When it comes to your nutrient intake throughout the day, what you ingest right after your workout ranks among the most important nutritional choices you can make. Although overall caloric intake is king when it comes to gaining or losing weight, optimizing your post-workout nutrition could be the key to maximizing your recovery and building much-desired muscle mass.
That said, with so many products available — each promising to help you run faster, grow more, or recover quicker — discerning which one to spend your money on can be daunting. If you’re really trying to put on weight, the right mass gainer or whey protein could be a game changer. If you know you won’t be able to catch a meal right after you leave the gym, a BCAA powder might be perfect for you. We’ve unpacked some of the best post-workout supplements to help you find the missing piece in your nutritional puzzle.
Best Post-Workout Supplement Picks
- Best Post-Workout Supplement Overall: Transparent Labs POST
- Best Post-Workout Protein Powder: Swolverine Whey Protein Isolate
- Best Post-Workout for Muscle Recovery: Jacked Factory Build XT
- Best Supplement for During and Post-Workout: Jacked Factory Growth Surge
- Best Post-Workout for Carbs: Xwerks Motion
- Best Post-Workout Creatine: Jacked Factory Growth Surge
- Best Post-Workout Greens Powder: AG1 Greens Powder
- Best Post-Workout for Sleep: Swolverine ZMT
- Best Post-Workout EAA: Swolverine INTRA
- Best Post-Workout BCAA: Swolverine BCAA 2:1:1 Powder
- Best Post-Workout Mass Gainer: Transparent Labs Mass Gainer
Tag along with Nick English as he breaks down everything you need to know about our top supplements for post-workout nutrition.
Best Post-Workout Supplement Overall: Transparent Labs POST
A no-calorie supplement to help reduce muscle soreness, improve recovery, boost strength, and more. This product comes in Black Cherry, Orange, and Strawberry Lemonade.
Who Should Buy Transparent Labs POST
- Athletes who want to replenish tired muscles as fast as possible will like the AstraGin, which may help them absorb nutrients faster and aid digestion.
- Those who want to retain as much muscle as possible after workouts will appreciate the dose of l-glutamine, which can aid in protein synthesis.
- People on a budget will like the mid-range pricing here.
Who Shouldn’t Buy Transparent Labs POST
- Buyers who are looking for a post-workout supplement that includes carbohydrates. This has other recovery ingredients but no carbs.
- Anyone looking for a post-workout supplement that can provide more of a meal should opt for a protein powder or meal replacement.
- Athletes who don’t want post-workout tingles may want to look elsewhere since this has 2,000mg of beta-alanine.
In the world of fitness, much ink has been spilled on the subject of post-workout nutrition and supplementation. Even if you’ve already got the nutrition aspect down, there’s always some room for improvement and optimization. That’s where Transparent Labs comes in with its POST formula. It’s packed with helpful ingredients that may aid in reducing soreness and kick-starting your recovery for the next session.
This product from Transparent Labs combines six potent, high-quality ingredients in doses that might help your recovery. Coming in at 15g per scoop, this product features a full five-gram serving of l-glutamine, 2500mg of betaine, and 2000mg of beta-alanine. There’s also 2000mg of l-carnitine, which may help reduce recovery time after hard workouts.
The name of the game is quickness with this formula as it’s designed to get you on the road to recovery fast. POST also includes 25mg of AstraGin, which is a patented combination of panax notoginseng and astragalus membranaceus, both of which may help speed up nutrient absorption. You can choose from three flavors — Black Cherry, Orange, and Strawberry Lemonade.
It will cost you about $1.66 per serving, which is right in the middle of the price spectrum, so if you’re looking for a solid post-workout supplement at a reasonable price, this might be your best bet.
POST comes with a strong dose of l-glutamine, betaine, and beta-alanine, which may help you recover faster after longer workouts. The included 25mg of AstraGin can be a helpful way to get the muscle recovery process going, as it may help you absorb post-workout nutrients faster.
Best Post-Workout Protein Powder: Swolverine Whey Protein Isolate
This whey protein formula delivers 26 grams of protein with just 0.5 grams of fat, and one gram of carbs. You’ll also find 10mg of digestive enzymes, and a decent number of micronutrients.
Who Should Buy Swolverine Whey Protein Isolate
- Buyers looking for a protein supplement that isn’t filled with extra carbs or fat — this product only has one gram of carbs and half a gram of fat.
- Anyone who has trouble digesting protein will appreciate the added digestive enzymes.
- Those who are looking to lose weight or don’t like to drink a lot of their calories. This protein powder is lean and has only 110 calories, most of which come from the whey protein isolate.
Who Shouldn’t Buy Swolverine Whey Protein Isolate
- Consumers who prefer a calorically dense protein powder — there are only 110 calories per serving here.
- Folks who are looking for a product that’s higher in carbs to supplement what was lost during their workout.
- Anyone on a tight budget may want to look at other, more cost-effective options.
When considering post-workout nutrition, many think of protein powders first and foremost. A good whey or casein supplement might help you bounce back from a heavy day of lifting at the gym. This protein powder from Swolverine has solid protein content without a lot of extras to get in the way of your recovery.
Having a high-quality protein powder after crushing a hard workout can potentially help to replenish the nutrients you used up during the workout and kickstart muscle repair. Swolverine’s whey isolate has 26g of protein as well as electrolytes, which can help replenish what you burned during the workout. What’s not included is also important — this protein powder is lean, and only has half a gram of fat and one gram of carbs per serving. This means the 110 calories it provides are nearly all from protein.
Aside from a recovery-friendly macronutrient profile, Swolverine added in 10mg of digestive enzymes, which may help to get the protein to your muscles faster. Digestive enzymes may also help to reduce gastric distress and bloating, which is a welcome benefit after a hard workout. Choose your favorite flavor from Vanilla, Chocolate, Honey Cinnamon Peanut Butter, and Mint Chocolate Chip to get your recovery started. This protein is a bit on the pricey side at $2.09 per serving, but we think the high-quality whey isolate and ingredient list makes it worth the money if you can afford it.
With this protein powder, you’re getting 26g of high-quality whey protein isolate along with 10mg of digestive enzymes to potentially help break that protein down more efficiently. On top of that, this protein powder is quite lean and diet-friendly for those looking for some recovery help without blowing up their caloric intake.
Read our full review of Swolverine Whey Protein Isolate.
Best Post-Workout Supplement for Muscle Recovery: Jacked Factory Build XT
This post-workout supplement uses a unique mushroom blend and ancient peat and apple extract polyphenols designed to help reduce muscle soreness and inflammation, boost hypertrophy, and get you ready for your next workout.
Who Should Buy Jacked Factory Build XT
- Lifters or cross-trainers that include a lot of resistance training in their exercise regimen may like this supplement with ingredients that can help reduce inflammation.
- Anyone who wants an all-natural post-workout supplement will like the plant-based ingredients in Build XT.
- Folks on a budget will appreciate the $1 per serving price here.
Who Shouldn’t Buy Jacked Factory Build XT
- Athletes looking for stimulants like beta-alanine will want to look elsewhere, since there’s none in this supplement.
- Anyone who wants a recovery supplement with macros, like protein or carbohydrates, will want a different product as there aren’t any to be found in Build XT.
- Those who don’t like taking capsules should avoid this in favor of a powdered post-workout.
For the majority of gymgoers, bouncing back from grueling workouts is the number one priority when considering a post-workout supplement. Jacked Factory delivers on that front with plant-based ingredients designed to get your muscles back in the game after a tough day at the gym.
Jacked Factory Build XT contains three proprietary blends of plant-based nutrients, all of which can help with muscle growth during recovery, as well as overall health. The first proprietary blend, one gram of PEAK02, is a mushroom extract made of six mushroom strains that contain antioxidants including beta glucans, which may help alleviate exercise-induced fatigue, and l-ergothioneine, which may help manage muscle damage from exercise and boost hypertrophy.
Ancient peat and apple extract polyphenols in the 150mg of ElevatATP may help reduce inflammation and muscle soreness post-workout, and the 25mg of AstraGin is designed to help aid the absorption of nutrients, potentially helping you rebuild faster after a tough workout. Stimulant-free and a bargain at about $1 per serving, these veggie capsules are worth a second look for athletes who want an all-natural way to recover from their workouts.
Jacked Factory Build XT can help fight both muscle soreness and inflammation. Plus, at $1 per serving, this could be one of the best deals you’ll find for a post-workout supplement.
Best Supplement for During and Post-Workout: Jacked Factory Growth Surge
This post workout supplement from Jacked Factory boasts a dose of creatine for muscle growth, l-carnitine l-tartrate for muscle recovery, and betaine anhydrous for power output. It also comes in a variety of flavors, from Watermelon to 'Swoleberry'.
Who Should Buy Jacked Factory Growth Surge
- Folks who want a supplement they can sip during and after training for energy and recovery (more on that below).
- Athletes who want a supplement with added creatine (usually, you have to buy it separately).
- Anyone who wants flavor variety — Jacked Factory Growth Surge has 11 different options.
Who Shouldn’t Buy Jacked Factory Growth Surge
- People who want a post-workout supplement with higher calories. This contains no carbs, protein, or fats.
- If you want a product with zero artificial sweeteners, you should look elsewhere, as this has sucralose.
For those who would rather keep the nutrients flowing during and after their gym session, this Intra & Post Workout supplement can help. Growth Surge contains 2,500mg of carnitine, which your body uses to turn into energy for fuel during your training session, according to Mount Sinai.
It also has three grams of creatine monohydrate, a science-backed ingredient that supplies energy to your muscles for more productive strength training workouts, according to the Cleveland Clinic. This ingredient also helps your body repair muscle damage after training.
Growth Surge is fairly inexpensive at only about $1.17 per serving, and it comes in 11 different flavors: Black Cherry, Blue Raspberry, Blueberry Lemonade, Cherry Limeade, Fruit Punch, Grape, Sour Peach Rings, Strawberry Lemonade, Swoleberry, Watermelon, and Unfavored. Jacked Factory Growth Surge is made for the athlete who wants to fuel during and after their workout — plus, the unique flavors stand out from your average “berry” mixes you consistently see across the market.
Best Post-Workout for Carbs: Xwerks Motion
Xwerks contains three grams of BCAAs in a 2:1:1 ratio. Plus, there’s an added dose of calcium, magnesium, and sodium for hydration to make sure you’re hitting all your marks during and after your workout.
Who Should Buy Xwerks Motion
- Anyone who wants a large number of carbs for their post-workout shake. This packs 25g of carbs per scoop.
- Those who are busy and need a convenient way to get post-workout nutrition. If you don’t have the time to cook or eat something, a scoop of this may help get the ball rolling on recovery.
- Athletes who want a solid dose of BCAAs with their post-workout supplement. Motion has 3g of 2:1:1 BCAAs per serving.
Who Shouldn’t Buy Xwerks Motion
- Anyone with financial constraints who only wants to pay for a carbohydrate powder itself. This is about $1.50 per serving, and a carbohydrate powder can be as low as $0.63 per serving, but it won’t have the BCAAs.
- People looking for a lot of flavors to choose from may want to look for another product since this is only available in Raspberry Lemonade and Watermelon.
- Those who are looking for a supplement outside of a BCAA forward ingredient list.
If you’re hitting the gym hard and putting in the work, but neglecting your post-workout nutrition, you’re likely leaving gains to be had. Carbohydrates are important for post-workout recovery — almost as important as protein. Help replenish the carbs you burn during a tough workout with our pick for the best post-workout for carbs.
Most people will tell you about protein’s importance after a workout, but fewer will mention the crucial role that carbs play in helping you perform during a workout and recover after. That’s where Xwerks Motion comes in. This product also boasts 25g of Cluster Dextrin, which is a patented carbohydrate supplement that digests and breaks down quicker than other versions of carbs. (1)
The formula includes a solid dose of 3g of BCAAs in a 2:1:1 ratio, which may help kickstart the recovery and muscle-building process. It’s important to note what this doesn’t include, and that’s fat. Xwerks Motion has zero grams of fat to get in the way of digesting the all-important BCAAs and carbs that may help get you on your way to recovering quicker and stronger. Xwerks Motion comes in two flavors — Raspberry Lemonade and Watermelon. Unlike some other supplements on our list, this is lower in price at about $1.50 per serving.
This post-workout supplement from Xwerks has the ingredients you need to help you recover thanks to the inclusion of high-quality and patented ingredients like Cluster Dextrin, electrolytes, and a 2:1:1 ratio of BCAAs. Some people even combine this with a protein powder for a potentially better effect.
Read our full Xwerks Motion Review.
Best Post-Workout Creatine: Jacked Factory Growth Surge
This post workout supplement from Jacked Factory boasts a dose of creatine for muscle growth, l-carnitine l-tartrate for muscle recovery, and betaine anhydrous for power output. It also comes in a variety of flavors, from Watermelon to 'Swoleberry'.
Who Should Buy Jacked Factory Growth Surge
- Buyers interested in a creatine supplement that they can take alone after their training session. This comes in 11 flavors, including unflavored.
- Anyone who likes additional benefits in their creatine — this one has betaine and carnitine.
- Folks on a budget will love that they don’t have to compromise ingredient integrity for a reasonable price point here.
Who Shouldn’t Buy Jacked Factory Growth Surge
- Anyone looking for a wider range of ingredients to complement their creatine (such as a protein powder or BCAAs) will have to look elsewhere.
- Those who prefer creatine in pill form.
- Anyone who wants creatine as a standalone ingredient.
Creatine is one of the most widely used supplements on the market due to its long list of scientifically-backed benefits. After protein, creatine may be one of the most popular supplements to help promote muscle growth. We love this product for its simple yet effective formula.
Jacked Factory Growth Surge delivers 3,000mg of creatine monohydrate alongside 2,500mg of betaine and 2,000mg of l-carnitine l-tartare. Creatine, alone, is great for recovery and building strength after your workout, according to the Cleveland Clinic. But the l-carnitine may also reduce your lactate levels and increase your body’s ability to burn fat, per the National Institutes of Health.
This supplement is easy to scoop into your favorite shaker bottle. Considering it comes in 11 refreshing flavors (like Black Cherry, Watermelon, and Strawberry Lemonade, to name a few), you can sip it solo after your workout. At around $1.17 per serving, this creatine is relatively inexpensive while maintaining a proper dosage that may increase recovery and strength.
Best Post-Workout Greens Powder: AG1 Greens Powder
This nutritious greens powder is NSF certified for sport and includes 75 absorbable ingredients and is free of gluten, sugar, dairy, eggs, and peanuts. It is compatible with vegan, keto, and paleo diets.
Who Should Buy AG1 Greens Powder
- Athletes who may be picky eaters or have dietary restrictions, but want to ensure all aspects of their health are bolstered will like this robust greens powder.
- Anyone following a restrictive or specialized diet that may not include many whole vegetables regularly. This contains 75 whole-food ingredients.
- Those who want to regulate oxidative stress after intense exercise may benefit from this product’s superfoods, like spirulina and broccoli powders.
Who Shouldn’t Buy AG1 Greens Powder
- Those strictly adhering to a vegetarian or vegan diet who already include a high volume of whole-food greens daily may not need something quite as robust as this greens powder.
- The price is quite hefty for this product at $99 for 30 servings, so if you’re on a tight budget, this may not be the right product for you.
- Those who don’t have an interest in proprietary blends may want to opt for a greens powder that lists each individual ingredient and its exact dose.
Most of us were probably forced to eat vegetables at dinner growing up, and at the time, we probably didn’t enjoy it. If you still don’t — but understand that the benefits of including veggies in your diet are functionally endless — picking up a greens powder like AG1 is an ideal solution.
AG1 contains a massive amount of vitamins and minerals sourced from whole foods — 75 to be exact. Just toss one 12g scoop into some water, mix, and you’re ready to go. This product is formulated for both general health and athletic performance. AG1 has everything from probiotics and digestive enzyme/super mushroom complexes to antioxidants and superfoods.
AG1 is a great post-workout choice since it may help to regulate oxidative stress that can result from intense exercise with its superfood blend, which includes spirulina and broccoli. It’s diet-friendly since it’s vegan, paleo, keto, and contains no lactose, egg, corn, or artificial ingredients. This greens powder from AG1 is naturally sweetened with pineapple and vanilla to give it a light and fresh flavor.
AG1 is quite expensive, but it’s a top-tier supplement that can replace nine separate products, like a multivitamin, probiotic, and mineral product. One thing to note is that there are a few proprietary blends within this ingredient list, which means not every single ingredient has its exact dose listed which may be unappealing to some. AG1 is designed to help promote gut health, support immunity, boost energy, and improve recovery.
AG1You can easily add this supplement to your morning, noon, or nightly routine. It may be best to ingest this directly after your workout to support the regulation of oxidative stress that can result from intense exercise.
Read our full AG1 Review.
Best Post-Workout for Sleep: Swolverine ZMT
Swolverine ZMT Testosterone Booster is made with the intention of promoting high-quality sleep and boosting testosterone levels during that sleep. It's made up of ingredients like magnesium, ashwagandha, and melatonin with your best nights rest in mind.
Who Should Buy Swolverine ZMT
- Athletes who want to potentially optimize their sleep with soothing botanicals, tryptophan, and valerian root.
- Those who like to take their supplements in pill form will like not having to mix this product with water before going to bed.
- Folks who want a potential testosterone boost will like the zinc and ashwagandha in these pills.
Who Shouldn’t Buy Swolverine ZMT
- Those on a budget may want to look for a sleep aid with fewer ingredients, which may make the price less expensive.
- Folks who don’t like taking pills and would prefer a powder or gummy will have to look elsewhere.
- Anyone looking for CBD supplements since ZMT has no CBD in it.
Getting a good night of sleep is an extremely important part of the post-workout recovery process. This product contains six ingredients that may benefit sleep, boost testosterone, and relax your mind.
If you’re training hard and trying to make changes to your body, sleep is a necessity for recovery — and it is often underutilized. One study that was conducted on sleep and athletic performance suggested that athletes who suffer from sleep deficiency have a higher likelihood of injury (including traumatic sports injury) and chronic illness. (4)
ZMT’s night pills have 14 ingredients that are intended to help you sleep and boost your testosterone. Some of the sleep ingredients include 422mg of magnesium glycinate, 3mg of melatonin, and 500mg of tryptophan (of post-Thanksgiving nap fame). The added 50mg of zinc and 300mg of ashwagandha are just some ingredients included that may help boost testosterone levels. At about $2.16 per serving, this sleep aid is one of the higher-end supplements on this list. We think it’s well worth it for the possibility of a better night of sleep.
This sleep aid has a roster of ingredients, like melatonin, tryptophan, and ashwagandha root extract, that may lead to better sleep, help with insomnia, and boost testosterone.
Best Post-Workout EAA: Swolverine INTRA
This intraworkout supplement is packed with helpful ingredients from 4,300mg of 2:1:1 ratio BCAAs to a hydration matrix featuring coconut water extract and ginseng. It also contains a blend of b vitamins and electrolytes.
Who Should Buy Swolverine INTRA
- Anyone concerned that they may not be getting enough EAAs from their standard diet will like that this product contains all nine.
- Athletes who want to prevent cramping after workouts will appreciate the addition of pink Himalayan salt and coconut water here.
- People who don’t want to overspend on a post-workout will like the $1.49 price per serving.
Who Shouldn’t Buy Swolverine INTRA
- Consumers who already have a protein supplement that contains all essential amino acids in sufficient quantities.
- Those looking for a post-workout supplement with stimulants like beta-alanine will want to look elsewhere since this one has none.
- Folks looking for an unflavored option will want to check in with another brand that offers one.
Essential Amino Acids (EAAs) are aptly named since they are crucial for tissue repair. Since it can be difficult to ensure you’re checking every box with your regular diet, Swolverine can help fill your EAA gaps.
Swolverine brings a buffet to the table with its INTRA powder, a vegan product that combines all nine essential amino acids with antioxidant-rich superfood ingredients, including 500mg of pomegranate, 200mg of tart cherry, and 100mg of spirulina. This amino acids and superfood combination can help with tissue repair, nutrient delivery, and post-workout soreness.
This product is also sugar-free and vegan-friendly, making it an attractive option for just about anyone — plus, the 400mg of pink Himalayan salt and 500mg of coconut water can help with hydration. Each tub contains 30 servings, and you can choose from the Tropical Blast and Cherry Frost flavors. This is right in the middle of the price range at about $1.49 per serving.
For heavy lifters who are extra concerned with tissue repair, Swolverine INTRA is a great option for ensuring you receive a solid dose of the nine essential amino acids that can assist with the recovery process and decrease soreness.
Best Post-Workout BCAA: Swolverine BCAA 2:1:1 Powder
Swolverine BCAA 2:1:1 Powder packs leuicine, isoleucine, and valine, which can help increase glucose uptake in muscle tissue, and promote fat oxidation during fasted exercise. It comes in a tangy Lemon Lime flavor.
Who Should Buy Swolverine BCAA 2:1:1 Powder
- Anyone concerned with making sure their post-workout protein intake is as comprehensive as possible can benefit from adding this BCAA powder.
- Vegetarian or vegan practitioners whose protein sources may not contain sufficient amounts of BCAAs.
- Athletes who want to get more out of their fasted training sessions.
Who Shouldn’t Buy Swolverine BCAA 2:1:1 Powder
- Anyone who already takes a supplement with sufficient BCAA content on a daily basis.
- People who regularly eat high-quality fish, poultry, or red meat may not need additional BCAA supplementation.
- Those who don’t like Lemon Lime flavors will have to find a different BCAA supplement.
While a solid whey powder all but ensures you get most of what you need in terms of post-workout macronutrients, there is definitely a good case to be made for including a BCAA supplement, as well. Not every whey powder available will contain all the amino acids your body requires, but dedicated supplementation from something like Swolverine BCAA 2:1:1 Powder can help make sure all your bases are covered.
Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) can help facilitate muscle protein synthesis both during and after strenuous activity, but aren’t necessarily present in sufficient quantities in certain whole food sources or protein supplements.
Swolverine BCAA 2:1:1 Powder packs in ample amounts of leucine, isoleucine, and valine which, collectively, have been shown to increase glucose uptake in muscle tissue (5), as well as promote fat oxidation during fasted exercise. (6) This only comes in a Lemon Lime flavor, so you’ll have to enjoy citrus flavors in order to enjoy this supplement. It’s also affordable at $1.20 per serving.
While many protein powders do offer a dose of amino acids, Swolverine’s dedicated amino acid supplement hones in on BCAAs to make sure you have all the nourishment you need for post-workout muscle protein synthesis.
Best Post-Workout Mass Gainer: Transparent Labs Mass Gainer
With nothing artificial, whey from New Zealand, a good amount of fiber, and little sugar, this mass gainer will satisfy most athletes. It's a clean mass gainer that focuses on simplicity over added bells and whistles.
Who Should Buy Transparent Labs Mass Gainer
- Trainees looking to pack on pounds of lean muscle or move up a weight class in their sport.
- Anyone who values purity and wants their protein sources to be 100 percent grass-fed.
- Those who want a post-workout supplement that can double as a meal replacement.
Who Shouldn’t Buy Transparent Labs Mass Gainer
- Those who need a truly mountainous amount of calories in their mass gainer — there are more calorically-dense options out there.
- Buyers looking for a specific flavor — options for this mass gainer are limited to Sweet Vanilla and Chocolate Glaze Donut.
- Anyone looking to save money will want to stay away from this product as it is more expensive than other choices on this list.
Mass gainers are second to none when it comes to convenient calorie consumption. If you’re trying to gain weight fast but find it difficult to eat enough complete meals in a day, a good mass gainer can get you where you need to be nutritionally. While many common mass gainers can try to pack too much into their tubs, this pick does not fall into that category.
Transparent Labs Mass Gainer delivers 730 calories, 53 grams of protein, and 109 grams of carbohydrates per serving without excessive sweeteners, dyes, or dairy products. On top of that, its oat and sweet potato powders pack in 6g of fiber for satiety. Overall, this mass gainer is a simple, clean, and effective way to secure some extra calories.
As a mass gainer, you can expect to pay more per serving than any other supplement on this list. You’ll end up paying around $5.00 per serving, but this can also double as a meal replacement shake based on its intense macronutrient profile. It comes in Sweet Vanilla and Chocolate Glaze Donut flavors, both of which are delicious on their own or in a more complex post-workout protein shake.
If you aren’t getting enough calories or nutrients in your diet throughout the day, this mass gainer can help fill the gaps, and boost weight gain more efficiently.
Read our full Transparent Labs Mass Gainer Review.
The Benefits of Post-Workout Supplements
There are plenty of potential benefits to be reaped from utilizing post-workout supplements. Post-workout supplements are versatile in their makeup, and therefore, they are versatile in their potential benefits. Depending on which supplement you choose to use as a post-workout supplement, you may experience benefits for recovery, muscle growth, strength gains, and performance.
Some of these supplements will be better suited for recovery goals if that is your main reason for wanting to add a post-workout supplement to your lineup. BCAAs can be helpful for synthesizing muscle protein after intense workouts and may even be helpful for fat oxidation if you work out in a fasted state. (6) Sleep is another important part of recovery, so a night supplement may be helpful for experiencing better rest, and in turn, better recovery. Studies have shown that athletes who are sleep deprived are more likely than their counterparts to suffer from injury and illness. (4)
Muscle Growth and Strength Gains
Protein and creatine are two supplements that may also be helpful for muscle growth. When we engage in resistance training or other athletic endeavors, our muscle fibers break down, and ingesting protein can help build muscle back and add strength and lean tissue mass. (7)
As carbohydrates are our body’s main source of energy, it makes sense that carbohydrate supplements could be beneficial for increased exercise performance. One study suggested that supplementing with carbohydrates and electrolytes during exercise and with carbs post-exercise can be beneficial for increasing glycogen stores, which may improve performance and reduce fatigue. (8)
How We Chose the Best Post-Workout Supplements
With a seemingly infinite number of products on the market today, how exactly did we arrive at this list of the best post-workout supplements? Here are the three main things we considered before pulling together our favorite buys.
We’ve taken into account the variety of ways athletes like to approach their nutritional needs. If you’re meticulous about your calorie and macronutrient intake, a zero-calorie option may be ideal.
If you’re always on the go and don’t have the time for a home-cooked meal, grabbing a mass gainer could provide the extra calories your body needs to pack on a few pounds. The selections here are versatile enough that you’re almost guaranteed to find something that suits your particular training goals.
The supplement industry is rife with bad-faith advertising and loose interpretations of data. Since we have no interest in making recommendations that can’t stand on their own merit, we’ve vetted and cross-referenced these products with the literature itself to ensure that none of the companies featured on this list are dishing out hollow promises.
We made sure to mention when supplements had artificial sweeteners and when they didn’t. Some products also contain extra ingredients like digestive enzymes, fatty acids, and more that can boost post-workout recovery.
It is a common practice in the supplement industry, however, to load up a product with these extra ingredients as a means of justifying a higher price tag. Since post-workout supplements can be especially prone to this, we’ve gone out of our way to avoid making recommendations that come with too many frilly extras.
What to Consider Before Buying Post-Workout Supplements
When it comes to post-workout fuel, you can pack in a lot of nutrients with just a few products. But before you swipe the card on a bunch of new supplements, take a moment to consider all the factors involved.
Manage Your Expectations
Perhaps the most important thing to bear in mind while shopping for supplements is that all companies are making a targeted effort to pitch their products to you, the consumer. This sometimes means advertising lofty promises and exaggerated benefits.
While the claims made by the selections in this article are widely backed by scientific literature, nothing is a cure-all or a magic bullet. Make sure you’re reading the ingredients and doing your own research as well before making a final decision.
Don’t Major in the Minors
It can be easy to get caught up in the flashy spectacle of supplements and lose track of the meat and potatoes of a proper diet. Ensuring your caloric needs are laced up and your rest patterns are properly managed are the major keys to reaping the benefits of your workouts long term. Supplements can help shore up weaknesses or account for limitations, but try to avoid leaning on them too much.
The Right Tool for the Job
It’s important to be conscious of your individual needs when it comes to nutritional supplementation. If you’re steadily gaining weight from your primary diet, you probably don’t need to add a mass gainer supplement. If you’ve been a devoted practitioner of veganism and still crush it in the gym, you may not need a greens powder.
It is always wise to take stock of where you stand in terms of managing your wellness and performance before grabbing a new supplement, so you don’t end up spending money where you don’t need to.
How Much Do Post-Workout Supplements Cost?
Post-workout supplements are more versatile than other types of supplements because they can differ not only in their makeup, but also in their purpose. Post-workout supplements can come in the form of creatine, protein powder, carb supplements, and even BCAAs. There are so many options and so much variety among them, it can be hard to nail down an exact price you can expect to pay. This list is pretty dynamic and eclectic, and ranges in price from around $0.83 per serving for creatine to around $5.13 per serving for a mass gainer.
|Best Post-Workout Supplement Overall||Transparent Labs POST||$49.99
$1.66 per serving
|Best Post-Workout Protein Powder||Swolverine Whey Protein Isolate||$62.99
$2.09 per serving
|Best Post-Workout for Muscle Recovery||Jacked Factory Build XT||$29.99
$1.00 per serving
|Best Supplement for During and Post-Workout||Jacked Factory Growth Surge||$34.99
$1.17 per serving
|Best Post-Workout for Carbs||Xwerks Motion||$49.99
$1.66 per serving
|Best Post-Workout Creatine||Jacked Factory Growth Surge||$34.99
$1.17 per serving
|Best Post-Workout Greens||AG1 Greens Powder||$99.00
|Best Post-Workout for Sleep||Swolverine ZMT||$64.99
$1.16 per serving
|Best Post-Workout EAA||Swolverine INTRA||$44.99
$1.49 per serving
|Best Post-Workout BCAA||Swolverine BCAA 2:1:1 Powder||$49.99
$0.83 per serving
|Best Post-Workout Mass Gainer||Transparent Labs Mass Gainer||$76.99
$5.13 per serving
This list has an average price of about $2.12 per serving, and of course, these costs vary depending on the quality, ingredient list, options for bulk buying, and whether or not the company discloses each ingredient’s dosage or uses a proprietary blend. Whether you’re looking to optimize protein intake, set yourself up for better recovery, or even get a good night’s rest, this list has a supplement for everyone that’s within almost any budget. We picked a robust list of post-workout supplements to ensure there was plenty of variety to accommodate different goals.
While all of these options superbly satisfy their respective niches, it is important to remember that no individual supplement can make up for things like sloppy training, a careless diet, or poor sleep. More isn’t always more when it comes to supplementation, and overstuffing your cabinet can definitely have diminishing returns.
That said, if you know where your interests lie and are in the market for something that properly augments your existing diet while also speeding up the recovery process, you can certainly find the right tool for the job, and may even start bouncing back from your workouts faster than you were before.
Is there really a post-workout anabolic window?
Yes and no. While the body is more primed for nutrient uptake and protein synthesis following a bout of resistance training or intense cardio, it is not a tightly-defined timeline. While chugging a shake or getting a meal in shortly after training is ideal, the difference between half an hour and two hours afterwards is negligible.
Do I need a post-workout supplement if I eat after training?
If the whole food you consume after you leave the gym is well balanced and full of the right nutrition, you don’t technically need additional supplementation. However, getting quality protein, amino acids, and good carbohydrates all in one meal is easier said than done, so a pill or powder could be beneficial.
Is protein wasted if I eat too much of it at once?
This is somewhat contentious in the literature, but broadly speaking, not really. It is possible that if you consume a truly enormous amount of protein-dense food all at once, your body may not be able to fully utilize it before it is passed. But in practical terms, this shouldn’t be a relevant concern for most people.
Are post-workout supplements expensive?
It all depends on what type of post-workout supplement you want. This list is comprised of several types of supplements, including BCAAs, protein powder, and mass gainers, all of which will vary greatly in price. There are some that will be around the $1.00 mark and some that cost more than $5.00 per serving. There should be a post-workout supplement in here to fit almost any budget.
What is the best post-workout supplement?
Post-workout supplements are highly varied in their makeup; some of them may be better for your needs than others, as they can show up as protein powders, mass gainers, BCAAs, or carb supplements.
Although there are many great supplements, we think that Transparent Labs POST reigns supreme. We love its solid ingredients list and dosages, and its flavor options. It’s around $1.66 per serving, which we think is a fair price for the lineup that you’re receiving.
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