Completing the intense workout is just half the battle. The soreness that you may feel is a result of the muscles getting stronger, as it tears apart and rebuilds itself looking bigger. Whether that is in the gym, on the track, on the field, or from home workouts, the recovery process is critical to achieving the results you want. You can exercise as much and as hard as you want, but if you aren’t giving your body the time and resources to recover properly between training sessions, you aren’t making the best gains.
While protein powder is a popular post-workout beverage, you don’t have to drink protein shakes after your workout — there are lots of alternatives to get the same nutrients and faster your recovery. Forget about processed store-bought energy drinks that contain artificial colours and nasties, and try to prepare your own all-natural, fresh, and nutrient-rich sports drink. Here, we bring to you ten potent drinks which will help you to stay on track of your fitness regiment and your body to recover efficiently and more quickly.
It might seem obvious, but drinking water before, during, and after your workout is an essential practice to stay hydrated. Drinking water is also a vital part of recovery as it is useful in removing toxins from your body, ensuring proper muscle work, and eradicating feelings of soreness to speed up recovery time.
Dehydration can make the process of recovery feel even worse, causing headaches, lethargy, and even constipation. Hence, you need to replenish water and electrolytes in an organism as during an intense exercise as you lose up to four per cent of your body weight in water and from 0.2 grams to 12.5 grams of sodium per litre of sweat.
To replenish the reserves of fluid lost during exercise, the person must know his or her weight, so make sure to weigh yourself before and after exercise. Every 0.5 kg lost must be replenished with water (in the amount of 500-700 ml). If the weight after exercise has decreased by more than 2%, it means that you do not drink enough water during the training process.
Coconut water is a well-known drink that is rich in antioxidants, nutrients, and electrolytes like magnesium and potassium. What’s more, the sodium content in coconut water is much lower than processed sports drinks, which makes this drink one of the most hydrating of all time. Intake of coconut water helps to restore the electrolyte balance in the body to compensate for the loss you go through during your physical activity.
Since coconut water includes less sodium than the manufactured sports drinks, it may not replace the sodium loss to keep muscles and nerves functioning correctly when it comes to a sweaty workout session. Therefore endurance athletes should probably opt for other post-workout drinks while coconut water can be a great option for lighter workouts.
Additionally, coconut water is proven to be just as beneficial for recovery after physical activity as both sports drinks and water. However, drinking coconut water and coconut water concentrate might lead to bloating and an upset stomach in comparison with sports drinks. So it might be a good idea to hydrate slowly instead.
Losing too many electrolytes during the workout through sweating can trigger an array of symptoms, including muscle cramps, fatigue, and mental confusion. Chocolate milk and its high water content can help to hydrate and replenish essential electrolytes, such as calcium, potassium, and magnesium.
Chocolate milk includes the ideal combination of protein, electrolytes, carbohydrates, and fluids, which the body needs to make a full recovery. Studies suggest that chocolate milk can help to retain the fluids, improve recovery, and subsequent performance more effectively than an isocaloric carbohydrate drink. In contrast, milk can be more effective than water for preventing exercise-induced dehydration.
To make a post-workout recovery drink, mix one and a half teaspoon of unsweetened cocoa with a cup of milk. Chocolate milk also tastes great and can be cheaper than purchasing brand-name protein drinks.
CBD is also known as Cannabidiol and is one of many compounds naturally found in Cannabis. Unlike THC, it is not seen as a psychoactive ingredient as it does not make you high. Because it is non-psychoactive many people are now switching to CBD oil benefits as their preferred way of relieving pain, anxiety, stress, and even things like cancer-related symptoms, acne, or neuro neurological problems.
However, a natural compound can do the trick such as CBD products like drink infused with vitamins, antioxidants and nutrients. It will stimulate the system in your body that reduces pain and even anxiety, which is a bonus. The human body contains a specialised system called the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is involved in regulating basic functions, including sleep, appetite, pain, and immune system response.
Our bodies naturally produce endocannabinoids, which are neurotransmitters that interact with cannabinoid receptors in the nervous system. Studies have shown that cannabidiol can help to decrease chronic pain by impacting endocannabinoid receptor activity, reducing inflammation, and interacting with neurotransmitters. That way you can train hard and enjoy your rest days just a little bit better.
Cherry juice is loaded with anti-inflamatory compounds and antioxidants that may help to fight off muscle damage, provide relief from post-exercise injury and contribute to faster muscle recovery. It’s believed to diminish inflammation and oxidative damage and benefits recovery and function for those tired, sore muscles.
Some individuals think that drinking cherry juice before going to bed is effective as it can help your muscles the next day. While other studies show that drinking cherry juice before bed might help people that are subjected to insomnia, so there is an added bonus.
Try to avoid brands made from concentrate and opt for fresh juices that are more likely to save the beneficial anthocyanins and flavonoids naturally occurring in cherries.
The same briny stuff you drink after a night of alcohol drinks might be also beneficial after a workout. When you sweat during an intense workout, you lose electrolytes, the minerals in your blood that transfer other fluids. Pickle juice is packed with the electrolyte sodium and small amounts of potassium and magnesium, so it can be useful for your muscles to recover from a workout. It can help to replenish these electrolytes when you are feeling fatigued and rehydrate you quickly to keep up performance. At the same time, pickle juice doesn’t include any carbs or protein, which are vital for proper recovery.
As many commercial workout drinks are packed with unreasonably high amounts of caffeine and include harmful ingredients, you can prepare a refreshing post-workout smoothie. All you need is some Greek yoghurt and fresh berries of your choice. Home-made smoothies not only taste great, but each fruit provides you with crucial nutrients, and options here are endless!
The simple sugars in the berries enhance glycogen stores in your body, provide your muscles with quality protein to repair the muscles after rigorous workouts, and promote quick recovery. Berries are also a great source of vitamins, antioxidants, and complex carbohydrates, which help the body replenish its energy levels and treat microdamage done to your muscles.
At the same time, studies show that intake of Greek yoghurt was associated with bigger muscles, healthier body composition, decreased appetite and energy intake at mealtimes. Furthermore, calcium in Greek yoghurt might inhibit fat production and activate fat breakdown in the body while the protein content of Greek yoghurt is much higher, unlike regular yoghurt.
Your warm and relaxing cup of green tea has more benefits than you can imagine. Aside from a fat-burning and caffeinated pick-me-up effects, green tea contains potent antioxidants that help to metabolise fat and fight exercise-induced free radicals that can trigger inflammation and muscle soreness.
Green tea is a useful post-workout drink whose advantages extend well beyond the gym. One of its key compounds called Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) can help to treat numerous chronic inflammatory conditions, including cancer, Alzheimer’s and heart disease.
Furthermore, research suggests that both green and black tea can be effective for fat oxidation during aerobic exercise and post-workout recovery. This means that fat is broken into smaller molecules, then get stored and used for energy. High levels of antioxidants in tea content have been shown to help relieve muscle soreness and recover muscle strength faster.
Beetroot is deemed to be one of the healthiest vegetables and a great source of fibre, manganese, potassium, iron, vitamin B9, and vitamin C. Beetroots and beetroot juice have been associated with different health benefits, including improved blood flow and exercise performance, and lower blood pressure.
Beetroot juice includes nitrate that possesses anti-inflammatory properties and can help to decrease your risk of heart disease and reduce the inflammation after a tough physical activity. What’s more, drinking beet juice increases nitric oxide levels in your body, which in turn improve blood flow and lung function, and strengthen muscle contraction.
For the best exercise results, drink a cup of sweet juice 30 minutes to an hour before and after working out to provide the necessary energy.
Watermelon juice before or after your workout will hydrate you and provide with energy. Watermelon includes an amino acid called l-citrulline, which can help to relieve muscle soreness and potassium, an essential electrolyte lost in sweat after intense exercise.
This drink is also loaded with natural sugars and bioavailable compounds like lycopene, vitamin A and vitamin C. A study on 20 male cyclists that consumed watermelon puree over two weeks suggested that it improved endurance exercise performance and enhanced post-exercise antioxidant levels.
Additionally, the fruit juice is filled with antioxidants that can speed up the body’s fat-burning process by activating metabolism and fibre intended to curb your appetite and inhibit hunger pangs.