In a world full of protein shakes, meal replacements, and pre-workout, we have the humble recovery drink. These popular beverages are nothing more than overly-hyped liquids containing way too many carbs and a whole lot of sugar for many folks. For others, however, a good recovery drink is often touted as the holy grail of fitness, helping to fuel recovery, boost hydration, and much more. 

Recovery drinks aren’t anything new. They’ve been around for quite some time now, commonly used to help athletes replenish the fluids lost during physical exertion. 

That said, as word got out about the benefits reaped by those who use these nourishing beverages, post-workout nutrition started to become a pretty hot commodity, and suddenly, recovery drinks were everywhere. 

When products are mass-produced, things like clean ingredients and good intentions are often replaced with icky fillers and false hope so manufacturers can make a bigger buck. 

From excessive calories and carbs to artificial sweeteners and chemicals, it’s not surprising that the majority of recovery drinks turn so many people off. Thankfully, recovery drinks are undergoing a revamp as society becomes more health-conscious.

Today, these ultra-hydrating liquids are gym bag staples — but they’re not all created equal. So, which drink is best? We’ll tell you. Read on as we explore post-workout nutrition to uncover the best recovery drinks of 2021. 

What Are Recovery Drinks?  

Recovery drinks are generally consumed after training, and they work to supply the muscles with everything needed to recover from a demanding workout. 

There are typically three essential ingredients in just about any recovery drink:

  • Carbs — to replace the lost muscle glycogen (basically sugars stored in your muscles) used for energy during your workout.
  • Protein — to repair the muscle tissue damage that results from working hard at the gym. 
  • H2O — to replace the fluids lost from a tough sweat sesh.

Additionally, a good recovery drink should also supply your body with nourishing nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and electrolytes.    

Why Is Recovery So Important? 

Believe it or not, the key to proper exercise is proper recovery. Yup, it’s true — you see, the nature of training and muscle growth is breaking down the muscle fibers so that they can get bigger and stronger. 

However, if you don’t provide your muscles with the essential nutrients it needs to obtain these gains, your body will begin breaking down its cells to find them — aka muscle wasting. 

You must adopt good recovery practices that prime you for your next training session by optimizing recovery time to maximize your strenuous efforts. With that in mind, many folks believe that protein shakes are the way to go for post-exercise recovery. While this isn’t necessarily a bad idea, it’s not the best option. 

Protein shakes often have a different nutritional makeup than recovery drinks. Protein shakes may contain some carbs, but most don’t have nearly enough because they are designed to preserve lean body mass or encourage muscle growth— not fuel recovery.  

If you want to use a protein shake for your post-workout nutrition, we recommend our Ultimate Recovery Stack. This powerful duo features our premium quality Precision ISO Protein and Glutamine to boost endurance, enhance immunity, support muscle gains and, of course, help you recover faster!

What Are the Best Recovery Drinks of 2021?

Ready to make the most of your 2022 workouts with a top-notch recovery drink? Great! Here are the best recovery drinks from last year to help support you on your fitness journey this year:

1. Coconut Water  

Feelin’ tropical? Grab yourself coconut water after hitting the gym — not only will this popular drink send your tastebuds to paradise, but your muscles will love its high level of antioxidants and electrolytes. 

2. Chocolate Milk  

Calling all chocolate lovers — if you’re a fan of the sweet stuff, then you’ll be happy to know that chocolate milk is an incredible recovery drink thanks to its high carb and protein content. In addition, this tasty beverage has lots of other stuff that’s great for recovery, too — like calcium and vitamin D. 

According to one recent study, chocolate milk improved recovery and subsequent performance in athletes more effectively than an isocaloric carbohydrate drink. So drink up! 

3. Tea 

Believe it or not, your relaxing mug of tea has many more benefits than you think. Researchers found that both black and green tea can be effective in fat oxidation — the process where fats are broken down into smaller molecules before getting stored and used for energy — during aerobic exercise and post-workout recovery. 

Not to mention tea’s high levels of antioxidants, which may help reduce muscle soreness.  

4. Coffee 

Not a tea person? Don’t worry — coffee is a great recovery drink, too!

The caffeine in coffee may help accelerate the absorption of carbs which, as we discussed a little earlier, the body needs to refuel glycogen stores after a grueling workout. 

5. Tart Cherry Juice 

Antioxidant-rich cherry juice is well-known for its ability to support the body in its fight against swelling, which can work wonders for helping the muscles recover and function optimally. The high-water content also helps replenish the fluids lost during exercise. What’s more, researchers found that cherry juice may also significantly prevent strength loss. 

That said, if you’re going to add this potent recovery drink into your post-workout nutrition, just be sure to find the unsweetened version to keep the sugar down to a minimum. 

6. Chia Fresca 

If you’ve never heard of chia seeds, let us be the first to tell you that you’re missing out on an unbelievable nutritional powerhouse

These itty-bitty seeds are abundant in essential fatty acids and protein that can aid in muscle recovery while helping the body combat swelling and irritation. This is especially beneficial for athletes and fitness fanatics because exercise creates a lot of stress and swelling in the body.

To reap the fantastic benefits of chia seeds for post-workout nutrition, simply combine chia seeds with water (or coconut water) and a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime. Let it sit for about 10 minutes to allow the chia seeds to swell up and enjoy!

A Final Word  

There are many ways to refuel after a workout, but sipping on a recovery drink can ensure that your body gets what it needs to restock your muscle glycogen stores, support muscle growth, and replenish lost fluids.

A high-quality protein powder like our Precision ISO protein combined with premium Glutamine can do wonders for enhancing exercise performance, promoting muscle growth, and speeding up recovery time. Perfect for those looking to push through plateaus, set new PRs, and transform like never before. 

Here at BioHealth, we’ve created a new standard for clean, nutritious products with a significant focus on innovation. We combine premium-quality ingredients with high-performance formulas to create top-notch supplements that are second-to-none. 

We’re setting the industry standard on how good your nutrition can be, and we’re confident that you’ll feel the difference. Whether you’re on a mission to improve your body composition, hoping to enhance your overall athletic performance, or simply looking to fuel recovery, you can always count on us to have your back.


Sources:

The Effect of Chia Seed Consumption on Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness Induced by Downhill Running | Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

"Supplementation, Exercise Recovery, and Performance" | Lisa Ferguson-Stegall, Erin McCleave et al | Digital Commons

Green Tea Catechins and Sport Performance - Antioxidants in Sport Nutrition | NCBI Bookshelf

The effects of theaflavin-enriched black tea extract on muscle soreness | JISSN

Efficacy of a tart cherry juice blend in preventing the symptoms of muscle damage | British Journal of Sports Medicine

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