8 Best Post Workout Supplements

Your workout isn't over until you recover. Contrary to popular belief gains are built with your nutrition through quality carbohydrates and protein. Recovery is an often-overlooked aspect to training and athletic performance, yet is crucial to increase lean muscle mass, size, and strength. For optimal gains, you need protein, carbohydrates, and essential amino acids to inhibit muscle mass breakdown and stimulate muscle protein synthesis. And although protein and carbs are categorized as recovery products, we are going to talk about the best comprehensive and advanced post workout recovery formulas, which include everything you need to build more mass and recover faster.

What Are Post Workout Supplements

Post workout supplement, normally contain a blend or combination of different ingredients required for optimal post workout recovery and muscle growth, such as carbohydrates, protein, amino acids, and/or super food ingredients to reduce muscle mass breakdown and soreness.

For example, Swolverine’s POST WORKOUT supplement contains the following ingredients

The Purpose Of Post Workout Supplements

The goal of a well formulated post workout supplement is to restore muscle glycogen, initiate muscle protein synthesis, and reduce exercise induced muscle soreness.

Protein and carbohydrates will help rebuild and repair muscle mass and is essential for your continued success to reach your goals. 

Protein plays a vital role in building and rebuilding muscle mass and strength, improving body composition, and optimizing recovery. Protein is rich in branched-chain amino acids BCAAs, Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine which stimulate protein synthesis (muscle building) and decreases proteolysis (muscle mass breakdown.)

Numerous studies have demonstrated that protein supplementation or ingestion post-workout has a beneficial effect on acute anaerobic power, strength, and recovery [R]. This is why supplementing with a post workout protein shake is so vital to your overall performance gains and goals.

Carbohydrates provide glucose, which is stored as glycogen, a major fuel source for your body. Glycogen plays a major role in supporting energy demands during high-intensity training and moderate exercise. [R]. The depletion of glycogen stores is the main contributing factor of muscle fatigue during exercise [R]. For rapid post workout recovery it is important to replenish glycogen stores to initiate muscle repair and adaptation [R]. Carbohydrates can be utilized within your post-workout nutrition strategy to influence the restoration of endurance capacity during high-intensity training [R].

Numerous clinical studies have proven that prolonged exercise correlates with low glycogen muscle content [R]. Therefore, if you plan on crushing multiple workouts or go for a long distance run, it’s crucial to supplement or eat complex carbohydrates to help replenish glycogen stores, for long-lasting energy and endurance.

As you can see it’s crucial that your post-workout supplement contains protein as well as carbohydrates to initiate the process of muscle protein synthesis, which will help build more muscle mass and replace glycogen stores. Clinical studies have shown that including carbohydrates and protein together into your post-workout nutrition has the greatest benefits on performance optimization [R].

BEST POST WORKOUT SUPPLEMENTS

Best Post Workout Supplement Overall: Swolverine POST

Swolverine’s POST is a comprehensive advanced post workout recovery and muscle building formula. Made with proven sports performance ingredients and antioxidant-rich superfoods, POST combines complex carbohydrates from peas, papaya, pineapple, and pomegranate with fast absorbing pea protein isolate and electrolytes for maximal recovery, muscle growth, and hydration. 

What makes POST the best post workout recovery formula is that there is no other post workout supplement like it, that combines raw whole superfoods with proven sports nutrition.

POST includes 12g of Pea Starch sourced from Carb10, for glycogen replenishment. Unlike maltodextrin-based supplements, which can cause unnatural spikes in blood sugar levels (and the crashes or bloating that typically follow), Carb10® is a source of clean, sustained energy complex carbohydrates made from peas.

Post also contains 8g of pea protein isolate to build and rebuild lean muscle mass. Studies suggest that you need carbohydrates and protein to effectively reduce muscle mass soreness, Research also shows that pea protein isolate is just as effective at promoting muscle protein synthesis as whey.

Post levels your recovery up, with an added 4g of glutamine for recovery, over 1000mg of electrolytes for hydration, and proven recovery ingredients like spirulina, bromelain, pineapple, and pomegranate. And it doesn’t stop there. POST adds 500mg of papaya. Papaya contains papain, a digestive enzyme shown to help improve digestion of amino acids and protein, for maximum effectiveness.

Swolverine’s POST hits on every aspect you need to optimize your post workout recovery, all in a delicious chocolate peanut butter flavor. Mix POST with milk and you’ll get yourself an added 8-10g of protein and 30g of carbs for muscle repair and glycogen resynthesis.

Best Post Workout Supplement Runner Up: Evertrain POST PRO

Evertrain POST PRO delivers a premium post workout recovery supplement for optimal gains and muscle recovery. Each serving delivers 20g of carbs from Carb10 for fuel, electrolytes to replenish your hydration, and essential amino acids to rebuild muscle. 

The essential amino acids found in POST PRO come from Amino9® a vegan amino acid blend from Compound Solutions. 

Amino9 is a leucine-enhanced grouping of the nine Essential Amino Acids (EAAs) that have been shown to stimulate muscle protein synthesis 50% better than the three Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) alone. 

Post Pro takes it a step further and addresses mental focus and fatigue, by adding PeakO2 an organic-certified combination of six adaptogenic mushrooms (Cordyceps, Reishi, King Trumpet, Shiitake, Lion's Mane, Turkey Tail) that promotes oxygen consumption during exercise, increases time to fatigue, and improves peak power output. 

Finally, what makes POST Pro one of the best post workout recovery supplements is the addition of the trademarked ingredient Levagen. Studies have shown that levagen can reduce muscle fatigue, joint stiffness, pain and joint function, which can help improve performance and recovery in athletes who partake in high intensity functional training protocols [R]

Overall, POST PRO hits all major aspects of recovery, addressing glycogen replenishment, muscle protein synthesis, hydration, and joint health.

Best Complete Post Workout Supplement Runner Up: Transparent Labs MRP

Transparent labs MRP is a full meal replacement product, but one of the best when i comes to a post workout recovery supplement.

MRP has a well rounded nutrition panel and hits on all major components of what a good post workout supplement needs for muscle protein synthesis and glycogen resynthesis to aid in muscle gain, recovery, and performance. 

MRP uses maltodextrin, Carb10 pea starch, a mix of whey protein isolate, concentrate, egg white, pea, and collagen, oat bran fiber, and flax seed powder. This is a solid mix of quick and fast absorbing digesting protein sources and carbohydrates to help you reach your goals. The 5g of added fiber is a nice touch as wel

What I DO NOT LIKE is that despite their name and their mission this label, is not transparent at all. 

Something to consider, is that MRP uses Carb10 and Organic Tapioca Maltodextrin, however since this is not a transparent nutrition label, my guess is that this is product contains around 5g of Carb10 and 15-20g of maltodextrin, however we wouldn't really know that without having transparency. 

Despite that, this is a great product delivering 19g of carbs and 24g of protein for optimal recovery.

Best Post Workout Supplement For Protein: Urtheanswer Recover

Recover is a clean source of grass-fed whey protein isolate with added branched chain amino acids and glutamine for recovery. They also add organic raw coconut sugar and cane sugar adding a quick source of carbohydrates to raise glycogen levels and increase the absorption of amino acids.

Although this product provides a clean source of whey protein, it does have a few drawbacks. With only 2g of BCAAs and 1g of added glutamine, you won’t get much in ways of added ergogenic or recovery benefits.

The supplement facts panel is also missing the number of added sugars, yet it does show 5g of carbs, so I’m assuming there 5g of coconut sugar, however the product description states 8g of cane sugar. So, either way, coconut, cane, or 5-8g of carbs, is decent for a recovery protein.

Overall, if you’re looking for a great tasting and clean whey concentrate with some added quick natural carbs for recovery, Urtheanswer delivers a product comparable yet slightly better in quality than most.

Best Post Workout Carbs: Swolverine Clean Carbs

When it comes to post workout carbohydrates for glycogen replenishment and optimal recovery, Swolverine’s Clean Carbs is unrivaled. 

Clean Carbs® is made with 100% real whole-superfoods from complex carbohydrates, including Sweet potatoes, Yams, Oats, and Blueberries. These four ingredients provide the long-lasting and sustained energy your body needs to fuel performance and optimize recovery without added sugars from modified ingredients like maltodextrin.

What’s great about Clean Carbs, is that unlike dextrin based post workout recovery products, clean carbs provides a slow blood sugar and insulin release to help build more muscle, keep you fuller for longer, and optimize glycogen stores, without the roller coaster.

Clean carbs deliver vital micronutrients like vitamin a, c, folate, and calcium to improve overall health and wellness and is also a great source of complex carbohydrates for optimizing body composition.

Best Post Workout Maltodextrin: Nutrabio Super Carb

Nutrabio does it again! As far as dextrin based supplements go, Nutrabio Super Carb wins this category. Combining 25g of ClusterDextrin and a healthy amount of electrolytes from Calci-K, Super Carb is a premier and high quality fast acting source of carbohydrates ideal for endurance athletes.    

Strength and endurance athletes demand more from their body and have different carbohydrate requirements, than the average gym-goer. Aerobic endurance athletes and those who train for 60 minutes or more a day such as runners, cyclists, competitive crossfitters, need an average of 8-10g of carbohydrate per kilogram of bodyweight to replenish glycogen stores. 

Nutrabio is perfect for the elite athlete, however this product would not be suggested to the average consumer. You can also check out EndureElite’s Recover which is another brand part of the Nutrabio family that delivers a potent recovery formula for athletes.

Best Post Workout Advanced Carb: Vitargo 

Vitargo is a high-molecular-weight fast acting carbohydrate to fuel intense training and optimize recovery through rapid glycogen replenishment. While it can come from waxy maize, potato starch or barley starch, or even wheat or rice starch, the extraction technique is what is necessary to create it. The starting starch is far less important.

Compared to maltodextrin, studies show that Vitargo produces greater endurance performance, faster gastric emptying time, and faster muscle glycogen replenishment which translates to better recovery, and better power output. 

Vitargo has a very low osmolality, giving you a rapid stomach emptying, in fact, 130% faster than with ordinary sports drinks. Ingestion of Vitargo following prolonged intense endurance exercise provides superior benefits to movement velocity and power output during subsequent repeated maximal explosive resistance exercise compared to maltodextrin. 

What I really like about Vitargo, is that they have they have research-based evidence to back their claims, proving that their product is in fact better and more effective than dextrin based ingredients, which are published in reputable journals, such as Plos one, Journal Of Sports And Science, Gastroenterology, and the European Journal of Applied Physiology [R].

How does Vitargo compare against Karbolyn?

Karbolyn is a trademarked ingredient created by Jeff Golini, owner and founder of EFX Sports and All American Pharmaceuticals.

Karbolyn is a homopolysaccharide derived from potato, rice, and corn. Karbolyn is absorbed like a simple sugar, but without the typical crash associated with other simple carbohydrate supplements, providing long-lasting sustained energy levels. Karbolyn was created for the specific purpose of carb loading. It was designed to give elite or endurance athletes a more optimized way of improving glycogen stores. Karbolyn passes through the digestive tract rapidly, acting like a pump pulling water and nutrients along with it. Although the benefits of rapid absorption and long-lasting sustained energy sound good, unfortunately, there are no clinical studies that show that Karbolyn is a superior ergogenic aid, or that it provides better performance outcomes to coincide with manufacturer claims.

Studies which have been released, were not published in any major journal and were developed and published by the manufacturer. More evidence is needed to replicate in-house studies, which is why it is not on this list.

Best Post Workout Vegan Protein For Recovery: Swolverine Plant Protein 

Swolverine’s Plant protein is a great choice if you are looking for a plant based vegan protein for recovery. Made with Pea Protein Isolate and Pumpkin Seed Protein, this product is smooth and delicious providing 22g of the protein per serving to increase strength, build more lean muscle mass, and optimize performance. 

Plant Protein also has sodium, chloride, and potassium to help replenish key electrolytes for optimal hydration and recovery.

Compared to other plant protein, Swolverine’s Plant Protein delivers 22g per serving, and has 30 servings. Vegan protein options, typically offer a lower number of servings and less protein. Studies have shown that head to head pea protein vs whey rivals in its ability to improve training outcomes, such as strength, muscle mass, and body composition.

This product comes in two amazing flavors, chocolate cake and salted caramel.

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