You just finished a grueling workout, and you feel awesome. Why wouldn't you? Still, dripping sweat and low in energy, though, you'll need a reboot. That's where hydrating drinks post-workout come in, as they can speed recovery and help replenish lost electrolytes and fluids. Plus, they are super yummy, so it's not such a chore to reach for your water bottle. It's also worth noting that you run the risk of dehydration (especially in the summer heat), heat exhaustion, and stroke if you forget to drink up.
As a certified health coach, I work with clients on finding a few types of exercise that bring about energy and joy. Endorphins are truly a glorious thing! Yet, no workout is complete with the minutes to follow, where necessary prep for recovery takes place. This means: Drinking and eating the right things to rebuild muscles, ease soreness, and restore the body's electrolyte balance. That way, they can get back to the gym or hit the trails the very next day. Without post-workout fuel, you could be at risk for getting injured, or just not getting the energy you're after with your workouts (which is probably a pretty high priority). Here area few hydrating drinks to chug after a workout. Your body will thank you.
1. Protein Shake
According to Rebecca Gahan, owner of founder of Kick@55 Fitness in Chicago, over email with Bustle, drinking a protein shake following a workout is a great way to repair damaged muscle, which gets broken down after vigorous movement. By getting in a quick burst of protein, you're building muscle and preventing any loss or tears.
2. Watermelon Water
According to Kim McDevitt, MPH RD, over email with Bustle, "watermelon helps repair your body post-workout because it contains L-citrulline, an amino acid naturally found in the fruit. The amino acid found inside the juice of the watermelon can help relieve post-workout muscle pain and soreness." What's more, "watermelon is also naturally rich in electrolytes, specifically potassium, which is essential for nerve and muscle function and responsible for converting blood sugar into glycogen," McDevitt adds. McDevitt loves drinking watermelon water after for immediate relief.
3. Chocolate Milk
Here's a new reason to drink our childhood favorite (which just so happens to be great for adults, too). "Regular milk has 12 grams of carbohydrate and eight grams of protein per eight ounce serving, while chocolate milk, like TruMoo, has 20 grams of carbohydrate to eight grams of protein or almost a 3:1 ratio of carb to protein, which helps the exercising muscles recover and resynthesize more effectively and efficiently," says Leslie J. Bonci, MPH,RD,CSSD, LDN.
4. Beet Juice
As explained by Susie Lemmer, running coach and blogger at Suzlyfe, in an email to Bustle, drinking beet juice after a workout can help rehydrate the body and fight inflammation (which increases after exercising). Plus, it's refreshing, so it's a good drink to sip anyway.
5. Tart Cherry Juice
"Research has found that intake of this super fruit can lead to reduced inflammation, reduced pain from gout and arthritis, and an extensive list of heart health benefits," says Pamela Nisevich Bede, RD, sports dietitian with Abbott’s EAS Sports Nutrition to Bustle. "Recent studies even suggest tart cherries can help reduce post-exercise muscle and joint pain. In order to enjoy both the flavor and health benefits, be sure to choose a high-quality brand packed with real cherries and not just cherry flavoring," Bede adds.
This shouldn't be too much of a shocker, but drinking water after a workout will immediately quench your thirst and protect you from dehydration, heat exhaustion, or stroke. Always bring water with you for a workout, and if plain water is too bland for your taste, you can add some natural flavoring to it. Or, you can try coconut water, which can also replenish electrolytes, says Lemmer.
Might seem odd, but drinking coffee after a workout might decrease inflammation and boost recovery. What's more, there are benefits to drinking it before a workout too, as it can enhance performance and speed up the metabolism, so you'll burn more calories and have greater energy during your session.
After toweling off? Reach for one of these hydrating drinks. Trust me, your body will be happy a few hours later.