You don’t make gains when you exercise – you make them when you recover well after exercise.
You can train as much and as hard as you want, but if you’re not recovering properly between training sessions, you’re not making the best gains.
Today we’re going to discuss the best post-workout drinks and what you should look for in a recovery drink. If you’re ready to make the most of your workouts, read on!
- Top 9 Post Workout Recovery Supplement
- Post Workout Recovery Drink Buying Advice
- Our Picks and Final Thoughts
Top 9 Post Workout Recovery Supplement
1. Vintage BUILD
Vintage brings a product that does some of the basics, but definitely not all of them.
The BCAA content of the product is okay, but BCAAs aren’t proven to help muscle growth or recovery. The leucine content is just under half of the dose requires to produce significant muscular benefits, too, which is a concern.
If anything, BCAAs belong in a pre- or intra-workout drink for endurance athletes!
There’s creatine in this product at the right amount, as well as glutamine, which put it back on track to support muscular recovery/growth. However, this makes up a pretty small amount of benefit for the price.
2. Growth Surge Post-Workout
This product does a lot right.
Firstly, there’s an effective creatine dose similar to the Vintage product. However, with this product, it’s paired with Betaine, which is a great combination for supporting cell hydration. This means better recovery and may boost muscle growth.
The use of carnitine is also interesting since this is an essential compound in muscles. It makes for a great post-workout supplement for those with low protein intake or vegetarians who may not get enough carnitine.
Piperine in this product boosts absorption, too, which ensures that the existing doses are even more effective.
3. POST JYM
The JYM post-workout is a good balance of creatine, betaine, beta-alanine, carnitine, and glutamine. These are all dosed pretty well, though you may need to take 1.5 scoops to get the best doses of these compounds.
We’re big fans of the variety on show with this product, though we do wish the dose was a little more significant per-scoop.
However, we’ve also worked with this product before and the taste is one of the best on the market. The fruit punch flavor is one of the best tasting pre-/post-workouts we’ve tried.
However, the beta-alanine is a really strange choice and the standard tingles do provide a strange experience. These suit a pre-workout better, but they’re a small price to pay for this diverse ingredient profile.
4. Legion Recharge
Legion tries to do some different things from its competitors. The choice of calcium as the main electrolyte is one of them and we love this choice. It provides muscular support more effectively than any other salt and is crucial for muscle wellbeing.
The creatine content is high, which is fine since you can dose huge amounts of creatine without negative response. This is just likely to support cell hydration effectively. Carnitine is also present too, even if betaine is missing.
The choice of Corosolic acid, however, is not a clear choice. This is an anti-diabetic compound, which is fine, but that doesn’t make much sense as a post-workout supplement. Good for health, but insulin action after a workout really isn’t the problem – and is often good.
This product has a decent line up of ingredients but falls over at the dosages.
With glutamine, creatine, and betaine it provides a good trio of effective, proven compounds. However, it only provides half the creatine you need to see significant effects. When comparing the 1.5g per scoop to the 5g in Legion’s Recharge, it’s clear that this product is missing serious dose.
You can take 2 scoops, which is fine, but if you’re going to up the dose to get the best effects then the JYM post-workout does even better with only 1.5 scoops. It’s a pretty clear fact that Re-KAGED isn’t quite living up to the hype.
6. Evlution Nutrition Recover Mode
This is a fantastic post-workout supplement that offers the effective dosages we’ve seen with other products, but with the variety we’ve seen with very few.
The BCAA intake doesn’t add much to the product, while the creatine complex is an effective dose with a “patented” HCL that we can’t really comment on. The dose is good, which is the important part.
You’re also going to receive Glutamine for strength-recovery, Betaine for its synergy with creatine, L-Carnitine to restore muscle carnitine levels, and a calcium/potassium electrolyte compound. These are the best combination of supplementary ingredients we’ve seen so far.
Overall, this is a fantastic product and it’s taking the lead on post-workout recovery drinks so far!
7. Fit Aid Recovery Drink
Despite being one of the most popular and hyped up products on the market, we don’t rate FitAid.
The actual drink is all vitamins and minerals. This is fine. It’s good for health but doesn’t provide a concerted recovery boost. There’s never a bad time to get more nutrients, but they’re not directly tied to muscular recovery.
What recovery-boosting compounds it may have are either poorly selected (e.g. Arginine instead of citrulline) or hidden behind a proprietary blend that is likely to significantly underdose the key compounds like glutamine or the BCAAs.
Overall, underwhelming product!
8. PowerBuild Post-Workout
This is a good post-workout supplement. It’s competitive with POST JYM on variety of compounds, but easily superior when it comes to per-scoop doses.
The combination of creatine, glutamine, betaine, Carnitine, and beta-alanine are present. This covers most of the main bases with clinically-effective doses. The inclusion of Leucine is a good choice, and it is a significant quantity too which may go towards effective leucine supplementation.
Piperine really does place this product ahead, too. We consider this to be a solid challenger to Evlution’s post-workout!
9. MuscleTech MyoBuild
The focus on BCAAs should be a good indicator that this product isn’t going to stand up to the other products that have topped this list.
The Betaine in this product is pretty cool, but there’s no creatine so this has limited benefit. On top of this, the other focal points of this product (tart cherry, taurine, and coconut water) are less-effective versions of compounds like creatine or betaine.
These tend to produce a moderately effective osmolyte for cell hydration, especially with the genuinely good electrolyte content, but not a recovery stimulus.
Overall, this seems like a regular rehydration drink rather than a purpose-made post-workout recovery drink!
Post Workout Recovery Drink Buying Advice
Key Compounds for a Great Post-Workout Supplement
Creatine is a useful compound whenever you take it. However, following a workout it can provide these benefits while also improving cell hydration and energetics.
Creatine is a key compound for muscle energy, which is useful for replenishing ATP after a workout. This is important for supporting muscular strength and helping you to return to normal energy levels after exhausting workouts.
This also supports cell hydration. This is the return of fluids to muscle cells, which is a factor in the signalling process for your body during the muscle-building process. Well-fed (energy-abundant), well-hydrated muscle tissue makes the best gains.
As a result, creatine makes an excellent part of a post-workout recovery drink. It’s got general benefits to strength-endurance but taking it post-workout is a great choice. This is even truer when combined with betaine…
2. Betaine (Trimethylglycine)
Betaine is a great nitric oxide booster and cell hydration supplement in its own right. However, when combined with creatine it provides an amazing overall health and recovery supplement.
Betaine is a name for trimethylglycine. This breaks down to two key compounds in the body – three methyl groups, and glycine. Each of these has unique benefits.
Methyl groups are used to support a variety of biological processes called methylation, which is key to good health and metabolism. On the other hand, glycine improves cell hydration and is amazing when combined with creatine.
Getting Betaine alone is a good choice, but with creatine it provides fantastic synergistic benefits to recovery and wellbeing!
Electrolytes are a group of essential salt-minerals, associated with the proper functioning of the muscles. These are often lost through exercise, in the form of sweat.
These are crucial for proper muscular health and function. During the recovery process, replenishing electrolyte levels are key to maximal recovery. They also reduce soreness and muscle damage by supporting the clearing of residual calcium from the muscles.
A post-workout supplement that contains minerals like calcium, potassium, magnesium, and sodium will provide the best recovery stimulus.
4. Nitric oxide and recovery
Nitric Oxide boosters are a popular form of supplement that improves blood flow. This is useful because it allows oxygen and nutrients to be delivered to the muscle rapidly, replenishing energy stores during exercise and supporting better performance.
During recovery, it also allows for effective delivery of nutrients to the muscles, supporting the recovery, repair, and growth processes. Proper nutrient delivery feeds into the energy-abundance discussed above and boosts overall recovery potential.
The best compound for this purpose is citrulline, which has the best results for nitric oxide boosting. However, you’ll also see some benefits with compounds like Arginine (especially as AAKG) and Pomegranate extracts.
Glutamine is a conditionally-essential amino acid that has some interesting implications for health and recovery.
First, it supports gut health, improving the wellbeing of intestinal walls and mucous. However, the important part is that it reduces the risk of illness in hard-training athletes and gym-goers. This is a great benefit since nothing ruins progress like illness/injury!
It’s also been shown that Glutamine has some benefits to recovery from strength training. This makes it a great combination with compounds like creatine and betaine, which also support these processes.
Glutamine isn’t a perfect recovery supplement by itself, but it is a great complimentary compound to other parts of a post-workout recovery drink.
Compatibility With Protein-Carbs
The quality of a post-workout supplement has to play well with the other key factors in recovery. For example, being able to combine effectively with other key nutrients like protein and carbohydrates is important.
One of the things we see often is that combining a protein powder with other compounds – like creatine, betaine, and glutamine – are limited by the flavorings of the product, or the acidity, etc.
Being able to combine a post-workout recovery drink with these key compounds makes it a much better choice. Being able to consume all of the most important post-workout nutrients into a single drink is a significant benefit for convenience and effect, since they tend to be synergistic.
A product that can be used in combination with others is a better product, if all other things are equal!
Matching to Your Specific Goals
A good supplement is one that matches up with your goals and practices. There’s no point taking in supplements that don’t specifically benefit your fitness goals, or that don’t have some significant carryover to general benefits like health or mood.
This means picking products with ingredients that translate to real benefits with your specific needs. For example, glutamine is a useful compound for strength training recovery, but has far less use if you’re into endurance.
This is a good principle to practice. The best things are those that directly support the goals you have for yourself, and no matter who good we think a product is, it doesn’t matter if it doesn’t apply well to your self-defined aims!
Our Picks and Final Thoughts
The recovery process is essential to producing the results you want, whether that’s in the gym, on the field, on the track, or from home workouts. Fitness doesn’t work if you don’t give your body the time and resources to recover effectively.
Our favorite product from the list we’ve discussed today is the Evlution Nutrition Recover Mode. This product provides the best balance of effective, varied ingredients with effective doses. It’s the best product for complete post-workout muscle recovery and support. We think it’s a clear winner, which is a testament to the quality, since there’s healthy competition!
If you’re ready to take your recovery and progress to the next level, investing in this kind of nutritional support is a key to your goals!