On a quest for the best post workout supplements? After an intense workout, there is a crucial recovery time that your body undergoes.
The most critical time to properly stimulate muscle growth is in the one-hour period immediately following a training session. During this time period, proper nutrition is crucial.
Want to learn more? Jump to: Beginners Guide to Post-Workouts
It is important to make sure that you’re giving your body the nutrients that it needs to maximize recovery time, in order to continue to grow stronger, and even more importantly, to decrease the risk of injury.
If you do not feed your body the proper nutrients, then there can be negative consequences. Nutritional supplements are a popular way to make sure your body gets what it needs after a workout.
Top 10 Post-Workout Supplements
Many different supplements have been developed to aid the body in post-workout recovery. If you’re looking for suggestions, here are some of the best post workout supplements out there.
#1 -Cellucor Alpha Amino
- Promotes muscular endurance
- Shortens your recovery time
- Helps preserve muscle glycogen stores
- Can take up to four servings daily
- Available in flavors such as Lemon Lime and Watermelon
Highly regarded as one of the best post-workout supplements on the market, Cellucor Alpha Amino is amino powder designed to increase your endurance, hydration, and recovery.
Alpha Amino is made up of a 2:1:1 BCAA blend, 3x Leucine and 11 additional amino acids, all which aid in a shorter recovery time and fuels skeletal muscles. An added plus? Users universally rave about how great it tastes.
#2 – Optimum Nutrition Essential AMIN.O. Energy
- Supports muscular recovery before, during, and after exercise
- Contains beta-Alanine, which allows users to train longer and harder
- Supports nitric oxide synthesis
- Only 10 calories per serving
- Available in many different flavors, including Lemon Lime, Green Apple, Orange Cooler, and Concord Grape
Optimum Nutrition Essential AmiN.O. Energy is an amino acid powder designed to increase energy and focus for long, hard training sessions.
AmiN.O. combines a vigorous ratio of rapidly absorbed free-form amino acids with natural energizers such as caffeine and green tea extract to help users reach their next level.
#3 – Universal Nutrition Torrent
- Enhanced with key amino acids for maximum anabolic activity
- Builds muscle mass
- Has a post workout recovery matrix
- Supports glycogen resynthesis
- Flavors include Cherry Berry Blast, Green Apple Avalanche, and Hawaiian Pump
Universal Nutrition Torrent is an anabolic muscle activating supplement that uses key aminos and creatine to trigger new muscle growth.
Torrent’s formula is designed to get the maximum results during that critical post-workout anabolic activity. Its specialized matrix of carbohydrates allows for glycogen replenishment and fast absorption of muscle-nourishing nutrients.
It also provides the body with critical nutrients to help repair damaged muscle fibers.
#4 – Rich Piana 5% Nutrition ALLDAYYOUMAY
- Feeds muscles with a 10:1:1 BCAA ratio
- Enhances muscle stamina
- Aids in muscle recovery
- Provides joint and liver support
- Helps strengthen the immune system
Users rave about how much energy they get after taking Rich Piana 5% Nutrition ALLDAYYOUMAY. This product is a result of Rich Piana’s belief that supplements aren’t meant to be taken in addition to meals rather than as meal replacements.
ALLDAYYOUMAY’s key ingredients are Leucine, L-Glutamine, Hica, and N-Acetyl Cysteine (NCA), which provide users with the components necessary to build muscle mass, enhance stamina, and increase anabolic reaction.
#5 – SciVation Xtend Endurance
- Helps increase endurance
- Improves recovery times
- Enhances muscle building and strength
- Flavors include Blue Raspberry, Green Apple Explosion, and Watermelon
- Not recommended for anyone under 18-years-old
SciVation Xtend Endurance is a all-in-one supplement that gives an extra edge to athletes who perform prolonged high-intensity training sessions.
This supplement combines BCAAs, Citrulline Malate, Glutamine, and Electrolytes with a complex assortment of endurance-sustaining carbohydrates, helping users get the most from their workouts.
Take one serving with 12-14 ounces of water either during or after exercising for the top post workouts results, including better endurance and faster recovery time.
#6 – DS Splyce Intra Workout AAs
- Promotes muscle building and strength
- Helps lower body fat levels
- Assists in muscle repair/recovery
- Many flavors, including Blue Raspberry, Cherry Lime, Green Fusion, and Grape
- Not recommended for anyone under 18-years-old
Another highly regarded post-workout supplement on the market is BPI Sports Best BCAA. Best BCAA uses a proprietary process route to bond together the three branched chain amino acids (leucine, isoleucine, and valine) to form a bonded chain that acts as a better transport vehicle.
The results are a more efficient metabolism, better bioactivity, an enhanced onset time, and overall improved BCAA model.
#7 -MusclePharm BCAA 3:1:2
- BCAA is Supports lean muscle mass growth
- Increases protein synthesis
- Helps reduce muscle breakdown
- Can take one serving up to three times daily
- Available in both capsule and powder form
MusclePharm BCAA 3:1:2 gives users a unique ratio of amino acids: 3 Leucine, 1 Isoleucine, 2 Valine. They are released both pre- and post-workout.
It is specially designed to deliver optimal amounts of these amino acids during all phases of muscular development and maintenance. BCAA can be taken in between meals, 30-45 minutes before a workout, and /or immediately after a workout.
#8 – BSN AMINO X
- Serves as a recovery agent and helps with resistance to muscular fatigue
- For maximum results, take with Nitrix, N.O.-Xplode, Axis-Hit, Syntha-6 and TrueMass
- Contains no caffeine
- Flavors include blue raz, fruit punch, watermelon, and grape
- Not recommended for persons under 18-years of age
BSN Amino X is designed for healthy adults who are looking to support lean muscle mass, recovery, and tissue repair while sleeping.
When combined with regular exercise, Amino X promotes protein synthesis/anabolism, muscular endurance, glycogen resynthesis, and anti-catabolism/muscle sparing, making it one of the best post-workout supplements today.
#9 – MHP Dark Matter
- Supports a synergistic anabolic reaction during the period of peak insulin levels
- For best results, take within one hour of workout
- Main ingredients include Prosynthagen Peptide, Glycosaccharide-FST, and Hyrdosized
- Fast absorption time
- Stimulates protein synthesis
With its new and improved formula, MHP Dark Matter provides athletes with the right nutrients to support anabolic growth and recovery during that crucial post-workout period of muscle growth.
This supplement gives the body a super-fast nutrient uptake. Users rave about the post-workout boost that it gives, as well as how tasty the flavors, including Blue Raspberry and Fruit Punch, are.
#10 – Evlution Nutrition RE-BLD
- Combines creatine analogues, l-glutamine, and BCAAs
- Provides important tools to help rebuild muscle
- Promotes a quicker post-workout recovery time for your body
- Enhances strength
- Increases endurance during workouts
Evlution Nutrition RE-BLD combines creatine, glutamine, and aminos into one simple supplement that will help build endurance during workouts and aid in the post-workout muscle recovery.
Evlution Nutrition RE-BLD provides the important tools needed to repair muscle and promote recovery. To get the maximum results, simply take one scoop with 8-12 ounces of cold water right after a workout. RE-BLD comes in two flavors: Watermelon and Blue Raz.
These dietary supplements are manufactured with speed, efficiency, and effectiveness in mind. The top post workout supplements are intended to target the nutrients your muscles desperately need and get to work right away!
What Is a Post-Workout Supplement?
The name itself leads to the beginning of the answer to this question, we take these supplements shortly after or post working out. We take them to replenish our bodies with lost nutrients and enhance muscle recovery and eventual growth and strengthening.
Post workouts are commonly packed with amino acids mixtures, carbohydrates, and other nutrients which are essential in the replenishment and hydration of your muscles.
Typically, they are powder supplements, which are, with the help of a shaker bottle, mixed with water, milk, or another preferred liquid.
Powder however is not the only option, as they are also readily available in the form of a pill or a capsule; which for some bodybuilders is a more convenient way of consuming them.
Why Are They Important?
After killing it in the gym and feeling on top of the world, you suddenly realize one thing after your workout, you feel hungry!
Refueling your body after working out is perhaps the most critical time and aspect of your fitness program. Utilizing this time-frame properly will bring mad gains along with it!
Because exercise de-fuels your muscles, a nutrition rich post-workout meal or a good post-workout supplement are key to making sure your muscles combat this depletion!
Tearing down muscles is not such a bad thing though, it’s actually a part of tearing down the weak muscles and building your functional muscles up; but this is all done with the help of proper nutrition after a workout.
Your muscles want to repair themselves and refuel after an intense strength training session or intense workout, but they need nutrients to work with. Otherwise they are fighting a losing battle towards progress.
4 Reasons post-workouts are superior to whole food:
- Palatable and digestible
- Whole food absorption profile is too slow
- Liquid meals work within the “window of opportunity” post workout
- Better at nutrient targeting
In short, when we exercise, we grind down our muscle carbohydrate repositories as well as the protein structures of our muscles. After that our immune system is tasked with cleansing our body of it all; but the next step is where post-workout supplements and nutrition come into play.
The final step calls for the body to rebuild itself after the beating (exercise) you just gave it. This is why post workout nutrition is extremely important, as it provides the building blocks to accomplish this.
What Are Their Benefits?
Where do we start, there are a great number of benefits to supplementing your body with nutrients upon finishing your exercise routine.
Taking a post-workout supp can increase muscle hydration and growth, refuel your muscle glycogen (which is the storage form of glucose). It can also reduce the dreaded soreness after a workout. On top of that, a post workout supplement can increase endurance and reduce your recovery time.
Some other things you’ll gain by in-taking nutrients in the form of post workout dietary supplements is the fuel your body requires for protein synthesis as well as the energy you need for the maximization of the next workout.
As you can see, hydration is not the only thing people drink post workouts for, there are so many other things these nutrient rich supplements effect within us.
At the end of the day our body is just one brilliantly complex machine, and when we push it to its limits, we have to reward and replenish it; if we want to practice proper maintenance of the most important thing in our lives. . .our health.
In short, don’t miss out on post workout gains by skipping an optimal period for nutrition intake that will propel your body to the next level.
Who Can Benefit?
The short answer is, anyone who exercises or visits the gym to workout regularly; but a better answer is, a variety of people can definitely benefit by taking post workout supps.
People from all walks of life who burn carbs by exercising should consume protein, BCAAs, and carbohydrates, upon completing a workout. Those who are dieting and need to skip on the carbs can skip out that portion and just stick to the BCAAs and protein.
Bodybuilders, fitness enthusiasts, runners, people on a diet, both women and men, athletes, vegans, young professionals, coaches, personal trainers; these are just some of the walks of life that stand to benefit from post workout consumption.
How Do They Work?
The best approach to take when dealing with anything health related is to figure out the inner working of the product, and what makes it so special, what it’s intended purpose is.
On that note, let’s take a look at how post-workouts play out in our bodies.
BCAAs, or branched chain amino acids, are the primary ingredient for most of the top post-workout supplements. Basically, there are three types of BCAAs, there is leucine, there’s also isoleucine, and finally valine. There may be only three of them, but they are critical to healthy muscle building and sustaining.
Out of the three, leucine is essential in stimulating the synthesis of protein in our bodies; helping our muscles, and entire body pretty much, handle protein in an efficient manner. This is why it’s goo to combine BCAAs with Whey Protein, because of the synergy between the two; BCAAs have been shown to increase the effectiveness of protein powders.
You may have looked at your protein supplement tub and saw the inclusion of BCAAs in the formula, and now you may be conjuring thoughts along the lines of, “well, I’ll just take the whey protein isolate as my post-workout; that should do the trick, right?”
The reason you should take pure form BCAA post workouts is because they require no digestion in order to enter your bloodstream. Whereas the ones included and mixed with the isolate take hours to fully digest.
Therefore, by taking an actual post-workout product ALONGSIDE a whey protein supplement, you’re targeting your muscles at the right time as opposed to simply in-taking the nutrients and waiting for them to break down.
You’ll also see creatine used in post-workout supps, which is intended to provide your body with energy it needs to withstand the workout and then some. Creatine is actually stored naturally by your body, but working out causes your body to use it up, so replenishment is always appreciated.
Another key ingredient typically mixed into the best post-workout supplements are electrolytes. These little guys help our muscles keep hydrated and thus they don’t torture us with cramps. . .no one likes cramps!
Are There Any Side Effects?
Generally speaking, pretty much all of the stuff formulated in the form of a post-workout supplement is what your body either has within it already, or gets from naturally occurring things such as food and liquids.
Therefore, most people do not have to deal with any adverse side effects when taking post workout supplements in recommended dosages. While it is important to note that some of the ingredients used, such as creatine, usually causes bloating.
There is a simple scientific reason behind it all, and that is because creatine, on top of making sure you get bigger muscles and stamina, retains water in the muscles. Which is also why some people may look really big, but their strength levels are not over 9000!
So long as you maintain good nutrition outside the gym and alongside dietary supplementation, remember to drink lots of water or other healthy liquids, and take post-workout supplements as the directions state; the side effects experienced should be mild to none.
Pro Tip: If you’re aware of any conditions you may have, STOP and talk to your primary care doctor before consuming any supplements when working out!
How and When to Take Post-Workout Supps
Immediately after you’ve finished working out; some people also prefer to take it during their workouts, typically towards the end. The sooner you consume a post-workout supplement the quicker it will go to work on replenishing your muscles with the much needed nutrients.
If you’ve forgotten it at home or simply just can’t take it right away, worry not, there is a 40-50 minute window of opportunity which should give you ample time. So long as you try and take it within this time-frame after finishing your workout routine, your body should have enough time to digest and re-fuel after ingesting the recovery supplement.
But if you momentarily forget or just remember a little too late, its encouraged to still take the post-workout, as it will still go to work for you, but it will not be as effective; albeit, it will still be effective though.
As for the how to take a recovery supplement question, it’s usually in the form of a ready to drink shake, mixed up in a quality bottle shaker.
Our team usually mixes the recovery shakes BEFORE hitting the gym, that way when we’re all drained and feel as if we’ve just prevented the Earth from being destroyed by fighting off an army of aliens; we have a recovery supplement ready to drink waiting for us in the car or train.
Most importantly for the how to take the post supplement aspect, however, is the proper reading and understanding of the supplement label, directions, and supplement facts. Never take more than is recommended and always consult with a doctor before taking post workout recovery supps.
What to Look for in a Good One?
A commonly asked questions by both novice and seasoned fitness enthusiasts. Honestly, it’s a great question to ask at all stages of your fitness journey, primarily due to the ever changing supplement industry.
New earth shattering formulas and supplement brands are always entering and exiting the market. Hard to keep track of it all isn’t it? Don’t worry, we got your back!
First and foremost, look at whats listed on the supplement facts; this is what will truly tell you if this product will be beneficial to your fitness goals.
Secondly, take some time to research the supplement brand and most importantly see if there are any relevant legal battles lingering out there; you don’t want to consume something that a company is being justly forced to take off the market, but hasn’t done so yet because a ruling hasn’t been officially declared.
Believe it or not, taste of the post workout supplement plays a big role in continuous usage and thus increased chances of gains. Look to see whether the best recovery supplement has your preferred flavor in their lineup; if so, great!
We cover taste, in addition to all the other things to look for in recovery supplements, in our top supplement lineups and reviews.
Also worth your time: Using a Foam Roller to Achieve Recovery
As you can see, there are a lot of different choices for post-workout supplements on the market today. We hope this list and the guide will help you make a better and more informed decision. As always, if you have any concerns, consult with your doctor before taking dietary supplements; it’s good practice!
What to read next: Best Protein Powders & How to Use Them
Update Log Activity
- Updated on March 28, 2019 by Ada Lane