When you get back home after a long run or training session, the first thought in your mind is usually to stretch, shower, lay down, and rest.
But inasmuch as that is a great idea, there is something you should do before showering and lying down to rest - drink a recovery drink!
However, the recovery drink in this context isn't referring to water. Although water can help you to rehydrate after a hard run, a recovery drink doesn't just meet your body's rehydration needs, it offers your body much more.
A recovery drink refills your body with the nutrients that it lost while on the road.
For example, when you run or carry out a tough workout, you lose glycogen — a form of glucose, which is the body's energy.
So, for you to gain proper recovery, you need to replenish your glycogen stores, and that is when recovery drinks come in.
In addition to this, recovery drinks help the muscles in your body to recover properly and quickly after a training session.
They also help in the relief of muscle cramps, muscle soreness, and several other recovery issues that may arise after an intense workout.
These drinks contain the essential nutrients and ingredients to restore your body's energy and ensure your muscles recover and are repaired efficiently and quickly.
While some of these drinks are homemade with natural ingredients, some are pre-made with ingredients in either liquid or powder form so that you can easily store them and carry them around.
In this article, we will be looking at:
Let's get right to it!
Here are the best pre-made recovery sports drinks that you choose from:
Now, let's discuss each of these drinks in depth so that you can choose the best drink for your recovery process after hard workouts.
If your body's ability to fully digest sugar isn't as expected and you suffer from lactose intolerance, then this is the best drink you should use as an alternative to conventional recovery drinks.
Most of these drinks contain cow’s milk which could affect you but with coconut milk, you don't have to worry a bit about that.
However, coconut milk isn't good for just people with lactose intolerance, it can be taken by anybody who doesn't fancy recovery drinks and prefers a natural way of refueling their energy levels after a long and tough run.
In addition to being lactose-free, coconut milk is also:
For better recovery and a balance of the carb-to-protein ratio, you can also mix it with protein powder and take it after running.
Beetroot juice is popular amongst endurance athletes for how well it improves blood flow and boosts performance in endurance exercises.
However, a particular study also shows that this drink can boost your body's recovery time and make your muscles recover faster after an exercise.
Although this drink can be bought, you can make a protein shake or smoothie at home and customize it with as much carbohydrates and protein that can help your body recover properly after an intense running session.
While making it by yourself, you can add cow's milk, frozen fruits, yogurt, greens such a spinach or kale and protein powder and blend it to give you a drink good enough to help your body recover properly.
Green Tea is a drink renowned for its efficient weight loss and detoxification qualities but what most people don't know is that it is also a great post-exercise recovery drink.
This drink contains catechins which can help in the repair of muscle damage and caffeine for speedy recovery.
The presence of caffeine in this drink also makes it great for endurance athletes as it helps boost their endurance levels.
This is my favorite Green Tea, and yes I buy the 150 bag box! :)
According to research, tart cherry juice contains a high proportion of anthocyanin — an anti-inflammatory flavonoid, which makes it the right drink to take when you experience inflammation after running.
A further study shows that taking this drink can help reduce muscle damage and oxidative stress.
Plus, this drink can help your muscles recover strength at a faster rate while also preventing your immune system from suppressing after a tough run.
Look at your running schedule, see where your long runs are coming up next and stock up on a few of these tart cherry juices to try after your long run!
Although this drink is not homemade, it is one of the best and most effective post-running recovery drinks around and can be customized at home in a lot of ways that can help your body and its muscles recover better.
One of the best ways to spice things up with this drink is to pour it in a mixture of a recovery mix and water and create a homemade recovery shake.
For example, adding it to a mixture of protein powder and water will make it an even better recovery drink after you are done running.
However, bear in mind that taking this drink alone won't be able to help your body recover fully after a race, so ensure that you pair it with real food to complete your full recovery process.
Now, let's review the best pre-made recovery drinks that can help your bodyrecover properly after running so make sure you keep reading.
The Core Power Fairlife chocolate protein shake is a delicious post-workout recovery drink that is built with the right ingredients to boost the growth and recovery of your body's muscles after a running or workout session.
It contains 26 grams of complete protein consisting of all the nine essential amino acids and 5 grams of sugar which is a part of the 8 g of carbohydrates.
This post-run drink also consists of fats and Vitamin A and D amongst other nutrients that can contribute to your body's recovery process.
It also contains milk but unlike other recovery drinks, the milk used in it is lactose-free and ultra-filtered.
All these ingredients combine to help maximize the recovery of your muscles and body tissues when you are done with an intense run.
Aside from its effectiveness, what stands out for me about this drink is how delicious it is, and how, unlike other recovery drinks, it doesn't have a chalky taste.
It also fills me up. I can take this drink and be assured I won't feel hungry for a long while.
With these features and qualities, it was easy for me to incorporate it into my fitness routine, and seeing that is it the current number 1 best-selling sports nutrition ready-to-drink protein liquid on Amazon, I am sure others are as obsessed with it as I am.
This product is sold in a pack containing 12 bottles so you can take them after finishing multiple running sessions to help your body's muscles recover properly. It is also available in different flavors which you can choose from if you don't fancy the chocolate flavor.
If you are looking for a drink that can provide your muscles with proper recovery after a run without sugar, calories, and carbohydrates (after all, who doesn't like eating their carbs instead! ;) then your search ends here because this drink offers that.
In addition, it contains Leucine for muscle protein synthesis and other ingredients such as L-glutamine, Isoleucine, and Valine that play significant roles in the repair and recovery of your muscles.
Plus, this drink comes in a powder form which is easy to dissolve and prepare. All you have to do is take a portion of it, add it to the correct ounces of water, stir and shake it, and then drink it.
The good news is that despite its amazing ingredients and capabilities, it is sold at an affordable rate and also gives you up to 30 servings, depending on how you scoop it per serving.
Huma Recovery Protein Smoothie is packaged in a way that you can take it on the go without needing any preparations.
This high-quality protein drink is built with 100% natural and 0% sugar, soy, and gluten content in it. It also has healthy fats in it for additional nutritional benefits and electrolytes to help keep your body hydrated.
This recovery powder mix is made specifically to help runners perform well and recover properly after each running session and it is made with the right blend of ingredients to ensure that.
It contains L-Carnitine to boost your performance on the road and help your muscles recover properly after a workout, Vitamins, and Electrolytes to keep your body hydrated and provide your body with minerals and vitamins, and Collagen Peptides to ensure your joints, tendons, cartilage, and ligaments stay in good shape.
Plus, it is very tasty even though there is no sugar or gluten in it.
It is also not gritty and doesn't clump up like some other post-run powder mixes I have tested.
Its preparatory process is also simple. Just add it to a container or cup containing 8 to 10 ounces of water and stir it thoroughly and then you can take it.
The Fluid Recovery Post-Workout Drink Mix is made with just the right carb-to-protein ratio, ingredients, and calories to recover properly after exercise.
It has 30 grams of carbohydrates and 10 grams of protein which makes up an ideal 3:1 carb to protein ratio.
Aside from these two key ingredients, it also contains L-glutamine which boosts the recovery time of your muscles and supports your immune system. With these ingredients and 160 calories, it reduces the soreness in your muscles after you run hence making you better prepared for your next run.
In addition, it is available in different flavors that all taste great even without the inclusion of lactose, gluten, or any artificial sweeteners.
You can simply prepare it by adding two scoops into 8 to 10 ounces of water and shaking or stirring it properly till it dissolves and then you can drink it. You can choose to make it creamier by adding milk to it.
The major ingredients a recovery drink should have are ingredients that will restore your energy and enhance muscle repair.
These ingredients include:
Carbohydrates are responsible for refueling the body with the glycogen (energy) that it lost during the run. Meanwhile, protein and amino acids are other important ingredients that your recovery drink should have.
If you are opting for a protein recovery drink, ensure it contains the essential amino acids that the body can't produce.
When you experience muscle breakdown or fatigue after running, these acids play a key role in the start of their repair and rebuilding process by providing them with the nutrients they need.
And even if you choose to go for a protein drink, ensure you go for one that has the right balance of ratio and grams of carbohydrates and protein so that protein can adequately absorb the carbohydrates and they can both be stored properly and be of better use to your body.
Although many recovery drinks are made with varying ratios, a 4:1 carb-to-protein ratio is ideal and will be enough for proper glycogen storage after an intense workout.
Also, if you take the recommended intake of grams of carbs per pound of body weight given by The American College of Sports Medicine, alongside the American Dietetic Association and the Dietitians of Canada into consideration, using the 4:1 ratio will give you a proper calculation of the right grams of protein needed for the storage of glycogen after you run for a long time.
However, on days you go for easy runs, you can go for sports recovery drinks with either a 2:1 or 3:1 carb-to-protein ratio.
The last but not least ingredient a good recovery drink should have is electrolytes.
When you run, you lose electrolytes through the sweat that comes out of your body during the process.
You need to refill these electrolytes after a race and make them balanced before going for your next run to prevent cases of dehydration and illness.
Having other micronutrients such as Vitamin D, Vitamin A, and Vitamin C as ingredients is also a plus.
Some pre-made recovery drinks are made in liquid form which you can consume once you get hold of them while some are made in powder form as mixes which you will need to mix in ounces of water before you can take it. Some are even made as capsules which you can take on the go.
All these forms are great options and offer your body the same recovery effects so it comes down to your personal preference.
Choose the one that works best for you.
As recovery drinks differ in forms and ingredients, so do they vary in cost.
So, while you are looking to purchase one that is effective, make sure you also consider the price point placed on them so that you can find one that has a great balance of the quality you are looking for and your budget.
If you want to progress in your running and be a better and faster runner, proper recovery after a running activity is something you shouldn't take for granted.
Proper post-run recovery helps to repair and reset your muscles, bones, tendons, and entire body in a way that will help you perform better in your next run and also avoid injuries. It also helps reduce fatigue, soreness, and downtime during runs.
That is why I have written this guide to review different drinks that you can take after a tough run or workout to help your body and muscles recover properly.
However, taking recovery drinks alone isn't enough, you need to complement it with recovery runs, proper nutrition, and rest.
Wearing compression socks is another effective way of helping your feet recover properly when you are done running, so if you don't have some yet, you should get a pair.
You should take recovery drinks within 20 to 30 minutes after a run or workout session.
This is because 30 minutes after a run is the anabolic window when the formation and storage of glycogen is most efficient and hence that is the right time to start your recovery process.
It is actually incredibly important to take your recovery drink up to post-30 minutes after your run for your recovery drink to be the most effective.
The ideal post-run recovery drink should have:
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