Choosing the Best Post Workout Supplements – Top 10 Brands

Best Post Workout Supplement Brands

Training and exercise are vital aspects of a healthy lifestyle, and they are key parts of improving our performance. However, they are only part of the greater equation of achieving the results we are looking for. We train with the goal of achieving adaptions in our body, whether those adaptations be fat loss, building muscle and increasing our speed and power.

The training sessions and workouts are not, in fact, what gets us the results and adaptations however. Workouts and training deliver the stimulus, and it is how we recover from that stimulus that determines the type of results or adaptation we get. According to Selye’s General Adaptation Syndrome, our bodies will adapt to the stresses and stimuli they interact with during the recovery process to become stronger, faster and so on in order to adapt and thrive.

Thus, the nutrients we consume after we workout is critical to helping our bodies adapt and get the results we work so hard for. In particular, consuming the right kinds of nutrients immediately after we conclude our workout, to maximize window of recovery and adaptation and minimize the damage we may incur from challenging training sessions. For example, after a challenging weight or resistance training session, consuming protein within thirty minutes, known as the anabolic window, is crucial for protein synthesis and loses effectiveness when we wait too long or don’t use the right nutrients.

That is why consuming the appropriate post-workout supplement is critical to achieving the results we want. In this article, we’ll break down what to expect from post-workout supplements and which ones are the best for your goals and to achieve the results you want!

What Are Post-Workout Supplements?

Post-workout supplements are any supplement designed to refuel and assist the body with recovery, specifically in the time period immediately after a workout or training session ends. They come in a variety of forms, though the majority are powder-based products that are mixed with liquids such as water or milk.

They are primarily designed to replenish the energy and nutrients lost or burned by our bodies during exercise, thus primary ingredients tend to be a mixture that help to improve post-workout hydration, help the muscles recover and provide energy to avoid any severe drops immediately after the workout.

Common Ingredients in a Post Workout Supplement

The most common ingredient in post-workout supplements is amino acids, specifically branched chain amino acids (BCAA’s). Amino acids are diverse and include branched chain amino acids, taurine, beta-alanine, and tyrosine to name a few. Amino acids have varying effects and benefits such as improving muscle recovery, fluid retention and movement through the body, augmenting training volume and improving power performance, and even decreasing stress.

Branched chain amino acids are primarily comprised of leucine, valine, and isoleucine. Leucine is the primary BCAA that takes part in protein synthesis, arguably the most important role BCAA’s play. One of the other primary functions and key benefits of BCAA’s is their role in preventing muscle loss during dieting or periods of extreme use without the ability to refuel.

Aside from amino acids and BCAA’s, electrolytes and other hydration-related products are often included to replace the water and nutrients lost through sweat during the workout. In addition, protein powder, such as whey isolate, are often included for their role in muscle growth and recovery in the post-workout anabolic window.

Precautions and Side Effects

Side effects from post-workout supplements are generally non-existent or at worst mild as long the recommended dosage is followed. That is a critical component of using post-workout supplements effectively, however, as the recommended dosage is what must be consumed and over-reaching for more can have much worse side effects.

Side effects from post-workout supplements may include tingling of the skin, dehydration, an upset stomach or elevated heart rate. Most of these side effects tend to occur only when the recommended dosage has not been followed, thus the reason the recommended dosage is crucial.

In addition, deconditioned individuals or those with a previous cardiovascular issue such as high blood pressure should consult with a professional before taking the supplements as it may increase their heart rate. Overall, post-workout supplements are generally considered safe and effective as long as the recommended guidelines and dosages are followed. If you are not sure if they are safe for you consult your medical professional.

How to Pick a Good Post Workout Product

When choosing a post-workout supplement there are a variety of factors to take into account. Your personal preferences will play a major part in finding the right selection for you, for example if you prefer a powdered option you can mix with a drink or an edible option such as options in capsule form.

Some post-workout supplements will skew towards a specific demographic or training goal, such as gaining mass or losing weight; your personal goals will need to align with the stated purpose of the product in order to see the best results.

Flavor is of course important and not all post-workout supplements are particularly tasty, you’ll want to search for an option with a flavor you generally like to make the supplement more palatable and easier to use.

Finally, price and budget are a factor as well. When cross-referenced with your other needs, the best option will need to fit into your budget, and while you generally may get what you pay for, there are some very effective post-workout supplements that won’t break the bank.

Top 10 Post-Workout Supplements

We have put together a list of our top 10 recommended post-workout supplements. Each one has a short breakdown of its highlights, primary ingredients and usages, as well as a brief profile for the company who makes the product.

Check out all 10, and look for the best option that not only comes highly recommended but fits your individual needs and desires for a post-workout supplement. We hope you enjoy and find the best product for you!

1. Cellucor Alpha Amino

Cellucor Alpha Amino Post Workout

Alpha Amino is manufactured by one of the most popular supplement companies on the market, Cellucor. It delivers the vital amino acids needed for muscle recovery and electrolytes for the sweat and minerals lost during intense training.

Product Highlights:

  • 2:1:1 BCAA ratio
  • Includes 14 unique amino acids for recovery
  • Improves hydration through blend of HydroMax, chia seed and coconut.
  • Comes in 5 different flavors
  • Affordable and a great value.

Key Ingredients: (per 1 serving)

  • 5g BCAA matrix, comprised of the vital BCAA’s leucine, isoleucine, and valine at a 2:1:1 ratio
  • 5g amino acid complex, including key amino acids such as glutamine, alanine, arginine, and more.
  • 5g hydration formula, including taurine, raw coconut water powder, and chia seeds among others.

Company Profile:

Cellucor, founded in 2002, is one of the most recognized brands in the sports nutrition industry. Though they may be most well-known for their pre-workout product line C4, they have an extensive line of quality products. Alpha Amino is yet another addition to their award-winning product line that offers a mixture of high quality ingredients with great value.

Why We Recommend It:

We recommend this product because it offers all of the key ingredients we look for in a functional post-workout supplement while maintaining an affordable cost and convenience. With BCAA’s, Amino Acids, and their special hydration blend it is a comprehensive post workout option for refueling that will cover all of the bases for just about anyone.

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2. Optimum Nutrition Essential AmiN.O. Energy

Optimum Nutrition Essential Amino Energy

AmiN.O. Energy from Optimum Nutrition is an excellent option not only for refueling the muscles and rehydrating after training, but also for its energy boosting qualities. This will help to fight off any energy drops or fatigue after your workout, making it a great option for not only refueling but re-energizing as well.

Product Highlights:

  • Provides the essential amino acids, including 5g of micronized free-form amino acids.
  • Has additional beta-alanine, green tea extract and green coffee extract for improved enery and metabolism.
  • Absolutely zero fat and sugar, and only 10 calories per serving.
  • Comes in 9 tasty flavors.
  • Can be used both post-workout and during the workout.
  • Contains caffeine.

Key Ingredients: (per serving)

  • 5g amino acid blend, including taurine, arginine, leucine, beta-alanine, valine and more.
  • 160mg energy blend with green tea extract and green coffee extract.
  • 50mg of caffeine per serving.

Company Profile:

Optimum Nutrition, ON as it otherwise known, is one of the leading companies in the nutritional supplement industry and is the producer of Essential AmiN.O. Energy. They are best known for their Gold Standard line, particularly protein powders, however they are well known and respected for using scientifically proven ingredients and strategies in all of their products, making them a successful and respected brand.

Why We Recommend It:

This is one of the most powerful and potent post-workout products on the workout, delivering a healthy dose of amino acids but also implementing a great deal of energy from its extracts and caffeine content. It may not be suitable for those who work out at night as caffeine may affect their sleep quality. Otherwise, it is an excellent post-workout option for energy and recovery!

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3. Universal Nutrition Torrent

Universal Nutrition Torrent

Universal Nutrition Torrent is an excellent post-workout option, and even more so for serious weight lifters, athletes, and those with performance goals. By offering the key amino acids along with creatine, whey protein and other ingredients it is the ideal option for recovering post-workout and kick starting the muscles into their growth and adaptation phase.

Product Highlights:

  • Includes hydrolyzed whey protein
  • Also contains a full dose of advanced creatine ingredients
  • Has free-form amino acids.
  • Multiple fruit flavors to choose from

Key Ingredients: (per serving, exact ingredient amounts not specified)

  • 20g protein, comprised primarily of hydrolyzed whey protein.
  • 8g anti-catabolic leucine complex, including L-leucine, leucine alpha ketoglutarate, leucine ethyl ester and more.
  • 7g volubolic amino blend with taurine, glutamine, citrulline mallate and more.
  • 3g creatine complex, made of creapure, magnesium creatine chelate, and creatine gluconate.

Company Profile:

Universal Nutrition was founded in 1977, making it one of the oldest and well-seasoned companies in the supplement and sport nutrition industry. They offer a variety of products in addition to Torrent, and are considered one of the best brands on the market thanks to a team of highly trained professionals who work to create cutting edge products.

Why We Recommend It:

Torrent is one of the best options on the market for a post-workout product that delivers key refueling and muscle-growth ingredients. It is ideal for weight lifters, athletes or fitness enthusiasts looking for an extra dose of protein and creatine for muscle growth in addition to the key amino acids needed post-workout.

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4. Rich Piana 5% Nutrition ALLDAYYOUMAY

Rich Piana 5 Nutrition Alldayyoumay

ALLDAYYOUMAY is an excellent post-workout recovery product courtesy of fitness legend Rich Piana. One of the unique characteristics of this product is its included vitamins, as well amino acids and rehydration ingredients, for a healthy and efficient post-workout drink.

Product Highlights:

  • Has a BCAA ratio of 10:1:1, with a high dosage of 5g L-leucine
  • Includes additional vitamins to aid with recovery
  • One of the more affordable options on the market.
  • Sweetened with sucralose and acesulfame potassium, which has received mixed reviews in terms of taste.

Key Ingredients: (per serving)

  • 8g conditionally essential amino acid blend with glutamine, carnitine, and cysteine.
  • 6g BCAA blend (10:1:1 ratio), consisting of 5g L-leucine along with L-isoleucine and L-valine.
  • 960mg amino acid support blend with taurine, coconut water concentrate, bromelain and more.
  • Intra-cellular buffer blend with creatinol and beta-alanine.

Company Profile:

ALLDAYYOUMAY is created by 5% Nutrition and fitness icon Rich Piana. They are a sports nutrition manufacturer that makes a variety of products, and specializes in helping their customers and demographic become part of the 5% of the world that achieves their peak performance.

Why We Recommend It:

ALLDAYYOUMAY is an excellent post workout supplement option. It offers all of the key ingredients needed to recover from intense training sessions along with some additional ingredients for improved recovery and rehydration. In addition, it is one of the most affordable options on the market.

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5. SciVation Xtend BCAA

Scivation Xtend Bcaas

SciVation’s Xtend BCAA is a unique product that is actually designed to be used during your workout as opposed to afterwards. It includes a high dosage of BCAA’s and electrolytes, as well as a unique formula of fast and slow-releasing carbohydrates for lasting fuel and energy.

Product Highlights:

  • Is an intra-workout supplement.
  • Has 7g of BCAA’s with a 2:1:1 ratio
  • Includes glutamine, citrulline and electrolytes.
  • Has both slow and fast-releasing carbohydrates.
  • Not ideal for a post-workout shake
  • Does not contain protein, creatine or beta-alanine.

Key Ingredients: (per serving)

  • 25g carbo triplex blend with maltodextrin, cluster dextrin, and waxy maize.
  • 1,170mg electrolyte blend, including sodium chloride, potassium chloride, and trisodium citrate dehydrate.
  • Amino acid blend:
    • 5g Leucine
    • 5g glutamine
    • 75g isoleucine
    • 75g valine
    • 1g citrulline malate

Company Profile:

SciVation is a small sports nutrition company that has seen rapid growth in recent years. They specialize in offering quality products with key ingredients while filtering out junk and unnecessary fillers and additives. Their stated goal is to “build better bodies through science and innovation”.

Why We Recommend It:

Xtend BCAA is an ideal intra-workout supplement, but not ideal for post-workout and not formulated for muscle growth and recovery as compared to other products on this list, due to its lack of protein and creatine. It is an affordable option and a good choice for an intra-workout boost.

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6. BPI Sports Best BCAA

Bpi Sports Best Bcaa

Best BCAA from BPI Sports is a unique recovery and post-workout supplement that puts most of its focus on the efficient use of branched chain amino acids for recovery without the extra’s. It uses a unique bonding process that combines all three BCAA’s for improved absorption, bioavailability and utilization.

Product Highlights:

  • 5g of BCAA’s in each serving (2:1:1 ratio)
  • Uses a unique process of bonding that combines all three BCAA’s for improved use.
  • Uses a simple formula without unnecessary fillers or additives.
  • One of the more expensive options on the market.
  • Does not offer protein, creatine, or other traditional post-workout options.

Key Ingredients: (per serving, exact quantities not listed)

  • 5g of L-leucine
  • 5g L-valine
  • 5g L-isoleucine

Company Profile:

Best BCAA is a newcomer to the post-workout supplement market and is made by BPI Sports, also a newcomer to the supplement and sport nutrition field. They were founded in 2010 and have won several awards and have a loyal following of customers. BPI has an impressive selection of supplements and takes pride in staying on the cutting-edge of the supplement and sport nutrition industry.

Why We Recommend It:

Best BCAA is the ideal supplement choice for those looking exclusively for BCAA’s in their post-workout product choice. However, if you are looking for additional qualities as well such as protein and creatine or rehydration elements, this is not the ideal product. It can be used in combination with other products for a more complete strategy, but in and of itself this is an ideal product for BCAA usage only.

7. MusclePharm BCAA 3:1:2

Musclepharm Bcaa 3 1 2

BCAA 3:1:2 from industry stalwart MusclePharm is an excellent source of BCAA’s, and also unique in its convenience as it comes in capsule form as compared to traditional drink mixes and powders. It also uses a 3:1:2 BCAA ratio, which is different than most traditional BCAA options.

Product Highlights:

  • Uses a unique 3:1:2 BCAA ratio
  • Can be used as a post-workout option or during the workout as well.
  • Comes in capsule form making it one of the most convenient options
  • Has no sweeteners or additives, it is a simple formula with 6 key ingredients
  • One of the most affordable options
  • Does have a large serving size of 8 capsules.

Key Ingredients: (per serving, exact amounts for all ingredients not listed)

  • 3g leucine
  • 1g isoleucine
  • 2g valine

Company Profile:

MusclePharm, the manufacturer of BCAA 3:1:2, is a multinational nutritional supplement company primarily based in Denver, Colorado. It is a well-known brand in the industry as one of the bigger companies, and offers a wide variety of products.

Why We Recommend It:

This is an excellent product to improve your daily BCAA consumption and unique not only in its BCAA ratio but also in its delivery method as a capsule rather than a powder. While the 8-capsule serving size is a bit bulky and it does not offer other post-workout staples such as protein or creatine, it offers one of the most affordable yet effective BCAA post-workout options.

8. BSN Amino X

Bsn Amino X

Amino X from BSN is the first instantized, effervescent amino acid supplement available. It’s unique delivery system allows the 10g of amino acids in each serving to instantly mix and absorb, giving it superior bioavailability. It is a clean and natural option to get the BCAA’s you need without any unnecessary fillers.

Product Highlights:

  • Has 10g of amino acids in every serving.
  • Instantized effervescent formula means it absorbs instantly into the body
  • Has no caffeine or sugar
  • Comes in 3 flavors and is incredibly easy to mix

Key Ingredients: (per serving)

  • 10g anabolic amino acid interfusion, including leucine, valine, isoleucine, alanine, taurine and citrulline.

Company Profile:

Bio-Engineered Supplements, BSN for short, is a smaller company in the sports nutrition industry but also one of the fastest growing companies on the market. They have built a reputation of quality and effective products and continue to grow by leaps and bounds.

Why We Recommend It:

Amino X is an effective amino acid supplement. It can be taken at any time, but its superior absorption and bioavailability make it an ideal choice for a post-workout option that delivers immediate amino acid refueling to the body. It does not have many of the other ingredients such as protein and creatine that are often found in more comprehensive post-workout options, but is still a quality product for amino acids.

9. MHP Dark Matter

Mhp Dark Matter

Dark Matter from MHP is one of the most unique options on the market, as it is formulated to stimulate protein synthesis and glycogen replacement at the fastest speed possible. It also offers amino acids, creatine and other key ingredients making it a comprehensive post workout option.

Product Highlights:

  • Includes BCAA’s (10:1:1 ratio), with a high dosage of leucine
  • One of the fastest absorbing compounds available
  • Includes creatine for improved muscle recovery and growth
  • Also includes a special glycogen replenishment complex to supplement energy.
  • Comes in 3 flavors, and is fairly expensive.

Key Ingredients: (per serving)

  • Protein synthesis accelerator complex, with BCAA’s leucine, isoleucine, and valine in a 10:1:1 ratio
  • Glycogen replenishment complex, with glucose polymers, waxy maize, insulin amplifiers, and more.
  • Includes a creatine complex, including creatine monohydrate, creatine magnapower, and more.

Company Profile:

MHP is the manufacturer of Dark Matter, which stands for Maximum Human Performance. Founded in 1997, they are a smaller sport nutrition and supplement company but they boast a quality track record and are dedicated to setting new standards in the industry.

Why We Recommend It:

Dark Matter from MHP is a quality post-workout product, with unique ingredients not normally found in other comparable post-workout products. While it is not as good of a value in terms of cost as compared to competitors, it is a quality product.

10. EVL Nutrition RE-BLD

Evlution Nutrition Re Bld

RE-BLD from EVL Nutrition is a unique post-workout option, with one of the highest concentrations of creatine of any post-workout supplement on the market. It offers a comprehensive option for post-workout supplementation with a variety of helpful ingredients.

Product Highlights:

  • Includes high levels of creatine
  • Comes in 2 flavors
  • Also includes BCAA’s
  • Has glutamine for joint health.
  • One of the more expensive options

Key Ingredients: (per serving)

  • 3g creatine monohydrate
  • 2g L-glutamine
  • 2010mg BCAA fusion proprietary blend, including leucine, isoleucine, valine and Russian tarragon
  • 750mg creatine HCL

Company Profile:

RE-BLD is the latest product from Evlution Nutrition, one of the younger up-and-coming companies in the sport nutrition supplement industry. They were a “Breakout Brand of the Year” in 2013 from, and have been a successful company in their early stages thus far.

Why We Recommend It:

RE-BLD is one of the more comprehensive post-workout supplements on the market, offering a solid dose of creatine, BCAA’s, and glutamine for complete recovery. It is one of the more expensive options on the market however, and with only 2 flavors it is not one of the best value products, but effective nonetheless, especially if creatine is a primary concern.

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Carl Putman

Written by Carl Putman

Carl Putman is a strength and conditioning coach at the collegiate level and writer on fitness, health and supplements. Over the past decade, he has worked with a wide variety of clients ranging from professional athletes and world champions to youth and general population, as well as tactical practitioners. He is currently pursuing a Masters degree in Organizational Leadership. Based in Florida, he continues to train and coach as well as write with a passion for making a positive impact for his clients and readers.