The Sports Nutrition Market, which is expected to be worth $24.43 billion by 2025, is attracting more and more people as they grow health conscious each day.
In the face of copious amounts of information related to the subject, newbies embarking on the journey to enter the fitness world may find it daunting and confusing when deciding upon what nutrition routine to stick to.
However, one thing is for certain: everyone who exercises and trains realises the importance of re-stocking on the essential nutrients after a good, sweaty workout. After all, a workout is as important as its recovery period.
The Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition proposes that both the timing and intake of certain macronutrients may boost muscle recovery and allow muscle protein synthesis.
This begs the question of what to have and when to have it.
What to have?
The short answer:
The basis of the refuelling process is simple science: during any workout, the body uses energy, which it obtains from the breakdown of carbohydrates such as glucose, to help in muscle contraction.
Following a workout, the breakdown of muscle protein, known as protein breakdown, is faster than protein synthesis. It is to counter this process and arrive at an anabolic state, where protein synthesis outstrips breakdown, that post-workout nutrition becomes critical.
Protein intake plays a significant role in “optimizing physical performance and positively influencing the subsequent recovery processes”. Since the body does not store proteins, there needs to be a steady supply when it is running low. Therefore, protein is vital for muscle building and repair.
Carbohydrates, on the other hand, are needed for muscle glycogen to restore energy. Ingesting carbohydrates ensures that the body’s insulin levels are high enough to enable muscle absorption of both glucose and amino acids, the building blocks of protein. This, in turn, allows the synthesis of glycogen and protein needed by the body post workout.
When to have it?
The body is most responsive to any kind of recovery in the initial 30 minutes following a fitness routine. Be it a high-intensity workout, weight or endurance training, athletes and non-athletes alike should aim to replenish during this anabolic window to prompt muscle growth and restore energy levels.
What better way to pack in all those vital nutrients than in a drink? After all, keeping the convenience aspect of a post workout drink aside, the prospect of cooking right after a fitness routine may seem exhausting and time-consuming.
Additionally, a drink will help in maintaining hydration levels that is needed after any strenuous workout period. Plus, you don’t want to miss the rather short window!
Below is a list of the very best post workout drinks to help you recover and charge you up for your next workout session.
Post Workout Supplement Drinks
The recovery period following a workout means stocking up on essential substances that stimulate a healthy recovery. Look no further than post-workout supplements which are proven to contain all the essential ingredients needed by the body that has undergone intense physical training.
These supplements cater to both men and women, categorizing those that are needed for bulking and over night post workout. What’s more, it also provides for those who prefer natural and vegan products. Some post workout supplements come in a range of flavours as well. In a nutshell, there is something for everyone.
Essentially, post workout supplements have certain ingredients which make them so great. When choosing, it may be worth the read to familiarize yourself with some key components and understand their benefits:
- Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)
Consisting of a chain of three amino acids, namely leucine, isoleucine, and valine, BCAAs can be found in almost every post-workout supplement. It promotes muscle growth and helps repair muscles in the body. The three amino acids help in muscle recovery by promoting protein synthesis, preventing muscle breakdown and reducing fatigue from a workout, respectively. BCAAs are ideal for endurance workout training that demand fast recovery.
This is an amino acid that allows for a marked improvement in physical performance by helping the body gain both power and strength, and consequently, endurance during fitness training. What’s more, it also helps in building a lean muscle mass.
- Betaine Anhydrous
This amino acid, known as trimethylglycine (TMG), also aids in lean muscle mass in addition to enhancing performance during training by boosting both power and strength.
This organic compound, chiefly utilized during high-intensity workout training such as sprints, facilitates power and strength in addition to muscle size. It has been a favourite of every fitness guru, especially bodybuilders, who swear by its ability to improve performance and muscle growth.
An amino acid that helps in accelerating the recovery period, aids in the process of muscle growth and develops muscle strength alike.
- L-Carnitine and L-Tartrate
Also known as LCLT, it enhances muscle recovery and helps in the muscle growth process.
While most post workout supplements contain various proteins, some also contain carbohydrates to provide a complete post workout replenishment.
Take care when measuring the dose of the supplement, and always remember to consult a doctor, dietician or your trainer after reading up.
#1 Cherry Juice
For those who want to supplement their diets with natural, organic products, look no further than a glass of fresh cherry juice.
The British Journal of Sports Medicine claims that it helps to reduce muscle damage that has occurred as a result of training exercise.
While juices can help to curb the effects of workouts, they can also be a tremendous fluid and glucose source to load up the body with the essential nutrients it craves following rigorous training. They provide a list of vitamins and antioxidants for that radiant post workout glow. Just remember, don’t add any sugar to your mix!
#2 Coconut Water
We all have heard about how important it is to replace electrolytes after a good workout in order to avoid those spasms or muscle cramps. Electrolytes are minerals such as sodium, magnesium and potassium that maintain the balance of bodily fluid. While many sports drinks in the market can help restore those levels, a natural alternative would be to turn to coconut water.
Not only is it hydrating, it helps to increase the electrolytes lost during sweating. While the sodium levels in coconut water are low, it provides for excellent antioxidants.
#3 Chocolate Milk
It may seem surprising how chocolate milk makes it to the list. In fact, cocoa consists of both carbohydrates and proteins that are needed after a workout. Additionally, it provides hydration, electrolytes and other benefits such as aiding in post-workout muscle fatigue and muscle repair.
The best part? It tastes delicious.
#4 Sports Drinks
There are numerous sports drinks that work as a good substitute for those avoiding drinking plain water. Sports drinks contain high amounts of carbohydrates and electrolytes that restore glucose and mineral levels in the body.
While sports drinks are great for high intensity, long duration workout periods, one obvious drawback, however, is that they lack in protein.
Those wishing to supplement their diets with protein should, therefore, consider turning to a post workout supplement drink after restoring their carbohydrate and electrolyte levels.
Appended to this list, it is noteworthy that every workout should be followed by increased water intake. This can be plain water or electrolyte water, according to preference.
You may also add in a slice of fruit to gain from added vitamins and minerals. But always remember to add-on adequate amounts of carbs and protein that allow you to accrue from the maximum benefits following your workout.