Workout recovery is one area that a lot of beginners get wrong. They think that just putting in the work at the gym or playing sports is all that’s needed.
But we’ve also encountered some more serious athletes and bodybuilders who just use a standard protein powder.
That’s not always the best approach, though.
As I was recently asked what I eat after workout and sports training, I decided to take a closer look at the recovery products at my gym.
And here are the ones we’d recommend.
Our Top Post Workout Supplements
1 - Performance Lab Sport Post (Editor's Choice)
After several months of testing, we kept going back to Performance Lab for muscle recovery. Most of our clients agreed that it seemed to work fastest to replenish amino acids and reduce soreness in muscles.
Some of the bodybuilders I work with will take these capsules after training and wash them down with a protein shake.
- Main Ingredient: Creatine 1,750 mg
- Claims to work for avoiding muscle wasting
- It’s taken as convenient capsules
- Added beta alanine might help reduce muscle fatigue and damage
- The electrolytes could support your hydration levels after training
- Some people prefer a refreshing protein shake after a workout
If you’re not a fan of pills and capsules, then you might want to pick one of the powder options below.
2 - Transparent Labs Post Workout
This is our favorite post-workout powder as it contains a well-balanced blend of amino acids that claims to be scientifically designed to speed up recovery.
Some of our clients have been drinking it after every training session, as it seems to help repair and rebuild damaged muscle tissue a lot faster.
- Main Ingredient: L-Glutamine 5,000 mg
- Claims to have a scientifically chosen blend of amino acids for faster muscle recovery
- A good dose of L-carnitine to help overcome fatigue
- Contains no fillers or artificial additives
- The cherry juice flavor is a bit too intense
The powder mixes easily with water, but the cherry flavor is a bit intense, so you might want to water it down a bit more.
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3 - Jacked Factory Growth Surge Post Workout
This post-workout shake from Jacked Factory is a favorite with many bodybuilders looking for fast recoveries and some healthy post-workout energy boosts.
We noticed a lot of comments where people said that the ingredients it contains seem to be absorbed by your body pretty fast.
- Main Ingredient: Creatine 3,000 mg
- Seems to start working fast due to faster-absorbed ingredients
- Positive comments about the flavor
- Comes with a money-back guarantee for added peace of mind
- Just make sure you shake it well to avoid a lumpy texture
It doesn’t seem to be the easiest one to mix with water and will require a bit more effort in a shaker.
4 - Optimum Nutrition Instantized BCAA Powder
Here’s another BCAA that you could possibly take as a pre-workout as well. The formula does seem to give an energy boost that might improve your endurance.
There are also plenty of positive reviews that it might repair muscles significantly faster than other supplement powders.
BCAA vs Whey Protein: Which one should I take?
- Main Ingredient: BCAAs 5,000 mg
- Specifically formulated to provide important BCAAs for faster recovery
- Mixes very easily without the need of a shaker
- Also available as capsules for better convenience
- Some people found the flavors a bit fake tasting
The only thing I’d point out is that some of our clients thought it tasted a bit fake.
5 - BSN Amino X Muscle Recovery & Endurance Powder
This post-workout shake is possibly one of the strongest for essential amino acids we’ve been able to find in the fitness industry.
You’d really only need this amount if you’re going through a serious bulking phase.
Most research would point to significantly lower doses, but if you have this kind of requirement, then it’s possibly the best option .
- Main Ingredient: BCAAs 12,000 mg
- One of the more potent products for BCAAs
- Suitable for stacking with their other supplements
- Positive comments about the refreshing taste
- The company hides behind a proprietary blend
The only thing we didn't like is that you don’t get details about the breakdown of each ingredient due to a proprietary label.
6 - XTEND Sport BCAA
XTEND is taking the approach of focusing more on L-leucine, which has been shown to play a key role in post-workout recovery .
The company has also ensured that the fitness supplement doesn’t contain any sugar or other carbs that could end up messing with your diet.
You also get some electrolytes, including potassium, to bring your hydration levels to a healthy level.
- Main Ingredient: L-leucine 3,500 mg
- Provides a total of 7g of BCAAs for faster recovery
- Contains no sugar to avoid messing up your diet
- Provides added electrolytes that may help you rehydrate quickly
- Some users said the texture isn’t great
The downside we should mention is that it’s not the smoothest texture even when shaken a lot.
7 - JYM Post Workout
This is a popular product that combines nutrients that make it suitable both before and after training.
It’s formulated by one of the leading brands in the bodybuilding industry, which should mean you’re buying something for high strength and endurance levels.
Our clients have reported that they like the effects it has to avoid stiffness and cramps after particularly tough workouts.
- Main Ingredient: L-glutamine 3,000 mg
- Formulated by one of the leading sports fitness experts
- Might work well to boost endurance as well
- Positive comments that it helps after high-intensity exercise
- We found the flavor a little bit on the sweet side
Just keep in mind that it tastes a bit sweet, so you might want to mix the powder with a bit more water or milk.
8 - MuscleTech Myobuild BCAA
This post-workout drink claims to focus on BCAAs in a specific combination to boost protein processing in your muscles.
This does seem to be backed up by research from health and fitness experts, and we found a lot of reviews about faster recovery.
- Main Ingredient: L-leucine 2,000 mg
- May help to keep you better-hydrated thanks to the included potassium
- Many users take it as a pre-workout for intense exercise
- Contains some taurine which may support a boost in mental endurance
- It’s not the strongest option so may not suit professional athletes
It’ll be fine for the average athlete, but professionals might find it’s not strong enough.
9 - Vintage Build Post Workout BCAA
One of our Keto clients has been using this supplement for several months as it claims to lack any carbs or fat on the nutrition label.
We also like that the company has its products tested by a 3rd party to ensure and certify a certain purity and quality level.
- Main Ingredient: Creatine 3,000 mg
- Comes with a good dose of BCAAs in the right balance
- Claims to contain no sugar or fat making it Keto-friendly
- 3rd party tested for purity and quality
- You’ll want to give it a good shake to get the right texture
We did find that you’ll need to give it a powerful shake as the powder doesn't seem to mix that easily.
10 - PROGENEX Recovery
The final post-workout shake on our list is a more traditional protein supplement, but it is one that comes with quite a high dose.
It also uses hydrolyzed whey, which should provide you with the most important essential amino acids to allow your muscles to recover more effectively.
- Main Ingredient: Whey 23 g
- Uses hydrolyzed whey for faster absorption rates
- Positive comments about retained muscle mass
- The flavor is nice, and the texture seems smooth as well
- I’m not a big fan of powder in pouches as they tend to be a bit messy
The only thing I don’t like about it is that it comes in pouches, and I think those always end up being messy.
1 - Pay Attention To The Types Of Protein
Many folks think any kind of protein will boost their muscle recovery.
But in reality, there is a certain amino acid profile that you need in order to maximize this effect.
Now, when it comes to the recovery phase after a tough workout, you ideally want a powder that contains some extra BCAAs .
Your standard whey protein will contain some. But by adding an extra boost, it’s possible to speed up the recovery that bit more.
“BCAAs contain leucine, isoleucine, and valine, the three main amino acids that your body uses to repair muscle. After a tough workout, your muscles are torn up and in need of repair. They build back stronger, and you put on muscle — as long as you have plenty of those three special amino acids.”
- Dave Asprey, Health And Nutrition Expert And Author.
2 - Avoid Sugary Supplements
If you see a supplement that contains a lot of carbohydrates, then the chances are that those are from highly refined sugar.
And sugar is one thing to avoid after your workouts.
They might make you feel like you receive an energy boost when you need it most. But that boost comes with a crash after your blood sugar levels drop again.
Here’s what I tell my clients.
You should feel drained and tired after your workouts. If you don’t, then you haven’t worked hard enough.
And sugar certainly won’t improve things.
If you are a diabetic check out these sugar-free protein powders.
3 - Be Careful With Stimulants
I generally advise staying away from post-workout supplements that contain caffeine.
There are two reasons.
Firstly, many people train in the evening, and caffeine could mess with your sleep. And that would reduce your ability to recover from heavy workouts.
Secondly, they tend to give you a false sense of providing a boost. The stimulants make you feel more alert, but your body is still missing the nutrition to repair properly.
Are Post-Workout Drinks Necessary?
Yes, I believe post-workout drinks are necessary if you want to achieve your goals faster. By helping your muscle fibers to repair faster, you should be in a good position to perform at a higher level in your next training session.
Is Coffee a Good Post-Workout Drink?
No, coffee isn’t a good post-workout drink as it might dehydrate you and make you feel jittery. It’s a lot more important to focus on protein to fuel a faster recovery process.
Our #1 Recommended Post-Workout Drink
The clear winner for us has been Performance Lab Sport. It’s top of our list and the first supplement we recommend to all of our clients.
Between our own test results and the online reviews, it just seems to be the one option that contains the best ingredients to give you a speedy recovery.
Order yours today, and then let us know how your first couple of training sessions go.