Recovery drinks are packed with amino acids and micronutrients that can help you recover post-workout. But that’s only if you use them right. If not, you risk missing out on the benefits, undermining your training, and staying fatigued for long after.
This article is about all the mistakes you’re probably making with your post-workout recovery drink. If you stick around till the end, we’ll also share some critical tips on how you can get it right.
1. Not mixing it properly
Have you ever mixed your protein shake only to find that it comes out lumpy with a ton of chunks? Mixtures like these are very difficult to swallow, and make you less likely to use a recovery drink the second time around.
Plus, without proper dissolution, you won’t get the benefits immediately after drinking. That’s the opposite of what you want with a recovery drink.
The solution is to put the liquid in first. When you later add the powder, it will dissolve with only mild stirring. This technique also makes it less likely for some powder to remain at the button of the cup.
2. Mixing in twenty different superfoods
Most protein shakes, like tailwind nutrition’s recovery drink are all-inclusive. That means they replenish your glycogen stores, replace electrolytes, and even help you with muscle repair. They are basically everything you need after a rewarding session in the gym.
What you don’t want to do is start tacking on all kinds of superfoods and supplements along with your drink. Many people like to buy industrial-grade blenders and mix everything from almond nuts to various kinds of fruits to get a “super” effect.
These foods are great, but they aren’t the best idea immediately after a workout. Instead, stick to one thing – your recovery drink – and have a nutritious meal much later. On the other hand, you can also have a high-protein meal and skip the drink. Just remember to keep it simple.
3. Chasing an anabolic window
Several researches have shown that there’s no such thing as an anabolic window. This means you can take your protein supplement one minute after your workout or a while later. One mistake people make is to quickly mix their recovery drink and chug before they’ve even had a chance to catch their breath.
Taking the drink within 30 minutes allows your body to quickly absorb it and get to work repairing damaged muscles. But if you don’t have your drink until you get back home, there’s no harm done.
Another mistake you can make here is to replace your meals with your recovery drink. You should try to get some food in you a few hours after training to get some other macros that aren’t included in your shake.
4. You’re not reading the label
You should always read the label of everything you’re putting in your body. Although some manufacturers don’t always make this easy because they have long and intimidating ingredient lists. Naturally, you’d assume the drinks must be worth something.
But many times, this isn’t the case. Some of them have ingredients that are simply fillers – they sound good on paper but don’t contribute anything significant to your overall recovery.
The good news is that there are great supplements out there that keep their ingredient composition short and sweet. They use only the best ingredients based on exhaustive scientific research and can deliver excellent muscle recovery.
5. You’re ignoring recovery drinks altogether
At this point, most people understand the value of recovery drinks. But you may still not be on board because of certain dietary restrictions. For example, if you’re vegan, you probably won’t feel comfortable chugging a recovery drink unless you know for certain that no animals were harmed. The same applies to gluten or any GMO products.
Well, we have good news for you. There are tons of shakes out there that meet your dietary requirements. They are vegan, non-GMO, and gluten-free. All you need to find them is a little bit of research.
Some great recovery drink ideas
Even though they are wildly effective, manufactured protein drinks aren’t the only option for a great recovery post-workout. We have a list of 4 natural drinks that can help you hydrate, refuel, and speed up muscle repair.
1. Chocolate milk
Chocolate milk has twice the carbohydrates you find in regular milk and it’s an excellent choice for fueling up post-workout. It replenishes your glycogen stores and helps you hydrate after working up a good sweat.
If you’re engaged in any kind of endurance work, like cycling or running, good news because some studies show that chocolate milk is particularly great after these activities.
2. Coconut water
Coconut water is packed with antioxidants and nutrients – a fact that most people are now familiar with. But did you know that it’s particularly effective as a post-workout beverage? It contains an abundance of electrolytes like magnesium and potassium.
In fact, one study found coconut water to be just as effective as sports drinks when taken post-workout. Researchers do warn that instead of knocking it back like you would a sports drink, it’s better to hydrate slowly because coconut water could cause bloating.
3. Black and green tea
One research has found that tea is good for more than just a relaxing afternoon. It plays a critical role in fat oxidation, helping you convert fat stores to energy. That’s great because you can lose even more fat post-workout than you usually would. Tea is also a rich source of antioxidants and has been shown to help lower blood cortisol levels.
4. Cherry juice
You don’t hear this often but cherry juice is a great choice for a post-workout drink. It is very effective in fighting muscle soreness, reducing inflammation, and aiding in muscle recovery. You’ll notice that it sounds suspiciously similar to a recovery drink.
Several studies exploring the effectiveness of cherry juice have found that athletes that drink it immediately after a long-distance run experienced quicker muscle recovery and had decreased inflammation.