You may be familiar with pre-workout supplements, such as Ghost Legend or IdealLean, but what about after you workout? Post workout supplements are generally at the bottom of the list for a supplement stack, but the truth is your recovery process is just as important as everything else. Your body is placed under a lot of controlled stress in order to develop your muscles and strength through the execution of resistance training, or anything else that’s intense such as sprints.
During this process, you’re literally depleting your muscles of all the nutrients that have been stored within from your pre-workout meal and/or supplements. It’s highly important to replenish these storages if you want your muscles to develop effectively and damper the effects of muscle fatigue and soreness.
What Is A Post Workout Supplement?
A post workout supplement is not just one ingredient or concept. Instead, it is several different ingredients brought together that have the main focus of replenishing your lost nutrients and supporting the process of protein synthesis.
The purpose for use is as the name states, which is consumed post (after) your workout. This time frame is up to an hour after you have completed all your training and ready to let your muscles relax.
Science shows that you may have better results if consumed within the first 30 minutes, but this is not imperative except for the replenishment phase to get some energy back and reduce soreness. Consuming a meal post workout isn’t always an option if you’re in a rush, which is where this supplement comes in handy.
Benefits Of Post Workout Supplements
Unfortunately, not every supplement or ingredient will always work the same. The human body is just simply different from person to person, so there is nothing 100% guaranteed to work.
However, the following benefits do occur as a result of consuming food with these nutrients, and the outcome will most likely be the same from a supplement.
- Reduce the rate of muscle waste during protein synthesis
- Provide essential nutrients for muscles to repair and grow
- Reduce the effects of muscle fatigue and soreness following a workout
- Possibly improve your mood and sleep patterns
- May improve muscle functions and your heartrate
- Provide energy for your muscles to carry on with daily needs
The bottom line is that without a proper post workout supplement or food intake, your body can start to shut down and actually burn up your muscles for fuel. This is called muscle atrophy, which is commonly found in seniors who lack physical movement.
However, if you have even moderate protein insufficiency, especially doing programmed workouts, then you also are at possible risk of losing muscle you worked hard to develop. This is not a difficult situation to be in and can be prevented by most with proper nutrition and a post workout supplement if needed.
Ingredients In Post Workout Supplements
Typical ingredients used for this type of supplement that have several studies supporting them are:
- Amino Acids (BCAA/EAA)
- Tart Cherry Powder
There are several other ingredients commonly found within a post workout supplement, but they do not have as much scientific proof as the ones given. Brands will always label scientific words that get people to purchase their products, such as “anabolic” found on every protein container.
This is the very first post workout supplement to come out and has been around for many years. Protein powders come in many different forms now, such as whey, soy, casein, egg white, pea, isolate, carnivore, and plant-based.
Protein powders can label anabolic because this nutrient does support the growth of muscle tissue, but nothing more than eating foods rich in protein. The powder is convenient though, so you don’t need to consume a plate full of food.
Just like protein, carbohydrates are a nutrient used for energy and stored within your muscles. After a workout, all your energy storages are depleted and need to be replaced. Those on a lower-carb diet would benefit the most consuming post workout.
The reason for this is since the muscles have depleted carb storages, the proper consumed amount will be used almost immediately to support your body. Simple carbs (fast digesting) can be found in several different forms, such as dextrose, maltodextrin, and fructose.
BCAA and EAA (Branched Chain Amino Acids) (Essential Amino Acids)
These amino acids are all essential though often discussed separately. BCAA are 3 of 9 that have chains that branch out from them and are chemically structured like protein-rich foods such as eggs. Their names are leucine, isoleucine, and valine.
BCAA supplements are quite popular for use against muscle breakdown by those who execute fasted workouts. However, studies show many can benefit from their use to support muscle development and reduce soreness following a workout.
The studies also show these benefits mainly only come when all 9 essential amino acids (EAA) are present. Whey protein was 50% more effective than BCAA’s on their own for muscle development. The reason for this is because whey protein contains all amino acids, even if they don’t show them.
The verdict? Purchase post workout supplements with EAA instead of just the BCAA, which is how the supplement industry is starting to produce their products as consumers get smarter.
Creatine comes in many different forms, such as monohydrate and hydrochloride. Commonly known benefits of creatine are muscle growth, endurance, repair, and strength. This ingredient is thought of as a pre workout, but the whole point of creatine is to be stored in your muscles constantly.
Creatine does naturally come from food, although the amount needed would take a lot of food consumption. When taken post workout, especially with juice or similar type of carbohydrate-rich drink, the creatine is shuttled to your muscles quickly to be stored for recovery and the next training day.
Electrolytes are micronutrients called minerals, and are quite important for those that workout. The primary ones we deplete through sweating are sodium, potassium, and electrolytes. Usually, your diet is already high in sodium unless you eat very clean, so the two main ones to focus on are potassium and magnesium.
Deficiency in these two can lead to muscle weakness, irregular heartbeats, muscle cramps, and insomnia. Sports drinks do have plenty of electrolytes and can be a beneficial post workout drink, but many have a high amount of sodium and lacking what’s needed for protein synthesis.
This can be obtained by just consuming tart cherries, drinking juice from a cherry, or it can found in powdered form as well. Either way, you’re getting the tart cherry you can benefit from, although the powdered form does make it more convenient to get a higher dosage quickly.
Tart cherries have been found in studies to reduce inflammation, which is quite important following a workout since they are antioxidants packed full of flavonoids. Aside from reducing the soreness felt, the studies also showed those that consumed tart cherry saw less muscle breakdown.
Best Post Workout Supplements
Now that you understand the ingredients discussed above, you’ve got an idea of what a post workout supplement should contain. Keep in mind various other ingredients will be common, such as betaine anhydrous and L-Carnitine-L-Tartrate.
Growth Surge Post Workout Muscle Builder
Consumer reviews and comparing the label ingredients make a supplement great overall. Growth surge has high ratings and lots of consumer purchases to make it trustworthy from this perspective.
Ingredient wise, you get creatine, betaine anhydrous, electrolytes, and pineapple powder. Pineapples share similar qualities for benefits as tart cherries do. Although the creatine is only 3g opposed to the daily 5g dosage, you will most likely have a creatine supplement on its own for loading with.
Vintage Labs is a reputable brand that brings quality products to its consumers. You will find this is highly purchased and rated. This supplement contains minimal ingredients, such as Growth Surge, which is great to keep the focus on what counts.
This supplement contains your electrolytes, BCAA, creatine, and glutamine as well. Those deficient in glutamine have seen results in protein metabolism supplementing with it, but if you eat enough food then it may not be effective. However, the other ingredients work well after a workout.
Dymatize All 9 Amino
Dymatize All 9 Amino contains 10 grams of EAA, offering a great product for post workout with 7.2g being BCAA. Each package comes with 30 servings and has great flavors to choose from. The ingredient profile is pretty solid too, with the EAA, electrolytes, and extra vitamin boost. Essentially, it supports protein synthesis and replenishing your body in one product.
These supplements work great following a workout to sustain your recovery needs and help encourage proper protein synthesis. Drinking alongside a small protein-rich meal makes them more effective for your body. You can also consume post workout supplements to help you last until your next meal.