It’s no secret that runners can’t survive without a good recovery drink after a long race or heavy workout. For some, the moment they cross the finish line is all it takes for their muscles to cramp up and stop working properly. If you’re looking for some of the best recovery drinks for runners in 2021, look no further than this list!
This blog post contains ten different types of recovery drinks that are perfect to give your body what it needs after an intense run. Some people may not be able to stomach these types of drinks right away so we’ve included notes on when you should consume them as well as how much liquid you should have before consuming them. We’ll also add a list of pros and cons to each selection so that it’s easier for you to make a choice.
1. Gatorade Recover Protein Powder
This protein powder is perfect for after any type of workout, especially running. It has a 3:1 carbohydrate to protein ratio which helps replenish glycogen stores and jumpstart muscle recovery.
It also provides essential electrolytes like sodium and potassium that you lose when sweating during a long run or race. We recommend drinking one scoop 20 minutes before your workout and another post-workout in 12 ounces of cold water. If you’re not the biggest fan of milk, feel free to add it into some green tea or regular water instead!
- Detoxifies the muscles after a long run, especially in those who are prone to cramps.
- Rehydrates with electrolytes and crucial nutrients for post-workout recovery.
- Provides protein which helps repair muscle fibers as well as 20g of carbohydrates per serving that may help fuel your next effort.
- Contains 25 grams of sugar making it less suitable for runners trying to lose weight or suffering from Type 2 Diabetes.
2. IsoPure Zero Carb Vanilla
If you don’t want to use a shaker for your recovery drink, we recommend using IsoPure’s vanilla powder combined with 8 oz of water or milk post-run. This product contains 26g of protein per serving which translates into a 4:1 carbohydrate to protein ratio making it an ideal beverage for replenishing glycogen and repairing muscle fibers after long runs.
However, we recommend taking this product with a meal instead of on an empty stomach like you would other types of protein powder. We also advise against using it as the first source of nutrients before, during, or after your workout.
- Zero carbs and zero fat making it perfect even for runners following low-carb diets or those trying to lose weight.
- Provides 26g high-quality protein per serving which is essential for repairing muscle fibers post-workout.
- Mixes well with just 8 oz water in a cup – no shaker needed!
- Can be taken before, during, or after workouts as well as post-run to help repair muscles.
- Provides electrolytes like potassium and sodium which are lost when sweating during a workout like running.
- Contains soy making it unsuitable for those who follow a vegan lifestyle.
3. Protein2o Chocolate Milk + Vitargo S2 Instant Powder Mix
This product is actually two different choices in one. Here’s what you need to know about each:
Protein2o Chocolate Milk – This chocolate milk powder contains 24g of protein per serving which translates into a 4:1 carbohydrate to protein ratio. We recommend taking one scoop post-run mixed with 8 oz of cold water in a cup and drinking within 20 minutes.
Vitargo S2 Instant Powder Mix – Vitargo is an osmotic carbohydrate which means that it absorbs almost twice as quickly as glucose when taken orally. That makes it the perfect addition to your recovery drink. Take one scoop 30 minutes after consuming Protein2o Chocolate Milk for maximum absorption and muscle recovery.
- Easy way to include two great products in your post-workout routine.
- Protein2o contains a good amount of protein for repairing muscle fibers as well as essential electrolytes like potassium and sodium necessary to replenish salt stores post-run.
- Can be taken with or without the Vitargo S & B powder mix, making it flexible according to your needs.
- Vitargo is a nutrient-dense carbohydrate that helps refuel muscles fast (within 30 minutes) but also does not cause stomach upset like other sugar-based products do.
- Contains 24g of sugar per serving which may make it unsuitable for runners who need to lose weight or suffer from type 2 diabetes.
- It is also suitable only for those not trying to follow a low-carb lifestyle since none of the carbohydrates in these drinks originate from fiber.
4. Ultima Replenisher Lemon Lime
Replenish electrolytes with Ultima’s lemon-lime drink mix which contains the same amount of sodium and potassium as five servings of fruits and vegetables. 20g of carbohydrates per serving for glycogen replenishment, and a small dose of protein to aid post-workout muscle recovery.
It also contains complex carbohydrates in the form of maltodextrin which helps you recover from long runs without causing stomach upset as simpler sugars do. The lemon and lime flavors give it a classy touch making it suitable for use even outside the gym or running course.
Plus, no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives means that this drink mix won’t cause any side effects when used regularly as part of your post-run recovery routine.
- Comes in a variety of flavors including Asian pear, grapefruit, and vanilla cream. We recommend using lemon-lime for optimal post-run results.
- Contains a good amount of potassium which aids in the re-uptake of glycogen into muscle cells, especially after hard workouts like marathons.
- A great choice for those looking to increase energy and hydration.
- Mixes well with just a spoon making it a quick & easy choice.
- Packaged in individual serving-sized packets so you don’t need to worry about measuring out an exact amount before a workout or run – even if you’re on the go!
- Slightly more expensive than most other recovery drinks on the market.
- Contains only 12g of protein per serving which is suitable for short-term muscle recovery after a workout but not for long-distance running.
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5. GU Roctane Endurance Protein Recovery
Are you looking for the perfect recovery drink that tastes like a chocolate milkshake?
If so, then you should try GU Recovery Brew which is loaded with carbs to replenish glycogen stores in your muscles that have been depleted after a hard run or workout. It also contains protein for muscle building and repairing, plus antioxidants and caffeine to promote healthy cell regeneration.
If you’re looking for a tasty chocolate milk-flavored recovery drink, then GU Recovery Brew should definitely be one to consider. There’s no doubt that you’ll love how it tastes and will look forward to drinking it after each run.
- Contains caffeine which helps boost energy levels through the roof without resulting in jitters like coffee might. In fact, it tastes just like a chocolate milkshake! Great for pick-me-ups before workouts.
- Also comes in other flavors including cappuccino, new mint chocolate, salted caramel pretzel, and strawberry banana. We recommend using the original flavor for optimal post-run recovery and muscle building!
- Not the cheapest recovery drink you can find on this list. With that being said, it’s about average priced when compared to the other brands.
6. Vega Sport Protein Recovery Accelerator – Vanilla Crème
Take one scoop of this vegan protein powder with an 8oz-12oz of water, almond milk, or a coconut milk beverage and you have yourself the perfect post-run recovery drink that will help your muscles heal in no time.
If you are vegan or lactose intolerant, Vega Sport Protein Recovery Accelerator is a great option for you! It contains 10 grams of pea protein per serving (which is pretty high for most protein powder products) to help with muscle repair. Plus, it has zero cholesterol and zero trans fats which helps make it heart-healthy as well.
A scoop of this fast-digesting formula provides 20 vitamins and minerals as well. Overall, its premium ingredients mean that your body will use every single nutrient from this product to accelerate recovery – without any risk of bloating gastrointestinal discomfort like other brands might cause.
- The best option for vegan and lactose intolerant runners who want a product that can specifically target muscle recovery after working out.
- Also contains digestive enzymes which are great for helping your body digest the protein in this formula quickly and efficiently without any bloating or upset stomach issues.
- Despite being a premium product, it is actually slightly more expensive than other brands on our list – though not by much!
- Depending on the size of your scoop, each serving might also contain up to 20 calories which some runners may not like too much if they’re trying to keep their weight down.
Related: Best Running Water Bottles
7. Tailwind Rebuild Recovery Drink – Coffee Flavored
Tailwind’s Rebuild Recovery Drink is a mixable powder that you can easily add to your water bottle and take on the go. One serving contains 100 calories of neutral macronutrients, vitamins, minerals, electrolytes, antioxidants, and amino acids to help give your body the nutrients that it needs to recover from a run in a quick manner.
If you’re after a recovery drink that you can blend up quickly before or after a run without needing to go through too much planning with ordering powders online and such beforehand then Tailwind’s Rebuild Recovery Drink might be right for you.
Plus all of its ingredients are certified Paleo-friendly so if you’re trying to avoid gluten or dairy then this will fit perfectly into your diet. It’s also great for runners who are lactose intolerant as it doesn’t contain any dairy products.
- Each serving contains less than 10 calories so you don’t have to worry about bloating as other heavy recovery drinks might cause.
- You can only choose between having a fruit flavor or coffee flavor, no other options are available.
- If you’re coffee intolerant then it’s best to avoid this one.
8. Osmo Rapid Recovery – Chocolate
Osmo’s rapid Recovery is a recovery drink that also doubles as a sports drink to help you get re-hydrated after a long or intense workout. It has all the nutrients that your body needs post-exercise (exactly what we’ve been talking about so far) like carbohydrates, electrolytes, proteins, and more in just one scoop.
Plus it contains no artificial flavors or colors which some runners might appreciate for its simplicity and cleanliness.
- You can blend this powder with plain water if you want to make sure that there isn’t any added sugar going into your system when you’re running low on energy during a race.
- Comes in two flavors – chocolate and vanilla.
- Taste-wise, it has a very strong vanilla flavor which some runners might not like as much.
- Unfortunately, this product only comes in vanilla and chocolate flavor which might not be to everyone’s tastes and may make it hard to mix with other ingredients.
9. CytoSport Fast Twitch RTD
CytoSport makes a line of protein supplements for athletes including the CytoGainer, Muscle Milk, and Muscle Milk Light.
They also have an interesting product called Fast Twitch RTD which is a recovery drink in powder form designed to help active people maintain muscle tone within the body during intense exercise sessions.
Fast Twitch’s main ingredient is whey protein hydrolysate – this helps your muscles recover more quickly and efficiently by providing your fatigued body with amino acids that it can use immediately. It also has added electrolytes so you don’t lose too many electrolytes through sweat when you’re working hard at the gym or going for a run.
- It contains maltodextrin which some runners might appreciate for its slow-releasing properties.
- It comes in a variety of flavors.
- It contains artificial sweeteners which some runners might be wary about due to the increasing awareness among people today of healthy eating and dieting.
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10. Nutricost Whey Isolate
If you’re looking for a protein supplement, then there’s no better place to look than Nutricost.
Their products have earned quite the reputation among athletes and fitness enthusiasts in general because their ingredients are of premium quality.
The company also has a line of recovery drinks which is called Whey Isolate and is designed for people who want to build muscle mass and increase their endurance during workouts. It contains whey protein isolate powder as well as L-glutamine which helps your muscles recover more quickly from intense exercise sessions so that you can get back in the game faster.
In fact, one study mentioned that subjects who took whey protein after training had better gains than those who took nothing.
Whey protein isolate powder is also lactose-free which makes it easier to digest than other types of whey that are full of lactose and thus difficult to break down during digestion.
- Comes in many flavors – chocolate, vanilla, salted caramel, strawberry, and unflavored.
- Lactose-free for easy digestion.
- It’s a little more expensive compared to other brands but the benefits outweigh the slight increase in price for some people.
Drink Chocolate Milk
This favorite childhood beverage is perfect to consume post-run because of its 3:1 carbohydrate to protein ratio, which helps replenish glycogen stores and jumpstart muscle recovery.
You should aim to drink one cup 20 minutes before your workout and another within 45 minutes post-workout, both alongside 10 ounces of cold water. If you’re not a fan of regular chocolate milk, you can also opt for vanilla or other flavors that are just as tasty.
If you’re not interested in drinking it straight up, add some cocoa powder into almond milk and create your own recovery shake.