Do you like to work out? Are you looking for the best supplements for muscle recovery? If so, you’re in the right place!
In this blog post, we will discuss 5 of the best supplements for helping your muscles recover after a tough workout.
We’ll also provide information on what each supplement does and how it can help you achieve your fitness goals.
Please keep in mind supplements are lightly regulated by the FDA. Their stated claims have no guarantee. They aren’t cures or treatments for any diseases.
Food is your best source of nutrition, especially for essential amino acids and muscle recovery! Please check with your doctor before starting any supplement program.
Please note we include items that we trust will be useful to our visitors. If you click one of the links on our site, we may get a commission.
So, whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been working out for years, read on to learn more about the best supplements for muscle recovery!
Best Muscle Recovery Supplements
- Best Overall – Xtend
- Best BCAA Alternative – Bulk Supplements
- Best for Endurance – Naturewise
- Best for Pure BCAAs – Life Extension
- Best for Sleep – Vitacost
1 – Best Overall – Xtend
- Price = $22.99
- # of Servings = 30
- Price per Serving = $0.76
- Product Reviews = 4.6/5 (41,765 reviews)
- Serving Size = 1 scoop (14g)
- Taste / Absorption = Mango flavored powder
- Label Effects = Post workout drink mix helps support muscle recovery and growth
- Food Allergens = None
- Pros = High quality amino acids and electrolyte blend, Amazon’s top choice for “bcaa”
- Cons = No calories (not for gaining weight)
Branched chain amino acids (BCAA) are a type of essential amino acid that is important for muscle recovery.
They are made up of three different amino acids: leucine, isoleucine, and valine.
Xtend Original 7g BCAA powder contains 7 grams of BCAAs in the research-proven 2:1:1 ratio.
As Amazon’s top choice for “bcaa” this sugar-free powder is an excellent post-workout recovery drink mix.
The difference between Xtend and other BCAA powders is that it contains electrolytes to assist you stay hydrated and recover.
All you do is take a scoop and mix into water. However, this is calorie free so if you’re looking for weight gain this supplement is not the best idea.
Made By Xtend
Founded in 2004 in Burlington, North Carolina with a goal to redefine the nutritional industry. According to ReviewMeta.com, Xtend has average adjusted 4/5 with 18,091 verified reviews.
- Start = 2004
- Revenue = $5 million
- Employees = 31 employees
- Mission = Provide best fitness products
- Third Party Certifications = cGMP
- Third Party Reviews = 4/5 with 18,091 verified reviews
2 – Best BCAA Alternative – Bulk Supplements
- Price = $15.96
- # of Servings = 100
- Price per Serving = $0.15
- Product Reviews = 4.7/5 (1,081 reviews)
- Serving Size = 1000 milligrams
- Taste / Absorption = Unflavored powder
- Label Effects = Aids in muscle recovery after strenuous exercise
- Food Allergens = None
- Pros = Competitive pricing, produced naturally by body
- Cons = Contains less than 1 gram of protein
Beta-hydroxy beta-methylbutyrate (HMB) powder is a form of a substance that the body naturally creates and aids in the growth of muscles.
HMB is a supplement that many body builders and athletes take.
HMB, made by Bulk Supplements, is also an alternative to BCAAs.
As BCAAs are very common for muscle recovery and exercise, if you’re looking a BCAA alternative this a great option to try.
Made By Bulk Supplements
Muscle Bulk Supplements started in 2011 and is based in Nevada. Its main manufacturing facility is FDA registered. They keep costs low by producing supplements in bulk without fancy packaging. According to ReviewMeta.com, Bulk Supplement’s average adjusted rating is 4.4/5 from 39,370 verified reviews.
- Start = 2011
- Revenue = $10 million
- Employees = 50
- Third Party Certifications = NSF, cGMP
- Third Party Reviews = 4.4/5 from 39,370 reviews
3 – Best for Endurance – Naturewise
- Price = $29.99
- # of Servings = 30
- Price per Serving = $0.99
- Product Reviews = 4.7/5 (72 reviews)
- Serving Size = 2 vegetarian capsules
- Taste / Absorption = Unflavored capsule
- Label Effects = Clinically proven to boost cardiorespiratory endurance and stamina.
- Food Allergens = None
- Pros = Clinical research, contains high quality ingredients including Ashwagandha and and Co-Q10 among others
- Cons = Targets more endurance than traditional muscle recovery, higher price per serving
Muscle recovery is typically thought of as “after” you workout. However, what about between sets, or interval training?
Your cardio and overall energy helps you recover from sets, sprints and reps while you workout.
There is scientific evidence that Ashwagandha helps with cardio endurance, which in turn can help muscles be ready for the next rep quicker.
This supplement also contains other high quality ingredients like adaptogens Panax Ginseng and Eleuthero which encourage athletic performance, and herbs like Green Tea, Coenzyme Q10 and Vitamin B12 which boost metabolism and energy.
Made By Naturewise
Founded in 2012 in California, Nature Wise aims to promote health and inspire wellbeing. According to ReviewMeta.com, Nature Wise has a 4.2/5 average adjusted rating from 32,542 verified reviews.
- Start = 2012
- Revenue = $31 million
- Employees = less than 25
- Mission = promote health and inspire wellbeing
- Third Party Certifications = Manufactured in US,
- Third Party Reviews = 4.2/5 average rating from 32,542 reviews
4 – Best for Pure BCAAs – Life Extension
- Price = $15.00
- # of Servings = 22
- Price per Serving = $0.68
- Product Reviews = 4.6/5 (42 reviews)
- Serving Size = 4 capsules
- Taste / Absorption = Unflavored
- Label Effects = Supports protein synthesis in muscle & liver
- Food Allergens = None
- Pros = High quality source of BCAAs
- Cons = 4 capsule serving size
BCAAs, according to studies, help to both preserve and enhance muscular strength and endurance, support physical performance and brain function, and aid in the recovery of muscles.
The only downsize is 4 capsules per serving size is a bit much.
Made By Life Extension:
Life Extension began in 1980 and is still going 40 years later. In 2021 ConsumerLab.com voted Life Extension as #1 Rated Catalog/Internet Merchant. According to ReviewMeta.com, Life Extension’s average adjusted rating of 4.1/5 from 24,224 verified reviews.
- Start = 1980
- Revenue = $168 million
- Employees = 500
- Mission = Achieve your goals with the best nutritional products that science can offer
- Third Party Certifications = GMP, Non-GMO
- Third Party Reviews = average adjusted rating of 4.1/5 from 24,224 reviews
5 – Best for Sleep – Olly
- Price = $14.49
- # of Servings = 20
- Price per Serving = $0.72
- Product Reviews = 4.5/5 (56 reviews)
- Serving Size = 2 Gummies
- Taste / Absorption = Berry flavor
- Label Effects = Rest and restore muscles
- Food Allergens = None
- Pros = Contains melatonin for sleep, some other vitamins and minerals
- Cons = Does not contain protein or other ingredients that actually help muscles recover
Muscles recover during sleep by repairing the micro-tears that occur as they contract and work hard.
While you are sleeping, your body releases human growth hormone (HGH) and testosterone, which help to repair the muscles.
Some of the best supplements for muscle recovery also help to promote better sleep, such as melatonin.
Please note that Muscle Recovery Sleep is more of a sleeping supplement than a muscle recovery supplement.
It contains no protein, BCAA’s or other ingredients which help muscle growth and recovery.
However, if you’re looking to sleep better and you avidly exercise, this is a good option to try.
Made by Olly
Began in 2013 and now located in San Francisco, California. Certified B Corporation. Brand values include people, culture, passion, greater good. According to ReviewMeta.com, Olly gets a 4.1/5 average adjusted rating from 928 verified reviews.
- Start = 2013
- Revenue = $75 million
- Employees = 30
- Mission = make nutrition delightfully easy
- Third Party Certifications = Certified B Corporation
- Third Party Reviews = 4.1/5 average rating from 928 reviews
What factors do we use to rank supplements?
1 – Price: What’s the price of the supplement? What’s the cost per serving?
- At Eating Enlightenment we value quality over price. However, all else being equal, then price comes into consideration.
2 – Reviews: How many reviews for each product? What’s the average rating? How many third party reviews?
- We strongly believe in third party reviews. Many supplement companies list positive reviews on their website, but third party reviews include negative comments. We always go with third party reviews.
3 – Reputation: How reputable is the brand behind the supplement? How long has the brand been around? What’s their mission?
- We believe that a company’s intention is highly important and should be one of your top purchasing decision factors.
4 – Taste / Absorption = What’s the taste? How quickly does your body absorb the supplement? Do reviews mention any negative side effects like an upset stomach?
5 – Perceived Therapeutic Effect = What beneficial effects or feelings does this supplement promote?
6 – Food Allergens = Does the company provide allergen info?
7 – Science / Certifications: Does the company list transparent scientific studies on their website? Do third party certifications test the company’s supplement for quality control? How many certifications does the company have?
8 – Pros/Cons: What are the pros and cons of each supplement? How is the supplement unique? For what situations is this supplement best?
Who benefits most from muscle recovery supplements?
Muscle recovery is an important process for everyone, but some people may benefit more from supplements that help with muscle recovery.
If you are constantly putting your muscles under strain, whether through activity or simply by aging, then you may want to consider a muscle recovery supplement.
- People who have physically demanding jobs
- The elderly
In general these supplements are for muscle soreness, muscle fatigue and even delayed onset muscle soreness.
Who may not benefit from muscle recovery supplements?
Many people benefit from a muscle recovery supplement, but there are some exceptions.
- People who get adequate protein
- People who don’t exercise
- Pregnant women
- Nursing mothers
Risks, side effects and other precautions
Most of the time you don’t need to worry about anything, but sometimes there are few side effects to muscle recovery supplements.
Side effects to muscle recovery supplements can include:
- upset stomach
- overly full
When should I take muscle recovery supplements?
Most people take their supplements before or after exercise.
There is some evidence that taking a muscle recovery supplement post-workout can be more effective, but ultimately it depends on your specific goals and needs.
If you are taking any other medications, please check with your doctor before starting a new supplement.
Food sources for muscle recovery
Food is your best bet for muscle protein synthesis. Supplements are meant to supplement, not replace food!
There are a lot of great options when it comes to muscle recovery foods. The most important thing is to make sure you are getting enough protein and eating a variety of different great muscle recovery food options:
- nuts and seeds
- milk and cheese
- whole grains
Muscle recovery supplement dosages
The proper dosage for a muscle recovery supplement depends on the specific supplement. Please read the directions for specific info.
How can I help my muscles recover quickly?
There are many strategies to help your muscles recover quickly, in addition to supplementation, protein and eating enough food.
Here are some other ways you can help your muscles recover quickly:
- Drink water: Drink plenty of fluids, especially water, in the hours and days following your workout. Water helps clear lactate from your muscles and prevents dehydration, both of which can lead to muscle soreness. It also helps deliver nutrients to your muscles and aids in waste removal. So drink up!
- Sleep: Sleep can make a difference in how quickly your muscles recover. In one study, participants who slept within an hour after exercise had less muscle soreness and perceived fatigue than those who slept eight hours or more after their workout. The takeaway? Try to get plenty of shut-eye!
After taking muscle recovery supplements, how much faster will my muscles grow?
Muscle supplements do not directly increase the rate of speed in which your muscles grow.
Your muscles still must undergo lactic acid buildup, where the muscle tissue gets broken down.
These supplements then start to work because they only provide the optimal conditions for your muscles to grow.
After your muscles are broken down, now the essential amino acids, whey protein, and other ingredients can help your muscle growth. The muscle tissue absorb all these nutrients and regrow for even more muscle mass.
The main purpose of muscle recovery supplements is giving your muscles the nutrients they need to grow after lifting. Lacking nutrients your muscles will not grow properly, no matter how hard you try.
If you want faster muscle recovery start out with the basics: sleep, enough protein and enough food.
If you’re still struggling or want a supplement to assist, check out the supplements for yourself so that you can make a wise decision.
Now that you know all about muscle recovery supplements, it’s time to put them into action for muscle building and more!
Start by trying one or two and see how they work for you.
Remember to always check with your doctor first, especially if you are taking any other medications.
And most importantly, don’t forget that food should be your first source of nutrients!
Finally, if you are new to supplements be sure to read our ultimate beginner’s guide here. You can also search a library of supplement reviews here.