10 Best Muscle Recovery Supplements in 2024

Author: Oleksandr Maksymenko (Certified Sports Nutritionist, MSc)

Reviewed by: Jacek Szymanowski (M.Sc.Eng. Biotechnology, Sports Nutritionist)

Looking for a high quality supplement to help with your recovery? Keep reading to find out the best muscle recovery supplements available today, so you can choose which one is right for you!

With recovery being one of the most important and oft-neglected aspects of training, choosing a solid muscle repair supplement can maximize your results in the gym. There are several different types of supplements we’ll be covering that aid in recovery, including post-workout formulas, protein powders, mass gainers, and creatine. All of these have different effects, and will benefit different people accordingly.

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Post by Transparent Labs.


It’s worth noting that while Post also features L-Glutamine, its effects are likely minimal in most cases. Post has 5g of L-Glutamine in each serving. In our opinion, as a recovery agent or performance enhancer - won’t change much if anything. Your body can synthesize all L-glutamine that is needed.

Our team, comprising certified nutritionists and professional athletes, evaluated 30 muscle recovery supplements based on five key parameters. From this extensive review, only the top 10 products were selected for our list. The majority of these products underwent a testing period of 4-6 weeks, complemented by an analysis of hundreds of online user reviews. We regularly update our list, so feel free to share your experiences in the comments section.

10 Best Muscle Recovery Supplements

Top 10 Best Muscle Recovery Supplements Reviewed

  1. Post by Transparent Labs – Top Pick
  2. Recharge Post-Workout by Legion – Best Creatine-Based
  3. Post Jym – Best with BCAA
  4. Jacked Factory Growth Surge – Best Flavors Variety
  5. Cellucor Whey Sport – Best Value for Money
  6. Muscle Milk Pro Series – Best With Vitamins 
  7. Mass Gainer by Transparent Labs – Best for Bulking
  8. Promix Creatine – Best Creatine
  9. Vegan Protein by Huge – Best for Vegans
  10. Naked Creatine – Best Budget-Friendly Creatine

ProductOverall ScoreIngredients BreakdownTaste/
Flavor
TextureNutrition Label TransparencyValue for Money
Transparent Labs
Post-Workout
4891010109
Recharge
Post-Workout
47.58.5109.5109.5
JYM Post-Workout46.58.5101099
Jacked Factory
Growth Surge
468.5109.58.59.5
Cellucor Whey45.59.59.598.59
Muscle Milk45108.5998.5
Transparent Labs
Mass Gainer
44.58.59.58.5108
Promix Creatine448881010
Huge Supplements
Vegan Protein
43.589.598.58.5
Naked Creatine43888910

1. Post by Transparent Labs – Top Pick

Post by Transparent Labs

  • Form: Powder
  • Type: Post-Workout Formula
  • Best for: Cutting, Muscle recovery
  • Flavor: Black Cherry, Orange, Strawberry Lemonade
  • Key Ingredients: L-Carnitine, Tart Cherry Powder, Betaine, Beta-Alanine
  • Additional Ingredients: L-Glutamine
  • Package Information: 1.04lbs
  • Serving: 15.7g
  • Price per Serving: ~$1.67
  • Company Founded: 2012
  • Recommended by Athletes: Hafthor Bjornsson, Paul Sklar, Sean Harris

Starting off our list of the best supplements for muscle recovery is Transparent Labs with their Post recovery supplement. If you’ve read our other review articles, then Transparent Labs needs no introduction, as it is regularly featured at the top of our lists. Let’s see why this post-workout formula is so great for muscle recovery.

The main ingredients present in Post that are effective for muscle recovery are L-Carnitine and Tart Cherry Powder, while Betaine and Beta-Alanine are more useful for improving performance. L-Carnitine is frequently included in weight loss supplements, although it’s largely considered useless for this purpose. However, it does appear effective in assisting with exercise recovery. Another unique ingredient in Post is Tart Cherry Powder, which appears to have moderate effects on exercise recovery as well. Post contains 2g of L-Carnitine, and 500mg of Tart Cherry powder per serving.

Post by Transparent Labs

In terms of its performance boosting ingredients, Post contains Betaine and Beta-Alanine. Betaine appears to improve force production and help with endurance when taken consistently over a long enough time horizon. While slightly less notable, betaine also appears to help with rehydration, which may in turn aid recovery. Beta-Alanine appears to increase power output, as well as reducing fatigue. Post contains 2g of Betaine, and 2.5g of Beta-Alanine.

It’s worth noting that while Post also features L-Glutamine, its effects are likely minimal in most cases. However, some studies have shown that it improves recovery, as well as time to exhaustion. Post has 5g of L-Glutamine in each serving. In our opinion, as a recovery agent or performance enhancer - won’t change much if anything. Your body can synthesize all L-glutamine that is needed.

Post will cost you around $1.67 per serving, making it relatively expensive for a post-workout formula, however it is undeniably high-quality with 4 main ingredients helping with recovery and performance. There are 3 flavors available, and it is made with 100% natural ingredients.

48Expert Score

The main ingredients present in Post that are effective for muscle recovery are L-Carnitine and Tart Cherry Powder, while Betaine and Beta-Alanine are more useful for improving performance.

Ingredients Breakdown
9
Taste/Flavor
10
Texture
10
Nutrition Label Transparency
10
Value for Money
9

Positives:

  • L-Carnitine and Tart Cherry Powder have been shown to help with recovery

  • Betaine and Beta-Alanine will help with performance as well

  • Made with all-natural ingredients

Could be better:

  • L-Glutamine is largely unnecessary

  • Could benefit from the inclusion of creatine

  • Doesn’t come with the same nutrition benefits of a protein powder or mass gainer

2. Recharge Post-Workout by Legion – Best Creatine-Based

Recharge Post-Workout by Legion

  • Form: Powder
  • Type: Post-Workout
  • Best for: Cutting, Muscle recovery
  • Flavor: Unflavored, Sour Candy, Strawberry Lemonade, Fruit Punch, Watermelon
  • Key Ingredients: Creatine
  • Additional Ingredients: L-Carnitine
  • Package Information: 0.51lbs
  • Serving: 7.65g
  • Price per Serving: ~$1.33
  • Company Founded: 2014
  • Recommended by Athletes: Gage Clark, Grant Tinsley, Machaela Brabham

Up next on our list of the best workout recovery supplements is another Post-Workout Formula, similar to Transparent Labs. This product is from Legion, which has a similar reputation to Transparent Labs for making high-quality products. Let’s see how it compares to the top spot on our list.

The main advantage of this product is its inclusion of Creatine Monohydrate. The benefits of this supplement include improved high-intensity exercise performance, reduced fatigue – and most importantly for this list – better recovery. In fact, Creatine has even been shown to reduce cell damage and inflammation after long periods of intense exercise. The recommended dose for maximal effects is 3-5g a day, so Legion’s solid dose of 5g per serving is perfect. It’s worth noting that if you want to maximize the effects of creatine, you should be taking Legion’s supplement everyday or add creatine supplementation on rest days.

Recharge Post-Workout by Legion

Similar to Transparent Labs, Legion also includes a solid dose of L-Carnitine at 2.1g per serving. As mentioned in our review of the previous product, L-Carnitine has been shown to be effective in improving muscle tissue repair and recovery.

It’s worth noting that Legion does not contain additional performance-boosting ingredients like Betaine and Beta-Alanine, but it still has a solid recovery formula.

At around $1.33 per serving, this is also a cheaper option than Transparent Labs. You can also expect decent flavor variety with 5 different options to choose from, as well as a formula made of all-natural ingredients.

47.5Expert Score

This product is from Legion, which has a similar reputation to Transparent Labs for making high-quality products. Let’s see how it compares to the top spot on our list.

Ingredients Breakdown
8.5
Taste/Flavor
10
Texture
9.5
Nutrition Label Transparency
10
Value for Money
9.5

Positives:

  • Inclusion of Creatine and L-Carnitine make a solid recovery blend

  • Good flavor variety

  • Doesn’t contain any unnecessary ingredients which may increase the price

Could be better:

  • No beta-alanine, or betaine for enhanced performance

  • As a post-workout formula, Legion does not contain any nutritional benefits

3. Post Jym – Best with BCAA

Post Jym

  • Form: Powder
  • Type: Post-Workout
  • Best for: Cutting, Muscle recovery
  • Flavor: Lemonade, Blue Arctic Freeze, Mandarin Orange, Rainbow Sherbet, Green Apple Gummy, Fruit Punch, Watermelon
  • Key Ingredients: Creatine HCL, Betaine, Beta-Alanine,L-Carnitine
  • Additional Ingredients: L-Glutamine, BCAAs
  • Package Information: 1.3lbs
  • Serving: 20g
  • Price per Serving: ~$1.40
  • Company Founded: 2013
  • Recommended by Athletes: Jim Stoppani, Breanna Cortez, Isaiah Miranda

Taking the third spot on our list is another post-workout formula. This time we’ll be looking at Post Jym from Jym Supplement Science. Let’s see how this compares to the top 2 spots on our list.

In terms of formula, Post Jym is almost a mixture of Transparent Labs and Legion. This is because it contains most of the main ingredients from both supplements, namely Creatine, Beta-Alanine, Betaine, and L-Carnitine. It’s worth noting that this supplement contains Creatine HCL instead of Monohydrate. This creatine type is more soluble, although it has the same level of bioavailability. It’s thought that less creatine HCL will yield the same effects as a higher dose of Creatine Monohydrate, although current studies are somewhat inconclusive. Post Jym has 2g of Creatine HCL, 2g of Beta-Alanine, 2g of L-Carnitine, and 1.5g of Betaine.

Post Jym also contains 6g of BCAAs. Although people need 9-12g of BCAAs per day, and they make up 35% of all muscle tissue, the vast majority of people already get enough BCAAs through diet alone. The people that don’t, are likely better off getting more protein in their diet, as opposed to supplementing with BCAAs.

Post Jym also contains 3g of Glutamine in each serving. This amino acid as well as BCAAs has controversial evidence of effectiveness, and your body can synthesize all L-glutamine that you will need. Some evidence exists in favor of using glutamine to support immunity and accelerate wound healing, which may have beneficial effects during recovery. The best evidence so far is that L-Glutamine helps to improve gastrointestinal health issues such as IBS (irritable bowel syndrome).

Nevertheless, the complex of these amino acids will probably be used by the body in the recovery process, so there is some benefit to including them in the formula. And most beneficial for those who are in a calorie deficit helping to improve recovery, reduce lean mass loss and immune support.

At around $1.40 per serving, Post Jym is only slightly more expensive than Legion, making it another cheaper alternative to Transparent Labs. It also has great flavor variety with 7 options to choose from. However, it is also the first supplement with several artificial ingredients.

46.5Expert Score

Taking the third spot on our list is another post-workout formula. This time we’ll be looking at Post Jym from Jym Supplement Science. Let’s see how this compares to the top 2 spots on our list.

Ingredients Breakdown
8.5
Taste/Flavor
10
Texture
10
Nutrition Label Transparency
9
Value for Money
9

Positives:

  • Good, recovery formula made up of creatine and l-carnitine

  • Betaine, beta-alanine, and creatine will help with performance as well

  • Great flavor variety

Could be better:

  • Glutamine have contradictory evidence of efficacy

  • Creatine HCL is less well-researched and more expensive than Monohydrate

  • Artificial ingredients in formula (for those who care)

4. Jacked Factory Growth Surge – Best Flavors Variety

Jacked Factory Growth Surge

  • Form: Powder
  • Type: Post-Workout
  • Best for: Cutting, Muscle recovery
  • Flavor: Grape, Sour Peach Ring, Strawberry Lemonade, Cherry Limeade, Watermelon, Swoleberry, Blue Raspberry, Fruit Punch, Blueberry Lemonade, Unflavored, Black Cherry
  • Key Ingredients: Creatine, Betaine
  • Additional Ingredients: L-Carnitine
  • Package Information: 300g
  • Serving: 10g
  • Price per Serving: ~$1.33
  • Company Founded: 2006
  • Recommended by Athletes: Morgan Mac, Mike Oliver, Bhuwan Chauhan

The fourth and final pure post-workout formula on our list comes from Jacked Factory with their Growth Surge formula. Let’s see how this supplement compares with the 3 other options listed above.

Jacked Factory Growth Surge

The main ingredients found in this supplement are creatine monohydrate, betaine, and l-carnitine. While Jacked Factory only contains 3g of creatine, this is still enough to produce noticeable effects if taken consistently. It also has 2.5g of betaine and 100mg of l-carnitine per serving. It’s worth noting that this dose of l-carnitine is nearly 20 times less than some of the other supplements on our list. With studies showing positive results with a dose of 2g, it’s unlikely such a small dose will make much of a difference.

At around $1.33 per serving, Growth Surge is about the same price as Legion’s product making it a good budget pick. One of its main advantages is its long list of flavors with 11 unique options to choose from. Finally, similar to Post Jym, this product also contains several artificial ingredients.

46Expert Score

The fourth and final pure post-workout formula on our list comes from Jacked Factory with their Growth Surge formula. Let’s see how this supplement compares with the 3 other options listed above.

Ingredients Breakdown
8.5
Taste/Flavor
10
Texture
9.5
Nutrition Label Transparency
8.5
Value for Money
9.5

Positives:

  • Solid doses of creatine and betaine

  • Great flavor variety

  • Does not contain unnecessary ingredients

Could be better:

  • Dose of L-Carnitine is likely not effective

  • Contains several artificial ingredients (for those who care)

5. Cellucor Whey Sport – Best Value for Money

Cellucor Whey Sport

  • Form: Powder
  • Type: Protein Powder
  • Best for: Build Muscle, Muscle recovery
  • Flavor: Chocolate, Vanilla
  • Key Ingredients: Protein Blend
  • Additional Ingredients: Creatine, L-Glutamine
  • Package Information: 873g
  • Serving: 46.5g
  • Price per Serving: ~$1.67
  • Company Founded: 2002
  • Recommended by Athletes: Brittany Ann, Scott Mathison, Demi Bagby

Next on our list is Cellucor’s whey sport protein, which is the first protein-based supplement we’ll be covering on our list.

The main difference here from the previous entries on our list is that instead of focusing on performance and recovery enhancers , these supplements are based around macronutrients like protein and carbohydrates instead. This makes these supplements better for those who struggle to get enough quality food throughout the day. For those who already have their diet dialed in, they will be better served by one of the post-workout formulas listed above.

Cellucor Whey Sport

Photo by @cellucor

In each serving of whey sport, you’ll get a solid 30g of protein, as well as 5g of carbs and 2.5g of fat split across 160 calories. A major benefit of this protein powder is that it includes some of the ingredients commonly found in post-workout formulas. Namely, 2.5g of creatine in each serving is a beneficial, albeit slightly low dose of this powerful supplement. You’ll also find 2g of L-Glutamine, which we already covered that probably won’t do much, if anything to improve recovery after workout..

At around $1.67 per serving, considering the excellent macro breakdown and inclusion of active ingredients, Cellucor offers great value for money. It’s worth noting that it only comes in 2 basic flavors – chocolate and vanilla. This product also contains several artificial ingredients like sucralose.

45.5Expert Score

These supplements better for those who struggle to get enough quality food throughout the day. For those who already have their diet dialed in, they will be better served by one of the post-workout formulas listed above.

Ingredients Breakdown
9.5
Taste/Flavor
9.5
Texture
9
Nutrition Label Transparency
8.5
Value for Money
9

Positives:

  • Excellent micronutrient breakdown

  • High protein plus carbs and fats make it great for building muscle

  • Suitable as a complete meal replacement supplement 

Could be better:

  • Limited flavor selection

  • Doesn’t contain any active ingredients

  • High calories likely make it unsuitable for those cutting

  • Contains several artificial ingredients (for those who care)

6. Muscle Milk Pro Series – Best With Vitamins 

Muscle Milk Pro Series

  • Form: Powder
  • Type: Protein Powder
  • Best for: Build Muscle, Muscle recovery
  • Flavor: Knockout Chocolate, Slammin’ Strawberry
  • Key Ingredients: Milk Protein Isolate
  • Additional Ingredients: Maltodextrin
  • Package Information: 5lb
  • Serving: 82g
  • Price per Serving: ~$2.29
  • Company Founded: 2000
  • Recommended by Athletes: Charli Collier, Alex Silver Fagan, Andrew Stern

The next protein-based supplement we have on our list is Muscle Milk’s Pro Series. Let’s see how this protein powder compares to Cellucor’s product. 

Muscle Milk Pro Series

Photo by @klts77

Right away, with 50g of protein, 5g of fats, 17g of carbs, and 310 calories per serving, this is clearly a denser supplement than Cellucor. This makes it optimal for those looking to put on muscle, and may act as a lighter substitute for a mass gainer. It also contains a dense micronutrient profile including vitamin D, Iron, and Magnesium, among many other vitamins and minerals. Vitamin D especially is one of the best muscle recovery vitamins around, making it a great addition to this formula. This makes Muscle Milk a suitable meal replacement drink as well for those who struggle to get enough quality nutrition throughout the day.

It’s worth noting that while this product has an excellent nutrition breakdown, it does not contain any active ingredients like Cellucor.

The price reflects this product’s excellent nutritional profile, being significantly more expensive than Cellucor at around $2.29 per serving. It does come with a limited flavor selection with only 2 options – chocolate and strawberry. Finally, this is also one of the products on our list made with several artificial ingredients.

45Expert Score

With 50g of protein, 5g of fats, 17g of carbs, and 310 calories per serving, this is clearly a denser supplement than Cellucor. This makes it optimal for those looking to put on muscle, and may act as a lighter substitute for a mass gainer.

Ingredients Breakdown
10
Taste/Flavor
8.5
Texture
9
Nutrition Label Transparency
9
Value for Money
8.5

Positives:

  • Excellent micronutrient breakdown

  • High protein plus carbs and fats make it great for building muscle

  • Suitable as a complete meal replacement supplement 

Could be better:

  • Limited flavor selection

  • Doesn’t contain any active ingredients

  • High calories likely make it unsuitable for those cutting

  • Contains several artificial ingredients (for those who care)

7. Mass Gainer by Transparent Labs – Best for Bulking

Mass Gainer by Transparent Labs

  • Form: Powder
  • Type: Mass Gainer
  • Best for: Building Muscle, Muscle recovery
  • Flavor: Chocolate Glaze Donut, Sweet Vanilla
  • Key Ingredients: Grass-Fed Whey Protein
  • Additional Ingredients: Maltodextrin
  • Package Information: 6.42lbs
  • Serving: 194g
  • Price per Serving: ~$5.33
  • Company Founded: 2012
  • Recommended by Athletes: Hafthor Bjornsson, Paul Sklar, Sean Harris

While Muscle Milk could certainly help you gain weight, this next supplement on our list is the first and only true mass gainer we’ll be covering on our list. It’s also the second Transparent Labs supplement on our list. So, let’s see how their mass gainer compares to the other products on our list.

As you’d expect, this is a very high calorie shake, containing 750 calories per serving. This is broken up over 53g of protein, 14g of fats, and 110g of carbs. Of course, if you’re looking for pure protein with less calories, Cellucor and Muscle Milk will be better options. However, if you’re looking to maximize calorie intake to put on weight, then this may be a great option for you. Also, this supplement can be helpful for those athletes who train very hard and intensely and don't have time to gain enough protein and calories to optimize recovery.

Of course, being such a high-calorie supplement, it is very expensive at around $5.33 per serving. It also has limited flavor options with only 2 basic flavors – chocolate and vanilla – to choose from. As a final pro, like all of Transparent Labs products, you can expect all-natural ingredients.

44.5Expert Score

This is broken up over 53g of protein, 14g of fats, and 110g of carbs. Of course, if you’re looking for pure protein with less calories, Cellucor and Muscle Milk will be better options.

Ingredients Breakdown
8.5
Taste/Flavor
9.5
Texture
8.5
Nutrition Label Transparency
10
Value for Money
8

Positives:

  • Very high calories make it perfect for bulking

  • Excellent protein content, as well as plenty of carbs in each serving

  • Made with all-natural ingredients

Could be better:

  • Does not have a very dense micronutrient profile

  • High calorie content makes it completely unsuitable for those looking to lose weight

8. Promix Creatine – Best Creatine

Promix Creatine

  • Form: Powder
  • Type: Creatine
  • Best for: Building Muscle, Recovery
  • Flavor: Unflavored
  • Key Ingredients: Creatine
  • Additional Ingredients: N/A
  • Package Information: 900g
  • Serving: 5g
  • Price Per Serving: ~$0.29
  • Company Founded: 2011
  • Recommended by Athletes: Odell Beckham Jr., Audrey & Nicole Nourse, Rashaad Slowley

Next on our list is the first pure creatine supplement featured so far. Creatine is easily one of the best supplements for muscle soreness available, either on its own or in a formula. While creatine is featured in several other supplements on our list, you may be interested in taking this popular supplement on its own as a cheaper option. In this case, Promix is one of the best options available. 

This supplement comes in a standard 5g serving size, making it optimal for the average athlete. With creatine being a saturation supplement that needs to be taken daily for optimal effects, we recommend taking it on its own instead of as part of a blend. This gives you the best value for your money, as well as increasing the likelihood you’ll be taking enough to maximize its effects.

At only around $0.29, this is by far the cheapest supplement we’ve covered on our list so far, offering excellent value for money considering the benefits of creatine. Like most creatine products, it’s worth mentioning this only comes in an unflavored variety. Finally, Promix’s products are all rigorously tested for contaminants like heavy metals, so you can rest assured you’re getting a healthy, clean product.

44Expert Score

While creatine is featured in several other supplements on our list, you may be interested in taking this popular supplement on its own as a cheaper option.

Ingredients Breakdown
8
Taste/Flavor
8
Texture
8
Nutrition Label Transparency
10
Value for Money
10

Positives:

  • Excellent budget choice to get the benefits of creatine

  • Heavily tested for contaminants

  • Solid dose to ensure optimal effects

Could be better:

  • Very simple supplement, so you won’t be getting the advantages of other active ingredients (although it might a plus for some)

  • Contains no calories or macronutrients to help with recovery either

9. Vegan Protein by Huge – Best for Vegans

Vegan Protein by Huge

  • Form: Powder
  • Type: Protein Powder
  • Best for: Cutting, Muscle Recovery, Building Muscle
  • Flavor: Birthday Cake, Cookies and Cream, Cinnamon Crunch, Graham Cracker, Marshmallow Madness
  • Key Ingredients: ProVega Complete Protein
  • Additional Ingredients: N/A
  • Package Information: 822.5g
  • Serving: 30g
  • Price per Serving: ~$1.80
  • Company Founded: 2019
  • Recommended by Athletes: Matt Greggo, Tren Twins, Max Taylor

If you’re looking for an excellent vegan protein-based supplement, our recommendation is the Vegan Protein from Huge. Although it doesn’t have the same excellent macro breakdown as Cellucor or Muscle Milk, this is still a great alternative for someone who wants a dairy-free alternative. 

Vegan Protein by Huge

Huge offers 110 calories per serving, broken up across 20g of protein, 1.5g of fat, and 3.5g of carbohydrates. Although this product doesn’t have the highest protein content, the relatively low fat and carb content makes this one of the best protein-based supplements on our list for cutting.

At around $1.80 per serving, this is slightly more expensive than Cellucor, but significantly cheaper than Muscle Milk or Transparent Labs’ mass gainer. Huge also offers solid flavor variety with 5 unique options – none of which are the standard chocolate or vanilla. Finally, this product does contain several artificial ingredients if this is something you’re concerned about.

43.5Expert Score

Although it doesn’t have the same excellent macro breakdown as Cellucor or Muscle Milk, this is still a great alternative for someone who wants a dairy-free alternative.

Ingredients Breakdown
8
Taste/Flavor
9.5
Texture
9
Nutrition Label Transparency
8.5
Value for Money
8.5

Positives:

  • Only protein-based supplement on our list that’s suitable for vegans

  • Solid macro breakdown makes it good for many different purposes including cutting

  • Great flavor variety

  • High protein content for a vegan protein supplement

Could be better:

  • Contains several artificial ingredients (for those who care)

  • Doesn’t have the same high protein content like a dairy-based supplement

10. Naked Creatine – Best Budget-Friendly Creatine

Naked Creatine

  • Form: Powder
  • Type: Creatine
  • Best for: Building Muscle, Muscle Recovery
  • Flavor: Unflavored
  • Key Ingredients: Creatine
  • Additional Ingredients: N/A
  • Package Information: 2.2lb (1kg)
  • Serving: 5g
  • Price Per Serving: ~$0.21
  • Company Founded: 2014
  • Recommended by Athletes: Daniel Victor

Closing off our list is another simple creatine supplement, this time coming from Naked Nutrition. As mentioned, creatine is one of the best supplements for sore muscles, making it ideal for recovery purposes. So, let’s see how it compares to its main competitor on our list, Promix.

Naked Creatine

Similar to Promix, you can expect a solid 5g of creatine per serving. This is the standard dose across most creatine supplements, and it will be optimal for most people.

This is a great alternative to Promix for its price. At around $0.21 per serving, it is significantly cheaper than the already budget-friendly Promix. If you’re looking for the best overall value for money on our list, this is one of your best options. Of course, this only comes in an unflavored option. Also, similar to Promix, this is heavily tested for potential contaminants like heavy metals.

43Expert Score

Similar to Promix, you can expect a solid 5g of creatine per serving. This is the standard dose across most creatine supplements, and it will be optimal for most people.

Ingredients Breakdown
8
Taste/Flavor
8
Texture
8
Nutrition Label Transparency
9
Value for Money
10

Positives:

  • Cheapest product on our list by far

  • Great choice for easily getting the benefits of creatine

  • 5g dose will be perfect for most people

Could be better:

  • Doesn’t contain any additional active ingredients

  • No nutritional value other than creatine

Why Do You Need Muscle Recovery Supplements?

SupplementCommon IngredientsBenefitsBest For
Post-Workout Supplements- Creatine
- Beta-Alanine
- Betaine
- Polyphenols
- L-Carnitine
- Improved recovery
- Reduced soreness
- Improved performance while exercising
- Those who already eat a balanced diet
- Most Post-Workout Supplements are 0 calorie, so they’re perfect for cutting
Protein-Based Supplements- Protein Blend (Dairy or Plant-Based)
- Carbohydrate Blend (Dextrose)
- Additional Micronutrients (Vitamin D, Iron, Magnesium etc.)
- Easy, high-quality source of calories and nutrients
- Likely to improve performance and recovery if you’re not getting enough calories, protein and carbs in
- Ideal for those who struggle to get enough carbs and protein
- Many of these supplements are high calorie, making them ideal for bulking

Before getting into the benefits of supplements for muscle fatigue and soreness, it’s worth noting that you don’t necessarily need them to recover effectively. There’s no substitute for getting proper nutrition and resting adequately. However, recovery supplements can help your body’s recovery process after a tough training session, making them great for many athletes. Here are some of their benefits.

1. Easy Nutrition

This obviously only goes for the protein-based supplements on our list (protein powders, mass gainers, etc.), but these muscle recovery supplements are an excellent source of quick and easy nutrition. Those who already have their diet dialed in won’t benefit much from these supplements. However, those who struggle to get enough calories and protein throughout the day will greatly benefit from getting a significant chunk of their daily protein and calorie intake in with a single shake. Not getting proper nutrition plays a major role in fatigue and soreness after working out, making these drinks valuable supplements to help muscle recovery. 

2. Benefits of Recovery Enhancing Ingredients

This goes more for the pure post-workout formulas on our list, with one of the key benefits of these supplements being their combination of active ingredients including recovery-focused ingredients like l-carnitine and tart cherry powder; performance-focused ingredients, like beta-alanine; and ingredients that improve both recovery and performance, like creatine and betaine. By containing a solid blend of these ingredients, you can improve your body’s ability to recover, as well as improving your performance in the gym.

What Are the Key Dietary Factors That Contribute to Post-exercise Recovery?

This primarily applies to the nutritional supplements on our list, but there are 2 key factors you’ll want to consider when looking for this type of supplement. These are protein and carbs, which are covered in more detail below. 

1. Protein (Repair)

As you probably already know, protein is the building blocks of muscle, and plays a large role in repairing and rebuilding the muscle fibers you damage during your workouts. What you might not know is that most of the hormones and neurotransmitters are highly dependent on amino acids. This makes getting enough protein crucial if you want to maximize recovery.

It’s worth noting that you may not need as much protein per day as you may think. For active individuals, it’s recommended you get around 0.7-0.9g of protein per pound of bodyweight everyday. It’s recommended you eat on the upper end of this range if you exercise with high frequency and intensity, or if you’re trying to lose body fat. While many athletes can reach this range without supplementation, for those who struggle to get enough protein in, a nutrition-based recovery supplement can be a great option. 

Olympic Champion Oleksiy Torokhtiy says:

Starting to engage in sports? Remember, every professional was once a beginner, and practice is the key. But after intense training, your muscles get hungry! Treat them to some whey protein. Consider it their some kind of a magical growth elixir. Warm Body, Cold Mind!”. 

bumper plate workout

2. Carbs (Refuel)

Although not as frequently discussed as protein, carbs play a major role in recovery as well. This is because carbs are most people’s main source of energy. Glycogen stores are depleted during a tough workout, meaning carbs are needed to refuel them. Similar to protein, most people will naturally eat enough carbs to recover effectively. However, if you struggle with this, or eating enough in general, a high-carb protein shake can be a great solution.

It’s worth noting that many people choose to go on low-carb diets in order to restrict their calorie intake when trying to lose weight. While we don’t recommend this type of diet for optimal performance or recovery, many people find it helpful when trying to cut. If you’re following a low-carb diet, you may be better suited to taking a zero-carb post-workout formula, or a low-carb protein supplement. Just keep in mind, the only thing that matters for weight loss is caloric deficit and the macro split does not matter - choose one that is most convenient for you.

Our expert Jacek Szymanowski mentioned:

In my routine the most important recovery supplements will always be whey protein because in my case it would be almost impossible to get enough protein from my food - small stomach, and I like to start my food after 14:00. That should be a priority - daily protein intake.

Second, in terms of recovery I always try to pay attention to my hydration/electrolyte balance and make sure that I get enough salts when I train heavy and sweat more.

The last one in my recovery daily supplement is creatine monohydrate.

I also take omega-3 daily cause I don’t eat fish and that one actually plays a good role in recovery.

That’s it in terms of evidence based must-have.

In terms of supplements I take once for a while: Betaine, Tart Cherry, Ashwagandha and Tongkat Ali - but not like they are changing my game.

Interesting fact:  ”My most important thing for recovery is my 8-9h sleep. That is a game changer. Most athletes would benefit more from that than any other pill they could take.

Personal tip: Get enough protein in your diet - 2.0g/kg and sleep min 8h. With rest, have fun and try it by yourself. Never compensate with supplements for poor nutrition and sleep habits.

Jacek Szymanowski Recovery Supplement

What Dietary Supplements Contribute to Better Recovery and/or Reduced Muscle Soreness?

1. Creatine 

On top of its other numerous benefits, creatine has been shown to aid with recovery. While Creatine is most well-known for its benefits to high-intensity exercise performance, it also helps to improve recovery by mitigating muscle damage, and promoting faster recovery of lost force-production potential. This makes creatine one of the best all-around sports supplements you can take.

2. Polyphenols (Tart Cherry Powder, Pomegranate Extract, Curcumin, Etc....)

While the only polyphenol found in any of the products on our list was Tart Cherry Powder, these ingredients all have properties related to reduced muscle soreness. This is because polyphenols – found in fruits, and vegetables – have anti-inflammatory properties. Some common polyphenols other than tart cherry powder include pomegranate extract and curcumin. While you can get polyphenols from extracts found in supplements, you can also find them in whole foods instead!

3. L-Carnitine-Tartrate

Found in many of the products on our list, L-Carnitine is one of the most common supplements for helping assist recovery. While it’s often marketed as a weight loss supplement, it is widely regarded as useless in this regard. L-Carnitine is significantly more effective in aiding with recovery than it is with fat-loss, and is one of the science-backed ingredients for this purpose. 

Supplements by type of diet

4. Omega-3 & Vitamin D

There are several vitamins and micronutrients that appear to assist in recovery and muscle repair as well, including omega-3s and vitamin D. While no supplements on our list contain omega-3s, Muscle Milk contains a solid 35% of the recommended daily value of Vitamin D. If you’re interested in the benefits of Omega-3s, you can find them through dietary sources like fish, or through supplementation. Overall, these are some of the best vitamins for muscle recovery you can supplement your diet with. 

Our expert Ernesto Mendez says:

Muscle recovery supplements play a crucial role in replenishing depleted macro nutrients, promoting muscle repair, and reducing inflammation following intense workouts. My go to supplements are Creatine Monohydrate, Omega-3, Collagen and BCAAs (branched-chain amino acids) for maximal recovery during high volume and intensity training cycles for 8-12 weeks.”. 

5. BCAA

Finally, one of the common supplements marketed for recovery is BCAAs. While BCAAs may have benefits for people like vegans and vegetarians who don’t get enough protein in their diet. 

Most people are already getting all the benefits of BCAAs through their diet. It’s worth noting that those deficient in BCAAs would be better off readjusting their diet instead of supplementing with BCAAs.  Overall, these are largely “useless” for most people, and should not be prioritized when choosing a recovery supplement. 

Our expert Sergii Putsov added:

It is no secret the muscle recovery supplements play a pivotal role in helping to replenish depleted macro nutrients, fester repair muscles and reduce inflammation level after intense loads. I prefer to use omega-3 mandatory as a part of my diet. Also I include products like creatine, BCAA, glutamine during high volume and intensity cycles for 8-12 weeks.”. 

Supplements by type of exercise

How to Choose the Best Muscle Recovery Supplements?

1. Consider the Type, Volume, and Intensity of Your Training

How you train, and what your goals are should play a major part in what type of recovery supplement is right for you. If you’re consistently training with high intensity, you will probably benefit from active ingredients like l-carnitine, and creatine. However, those who don’t train very hard likely don’t need specific recovery supplements, as their body can likely recover well enough on its own. With that being said, regardless of activity level, most people can benefit from an ingredient like creatine because of its wide-ranging effects on overall health. 

2. Understand Which Type of Supplement Is Right for You

This mainly comes down to what your diet looks like. If you’re already getting enough calories and protein in reliably, then you’ll benefit more from a pure post-workout formula. However, if you struggle to get enough protein and calories in to maximize recovery, you’ll probably be better off taking a protein-based recovery supplement. With that being said, there’s nothing wrong with taking both!

CriteriaPost-Workout Supplement FactorsProtein-Based Recovery Supplement Factors
CuttingCreatine, L-Carnitine, Polyphenols, Betaine, Beta-Alanine, Vitamin DProtein, BCAAs, Omega-3, Low calorie options
MaintainingCreatine, Betaine, Beta-Alanine, Vitamin D, PolyphenolsProtein, carbs, Omega-3
Low/Mid calorie options
BulkingCreatine, Betaine, Beta-Alanine, Vitamin D, PolyphenolsProtein and carbs, Omega-3
Mid/High calorie options

3. Consider Multi-Component Supplements

Luckily, you don’t always have to choose between just protein-based supplements and ones with recovery enhancers. Some supplements on our list like Cellucor combine protein with active ingredients like creatine. Muscle Milk’s dense micronutrient profile may also give you some advantages in your training because of the inclusion of ingredients like Vitamin D. 

Overall, these supplements may be your best option if you’re looking to double down on the benefits of added protein with carbs and recovery enhancers. 

Male dumbbell training

How to Use Muscle Recovery Supplements?

We always recommend following the instructions on any supplement to ensure you’re taking them properly. With this list featuring several different product types, uses may be slightly different.

Generally, for pure post-workout formulas, you’ll want to take one scoop mixed with 1-2 cups of water. You can use other beverages, but water will likely be best for any flavored supplements. For any supplement that contains creatine, we recommend taking it everyday – regardless of whether or not you work out – to maximize its effectiveness. Of course, this applies to the basic creatine supplements on our list as well as the multi-ingredient post-workout formulas we covered.

For protein-based supplements like protein powder or mass gainers, mixing with milk will likely yield the best-tasting shake, but you can absolutely mix it with water as well. If you’re looking to add in some extra calories and micronutrients, feel free to blend your powder with bananas, frozen berries, and nut butters as well.

For these supplements, it’s also worth noting that nutrient timing is not nearly as important as you may think. Getting enough protein, carbs, and calories throughout the day is what matters. So, don’t think of these so much as post-workout drinks, but as general recovery supplements instead.

Female Weightlifting Workout

FAQ

What Helps Muscles Recover Faster?

There are 2 main types of supplements for faster muscle recovery. These are post-workout formulas made up of active ingredients that improve recovery, and protein-based supplements like protein powders and mass gainers.

Post-workout formulas contain things like creatine and l-carnitine which actively improve your body’s recovery processes. Meanwhile, protein-based supplements will help you recover by giving your body enough protein, carbohydrates, and calories to effectively repair and refuel after working out.

How Can I Speed Up My Muscle Recovery Naturally?

The best way to speed up recovery is to eat enough protein and carbs. Whether this is through a supplement or through whole food sources, if you’re not eating enough protein, carbs, or overall calories through the day, you’re likely not recovering as effectively as possible. Other factors that play into better recovery include getting enough sleep, and actively taking rest days. 

Are Muscle Recovery Supplements Safe?

Yes! All of the supplements on our list are made up of high-quality research-backed ingredients that are not only safe, but are also effective in improving performance and muscle recovery. If you’re concerned about the potential health risks of taking a supplement, or if you have any pre-existing medical conditions, we recommend consulting with your doctor before taking any muscle recovery supplement. 

Are There any Supplements that Reduce Lactic Acid Buildup?

So this topic is more complicated and we will explain it in another article if you want but Yes, it appears that one of the most common ingredients on our list, creatine, is effective in not decreasing but delaying lactate accumulation in some conditions. Beta-alanine (carnosine precursor) has the ability to buffer hydrogen ions and that H+ accumulation is the possible cause of muscle failure during exercise. Lactates are not your enemy like many people think.

Conclusion

Overall, whether you’re looking for a pure post-workout formula, a protein-based supplement, or a basic creatine powder, after-workout recovery supplements are some of the best products to add to your supplement stack. Not only can they help you recover faster and more effectively, but they can significantly improve your performance in the gym as well.

If you’re looking for a high-quality post-workout formula, we recommend POST by Transparent Labs. For a great protein-based supplement, check out Cellucor Whey Sport Protein Powder. Finally, for a solid, basic creatine supplement, go with Promix Creatine.

We hope our muscle recovery supplement reviews are able to help you make an informed decision. Let us know if you decide to try out any of the recovery supplements covered on our list! Or let us know if you have any favorite supplements we missed out on! We’d love to hear what you think in the comments below!

Also read:

References:

  1. Snoke, C; Boles, K; Daniels, J; Holum, A; and McKenzie, J (2021) "EFFECTS OF ACUTE L-CARNITINE SUPPLEMENTATION DURING LOW-INTENSITY TREADMILL EXERCISE," International Journal of Exercise Science: Conference Proceedings: Vol. 8: Iss. 9, Article 15. https://digitalcommons.wku.edu/ijesab/vol8/iss9/15/
  2. Jeff S Volek, "L-Carnitine L-tartrate supplementation favorably affects markers of recovery from exercise stress" (NCBI, 2002 Feb) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11788381/
  3. Tart Cherry Supplementation and Recovery From Strenuous Exercise (Journals, 13 Jan 2021) https://journals.humankinetics.com/view/journals/ijsnem/31/2/article-p154.xml?content=contributor-notes
  4. Eric T Trexler, "International society of sports nutrition position stand: Beta-Alanine" (NCBI, 2015 Jul 15) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26175657/
  5. Amirhossein Ramezani Ahmadi, "The effect of glutamine supplementation on athletic performance, body composition, and immune function" (ScienceDirect, June 2019) https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0261561418301730
  6. Richard B Kreider, "International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand" (NCBI, 2017 Jun 13) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28615996/
  7. Jen-Yu Ho, "l-Carnitine l-tartrate supplementation favorably affects biochemical markers" (NCBI, 2010 Aug) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20045157/
  8. Daniel McDonough, "ORAL CREATINE HYDROCHLORIDE SUPPLEMENTATION" (Boisestate, December 2017) https://scholarworks.boisestate.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2454&context=td
  9. Tom Clifford "The Potential Benefits of Red Beetroot Supplementation in Health and Disease" Nutrients. 2015 Apr; 7(4): 2801–2822
  10. Dale R "Hyperhydrating with glycerol: Implications for athletic perfomance" Journal of the American dietetic association, February 1999
  11. "The Power of Pomegranate" NewsCenter
  12. Eric T Trexler "International society of sports nutrition position stand: Beta-Alanine" J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2015 Jul 15;12:30.
  13. Richard B Kreider "International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: safety and efficacy of creatine supplementation in exercise, sport, and medicine" J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2017 Jun 13;14:18
  14.  MAGI Euregio, Bolzano "Dietary supplements for improving nitric-oxide synthesis" J Prev Med Hyg. 2022 Jun; 63(2 Suppl 3): E239–E245
  15. Gene Bruno "Nitric Oxide Boosters" Smart Supplementation 2009
  16. Joaquín Pérez-Guisado "Citrulline malate enhances athletic anaerobic performance and relieves muscle soreness" J Strength Cond Res. 2010 May;24(5):1215-22
  17. Stephen J Bailey "Acute L-arginine supplementation reduces the O2 cost of moderate-intensity exercise and enhances high-intensity exercise tolerance" J Appl Physiol (1985). 2010 Nov;109(5):1394-403
  18. "3 supplements that may harm your heart" Harvard Health Publishing. January 1, 2021

Why Trust Us?

With over 20 years in Olympic Weightlifting, our team does its best to provide the audience with ultimate support and meet the needs and requirements of advanced athletes and professional lifters, as well as people who strive to open new opportunities and develop their physical capabilities with us.

All products we select are primarily approved and tested by the Olympic Weightlifting Champion Oleksii Torokhtiy. Under his guidance, we provide honest and reasonable assessments of the products we review by checking their characteristics, packaging, design, comfort and durability features, and general product rating. We select products from only high-quality and trusted sports brands, thus vouching for their quality.

The product testing process is described in more detail here
Post by Transparent Labs

Oleksandr Maksymenko

Sports Nutritionist, MSc

Experience: 7 years

Specializing in: Weight management, Fitness / Sports nutrition

Oleksandr is a professional fitness nutritionist, certified by FPA (Fitness Professional Association). Oleksandr adheres to the principles of evidence-based dietetics and instills in his clients a healthy relationship with food - without strict prohibitions on favorite foods and regular disruptions. His main task – not only get a result for you, but also maintain it for many years, enjoying tasty and delicious food.


Jacek Szymanowski

Reviewed by: Jacek Szymanowski

Performance architect,

M.Sc.Eng. Biotechnology,

S&C movement specialist

Experience: 20 years

With my 30 years fighting experience, specialization in nutrition coaching for athletes, expertise in metabolic health and dietary strategies, I bring a comprehensive approach to optimizing your performance and well-being. Backed by a master's of science degree in biotechnology, I stay at the forefront of scientific advancements, ensuring that my coaching is always evidence-based and up-to-date.


If you have any questions/suggestions/any other inquiry, you can reach out to us via email - reviews@torokhtiy.com

This article was written by our qualified author and proofread by an expert with proven experience. When writing the article we've used our expertise and data from authoritative, scientific, and evidence-based sources. The list of references is provided at the end of the article.


Our team of authors and experts includes professional athletes (Olympians, winners of European and World titles), PhDs in Sports Science, certified coaches, sports nutritionists, CSCSs, physiotherapists, and others. Read more about the team here, and more about how we test here.

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