It's not just the workout but the recovery that will have you well on your way to your fitness goals. Key to refueling and replenishing your muscles, the right drink will hydrate and provide you with the recommended 4:1 ratio of carbs to protein. While there are several options available, these five drinks are ideal for those looking to maximize the recovery process. With options for long and short workouts, consider you thirst quenched.
Chocolate milk is not just an indulgence, but a recovery drink too! This is because it has the recommended 4:1 ratio of carbs to protein needed to replenish your body and restore muscle glycogen. It also has calcium, crucial for strong muscles and bones.
For a healthy option you can make yourself, consider this post-workout smoothie. It has a blend of everything your body needs to recover, including Greek yogurt, chocolate milk, and bananas. Since a long workout can be really taxing on your body's immune system, there are blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries for an antioxidant boost. For a creamier recovery smoothie, try this banana, almond butter, and coconut-water option.
If you exercised for under an hour, water is the perfect (zero calorie) recovery drink. To figure out how much to sip, here's a fun little trick: Weigh yourself before and after your workout. For every pound of water weight lost, replace it by drinking 16 to 20 ounces of water. Water does not have the protein or carbs as other drinks, so be sure to drink it with a post-workout snack.
Sports drinks are ideal because they have been formulated with the nutrients needed to recover. They are a great option because they replace the sodium lost through sweat during a workout. This is important in order to keep your muscles and nerves functioning properly. Be wise about sipping sports drinks, as they often contain over 100 calories per 16 ounces, and a few sips can put a calorie dent in your day. They are not necessary for workouts under an hour since research shows that athletes don't deplete their electrolyte and glycogen stores for more than an hour of intensive training.
Similar to still water, coconut water is a great recovery option for workouts under an hour. While it doesn't have sodium, it is extremely hydrating and contains other nutrients like magnesium and potassium (crucial for proper organ function). Coconut water also contains high levels of disease-fighting antioxidants.