Are workout recovery drinks necessary? Surprising Research.


Muscle fatigue and soreness are a byproduct of a good workout session but your progress depends on how fast you can recover from the intense training. 

There are tons of recovery drinks available in the market that claims to accelerate the recovery process and supports a healthy body. But, are workout recovery drinks necessary? Are they worth investment? Stay with us and we are going to answer every question of yours. 

Recovery drinks are designed to maximize your workout performance by supplying all the essential nutrients to achieve enhanced performance and fast recovery. 

But, all recovery drinks are not created equal, they all have their own purpose. 

Workout recovery drinks can be broadly classified into three categories:

  • Recovery from aerobic exercises
  • Recovery from anaerobic exercises 
  • Intra workout recovery

We are going to get in detail of every category, but first, let’s get to know if workout recovery drinks are necessary or they are just good for nothing. 

Are workout recovery drinks necessary?

Your body requires certain nutrients for proper functioning and workout recovery drinks are designed to fulfill the body requirements. 

No, you don’t necessarily require post-workout recovery drinks if you can fulfill the body’s nutritional requirements through balanced meals. 

Yes, If you are not following a disciplined diet. 

Post-workout recovery drinks can help in relieving muscle soreness, improves strength by shortening the recovery time and improves body composition.  

Whether its a pro athlete or a regular fitness enthusiast, most of them take post-workout recovery drinks to ensure the optimum recovery and enhanced performance. 

What’s the best workout recovery drink for your needs?

Every person has different nutritional needs depending on the training pattern. A regular gym-goer required to pack-on protein for better recovery and a marathon runner requires a drink can maintain the electrolytic balance. 

Recovery from endurance workouts:

Endurance workouts involve sweating and dehydration. Your body loses many vital minerals that are required for the body’s proper functioning. 

Commonly, endurance workout recovery drinks contain carbohydrates to regulate lost glycogen and electrolytes to regulate natural minerals and vitamins. 

After a long and exhaustive cardio session, your body loses its glycogen reserves which make you feel exhausted and dizzy. These energy drinks also contain everything to replenish the lost energy.

Natural recovery drinks: 

Chocolate milk: 

Chocolate milk is proven to be very effective for recovery in endurance athletes. Chocolate milk contains carbohydrates, enough hydrations, vital minerals like potassium, calcium, magnesium. A 2010 study concluded the improvement in the performance of cyclists. Another 2011 study found, milk to be more effective in combating dehydration. 

Coconut water: 

Coconut water contains everything your body needs after an exhaustive endurance workout. It contains a wide variety of minerals and vitamins that helps in regulating the body’s hydration. A study (3) conducted on the comparison of coconut water and sports drinks. The research found coconut water to be just as helpful as sports drinks for postworkout recovery. 

Tart cherry juice:

Rigorous training might result in lactic buildup which results in soreness and stiffness. Tart cherry juice contains strong antioxidants that can get rid of free radicals and helps in overall recovery. 

Another study (4) conducted on the effectiveness of tart cherry juice for marathon runners. The study concluded runners who drank cherry juice before and after their run were found to have a faster recovery and lower inflammation. 

Recovery drinks for strength training:

What does your body require post strength training? It’s protein. 

When you strength train, your muscle fibers experience micro-tears that occur because of the higher resistance. 

Those micro-tears needs to be healed to achieve superior strength and recovery. 

Protein shakes are the best drink you can provide to your body. Protein shakes (especially whey) contains all the essential amino acids that are required for optimum recovery and growth. 

Whey protein

When it comes to post-workout muscle recovery nothing can beat the effectiveness of “whey protein”. 

Taking 1-2 scoops of whey protein just after the completion of workout can help in superior recovery and strength. 

Whey protein contains all the amino acids that are required for active recovery and strength.  Many studies (5, 6, 7) have been conducted on the effectiveness of whey protein and whey protein supplementation is found to enhance whole-body anabolism, composition, and may improve acute recovery of exercise performance.

Intra workout training: 

It’s good to take some post-workout recovery nutrition but what about the Intra-workout (during workout)? 

While doing some intense workouts your body loses electrolytes and glycogen reserves. Intra workout recovery drinks can help replenish the lost nutrients and allows you to go the extra mile while you are still training.

Intra workout recovery drinks can actively help in superior workout performance which results in better strength and muscle gains. 


Effective recovery plays a key role in improved performance, recovery supplements are designed to supply all the essential nutrients that are required for healthy growth and development. 

Workout recovery drinks are not necessary but they surely assist in better performance and allows you to get a competitive edge over others. 

Thanks for reading. Questions are welcomed in the comments as always. This site contains affiliate links as well as general health and fitness information. Please read my Medical Disclaimer and Writing Disclaimer for more information.    


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