Best supplements to take post workout

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Best supplements to take post workout

A guide to post workout supplements

If you are looking to take your training, physique, and recovery to the next level, then you probably want to take supplements. There are many different health supplements on the market to maximise your gains and improve performance. However, some of these supplements are best taken after a workout to give your depleted muscles the nutrients they need to recover quick and strong. Post workout is the most important “nutritional window” and to take full advantage of this we need to make sure we are taking the right supplements. 

Benefits of post workout supplements

There are many benefits to taking supplements post workout. These can include aiding muscle recovery and increasing protein synthesis. Therefore, you can put on a higher amount of muscle mass as you can recover quicker and be ready to train. Taking supplements can also make meal prep easier as these contain nutrients that contribute t your daily macro nutrient goals. While these supplements are not a necessity after a workout it will definitely make a difference to recovery time, mass gained and performance. 
When looking for a post workout supplement we are looking for three purposes:
1) Replenish glycogen (energy stores)
2) Decrease protein break down 
3) Increase protein synthesis. 

Protein supplements 

When it comes to muscle recovery protein is crucial. When it comes to how much we should consume its recommended that we eat around 1.6g or protein per kilogram of bodyweight. When we train our muscles need to repair through protein synthesis, its believed the healing effects are enhanced if we consume protein when its needed the most which is post workout. Although there are many supplements on the market that are high in protein which ones you take can be dependent on your goals. 
Whey protein supplies your body with the essential amino acids needed for growth and repair. Whey protein is also fast adsorbing so there is little time for the amino acids to reach your muscles. Casein protein also works the same but takes longer to be digested, so for this supplement is probably best taken before bed as the protein can be adsorbed while you sleep. As well as getting protein to your muscles straight away this supplement is also increasing your daily protein intake which is a must do when trying to gain lean mass. 


Creatine is a supplement that can decrease recovery time and help with muscle soreness. Using creatine is also been proven to increase strength gained from a workout by 10 – 15%. If you would like to learn more about creatine and muscle gain then check out this article by Pub, where they assess the effects of creatine on weightlifting performance. Although there is no hard evidence saying creatine is more effective after a workout this is a supplement that still needs more research. There are many studies out there that all have different conclusions, some say its better to take creatine before, others say after and some conclude that the time you take it does not matter. 
Although there is no hard evidence saying creatine is best taken after a workout, it would not hurt to try it as it can ad in recovery and my make the soreness more bearable. Creatine is found naturally in cells and help them produce energy. So, after a workout when our cells are depleted of energy creatine helps produce energy to replace what was used when training. This replenishing of energy also has other positive effects like decreased muscle protein breakdown and increased cell hydration. 


BCAA’s (branch chain amino acids) contain three of the nine essential amino acids. These three amino acids are leucine, isoleucine, and valine. There are many benefits to taking these supplements like increased muscle growth, reduced fatigue, and reduced soreness after a workout. The amino acid leucine is especially associated with increasing protein synthesis rates, so your muscles are repaired and recovered quicker. This means that we can increase training frequency and can finally walk after training legs. 
The essential amino acids are the ones that your body can’t produce naturally, and we get them through food and supplements. You may be thinking, does it really matter when I take BCAA’s as long as I’m taking them? Well the truth is that it does not really matter, they are fast acting as they go straight to your muscles and it takes around 30 minutes for your BCAA levels in your blood to peak after taking the supplement. Although there is no hard evidence suggesting when to take BCAA’s, everyone has a different opinion of when they should be taken. Some may say there are best taken post workout and others say during or pre workout. As BCAA’s reduce the breakdown of muscle mass and can aid with recovery, it really has no effect on performance just recovery so pre workout seems a bit pointless. The best time to take the supplement would be during or post workout to give the amino acids time to enter your bloodstream and reduce the breakdown of muscle mass. If you would like to read more about when to take BCAA’s then check out this article by Marsha McCulloch from Healthline.


Glutamine is a conditionally essential amino acid our bodies can produce naturally. It is also found in meats, dairy and can be taken as a supplement. This amino acid plays a vital role in protein synthesis and muscle maintenance, also its key to maintain a healthy immune system. Glutamine is the most common amino acid in the body and accounts to 60% of skeletal muscle. This amino acid has two different forms, L- glutamine and D- glutamine. L – glutamine is used to make proteins and D – glutamine is relatively unimportant. 
Its recommended to take glutamine after a workout as your body’s glutamine levels are depleted after you train. So taking the supplement after a workout will help replenish these levels and reduce muscle break down, increase protein synthesis and therefore help with recovery. There are studies that assessed the effects of glutamine and strength gains. They concluded that the people who did supplement glutamine improved strength – training recovery however there was no hard evidence suggesting glutamine increases muscle mass. 
When finding supplements to take post workout, firstly we need to find out what we are looking for. After a workout we would want something that aids with recovery and supplies nutrients that was lost during a workout. This differs from pre – workout supplements as for them you would be looking for something that can increase performance and concentration. So, if you are looking to take your training to the next level why not try these supplements after you train?