You don’t grow in the gym.
In fact, working out breaks down the muscle fibers, making them weaker and smaller. What you put into your body in the 30 minutes after you put down the weights will determine whether your muscles grow back bigger and stronger or stay in that dangerous state bordering on catabolism.
In other words, what you consume immediately after your workout can either make or break your muscle building/fitness program.
In this article, we identify the seven best recovery supplements designed to refuel your body. They will provide you with the energy boost, amino acids and other nutrients that you need to bounce back bigger and stronger.
|MHP Dark Matter||Myogenix After Shock||BSN CELLMASS 2.0||Muscle Pharm Re-Con||Optimum Nutrition After Max||LEGION Recharge||Optimum Nutrition 2:1:1|
|Creatine, amino acids||Great taste, appetite suppressant||Triple blend creatine, glutamine||Beta alanine, citrulline||Great taste, sound nutritional profile||Excellent value for money, nice taste||Blends well, Value for money|
The 7 Best Recovery Supplements
MHP Dark Matter
MHP is renowned for putting out top-notch products that are tailored to support maximum physical performance. We love MHP Dark Matter because it acts to spike insulin in order to effectively fast-track nutrients into the muscle cell by spiking insulin. You also get three different types of creatine and a wealth of amino acids.
o Waxy maize
o Glycerol monostearate
MHP Dark Matter delivers 48 grams of carbs and 12 grams of protein per serve, giving you a four to one ratio in favor of carbs.
MHP Dark Matter gives you a great way to recover immediately after your workout. It delivers a blend of creatine and amino acids to fuel your muscles immediately following your workout. The three different types of creatine ensure that the ATP system is replenished as quickly as possible.
Unfortunately, MHP Dark Matter does not mix very effectively. We are also not keen on the fact that its ingredients are listed as a proprietary blend so that we do not know the know how much of each ingredient is in the product. We do know that you get 12 grams of protein which is under-dosed by about two thirds.
MHP Dark Matter is slightly overpriced. Each container provides you with just 20 servings.
Myogenix After Shock
The Myogenix After Shock supplement has an impressively comprehensive formula that includes creatine and glutamine, both f which are excellent workout recovery aids.
o Kre alkalyn
o L- Norvaline
o Magnesium Glycyl Glutamine
o Antioxidant blend
o Joint repair blend
o Protein blend (partially hydrolyzed whey protein isolate, ultra-filtered whey
o Glycogenix blend
Unfortunately, After Shock is made up of many proprietary blends, so we do not know the exact quantity of every product.
Myogenix AfterShock contains roughly a 50:50 ratio of carbs to protein. Every serve contains 30 grams of carbs and 32 grams of protein.
After Shock is one of the best tasting post workout formulas that we have come across. It has a smooth taste which goes down very quickly, which is very important when you are in recovery mode. In addition to providing the recovery nutrients that you need, After Shock also acts as an appetite suppressant.
Myogenix After Shock is made up of a number of proprietary blends, so you do not know the ingredient quantities. It is also quite expensive, with just 15 servings coming from each container.
BSN CELLMASS 2.0
This BSN CELLMASS 2.0 is a reformulated version of their original post workout product, Cellmass. It has triple the creatine content of the previous version along with some great new additions – glutamine, taurine and hydrolyzed whey protein.
o Proprietary blend of Protein Hydrolysate, L-Glutamine, Glutamine Peptides
o Inuslino Interfusion
o Taurine and Banaba extract
o Myogenix matrix of Creatine, monohydrate, Creatine HCL, Creatine Anhydrous
BSN CellMass 2.0 has a 50:50 ratio of carbohydrates to protein.
BSN CellMass 2.0 delivers a triple blend of creatine. It also provides you with a good blend of glutamine. This combination will boot the cells of the body while also combating post-workout fatigue and replenishing your ATP reserves. BSN CellMass 2.0 is available in four flavors. The taste of all flavors is quite impressive
This product features a heavy creatine content in a blend of 3 varieties. It is also heavy on glutamine. This stops muscle fatigue and quickly replenishes the cells. The creatine content will add volume while priming your ATP reserves for the next workout. The product comes in four flavors, which each taste great. It also mixes very easily.
You do not get a high number of proteins or carbohydrates with this product.
Muscle Pharm Re-Con
The solid post workout recovery formula in Muscle Pharm Re-Con delivers BCAAs, glycogen and beta alanine along with a proprietary blend of carbs.
o Proprietary carb blend of glucose powder, dextrose, and innuin
o Amino Acid blend containing glutamine, taurine, and arginine
o BCAAs in a 3:1:2 blend
o Essential Amino Acid complex
o Ascorbic Acid
o Beta Alanine
Muscle Pharm Recon delivers 27 grams of carbs, 1 gram of fiber and 7 grams of sugar. There are no proteins or fats in Muscle Pharm Recon.
Muscle Pharm Recon includes some powerful ingredients to boost your workout recovery. Beta-alanine buffers the acid that comes from lactic acid, allowing you to keep going to the gym. The citrulline is a known booster of nitric oxide to promote a pump effect.
There is an absence of histidine in the Muscle Pharm Recon amino acid blend. This has the potential to impede your muscle gains so be sure to take a protein supplement in addition to this product. Another problem with Recon is that is full of proprietary blends, so you do not know how much of each ingredient you are getting.
Optimum Nutrition After Max Post-Workout Maximum Recovery
The Optimum Nutrition After Max Post-Workout Maximum Recovery. It delivers a large number of carbohydrates and protein. In addition, you get creatine and glutamine, adding up to a pretty effective recovery supplement.
o Hydrolized whey protein isolates
o Creapure Creatine
o Glutamine Peptides
o Carbohydrate blend
Optimum Nutrition After Max provides a 1:1 carb, protein ratio. You get 40 grams of each of these macronutrients I every serving.
After Max is a delicious tasting shake that mixes very nicely in either a blender or a blender bottle. You get a pretty complete nutritional profile to provide for the post-workout recovery that you need.
With only 20 servings per container, this is a relatively expensive post workout formula.
Popular LEGION Recharge is a post-workout formula that is built around creatine. It also includes carnitine, which acts as a cell volumizer to fast track nutrients to your muscle cells post workout.
o Creatine Monohydrate
o Corocolic Acid
There are no carbs or proteins in Legion Recharge.
Legion Recharge provides you with a great tasting recovery formula that helps to speed up your recovery while also priming you for the next workout. You get 60 servings out of each container which makes for pretty good value.
The failure of Recharge to provide the post workout carbs and protein that you need limits its effectiveness.
Optimum Nutrition 2:1:1 Recovery
Optimum Nutrition is a very useful post-workout recovery formula. This company has an excellent reputation for pre-workout supplementation (like their Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre-Workout), and their 2:1:1 provides the bookend after your exercises session with a specialized blend delivered in just the right ratios.
o Waxy maize starch
o Hydrolized whey protein isolates
o Micellar casein and egg albumen
The 2:1:1 ratio of the title of this product refers to the fact that there is double the amount of hydrolyzed protein compared to casein and egg-based protein. The hydrolyzation process allows the amino acids to get directly into the muscle cell after your workout.
With Optimum Nutrition 2:1:1 you get a ratio 2:1:1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein. The one time in your day when you need fast acting carbs is immediately after your workout. Your training will have used up your stores of glycogen, and these levels need to be replaced.
Optimum Nutrition 2:1:1 blends very well. It even mixes well in a blender bottle. You won’t have to contend with grittiness or a bitter aftertaste with this product. You will pay bout $1.30 per serving with this product, which represents pretty good value in a post-workout supplement.
Optimum Nutrition 2:1:1 is not the best tasting shake, but neither is it horrible. In addition, it does not contain creatine.
Post Workout Essentials
The 30-45 minutes immediately after your workout are the critical window for your post-workout nutrition. Your muscles are craving the nutrients they need to refuel, recover and thrive. You need to take in both protein and carbs post workout. It’s a good idea to take your post workout meal in liquid form (i.e., a shake) as it will be absorbed into the bloodstream more quickly.
Why whey? Because it is the fastest digesting protein available. This means that it will fast-track amino acids to your muscle cells, kick-starting the recovery process. Whey is also the most abundant source of Branch Chain Amino Acids. Why? Because protein spikes insulin levels, which further promotes muscle growth and helps drive glucose and amino acids into the muscle fibers to aid recovery and growth. In addition, whey has been shown to increase Nitric Oxide (NO) levels. Enhanced NO levels can increase blood flow to the recovering muscles to better deliver the nutrients they need after training.
This is without a doubt the most effective supplement you can use for boosting muscle size and strength. Taking creatine directly after your workout when your muscle fibers are primed for nutrient uptake makes a lot of sense. To work optimally, creatine requires insulin. Taking creatine along with whey protein ensures that the insulin environment is optimized.
Creatine isn’t for everyone. There are still ways to help boost muscle growth. Check out our Best Alternatives to Creatine article for ideas.
During your workout, you burn glycogen, the form of carbohydrate stored in your muscle fibers. When your glycogen stores are depleted, muscle recovery and growth are impaired. It’s crucial, then, that right after your workout you need a dose of fast-digesting carbs such as dextrose, glucose or maltodextrin that will get to your muscle cells quickly, restocking your glycogen levels to allow for recovery and growth. Restocking glycogen has another benefit. Glycogen pulls water into the muscle cell, keeping the cell full and large.
Beta-alanine combines with amino acids in the muscle cell to form carnosine. Carnosine helps to buffer the acidity level inside the muscle fiber so it can contract with more strength for more extended periods. Beta-alanine is such a powerful precursor to muscle growth that it should be taken both before and after your workout.
Glutamine aids in the recovery of muscle glycogen. It can help more of the carbs that you consume get stored as glycogen in muscle fibers. Glutamine also boosts growth hormone levels. Growth hormone (GH) is vital after workouts to encourage greater muscle growth and strength gains. A dose of glutamine has an added benefit – it will help to keep your immune system working efficiently.
You don’t want to do a bunch of muscle-tearing reps in the gym, just to have your muscles enter a catabolic state and shrink. Taking a high-quality recovery supplement is one of the absolute best things that you can do in order to ensure that your muscles will grow bigger and stronger after each workout session.
Make sure you grab a supplement that has all the post-workout essentials. Any of the supplements that we’ve reviewed here will help you in your efforts to grow your muscles.