12 Best Post Workout Shakes Tested in-depth
Let’s consider why a post workout shake can be beneficial to a runner, especially after a high endurance run.
During the run you will have been burning up energy reserves, this sounds simple enough but the implications are wide.
During the run, you will have used up your energy reserves and these reserves have a job to do, they maintain the functionality of your body and ultimately even your psychological well being.
You built up your energy reserves through the intake of nutritious foods which convert inside your body to maintain your immune system, balance your body chemistry, maintain defenses against bacteria, virus, and repair muscle damage,
During the run, you depleted the energy and the resulting body maintenance mechanisms in your body as they were busy maintaining your body under high-performance conditions. Therefore, you need to quickly refuel the vital mechanisms in your body and an energy shake made from the right nutrients is a quick and effective way to do this.
Your muscles need fuel for self-repair, minor tissue damage needs repair and recovery, your blood circulation which was working at maximum while distributing oxygen and nutrients to help your body perform has now slowed down and it also needs refueling.
You were hot while running now your temperature is dropping quickly, this is a window of opportunity for bacteria and virus attacks, while your body temperature is in flux.
A shake is a liquid nutrient or combination of selected nutrients and in the form of a liquid, it is quickly absorbed into the body.
A lot of justifiable deep research has been carried out by brand names which manufacture a shake for athletes. Their understanding of which combination of nutrients will be the most beneficial is on target as a result of research and real-time testing of the product.
- PlantFusion Complete Plant Protein
- FitPro Go!
- PacificHealth Endurox R4
- Orgain Organic Nutritional-Shakes
- Met-Rx RTD 51
- CalNaturale Svelte
- Progenex Recovery
- Iconic Grass Fed Protein Drink
- CLICK Active
- Muscle Milk
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Frequently Asked Questions
10 Best Post Workout Shakes
1. PlantFusion Complete Plant Protein
All natural protein
Only two flavors
PlantFusion Complete Plant Protein is a high-quality, vegan post workout shake that gives you 18-19 grams of plant-based protein depending on the particular flavor you choose.Read more
This post-workout shake by PlantFusion gives you 18 grams of plant-based protein from quinoa, amaranth, peas, and artichoke! These shakes contain no aspartame or preservatives and are also lactose-free, gluten-free, and GMO-free.
PlantFusion ready to drink post workout shakes are available in vanilla and chocolate. Users report these shakes as having a great taste and do not miss the manufactured protein taste one bit.
Cost and Value
These post workout shakes are about the average price of other post workout shakes.
2. FitPro Go!
Provides extra energy
Milk base may still be an issue for some users
FitPro Go! is a magical, milk-based drink that is lactose-free (yes… milk-based AND lactose-free) because of a specially developed ultra-filtration process. FitPro Go! comes in four dessert-like flavors.Read more
FitPro contains 35gs of protein and is gluten- and lactose-free, kosher, and contains 18 vitamins & minerals. These post-workout shakes are sweetened with organic stevia. The four flavors of FitPro Go! have an average of 3 grams of fat, 200 calories, and 10 grams of carbohydrates, providing all of the good stuff your body needs to refuel post-workout.
FitPro Go! is available is four dessert-themed flavors which are: chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, and chocolate chip cookie. Users rate their favorite flavors as either chocolate or vanilla. Users rave about the lack of manufactured protein taste because of the all natural ingredients that make up this post-workout shake.
Cost and Value
This post-workout shake, with all of its goodness, does come with a price. It is a bit more expensive than other RTD post workout shakes.
3. PacificHealth Endurox R4
Patented 4:1 protein to carb ratio
Increase protein synthesis by 400%
May not have enough protein for some diets
May have too many carbs for some diets
Has added sugar
The PacificHealth Endurox R4 is a great shake for post workout with the patented 4:1 Protein-carb ratio which speeds up recovery. This drink will help you recover faster, and help prevent muscle damage so you can get back to your work out the next day.Read more
This drink has 13 grams of protein and 52g of carbs. This 4:1 ratio helps you regain your strength faster. It includes both whey and soy protein to enhance the effectiveness.
Users reported loving the taste of these protein shakes. Especially for those who don't like the chalky taste that some other drinks may have. Consumers rave about the Tangy Orange, and the Fruit punch, but this shake is also available in chocolate and lemon-lime.
Cost and Value
The price is about average compared to other post workout shakes. But with the great taste and all natural ingredients it's worth the price.
4. Orgain Organic Nutritional-Shakes
Great taste reported by users
Available in different flavors
Orgain Organic Nutritional-Shakes is the first shake, which is ready to drink, and is doctor-developed. Its purely certified organic, non-GMO, and is gluten-free. It comes in four flavors, so you are sure to find one that satisfies your cravings.Read more
In addition to being organic, gluten-free, and non-GMO, Orgain Organic Nutritional Shake is a great post workout choice, because it packs in 16gs of organic plant protein, 21 vitamins & minerals, is high in fiber and has added organic fruits and veggies. Plus, all four flavors have less than 260 calories, which will refuel you after a tough workout without attacking your waistline.
The four flavors available in the Orgain Organic Nutritional Shake line are Strawberries, Fudge which is Creamy Chocolate, Bean Sweet Vanilla, Cream, and IcedCafé Mocha. Users of these shakes brag about how delicious the flavors are, even saying that the Sweet Vanilla Bean tastes just like ice cream.
Cost and Value
These shakes are a little more expensive than other post workout shakes, mainly because organic ingredients are generally a little more expensive.
5. Met-Rx RTD 51
Most protein in a ready-to-drink shake
Low in fat
Tasty chocolate flavor with a vanilla option
Can be so thick they are hard to drink
Leave a coating inside your mouth after drinking
This post-workout shake packs the most protein by far - a whopping 51 grams! This shake will definitely give your muscles what they crave to rebuild and repair.Read more
In addition to 51 grams of protein, this post-workout shake is low in fat, has less than 300 calories, and is full of good-for-you nutrients like amino acids and BCAAs. The proteins in RTD51 are a combination of whey protein and casein protein, which means that the proteins take longer to break down, offering extended muscle support.
Users report that the chocolate flavor is better than the vanilla flavor, and that overall these post-workout shakes are extremely thick and become hard to drink if you don’t drink them quickly. Users also reported feeling like there was a coating covering their mouths after drinking this shake.
Cost and Value
Even though they have an above-average amount of protein for a ready-to-drink post workout shake, they still have an average price.
6. CalNaturale Svelte
High in fiber and calcium
Available in different flavors
Available in five flavors, the CalNaturale Svelte protein shake provides an organic, vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, kosher way for you to refuel after a long run.Read more
With 260 calories, 16 grams of protein, and 5 grams of fiber, the CalNaturale Svelte protein shake is off to a good start. Add to it a soy milk base, 8 vitamins and minerals, 35% of your RDV for calcium and 30% of your daily value for Vitamin D, this shake will definitely give you a healthy recharge post workout.
CalNaturale Svelte is available in chocolate, French vanilla, cappuccino, banana crème, and spiced chai varieties. They are lightly sweetened with Stevia to make them extra tasty. According to users, these shakes have a satisfying taste and texture, are best when refrigerated, and many find cappuccino to be their favorite.
Cost and Value
These are a little less expensive than your average post workout shake.
7. Progenex Recovery
Hydrolyzed whey protein to work faster
23 grams of protein
Only 10 grams of carbs and low sugar
Fast absorbing means faster recovery
More expensive than some of the other drinks.
This hydrolyzed whey protein shake has great flavors. Progenex is the official sponsor for the Crossfit games so you are getting a high-quality recovery shake with 23 grams of protein, and low carbs. These shakes are fast absorbing to help you recover quicker, so your muscles will feel better faster.Read more
Progenex Recovery shakes come with 23 grams of protein and only 10 grams of carbs and 5 grams of sugar. They also use a hydrolyzed protein which makes it more effective.
Progenex uses a hydrolyzed protein so usually, that would make the drink taste kind of sour, but not these shakes. These shakes come in three different flavors Loco Mocha, Peanut Butter Smash, and Tropical Vanilla. Consumers loved the taste of these shakes.
Cost and Value
These effective shakes come at a price, but this drink does come with a guarantee of working or your money back.
8. Iconic Grass Fed Protein Drink
Great for those who don't want a lot of calories
Low fats and cabs
Some users experienced unpleasant aftertaste
Would you like to taste shake with high-quality protein from Grass Fed New Zealand cows? We guess you do. This is a brand with natural ingredients and very good taste. Check out their tastes!Read more
Like in many other shakes, there are 20 grams of protein. there are only 3 grams of sugar and in this shake, there are 4 grams of fiber. It has only 130 calories for one bottler so it will be great for people who are on a diet.There are no gluten, lactose, soy, and GMOs
When you read about the available tastes, you're getting hungry. There are 4 to choose from- Chocolate Truffle, Café Au Lait, golden Milk and Vanilla Bean.
Cost and Value
This brand is a little expensive, for 12 bottles you pay around 44 dollars so it's above the average.
9. CLICK Active
You can use it with milk or water
Has espresso coffee without caffeine
Guaranteed fast recovery
Some users didn't like the texture
For some runners 20 grams of proteins is not enough. What about 25 grams? And in addition, you're big fun of coffe? This product is perfect for you.Read more
There are double shots of espresso coffee without any caffeine. There are 25 grams of proteins. BCAAs and Glutamine also boost the synthesis of protein and provide faster recovery.
You could think at first that there's only one tase but there are Mocca and Vanilla Late tastes. Doesn't it sound delicious?
Cost and Value
The product isn't super expensive however remember that you also need to buy water or milk to make a shake.
10. Muscle Milk
Made from organic ingredients
Perfect tasting banana flavor
For some users, 11 grams of proteins isn't enough
Everybody would like to recover fast after the workout. Well, it will be much easier if you provide yourself some good source of proteins. A good option is trying Muscle milk- the product that will make the recovery much easier.Read more
It has only 100 calories per serving but there's still a good amount of proteins- 20 grams. There are also vitamin C,A,D. There are also essential amino acids that prolong the delivery of the protein in your body.
Unfortunately, there are only two tastes to choose from. First one is chocolate, it definitely tastes like chocolate milk, the other one is vanilla cream.
Cost and Value
For 12 shakes you pay more than 17 dollars. the price is high but the ingredients and protein are high quality.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Always give attention to the quality as this will determine how you achieve your workout goals. It is better to pay extra for a supplement which is natural and pure. Its highly recommended that you always read the label, before choosing a post workout shake, to be certain that it doesn’t contain too many ingredients. While looking at the ingredients it’s good to counter check and see if the ingredients are organic. Be cautious of adverts that will say that the supplement has extra ingredients, which will be useful in fast muscle development. This can be just a marketing strategy and its best to do a thorough research on the best post work out a supplement for you. Don’t go around spending so much on a supplement while you can still achieve muscle growth and recover at a much more affordable rate. Consider the quality, noting that expensive doesn’t always mean high quality and just because it works for someone else then that’s the best supplement for you.
The ingredients used are very important, they determine the quality of the supplement and whether it will work for you in terms of muscle recovery and growth. The best ingredients are the ones that are organic, and also a supplement doesn’t need to have too many ingredients for it to work. Just the ingredients that are useful in muscle repair and growth should be in the ingredients. Below are some of the most important ingredients to look out for while checking out a post work out supplement. And also how you can blend these ingredients with other natural ingredients to have an ultimate post work out shake.
When the muscles receive much energy they will need to function from the stored glycogen. The stores tend to get exhausted and depleted during training sessions and must be replenished very fast when the workout sessions end. An athlete should be able to track their calories intake and other nutrients (carbs) so that they can ensure that they are receiving the amount needed to stay fit and healthy without being overboard and experiencing unexpected weight gain. Important carbohydrates are like maltodextrin and dextrose. Be sure that the post workout energy supplement you plan to take has the above carbohydrates, as they are crucial especially when an athlete is involved in strenuous exercise sessions. Low carbs may cause muscle soreness and increased fatigue.
Do a background check on the product and the company? This is very important when picking a post work out supplement, research on the duration of the supplement is in the market and its manufacturer. It’s best to stick to the supplements that have been on the market long enough also, you can check the customer reviews of the supplements before buying one. Usually, when a supplement sticks around after some years, it simply means its a good product.
Frequently Asked Questions
Post workout drinks, also referred to as recovery drinks, are made to refuel your body.
They contain the protein, carbohydrates, and other nutrients your body craves after extensive and taxing physical activity. Additionally, they are highly portable, so they are great for people on the go, that workout on location, or even as a quick meal replacement if you are in a rush.
However, not all post workout drinks are created equal, so reading the nutrition label will help you choose one that meets your dietary needs.
Below is a simple guideline on the perfect time to take the post work out shakes.
For highest protein synthesis, drink your post workout shake within an hour of working out. This includes high aerobic activities, including running.
Research shows that post-workout shakes that are high in protein still have an effect up to 24 hours after a workout
A simple guide below will be useful.
Research shows that about 20 grams of post-workout protein is most effective.
Doctors say the amount of protein intake post workout is more important than timing.
Overall diet matters, too. Protein intake should continue throughout the day.
The most effective time to drink one of these shakes is just after you finish your exercise. This is the time when muscles have been successfully broken down from your workout and in major need of protein intake to help rebuild tissue. Now, just one shake per day will do it, unless of course, you tend to eat plenty of foods with more protein throughout each day. The key is to provide the body with optimum amounts of protein every few hours, to keep a constant intake of building assistance for the muscles.
It’s important to know the different types of protein also, this is because the type of protein you use matters with regards to achieving your fitness goals.
Casein protein: it takes longer when digesting than concentrate/ isolate proteins. Serious runners or athletes also bodybuilders often take the casein protein at night before bed. This protein has the ability to deliver a supply of proteins (amino acids) during the whole night, as they sleep.
Isolate whey: it’s a protein type that is absorbed quickly by the body, it is best taken after a training/ workout session. Its able to direct the amino acids & the proteins into the body’s depleted muscles. Generally, it is suitable to be taken between meal.
Below are some of the additional supplements, that athletes can consider taking:
Vitamin C Supplement
You should take the Vitamin C supplement in case you normally experience a wheezing chest or a cough after your workout sessions. You can add it to your recovery drink even though it, not a must take a supplement. Its meant for people with breathing difficulties. It’s also an antioxidant which can assist the body recover faster after a stressing activity/ strenuous workout.
Tart Cherry Supplement
You can add a tart cherry in case you always experience inflammation after working out. Consuming ginger or cherry tart will reduce chances of the muscles experiencing inflammation after undergoing very strenuous workouts.
Creatine as a supplement
Include creatine in your supplement intake, in case your fitness goal is gaining muscle mass. It is favored and preferred by many bodybuilders, since its able to add muscle mass, even by 10 pounds & also increase the body strength with a change of 10%. You will need to consult with your doctor, prior to adding creatine as a supplement as part of your recovery supplement. If you engage in strenuous sporting activities like cycling, marathon running creatine will not be able to provide the body with the needed amount of energy for an optimal recovery. Also if you use creatine, avoid using it together with caffeine, as caffeine might counteract most of the benefits that the supplement is supposed to give to the body.
You can use antioxidants in enhancing the recovery of the muscles after a workout, though they are not a necessary supplement for a recovery drink. Antioxidants are able to promote the overall health, increase the stamina and the energy. Turmeric, a yellow spice is similar to ginger. The root vegetable contains antioxidants which can reduce inflammation hence faster recovery. Maca a Peruvian plant which is a root also has antioxidants, which maintain the all round good health, at the same increase stamina and energy. The foods are mostly available in powder form hence easy to blend into a recovery shake.
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