muscle. They also help repair damaged muscle tissues after an intense workout.
Your body naturally produces creatine. It’s used in multiple ways, all of which help with muscle growth, endurance, and strength improvements.
Creatine monohydrate is one of the most well-studied forms of creatine. It has numerous published clinical studies on how safe and effective it is. It boosts adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is the primary fuel source for muscles when exercising.
This boost in ATP allows you to work harder for a longer period of time. As a result, you get to lift heavier weights for longer! Ultimately, this leads to more muscle strength and growth.
Glutamine is considered one of the most effective, and most popular post-workout supplements, along with creatine monohydrate. It’s a staple because it helps you speed up recovery, and it supports your immune system. It’s also been linked to reducing inflammation, so it’s great for combating soreness after.
Since intense workouts can take their toll on the body, glutamine helps you combat the negative effects.
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7 Best Post-Workout Drinks or Supplements
The post-workout drinks and supplements that we’ll be discussing are all very good at what they do. These are some of the top supplements in the market! Get ready because we have included a wide variety of drinks and supplements for you to choose from. We’ve included natural drinks, like coconut water, and more formulated ones, like active greens and protein shakes.
1. Coconut Water
Pure coconut water has numerous health benefits that can help you recover better after working out. Coconut water is a great option for a post-workout drink because it is naturally low in sugar and calories but is high in electrolytes. This can help quench your thirst after your workout, and bring back hydration to your body. These electrolytes include:
It’s also noteworthy that coconut water is free of fat and cholesterol.
2. Orange Juice
As mentioned above, vitamin C is a great ingredient to look for in post-workout drinks. It helps you recover better because it boosts your metabolism.
And what better way to get your daily dose of vitamin C than orange juice?
The amount of vitamin C you’ll get from orange juice can vary, depending on the brand. Some have a higher concentration of vitamin C than others. What’s important is that you get enough to recover quickly.
Orange juice also has a significant amount of electrolytes. This helps you rehydrate after a long and tiring workout.
3. Athletic Greens AG1 Greens Powder
Some people may not have the time to prepare fruits and vegetables, so it can be a challenge to get the right amount of nutrients. Having a post-workout green drink can help you solve that problem.
Big disclaimer though! Greens powder cannot substitute for eating vegetables. It is still advised to eat veggies instead. But, if you have lots of challenges concerning vegetables, this can be a good substitute.
Athletic Greens AG1 has significantly high amounts of vitamins and minerals that are sourced from 75 different whole foods. You read that right, it has over 75 absorbable ingredients. On top of that, it’s gluten, sugar, dairy, egg, and nut free! This makes it compatible with vegan, keto, and paleo diets.
This post-workout supplement is a great way to regulate oxidative stress, which can come from intense workouts. You’ll also be getting tons of vitamins and minerals to help support your metabolism while you’re recovering.
Transparent Labs has created an impact in the fitness industry by coming up with a product that is plain, simple, and as expected, transparent. A very defining feature of their products is that they give you a transparent breakdown of all the ingredients that are included in their product.
Their post-workout supplement, Transparent Labs POST, is no exception. It gives you a clear and comprehensive list of all the included ingredients. It’s also nice to know that these ingredients are added with clinical dosage in mind so they’re just the right amount for you to reap their benefits.
For Transparent Labs POST, it has the following ingredients:
- L-glutamine – 5,000 mg
- BetaPure betaine anhydrous – 2,500 mg
- L-carnitine L-tartrate – 2,000 mg
- Innovative Vitacherry tart cherry powder – 500 mg
- AstraGin – 25 mg
L-glutamine is great for speeding up recovery, supporting the immune system, and combating muscle soreness. These ingredients, when put together, work hand in hand in making sure you have good blood flow in your muscles so oxygen and nutrients are supplied properly after a workout.
It’s also noteworthy that this product is gluten-free, non-GMO, and free from any artificial sweeteners, preservatives, and food coloring.
Vintage Build is a popular product used by athletes when they want to perform at their best. The formula is pretty straightforward because it’s comprised of the 3 staple ingredients to help your body recover, which are:
- InstAminos or Vegan BCAAs.
- Creatine Monohydrate.
You’ll be getting a good dose of these ingredients in 1 scoop. It is recommended that you take at least 2 scoops of this supplement as your post-workout drink per day. You’ll be able to maximize its effects this way.
With Vintage Build, you’ll be able to build and preserve lean muscle while recovering faster.
It’s important to note though that this post-workout supplement is a bit pricey. There are reviews online that claim that this supplement is a bit too expensive for what it’s worth. You can also go through a whole tub quickly if you take 2 scoops a day.
Gold Standard Whey Protein by Optimum Nutrition is called the gold standard for a reason. This is one of the top-tier high-quality protein shakes in the market.
It contains 24 grams of protein per serving. What’s interesting about this product is that it has a unique blend of 3 different types of whey, namely:
- Whey Protein Isolate.
- Whey Protein Concentrate.
- Whey Peptides.
Aside from that, the other ingredients include:
- Natural and artificial flavors.
- Acesulfame potassium.
This blend of 3 kinds of whey makes Gold Standard Whey a well-rounded product. Each of these forms of whey has its pros and cons. There isn’t one that is considered the “best kind of whey.” That’s why mixing them all into one product was a smart move.
Likewise, adding Aminogen and Lactase was also a good move. These ingredients are very good for improving digestion.
7. Post JYM
Post JYM is a great post-workout supplement because it’s loaded with ingredients that can help your body grow and recover. Here are the ingredients you’ll find in this supplement:
- Glutamine – 3 g.
- Creatine hydrochloride – 2 g.
- Beta-alanine – 2 g.
- L-carnitine L-tartrate – 2 g.
- Betaine – 1.5 g.
- Taurine – 1 g.
The BCAAs that are present will help you improve muscle retention, focus, and endurance during exercises. As for creatine hydrochloride, it functions just like creatine, but some sources report that it is absorbed in the body better than standard creatine.
Taurine helps reduce muscle cramps and promotes hypertrophy by attracting more water into your cells. As for beta-alanine, it’s used to improve hypertrophy, too, as well as increase your endurance.
Finding the Best Post-Workout Drink, or Supplement for You
Post-workout drinks and supplements are a great way to support your training sessions. It helps you rehydrate, and stay energized, and it provides you with the nutrients you need to get the most out of your workout.
We have discussed the important ingredients that you need to look out for in a good post-workout drink or supplement. Getting to know these ingredients and what they do for your body is a great way to start your search. Knowing the key ingredients makes the process easier.
Finally, there is no one size fits all answer for “the best post-workout drink, or supplement, in the market.” It all really boils down to what you need, and what is effective for your body. The best one can take care of all your unique needs for a post-workout drink.