How Effective is Your Post Workout Supplement?
The land-scape for post workout supplements has changed in recent years. In the past, slugging down a whey protein shake after a work out was the staple for replenishing the depleted nutrients in your body and to help ease muscle soreness. And with it came the terrible taste, bloating, upset stomachs, and below average effectiveness in easing DOMS and general muscle soreness. As far as being the most effective supplement for providing vital nutrients to your depleted body, whey protein shakes do have some benefits, plus it’s better to drink a whey or blend protein shake than nothing at all especially if your diet is lacking protein. However, post workout recovery drinks with highly absorbable quality nutrients seem to ease muscle soreness better then a whey shake, making them the better choice for better recovery.
Post Workout Drinks Deliver The Goods
Post Workout Recovery Drinks and whey protein shakes usually come in powder form and can be mixed with different liquids (usually water). The nutrients found in them are similar, but PWRD do not contain the complete protein nutrient strain, but rather the broken down BCAA molecules. This means that the nutrients are more readily available to be used by your muscles in order to begin the rebuilding process, instead of waiting for your body to digest and breakdown the protein molecule and extrapolate the useful nutrients. Another important point is that when you do digest a protein shake, it is also important to note that your muscles will absorb and use some of the nutrients; however some nutrients will be destroyed during the digestive process or bypassed and excreted as waste.
So when we talk about deliverance of nutrients what we are really talking about is bioavailability and that is where the best post workout supplements of today really shine because the best ones will include Micronized or Instantized Amino Acids which greatly increases absorption, without any harsh side-effects.
Post Workout Drinks Taste Like Candy
True, you can get a protein shake to taste good if you blend it with other things like milk, ice, and fruit, but if you drink it with water only, it’s going to taste OK at best with terrible running a close second, and after several weeks of drinking them down, it starts to gets old real fast. Also, because they are a thick shake, they makes you feel fuller and can make you feel sluggish because your digestive system requires more blood to digest it.
Post workout drinks mix clear in water and taste awesome, like Gatoraid or Sweettarts and are very refreshing to have after a grueling workout. You never get tired of drinking it; in fact I can’t wait to drink mine simply because it feels more like a reward then a supplement!
Post Workout Drinks Are Versatile
Have you ever tried drinking a protein shake during (intra) your workouts? Yuk. You feel sluggish, tired, and sometimes you’ll end up running to the bathroom. Not the best way to spend your time at the gym.
Post workout recovery drinks can not only be consumed post workout but also during your workouts for added energy and stamina. It’s just like drinking Kool-Aid except it’s packed with awesome nutrients and it never slows you down or gives you a stomach ache.
The Bottom line – Look, I don’t hate shakes, they do serve a purpose, but the drink versions of today have distinct advantages over shakes, minus the drawbacks. You don’t have to replace your protein powder if you are really concerned with not getting enough protein through out the day and you can actually stack the two together by consuming the post workout drink during or immediately after your workouts and then having the shake 20-30 minutes after. But hey, if you still prefer a shake over a drink or if you’re just plain looking for some protein powder then you can check out my best protein supplement top 10 list for a breakdown of the top whey, casein, and blend protein shakes available…
But, if you want to get your hands on some elite bad ass, great tasting, versatile, anti-DOMS, kick butt recovery drinks then check out my best post workout supplement list below, grab the best one for you, and start building some serious muscle!
The Best Post Workout Drink – Without Creatine
**All supplements are gauged based on 5 categories from 0-10
with 0 being the lowest rating, and 10 being the highest rating**
9.5/10 – Amino Acid Profile: With a heavy emphasis on Leucine, the 8:1:1 BCAA ratio is great for heavy training days with an emphasis on moderate to heavy muscle soreness. No essential aminos here except glutamine so this dropped the score down just a bit.
10/10 – Glutamine: What’s great about the glutamine in Restoraid is that it contains 3 forms of it for fast absorption, hydration, and sustained release making this a great benefit to the product. This is the best synergistic L-Glutamine nutrient profile ive seen in these types of post workout supplements.
10/10 – Additional Nutrients: The Anti-DOMS and Electrolyte blends scored high in Restoraid making these elements unique to this supplement. There are other nutrients such as Waxy-Maize and Citrulline Malate that are also notable nutrients. If there were a few more vitamins and minerals added it would’ve put the score at a 10.
10/10 Taste/Mix: At the time of writing, there is only 1 flavor choice which is Citrus Punch; however it does taste pretty amazing. Restoraid is very refreshing after a workout for sure.
10/10 – Overall Value: 30 servings at about $1 each is one of the higher cost per serving formulas, however, considering the depth of the product, it is very much well worth it. Plus Restoraid has its own uniqueness to it with the addition of the Enzyme & Co-Factor formula, great glutamine combination, and a very nice electrolyte nutrient profile. Plus, for only being 20 calories per serving, getting all of these nutrients, and it tasting so good, you got to add this product into your arsenal.
Buy iSatori: RESTORAID
10/10 – Amino Acid Profile: 10,000mg of Micronized Aminos is a damn good amount to get per serving. Nutrabolics has made it clear that they do like to be generous with their portioning of their products.
9.5/10 – Glutamine: Undetermined amount of Micronized Glutamine so it is tough to rate this category a 10, however because it is part 10,000mg and it is Micronzied does merit a 9.5.
9.5/10 – Additional Nutrients: There are 2 additional nutrients that work in unison: HICA (Alpha-Hydroxyisocaproic Acid) and Micronized L-Lysine. They both work together in order to create an Anabolic State by reducing DOMS and increasing the body’s ability to repair and rebuild muscle.
10/10 Taste/Mix: There are 3 flavor choices: Blue Raspberry, Fruit Punch, and Orange. I have tried Blue Raspberry and Orange and both mix fast and taste great. The flavor is strong enough to enjoy with a 16-24oz of water for both intra and post workouts.
10/10 – Overall Value: 30 servings at $1.06 per may seem like a lot more money, but you have to keep in mind that 1 serving yields 10,000mg of high quality nutrients. You really only need 1 serving per day as appose to having 2 or more servings of Extend to get the same results. I really like this product and It will be part of my overall supplement plan.
Buy Nutrabolics: Anabolic State
10/10 - Amino Acid Profile: Recon’s 3:1:2 BCAAs provides a great balance of non-essential aminos with an emphasis on L-Leucine, but what makes this blend even better is the addition of essential aminos to round out the full profile.
9.5/10 – Glutamine: Although the full amount of glutamine cannot be determined due to a proprietary blend, the blend of Taurine, L-Arginine, and L-Pyroglutamic Acid increases uptake and replenishes depleted glutamine stores.
10/10 – Additional Nutrients: More than merely BCAA’s and Glutamine, this post workout supplement provides many other nutrients such as a Muscle Detoxifier formula, Anti-Stress Formula, Insulin Support, Electrolyte blend, Carb Max delivery system, and additional vitamins and minerals like 120mg Calcium. This is a category that will determine the real value in a product and Recon delivers big time. Just look at the damn label, it huge!
9.5/10 – Taste/Mix: With so much added nutrients I was surprised at how well Recon mixes and taste compared to the other post workout supplements. It’s a bit sweeter than others, but this allows one to adjust the flavor by adding more water if needed.
10/10 – Overall Value: Muscle Pharm’s Recon over delivers on the goods. When you are looking for your dollar to go the distance and you don’t want your time wasted on inferior products, this is the way to go. 30 servings at $1.30 per serving makes this the most cost per serving formula outa the bunch, but it does pack a super-punch full of post workout goodness that is well worth the extra 20-30 cents or so per serving.
Buy MusclePharm: RE-CON
10/10 – Amino Acid Profile: Just like Xtend, RPG IBCAA utilizes a 2:1:1 ratio of Ajipure® quality BCAAs and 1000mg of EAAs so you got all the bases covered here, but because this ratio utilizes Instantized BCAAs you get the most highly absorbable form of amino acids to date plus the EAAs.
10/10 – Glutamine: 2500mg of 100% Ajipure® is just great. This is the purest form of L-Glutamine you can currently purchase. Any questions?
9/10 – Additional Nutrients: The RecovORAC Matrix™ has a nice antioxidant profile but that’s about it. I would’ve liked to have seen a electrolyte blend to round it out completely. This is the only reason why RPG didn’t get a 10/10 for the overall score.
9.5/10 – Taste/Mix: Very good! Bubba Punch is good stuff. Haven’t tried the others but I suspect not bad either. You got Natural & Artificial Flavors, Malic Acid, Citric Acid, and Sucralose as a sweetener so great flavor for only 20 calories.
10/10 – Overall Value: 50 servings at $0.80 per serving is a great bang for the buck! You get great Ajipure® aminos, antioxidants, and only 20 calories per serving. RPG IBCAA is great addition for any serious athlete that trains hard and experiences muscle soreness and is in need of a high quality post workout supplement for cheap.
Buy Millennium Sport: RPG IBCAA
9.5/10 – Amino Acid Profile: The 3,750 mg of BCAA’s contained in ReGen seems lower than other comparable products, however what makes it superior is the fact that it is absorbed better due to the ReGen NO Generation Matrix combined with Pyridoxine Hydrochloride and Black Pepper Extract (Bioperine®).
9/10 – Glutamine: The Glutamine in this product is part of a 575mg proprietary blend found in the ReGen Replenishment & Recovery Matrix. It is a lower amount compared to some of the others here.
9.5/10 – Additional Nutrients: When you are comparing other products, it is normal to compare the amount of nutrients, but many people fail to realize how much of the nutrients are absorbed which should be the true qualifying property in determining which supplements are better than others. Another very important aspect of the product that is very much overlooked by many is the Ph buffering properties which help reducing free radicals and promotes healthy cellular activity by maintaining/reducing acid levels in your digestive system.
10/10 – Taste/Mix: Very good! The other great things about this supplements is the fact that both the Fruit Punch and Watermelon flavors are freakishly good considering there are ZERO calories per serving.
10/10 – Overall Value: 50 servings at $0.77 per serving is a great bang for the buck! ReGen is a great intra and post workout supplement that has a great ingredient profile, high nutrient absorption properties, and really is a pleasure to drink after your workouts. Plus with 50 servings per container, there is enough to get you through a good 30-50 day workout cycle which should yield some fantastic results.
Buy RSP Nutrition: ReGen
9.5/10 – Amino Acid Profile: You get 8g of BCAA’s per serving. That is a very generous amount, plus Amino Recovery utilizes the popular 2:1:1 ratio so you get a good ratio in a large dose making it both effective and a good value.
10/10 – Glutamine: Again Amino Recovery over delivers with a whooping 3g or 3000mg per serving. That’s 500mg more than any other on the list and more than 6 times more than Monster Amino.
9.5/10 – Additional Nutrients: The 10mg Vitamin B6 and 150mcg of Vitamin B12 are both not the reason for getting a 9/10. The reason for the 9 is because of the addition of L-Citrulline, a nutrient that is believed to be better than Arginine at increasing blood flow to the muscles as well as increasing ATP production during exercise.
9/10 – Taste/Mix: The taste is good, but it is a bit sour due to the Citric Acid to Sucralose ratio. It mixes clear with little graininess. It’s really not too bad, just didn’t wow me.
10/10 – Overall Value: This is a solid post workout supplement. You get a lot of supplement for just under 80 cents per serving size. Bodybuilding.com has been evolving their products as time goes on and the Platinum Series brand of supplements is much better than the previous ones they have made. In fact, you can say they’ve taken a giant step forward toward competing with the major brands and Amino Recovery is definite proof of this.
Buy Bodybuilding.com Platinum Series:
10/10 – Amino Acid Profile: This is the best part of this supplement. 12:1:1 ratio is great for heavy lifters and anti-DOMS support. Plus, with the fact that it is Instantized, you know that your muscles will be absorbing the nutrients, making it a very potent blend indeed.
10/10 – Glutamine:2500mg of Micronized Glutamine greatly increases absorbtion to help restore the tapped Glutamine in your body.
7/10 – Additional Nutrients: Aside from the stuff listed in the Other Ingredients, BCAA Pro Reloaded is devoid of anything else. Some people are OK with this, but I prefer some extra ingredients to justify the money.
10/10 – Taste/Mix: Blue Raspberry is very good with about 10oz.-12oz. of cold water. Haven’t tried Watermelon.
9.5/10 – Overall Value: 40 servings at $0.75 per serving is a very good value considering the quality of BCAAs and L-Glutamine you get, however since there were no additional nutrients then then the score had to drop down some. For those who lift heavy and are looking for a strict BCAA+Glutamine product then this is perfect for you, but if you are looking for something with a bit more to it then consider on of the others.
Buy S.A.N.: BCAA Pro Reloaded
10/10 – Amino Acid Profile: This amino acid profile isn’t flashy at all, it’s just a nice reliable 2:1:1 ratio of AjiPure® Instantized BCAAs that are highly absorbable and very effective at decreasing your recovery time.
10/10 – Glutamine: You get the industry standard amount of 2.5g of Ajipure® grade glutamine and you can easily see why Clutch N’Gage ranks high in this category.
7/10 – Additional Nutrients: Part of Axis Labs aim with this product is the less is more philosophy so I get that but none the less; the only other major component to this product is Vitamin B6. So compared to the other supplements here, N’Gage got punished in this category.
10/10 – Taste/Mix: You have 4 very refreshing flavors to choose from and because there are natural flavors added, it seems to always make powder drinks like this taste better. Plus with instantized BCAAs the mix full dissolves, instead of floating to the bottom.
9.5/10 – Overall Value: At only 80 cents per serving for a Pharmaceutical grade quality post workout supplement like this, Axis Labs Clutch N’Gage is a hands down great deal. I would’ve liked to have seen a few more additional nutrients added, however for what it is, you can’t get much better than this.
Buy Axis Labs: Clutch N‘Gage
9.5/10 – Amino Acid Profile: There is 7.2 grams of BCAAs total which is more than most other post workout supplements, but other than that there’s not much more to it than that.
9.5/10 – Glutamine: 2.5g is what I look for in products like these and this one’s got it.
9/10 – Additional Nutrients: There’s a good source of B vitamins as well as 60mg of Vitamin C which is great for increasing cell responsiveness, but what is also worth pointing out is the Citrulline Malate & Hydrogen Citrate combo that is great for greatly increasing nutrient absorption into the body and muscles.
9.5/10 – Taste/Mix: I really liked the watermelon flavor, but it didn’t fully dissolve like the Instantized versions do.
9.5/10 – Overall Value: This is a great buy at only 66 cents per serving! You get a solid post workout supplement that delivers a good amount of vital nutrients, plus a bit extra for cheap.
Buy Dymatize: Elite Recoup
9/10 – Amino Acid Profile: Scivation Xtend utilizes a 2:1:1 BCAA ratio that does work as far as aminos are concerned, however this type of ratio may not be enough for heavy lifters, plus there is only one EAA – Glutamine present so that is how we arrived at a 9.
9/10 – Glutamine: Your standard 2500mg of L-Glutamine is the right amount to have in a post workout supplement so it’s good that L-Glutamine is present here, it’s just not that ground breaking.
9/10 – Additional Nutrients: The electrolyte blend is the best part of this supplement and there is also a large dose of Vitamin B6 and Citrulline Malate to help with nutrient delivery and cell composition, but other than that there’s nothing else.
9/10 – Taste/Mix: The new and improved taste is better than the previous one, but still isn’t great. Very tolerable, just a bit bland IMO.
9.5/10 – Overall Value: At 76 cents per serving, this is a lower price per serving supplement than compared to others here. Xtend is a proven supplement that has good core nutrients and is 0 calories per serving. This supplement is ideal for an intra workout supplement to keep you going and for light to moderate muscle soreness.
Buy SciVation Xtend
The Best Post Workout Drink – With Creatine
**All supplements are gauged based on 5 categories from 0-10
with 0 being the lowest rating, and 10 being the highest rating**
10/10 – Creatine Quality: With 4 sources of Creatine that enable the body to quickly absorb it, this profile is the most diverse of the group listed here and arguably the most potent.
9/10 – Amino Acid Profile: Due to the proprietary blend, I am unable to break down these amino’s any further, but at least they are present and can be felt by the reduction of soreness.
10/10 – Glutamine: By combining Glutamine and Glutamine AKG, you can get the most out of this nutrient by providing a good base stabilizer as well as having your muscle directly benefit from the AKG.
10/10 – Additional Nutrients: One of the first things I look for in the category is an electrolyte blend and MassPort has it as well as vitamin C, Calcium, Chromium Polynicotinate, Waxy Maize, Taurine, and more.
10/10 – Taste/Mix: Despite all the nutrients found in here, the taste of MassPort is on point and worthy of a perfect score. Both the grape and fruit punch are good enough to drink every day which is good for any athlete who needs something that can restore and revitalize their bodies and still enjoy their supplement.
10/10 – Overall Value: $1.30 per serving is not the cheapest you will find in the supplement world, however given the excellent nutrient profile and great flavors, the price is very much justified by the overall quality of this product.
Buy Infinite Labs: MassPort
9.5/10 – Creatine Quality: Good ole Creatine Monohydrate is always a safe bet, but due to the proprietary blend you can’t determine the amount so who knows how much is in this product. Plus, this other form of Creatine- Creatine Polyprotic is one I’ve never heard of and can’t find any information on it other than from Side Effect Sports so I cannot substantiate its effectiveness.
9/10 – Amino Acid Profile: Proprietary blend makes it impossible to determine how much is in it.
9/10 – Glutamine: It’s in there somewhere, hiding behind the iron curtain (proprietary blend)…
9.5/10 – Additional Nutrients: I really like the base stabilizers found in this product because just about all supplements and the majority of the food you eat is acidic so to have something to help regulate that is a big bonus.
10/10 – Taste/Mix: There are 3 flavors and all of them rock!
10/10 – Overall Value: At $0.78 per serving, this is the most affordable product reviewed with the most servings per container. There are no fillers or extra wasted ingredients, just straight up nutrients and at only 4 calories per serving, this product is great for people on the cut.
Buy Side Effect Sports: Post Workout
10/10 – Creatine Quality: SizeOn really delivers in this category because there are 3 forms of Creatine including Creapure® (Creatine Monohydrate), Creatine MagnaPower® (Magnesium Creatine Chelate), Disodium Creatine Phosphate. Very trusted forms of Creatine that are stable and highly absorbable ensure that you are getting your entire post workout Creatine in 1-2 doses.
9.5/10 – Amino Acid Profile: Ulthough there is a proprietary blend, you can clearly tell there is 5g of L-Leucine combined with L-Isoleucine, and L-Valine which is more than what most post workout supplements contain, plus SizeOn includes L-Ornithine-L-Aspartate which helps support healthy liver function.
9.5/10 – Glutamine: You get L-Alanyl-L-Glutamine, Magnesium Glycyl Glutamine which are better absorbed by the muscles by by-passing the digestive process for immediate absorption.
10/10 – Additional Nutrients: There’s a great additional nutrient profile here such as whey protein isolates, electrolytes, Taurine, Calcium, B vitamins, and much more. This is the type of profile I like to see in these products that make me feel good about purchasing it.
8.5/10 – Taste/Mix: This is a mixed bag in that the taste is ok considering everything that’s in this product, but it doesn’t mix that great for the same reason. Since this product is the oldest on the list, mixing technologies have improved so I suspect an updated and more palatable product to replace this one.
9.5/10 – Overall Value: $1.83 per serving this is the most cost per serving post workout supplement on the list which is ok considering what you get in the product, but with a bad taste and mixablilty rating, SizeOn does fall a bit short on achieving the top rank.
Buy Gaspari Nutrition: SizeOn
9/10 – Creatine Quality: Ok, so there’s only Creatine Monohydrate in this product, which many would argue that its good, but you cannot determine how much is in it, plus I prefer the hybrid versions over standard monohydrate.
9/10 – Amino Acid Profile: Exact amount is undetermined.
9/10 – Glutamine: Exact amount is undetermined.
9.5/10 – Additional Nutrients: Calcium, Taurine, and a good electrolyte profile make this category short but sweet.
9.5/10 – Taste/Mix: I like the fact that there are 3 flavors to choose from all of which taste good enough to enjoy every day. All of them mix pretty well except for the Creatine settling at the bottom which is normal for CM.
9.5/10 – Overall Value: $1.05 per serving is not too bad for a product like this, but similar supplements are a bit cheaper. The strength of this supplement is its simplicity. There are no added “fillers” found here which can be a desirable aspect for many bodybuilders.
Buy Nutrex: DEFY BLACK
10/10 – Creatine Quality: If you’ve read any of my articles or comments, you’ll know that im a big fan of Creatine HCl, because it is the most concentrated form available.
9/10 – Amino Acid Profile: Compared to similar products, the amount of BCAAs is lower in MyoBuild. If they were instantized or micronized I would understand, but standard BCAAs at such a low dose just isn’t enough.
9/10 – Glutamine: 1000mg of Glutamine is just sufficient, but not extraordinary.
9/10 – Additional Nutrients: There are 4 other major nutrients: L-Carnitine, Betaine Anhydrous, and 2 herbs suggested to help with mental fitness and support healthy serum cortisol levels. Since there’s not much evidence to support these claims I couldn’t rate this category any higher than a 9.
8.5/10 – Taste/Mix: Perhaps the most mixed reviews by others who have tasted MyoBuild than any other post workout supplement found here. Plus, there is only 1 flavor – Grape so if you don’t like grape than your SOL.
9.5/10 – Overall Value: At $0.97 per serving, Myobuild is the third most affordable post workout supplement with Creatine in it found on this list. You do get the best form of Creatine in this product, but due to the low taste rating and low BCAA amount I had to rate the overall value at a 9.5. Still a very good score for a product such as this but just be sure you’re into grape flavors otherwise you’ll hate this product.
Buy MuscleTech: MyoBuild
Post Workout Supplement Etiquette – A Few Last Words
Remember that you should wait no longer than 1/2 hour after training to consume your post workout supplement in order to maximize your anabolic window of opportunity. Also be sure to calculate your Creatine intake if you are using different supplements that contain Creatine such as taking both pre and post workout products. These supplements take a few weeks to really start noticing their effectiveness, however you should feel less soreness the next day on your first dose. Hydrate well and eat your veggies for maximum results.
Thanks for taking a look at my best post workout supplement list! Please feel free to leave your questions and comments below!