Hydrating yourself with the best post workout drink is a great way to cool down after the gym. Not only is a healthy beverage refreshing after exercising, but also an essential part of the workout itself. When we use up the vitamins and minerals in our bodies to burn calories or strengthen muscles, it’s important that those nutrients be replaced quickly. You should rehydrate your body within 30 minutes to 2 hours after you exercise.
There are so many drinks and supplements claiming to be helpful for energy, nutrition, and replenishing electrolytes. But how do we know which is the best option?
In this thorough guide, we break down all of the best drinks so you can maximize your recovery!
Table of Contents
What Are the Benefits of a Post Workout Drink?
First and foremost, drinking keeps you hydrated! Water is most people’s beverage of choice for hydration. However, replenishing your fluids with a sports juice or supplement will also decrease your risk of cramps or muscle spasms.
Post workout recovery is absolutely important! Drinking plenty of fluids as you exercise and pre-workout is also crucial.
There are different benefits for each beverage, and different workouts have varying recovery requirements. However you exercise, a post workout beverage will ensure our body is not deficient in key nutrients. You’ll also be fully prepared for the next session!
What Should Be in a Post Workout Drink?
The type of exercise we perform can influence our hydration options after working out. For example, water is best after a high-intensity interval training (or HIIT) session because a high amount of sweat is associated with these types of exercises. On the other hand, protein powder is the best at restoring protein that has been lost after weight lifting.
Ingredients to be on the lookout for in a post-exercise beverage are water, electrolytes, protein, carbohydrates, and vitamin C. You may need additional vitamins and minerals based on your diet or workout regimen. You might need to avoid certain ingredients in regards to your specific dietary needs. Consider consulting a nutritionist to ensure that your nutritional needs are being met.
Additives to avoid are high levels of sugar, sodium, and corn syrup. Some of the most popular energy and sports drinks contain these ingredients and many more. Athletes perform very strenuous workouts and tend to sweat more than average. Because of this, they may benefit from large amounts of sugar, carbs, or chemically-engineered supplements to satisfy energy levels.
However, the average person would get a much better recovery from drinks that only contain a few ingredients. We’ve taken a look at some of the highest quality post-exercise beverages. All of which can help you decide which simple yet revitalizing option is best for you!
What Is The Best Post Workout Drink?
When we workout, we sweat. Sweating results in a loss of vital fluids. When people think of dehydration, most assume water is the obvious solution. This is a reasonable assumption because we need water to survive and we can easily get water from many other sources. In addition, these sources can provide needed nutrition after some strenuous exercise.
Many professional athletes claim that the best beverage after a workout is chocolate milk. Regular milk is very nutritious! However, the same nutrients are in chocolate milk and surprisingly it contains twice the amount of energizing carbs. Nonetheless, other drinks are said to be just as beneficial.
Let’s take a look at our choices and see what options truly are the best.
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Chocolate Milk Post Workout
This 2011 study aimed to discover whether milk or water was better for rehydrating children, and the results might shock you! Also, did you know that milk is a complete protein? It’s true, chocolate milk contains all nine essential amino acids. In fact, this drink is rich in leucine which is the main amino acid used in building and maintaining strong muscles!
Chocolate milk contains protein, carbohydrates, calcium, potassium, electrolytes, plus a hearty amount of carbs. Let’s see exactly what this drink contains.
On average 1 cup (240 ml) of chocolate milk contains:
- Calories: 180–211
- Protein: 8 g
- Carbs: 26–32 g
- Sugar: 11–17 g
- Fat: 2.5–9 g
- Calcium: 280 mg
- Vitamin D: 100 IU
- Riboflavin: 0.3 mg
- Potassium: 440 mg
- Phosphorus: 175 mg
In addition, chocolate-flavored milk provides small portions of magnesium, selenium, iodine, zinc, and vitamins A, B1, B6, B12.
Post Workout Smoothie
Smoothies are one of the easiest ways to combine multiple foods into a portable, simple meal. For vegan diets, the rise of dairy-free yogurt has made plant-based smoothie recipes more simple and flavorful than ever before. Protein and supplement powder can also be added for additional muscle recovery.
To make a high-quality post workout smoothie, avoid recipes that call for excessive amounts of sugar. Smoothies made for flavor rather than recovery often try to maximize the sweetness of fruit’s natural sugar. Instead, opt for additives like oats, dairy-free yogurt, or nut butter.
Strawberry Banana Post Workout Smoothie Recipe
What you’ll need:
- 1 cup almond milk
- 1 chopped banana, frozen
- 3/4 cup strawberries
- 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
- 3 ice cubes
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground flax seed
- 1 teaspoon ground chia seeds
- Add all the ingredients to your blender and blend until smooth.
Tip: You can use a fresh banana instead of a frozen one for this recipe as well. Just make sure it’s not over-ripe.
Post Workout Shake
Some foods that are good for our bodies can still leave us feeling hungry after we’re finished eating. This is especially true if we’ve just exercised! Protein shakes, however, fortify our muscles while also filling us up. The average shake contains 20-25 grams of protein per serving, which can help to reduce muscle tension.
Though shakes are commonly associated with protein, ensure your beverage also contains crucial macronutrients like carbohydrates and fat. A healthy protein powder has, at most, two grams of fat and three grams of sugar.
Peanut Butter and Chocolate Post Workout Shake Recipe
What you’ll need:
- 2 scoops chocolate whey protein
- 1 tsp creamy peanut butter
- 2 cups nonfat milk or plant-based alternative
- 1 handful of ice
- Toss all the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.
Coconut Water Post Workout
Some call coconut water “Mother Nature’s sports drink,” and for good reason! Coconut water is rich in natural electrolytes, containing five times more potassium than popular sports beverages. Potassium alleviates muscle soreness and reduces the chance of cramps.
Feel free to sip on some coconut water after a light workout. However, this beverage is not ideal for heavy exercise. Sodium is one of the main nutrients lost when we sweat, and coconut water does not contain much sodium. Instead, mix coconut water into your post workout smoothie or shake recipe to maximize its benefits.
Can CBD Help Post Workout?
CBD is not only a great way to get a head start on your day by boosting positive feelings; it can also help you cool down after sports or exercise. Used topically or taken internally, CBD can help soothe achiness.
There are CBD products for everyone, however, many people use topicals, tinctures, and, isolate formulations after working out.
Topical CBD products can be applied directly on sore areas to provide powerful and almost immediate effects. CBD tincture is a liquid that you can swallow or add to any drink. It works internally to provide long-lasting relief.
Isolate is a fine powder that is odorless and tasteless, making it blend perfectly with your post workout beverage. It works internally, similar to the tincture products. Isolate is a concentrate, meaning there is nothing besides CBD molecules inside.
CBD tincture is a liquid that can be dropped on top of or underneath the tongue, rubbed on the skin, mixed with food, or dropped into a beverage. CBD isolate is a powder that you can take straight or mix with anything. It’s ideal to include in your post workout recovery routine!
No matter which product works well for you, CBD may help you relax and center yourself after an intense workout. It does so by interacting with and boosting the efficacy of our endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is present in all mammals (that’s right, even your pets benefit from CBD), and it regulates breathing, digestion, and other vital bodily functions.
Cheef Botanicals‘ CBD tincture comes in 300, 600, 1200, and 3000mg bottles. The dosing guidelines are as follows:
- In the 300mg bottle, 1 drop is equivalent to 1mg of CBD.
- For the 600mg and 1200mg bottles, 1 drop equals 2mg CBD.
- In the 3000mg tinctures, 1 drop will contain 2.5mg of CBD.
Our isolate comes with 1 gram of powder, equalling 1000mg of CBD in total.
Final Thoughts – Best Post Workout Drink
Minimize muscle damage and feel rejuvenated after exercising with a nutritious post workout beverage. Drinks like protein shakes and smoothies are great for athletes and strength training. Additionally, you can add CBD to these options for an additional boost.
Coconut water is a refreshing cool down from a light workout. The best all-around choice is chocolate milk! But, there’s nothing stopping you from making a chocolate milk protein shake with fruit, coconut water!
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