Is a Post-Workout Supplement Really Necessary?

We all know a protein shake after a workout goes a long way. However, many of us are not educated about post-workout recovery supplements. These are products that are sold based on the efficiency in assisting muscle cells with recovering after resistance training. There are many products like this in supplement stores, but the majority aren’t fully aware of the value these supplements offer.


Are Post-Workout Supplements Necessary?

Before getting into what post-workout supplements offer, it is important to cover this question:

Post-workout recovery supplements are not a necessity. I would say Arnold got pretty big without recovery supplements, right? The same remains true for many of the older bodybuilders. This is because muscle grows how muscle grows, it doesn’t just not grow because a particular formula isn’t taken in after a workout.

However, recovery supplements improve recovery speed and efficiency. This is why many choose to use these supplements. Pre-workouts improve workout strength and stamina. Creatine improves muscle cell volume, strength and stamina. In all these examples, the body would still grow fine without the extra supplements.


What Does a Post-Workout Supplement Offer?

Most obviously, a post-workout supplement offers an added level of recovery to the muscles. It does this through refueling the muscle cells with important nutrients. For example, many post-workout recovery supplements are based around BCAAs which support anti-catabolism. This means the supplements work against the deterioration of muscle cells.

Many also use post-workout recovery supplements which contain beta-alanine. This can get a little expensive. To save money, it’s suggested to stick with beta alanine powder if taking the ingredient on its own. This particular supplement stabilizes pH levels and this supports a reduction in potential muscle tissue damage as a result of the body’s changes.

Carbohydrate-based drinks are also common. This is because these drinks provide a quick and effective source of carbs for the muscles. This is something that can be found in protein, depending on the type of protein powder. However, carb-based recovery supplements are believed to provide a more effective and better absorbed source of carbs.

Creatine can also be taken as a form of post-workout recovery supplement. The great thing about creatine is that it’s actually affordable. This is another case where it’s recommended to stick to powder form though. With creatine, the absorption rate will be heightened during the (roughly 45 minute) time window after a workout. This allows us to ensure our creatine intake is maximally utilized.

Lastly, post-workout recovery supplements based around glutamine are also very common.


Which Supplement Should We Buy?

We have to be very careful when choosing a particular post-workout recovery supplement. This is because many of these products are just common substances with pretty labels. In fact, the vast majority of recovery supplements can be bought alternatively through the main ingredients to get the same effect for a much lower cost.

However, there are some high quality formulas out there. It’s just important to take the time and shop around for the right product.

Shopping for a post-workout supplement online is very easy. Most major supplement stores have a sufficient amount of product reviews for the big hitters. A lack of feedback doesn’t mean the product isn’t good, but the stores buyers flock to typically see consistency in positive reviews for the best products.

Supplement reviews should not be based only on what’s posted on the product page. It’s always possible that these reviews are altered. Alternatively, one can look at’s store for specific products and check out the reviews. These are not filtered in any way, so there’s no concern over censorship on negative reviews. The forum also has product reviews and daily logs, showing much more than just the most basic points of the supplement. A quick Google search for feedback on a particular supplement will usually net discussions from other forums as well.

Ultimately, a post-workout recovery supplement is not absolutely essential but it is beneficial. It is especially helpful during an extreme cut as there is an increased risk of muscle mass loss. While it’s not a supplement that comes first in anyone’s list, it is definitely worth picking up if it’s an affordable purchase.