10 Post-Workout Supplements for Recovery
One of the most important tools to have in your muscle-building tool belt is muscle recovery supplements. While good sleeping habits and a healthy diet will ensure that your muscles develop as you train, boosting your BCAAs, protein, and carbohydrate levels right after a workout help muscles repair quickly and cut down on soreness.
They can even help build muscle mass more quickly! What we love about a good recovery drink is that they mix well with a full glass of water, ensuring that you fuel your tired muscles with not only beneficial BCAAs but a good dose of water as well!
In this guide, we have selected some of our favorite muscle recovery supplements that will leave you fresh and ready to hit the bar as soon as possible.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 25 hrs of research
60 servings per container
10 Best Muscle Recovery Supplements
1. Legion Recharge
60 servings per container
No carbs or proteins
Legion Recharge gives you powerful results to help your muscles recover faster. It has creatine monohydrate which is the best natural growth supplement that helps to grow muscles. This is a science-based builder.Read more
Legion Recharge is a post-workout supplement formula that is built around supplying creatine to the working muscle. This replaces ATP muscle cell energy that has been lost during your training. It also acts as an effective cell volumizer.
The addition of carnitine boost workout recovery, pushing your body into a state of anabolism. There are no carbs or proteins in this product.
Legion Recharge mixes easily with just a glass and a spoon in water. There is no clumpiness or residue. It has a pleasant taste and goes down easily. You won’t suffer any of the side effects that come with other creatine products.
2. BSN Cellmass 2.0
3 types of creatine
BSN CellMass 2.0 is a redesigned version of CellMass which is even better than before. This is a recovery formula made from creatine and glutamine. It will help replenish your muscles after a serious workout.Read more
BSN CellMass 2.0 is a completely revamped version of the original CellMass, which now has triple the amount of creatine and has added in glutamine, hydrolyzed whey protein, and taurine. This makes it a very complete post-workout supplement. It has a 1:1 carb to protein ratio.
The scientifically sound ingredient blend in BSN CellMass will put an immediate halt to muscle fatigue and catabolism.
Instead, it will shunt your body into an anabolic environment so that you can repair and rebuild your trained muscles. It comes in four great-tasting flavors.
3. Optimum Nutrition
100 mg of caffeine
Supports joints as well
Some feel it’s too sweet
If your muscles are not only feeling the drain for a killer workout session, this blend from Optimum Nutrition is a great option to prevent you from feeling that post-workout drag. This formula contains important amino acids for effective recovery as well as collagen to give your tired joints a little love as well. Users love that this blend tastes great and blends easily.Read more
One serving of this blend delivers 5 grams of amino acids to your tired muscles, and 10mg of undenatured type II collagen for your joints as well. What makes this blend unique is that it also includes 100 mg of caffeine to give you a little extra boost to get you through the rest of your day!
Users also love the taste of this blend. It comes in three different flavors that include fruit punch, grape, and mango lemonade. Simply mix one scoop of this powder into your blender bottle and drink it immediately after your workout. It has a sweet and unique flavor that users really love!
If your workouts are in the morning or afternoon and leave you tired and foggy, this caffeinated blend will not only soothe tired muscles and joints but also energize you to get you through the rest of your day. Plus, it comes in at a super affordable price point that won’t break the bank.
4. NOW Sports Carbo Gain
The Now Foods Carbo Gain is a complex carbohydrate. Every product is tested by LGC for banned substances. They are also blind sampled about 4 times a year. This product ensures purity and quality for serious hard gainers.Read more
This option is a post-workout recovery and rebuilds formula that has been specifically created for hard gainers. It is made up of nothing but complex carbohydrates. It will provide endurance for training as well as quickly restocking glycogen levels after your workout.
The carbohydrates come from maltodextrin, which is a corn-based fast-acting carb. There is no protein in this product.
NOW Foods Carbo Gain mixes easily and tastes great, despite containing no artificial flavorings or preservatives. The 100% carb blend will give you an abundance of training energy while boosting your after exercise recovery ability. It is very affordable, allowing for 70 servings from each container.
5. Myogenix After Shock
Creatine and glutamine
32 grams of protein
30 grams of carbs
Includes proprietary blends
There is a time period of about 30 minutes right after you exercise when your body is best for muscle growth. It's called the anabolic window. It just needs proper nutrients. Aftershock has the nutrients your body needs.Read more
Myogenix AfterShock is a potent blend of high octane ingredients designed to shunt you out of catabolism and into a state of anabolic growth immediately after your workout.
It contains both creatine and glutamine, allowing for rapid cell growth while replenishing the ATP energy levels within each muscle cell. It features kre-alkalyn creatine for more rapid absorption.
Myogenix AfterShock contains a 50:50 bend of carbs to protein that is provided to restore glycogen while fast-tracking the amino acids for repair and rebuild. With each serving, you get 30 grams of carbohydrate, along with 32 grams of protein. It tastes good and won’t weigh you down.
6. MHP Dark Matter
3 types of creatine
4 to 1 carb/protein ratio
Reduces post-exercise soreness
Doesn’t mix very well
MHP Dark Matter takes pride in being the ultimate muscle growth accelerator after your workout. It gives you a 600 percent protein synthesis increase and absorbs faster than a whey isolate. It also makes your insulin levels spike for quicker absorption.Read more
MHP Dark Matter aids workout recovery by spiking insulin levels post-workout, allowing for faster transportation of nutrients to muscle cells. You get three types of creatine in this product, allowing you to very effectively replenish the ATP stores within the cell.
With a carb to protein ratio of 4 to 1, you will quickly build up post-exercise glycogen levels, while also supplying the essential amino acids that you need to rebuild muscle fiber.
MHP Dark Matter contains a number of auxiliary anabolic enablers that promote muscle growth and help to minimize post-exercise soreness. This is an effective post-training energy restorer that will fast track the repair and rebuild of your trained muscles.
7. Post Pump
Very clean ingredient profile
No artificial additives
Unpleasant taste for some
Post Pump is a clean supplement you can use after your workout. It is not flavored or sweetened and has no artificial ingredients. It just has the best muscle building ingredients.Read more
Post Pump workout formula by DO Vitamins is a post-workout muscle booster that has been scaled back to produce a completely clean power boost alternative. It contains no artificial flavors and is unsweetened with no colors, flavors or sweeteners.
Post Pump includes only the 3 most scientifically proven ingredients to get you into anabolic muscle building zone as quickly as possible; creatine, branch chain amino acids and carnitine.
This is is one of the cleanest muscle recovery aids we have found. This means that the nutrients go directly to your cells without any residual build-up of toxins in the body. This product is NON-GMO certified.
100 percent vegan
Some supplements out there on the market are bogged down with extra ingredients that you may not want at the end of your workout. If you are simply looking for a simple BCAA blend that sends a high dosage of amino acid to your muscle for quick and effective recovery, this is a great choice. Users love that it blends well, and isn’t derived from animals, making it 100 percent vegan.Read more
What we love most about this blend is that it contains an impressive 5 grams of EAAs and 8 different BCAAs. It absorbs into your body within 20 minutes of taking it, which helps deliver these essential amino acids to your affected muscle groups as soon as possible.
The best part about this blend is what isn’t found in the bottle. If you don’t want or need extra vitamins, caffeine, or collagen from your post-workout drink, this is a great option. This blend of EAAs provides users with an effective dose of amino acids that is double the percentage found in lean meats and eggs.
If you are on the hunt for something that delivers a high dosage of EAAs and nothing more, this blend from Kion is a great choice. Users find that the taste is pleasing, and mixes incredibly well in 8 ounces of water. It may cost a little bit more than other blends, but we feel that it is worth every penny!
14 unique flavors
7 grams of BCAAs
Too sweet for some
If you are in the market for something that has a high dosage of BCAAs without extra fillers or sugar, this blend from XTEND is a great choice. What we love most about this blend is that it boasts a simple formula that delivers a high dosage of BCAAs to your system without additional ingredients that you may not want or need. Plus, it comes in a ton of unique flavors that you are bound to love.Read more
The most important feature found inside of this bottle is that it contains an impressive 7 grams of BCAAs per serving, which is much higher than other options out there on the market. It also contains a serving of electrolytes, which helps you stay hydrated after your workout, and helps water and BCAAs absorb into your body more effectively.
What makes this blend unique is that it is offered in 14 unique and tastes flavors. Options include rainbow sherbert, blue raspberry, Italian blood orange, strawberry kiwi splash, freedom ice, as well as a host of others. Users find that it is delightfully sweet, and blend well with 8 ounces of water.
This blend from XTEND is a great option for those that want something that is simple and refreshing to take after a brutal workout. It contains a slightly higher dosage of BCAAs than some of the other blends that we have seen and clocks in at an affordable price point that won’t break the bank.
10. Muscle Pharm Re-Con
Beta-alanine and citrulline
27 grams of carbs
Muscle Pharm Re-Con is made especially to maximize the post-workout recovery. It will help you to keep a high-performance level and help your muscles repair and rebuild. This formula will maximize muscle glycogen. ides a rapid and sustained absorption of nutrients.Read more
Muscle Pharm Recon is designed to be taken immediately after your workout in order to put a halt to the deterioration of muscle fiber, while, at the same time, restoring glycogen, ATP and amino acids in the muscle cell. I
t features a proprietary carb blend of glucose powder, and dextrose. Branch chain amino acids are provided in a unique 3:1:2 leucine to isoleucine to valine ratio.
You get a total of 27 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber and 7 grams of sugar in this product. Beta-alanine and citrulline are included, allowing you to have more training energy as well as to enhance your training pump.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
There is quite a variety of ingredients in these supplements but a few of them definitely stand out.
The first is creatine monohydrate. The monohydrate is an important part because that is what helps it absorb quickly. Creatine has a reputation for increasing muscle size, strength, and power. It can be taken before or after your workout but it is definitely recommended after because that is when your muscles need it most. Creatine monohydrate helps with the production of ATP in your muscle cells which is the first form of energy to get used up.
The other ingredient you will see mentioned a lot is glutamine. Glutamine is an abundantly common amino acid in the body with is non-essential. It helps with your protein synthesis and gets depleted quickly during your heavy workout. This helps with developing lean muscle mass, greater endurance, and better strength. It is also anti-catabolic so you will not lose muscle mass during fasts, and it helps to fuel and repair your muscles.
Ease of Use
When you are considering how easy the supplement is to use, most of these products are mixed with a liquid and drank.
You may mix them with milk, water, or orange juice. If you workout in a gym, you will want a supplement that mixes with a liquid you have easy access to, in most cases water. If you workout at home, this will not be as big of a consideration.
You may find supplements that come in pill form which are a lot more portable if you do not work out at home. Or you might just be able to 'shoot it down' quickly. Pay attention to taste to make sure it is something you are able to stomach without upsetting it or something you will enjoy tasting so you will be more inspired to use it on a regular basis.
These supplements are a great way to enhance your performance levels and muscle recovery, but like everything else you should always follow the recommended instructions and watch your symptoms for any signs of distress.
Some side effects may include things like nausea, diarrhea, stomach upset, cramping or some weight gain from retaining water.
If your supplement has BCAAs, these could interfere with your blood glucose levels after surgery. You will also be at risk if you use alcohol excessively. You should also avoid BCAAs if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
If you are taking a supplement with creatine watch for side effects like anxiety, breathing problems, stomach issues, fatigue, headache or any rashes. There is an excellent chance you will not experience any of these, but it is always smart to keep an eye out for trouble.
Purity is important in any product. Whether you are working to build muscle mass or helping your muscles recover, you want the best ingredients to put into your body
Check the ingredients for artificial colors, flavoring or other ingredients. Watch out for as well for proprietary blends. They tell you every ingredient but they do not tell you the exact amount of each one in there.
They are just very vague and confusing so you may want to avoid them altogether. Of course, if you have any food allergies, please check the labels carefully as well.
It is important to have the right amount of potency in your supplement so your muscles will get the maximum benefit available.
When you are looking at the label, you will want to see around 20 mg of creatine per serving. Glutamine is important too and will help you process protein and even help your intestinal health.
There are other ingredients you can look for which will help your supplement to have the potency you need. Look for L-carnitine, about 2g per day which will help with your muscle soreness as well. Phyllanthus amarus extract, about 200mg a day for three days after the workout helps reduce muscle pain. You may also get benefit from Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM).
To keep it natural, wash the supplements down with blueberries and pomegranate juice which have a lot of therapeutic benefits.
Many vitamins are also very helpful in your goal of muscle recovery. Vitamin C helps to improve your production of collagen. Vitamin D helps your body to absorb calcium which is good for muscles and bones. Vitamin E increases your blood circulation so all the good ingredients get into your system quicker.
You lose plenty of fluid during that intense workout and should be replacing it while you are exercising but filling up on water after a workout will also help your recovery efforts. Water gives extra support to every metabolic function in your body so it is a huge help in muscle recovery.
Other Factors to Consider
When you decide to use supplements, it is a must that you choose your level of personal muscle bulk and level of training and select a potency amount that is appropriate for your need to develop your muscles in conjunction with your own training schedule.
Many people will choose to start at a low level for potency, possibly even the lowest level, start the supplements and monitor for results, as these results start to appear it is ok to move up in terms of potency.
Going for the highest potency and expecting super quick results is not the way forward, be measured, be thoughtful and have a strategy for potency.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: Do recovery supplements work?
Supplements often get a bad rap because there are so many unproven formulas and “get gains quick” promises. As long as you find the right formula with very specific ingredients, these supplements are effective (so long as you put in the work!). BCAAs have been scientifically proven to build muscle and cut down on soreness.
They work by stimulating your muscle protein synthesis much more quickly and effectively than if you sucked down water after your set and called it a day.
q: What other ingredients are good for muscle recovery?
There are other ingredients that are helpful in muscle recovery. Probiotics will help with digestion and absorption. Also look for Omega-3 Fish Oil, BCAAs, protein, CoQ10, curcumin, and L-arginine. All of these are helpful.
q: What should I drink for good muscle recovery?
Make sure you get some carbs. Your body uses the first sugar it finds in your bloodstream for energy. You also need some protein. If you are strength training you can get micro-tears in the tissues of your muscles and eating lots of protein after your workout helps your body repair. You also want to drink plenty of water.
q: How do BCAAs help?
BCAAs, which are called the branched-chain amino acids are very important after a workout because they help with protein synthesis which in turn helps with muscle repair. They are leucine, isoleucine, and valine help with the recovery process.
q: What helps sore muscles recover faster?
If you find that you are still incredibly sore even after your recovery drink, there are still some things that you can to get you back to normal. First of all, be sure that you are eating the right things. That means filling your diet with healthy fruits and veggies and lean protein, cutting out alcohol and tobacco, and getting enough sleep.
If you are willing to take it to the next level to soothe your muscles, an ice bath is one of the more effective (yet unpleasant) ways to cut down on soreness. We suggest soaking your muscles in icy water for no longer than 15 minutes. Ice baths work by constricting blood vessels to slow down movement to your muscle.
When you get out, the blood vessels open back up and pour into the affected muscle groups to really flush out metabolic waste.
q: What is good for muscle recovery?
BCAAs are a great way to build muscle and cut down on soreness. Experts find that 91 mg per pound of bodyweight is the perfect amount to fuel and help repair your muscles. Selecting a blend that also includes protein and carbohydrates also helps to satisfy hungry and tired muscle groups to help you recover quickly to be ready for the next training session!
q: What foods help with muscle recovery?
There are a few foods that will definitely aid in the efforts of muscle recovery. Salmon is good because it is both a protein and healthy fat. These help in repairing and rebuilding muscle. Eggs also have fantastic qualities to help with muscles. The other one that comes to mind is tart cherry juice. Cherries have antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties.
q: Does deep heat help with muscle recovery?
Using heat on your muscles helps to promote your blood flow and gets your muscles to relax. If you can go back and forth between heat and cold it can help with muscle pain, just do not use real extreme heat or ice directly on the skin.