Whether you are an active athlete or someone who simply appreciates a regular exercise routine to stay physically fit and healthy, taking proper care of your muscles is non-negotiable. While a well-rounded diet remains foundational, the incorporation of targeted supplements can potentially improve muscle recovery, reduce soreness, and elevate overall performance.
From protein powders and amino acids to pre-workout supplements and vitamins, our review hones in on the best supplements for muscle recovery from leading brands in the market.
Best supplements for muscle recovery: shortlist
- Future Kind — best supplements for muscle recovery and growth
- XWERKS — natural supplements for muscle recovery
- Transparent Labs — best supplements for workout recovery
- A Quality Life Nutrition — best recovery supplements for athletes
- Purovitalis — affordable supplements for recovery
How we ranked the best supplements for muscle recovery?
In case you are on the hunt for the best supplements for recovery and growth, you have likely noticed that there are plenty of factors to consider before settling on a final choice. To help you shop more effectively, we want to make sure you understand the criteria upon which our list is compiled.
|Researched ingredients||Scientific support|
|Safety profile||Quality manufacturing or testing certificates|
|Brand reputation||Trusted and reputable|
|Price||Value for money|
- Researched ingredients. In our attempt to rank the best supplements for muscle recovery, we based our choice on research. Considering supplements with robust scientific support are generally more reliable, we examined studies conducted on the ingredients of the supplements in our list and their impact on muscle recovery.
- Safety profile. Our search focused on brands that submit their recovery supplements to third-party testing and manufacture them in compliance with Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs). This ensures not only accurate labeling but also thorough checks for contaminants and allergens.
- Brand reputation. We have factored in the reliability and trustworthiness of the brands on our list by weighing their dedication to quality control, testing, and research. This reflects the commitment of reputable brands to delivering products that meet safety standards.
- Price. While searching for the best value options, we compared the prices of similar products across different brands and prioritized those that offer discounts to customers interested in purchasing supplements in bulk or subscribing to a service for a regular supply of supplements at a reduced cost.
Best supplements for muscle recovery: an overview
If you are thinking about stepping up your efforts to stay physically active and promote muscle health, you may be wondering what supplements are good for muscle recovery. Well, wonder no more as we take a look at the best supplements for recovery with our editor's top picks below.
1. Future Kind — best supplements for muscle growth and recovery
For those who value sticking to their fitness routine and hitting their protein targets, all while keeping it “clean”, Future Kind's Organic Vegan Protein Powder offers a plant-based solution with yellow peas as its protein source for easy digestion.
This protein supplement, labeled by its creators as one of the “cleanest” plant-based proteins on the market, is rich in iron, branched-chain amino acids, and arginine. This formulation positions it as a potential supporter of muscle growth and tissue repair in the body.
Manufactured in an FDA-regulated and GMP-certified facility in the U.S., Future Kind's protein powder is completely devoid of fat and sugar.
The current pricing for a 2-pound container of Future Kind’s protein powder, encased in eco-friendly packaging, is $59.99 for a single purchase.
2. XWERKS — sustainably sourced supplements for muscle repair
Grow by XWERKS is a whey protein isolate formulated to support muscle growth, repair, and strengthen the immune system. Its low-carb, keto-friendly composition makes it an appealing option for those with specific dietary preferences.
To produce a product free from hormones, antibiotics, or pesticides, the brand sources its protein content from grass-fed cows that graze in New Zealand, a country well-known for upholding strict dairy quality standards.
Through microfiltration, XWERKS ensures its protein supplement retains amino acids while eliminating undesired fats and carbohydrates. The outcome is a protein-abundant formula, delivering 25 grams of protein and over 6 grams of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) in every serving.
Today's price for a 2-pound bag of Grow protein powder is $59, and for those looking to save, there is a subscription option. The available flavors include chocolate, peanut butter, vanilla, and strawberry.
3. Transparent Labs — best supplements for muscle recovery during workouts
BCAA Glutamine by Transparent Labs is a targeted supplement formulated to promote muscle recovery, endurance, strength, and overall workout performance. This product features a 2:1:1 ratio of fermented vegan BCAAs, L-glutamine, L-valine, and vitamin C — ingredients grounded in scientific research.
The brand offers its BCAA Glutamine product in a palette of flavors, all free from artificial sweeteners, dyes, or fillers. Notably, it also maintains a gluten-free, non-GMO, and artificial preservative-free profile.
With a commitment to quality, Transparent Labs subjects all its products, including the BCAA Glutamine offering, to third-party lab testing.
One unit of this Transparent Labs supplement, providing a 30-day supply, is on offer for a one-time purchase of $39.99. Alternatively, there is a subscription choice for those wanting to save.
4. A Quality Life Nutrition — best supplements for recovery designed with athletes in mind
While intended for athletes, A Quality Life Nutrition's Pre Workout Fruit Punch supplement is universally suitable for anyone with a spirited commitment to reaching their exercise peak.
Loaded with performance-enhancing ingredients like creatine, caffeine, arginine AKG, and beta-alanine, this pre-workout supplement holds the potential to heighten endurance levels throughout workout sessions.
Pre Workout Fruit Punch is produced in an FDA-registered and cGMP-compliant facility. To add an extra layer of assurance to the safety profile of the supplement, the brand turns to third-party testing.
To obtain A Quality Life Nutrition's pre-workout supplement, visit the brand's website, where a 30-day supply of the product is priced at $62.95.
5. Purovitalis — wallet-friendly supplements for recovery
Advertised as the most advanced vitamin D supplement by its makers, Purovitalis Liposomal Vitamin D3 is designed with a formula engineered to optimize bioavailability, allowing you to reap the full spectrum of benefits associated with vitamin D.
By virtue of its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant nature, this vitamin D supplement by Purovitalis emerges as a promising ally in supporting both immune health and muscle functionality.
Manufactured in a GMP-certified facility, this Purovitalis product undergoes third-party testing, with results transparently available on the brand's official website.
You can get your 30-day supply of this vitamin D supplement for $20 from the official Purovitalis website.
Comparison of the best supplements for muscle recovery
|Brand||Price per container||Serving size||Servings per container||Price per serving||Form|
|Future Kind||$59.99||1 scoop||34||$1.76||Powdered|
|Transparent Labs||$39.99||1 scoop||30||$1.33||Powdered|
|A Quality Life Nutrition||$62.95||1 rounded scoop||30||$2.09||Powdered|
What is muscle recovery?
Muscle recovery, in a broader sense, refers to the body's process of repairing and adapting to the physiological stress imposed on muscles during physical activity. Microscopic damage to muscle fibers and depletion of energy reserves within muscles are common outcomes of engaging in various physical activities, with resistance training and endurance exercises being primary examples.
Optimal muscle recovery is essential in preventing overtraining, lessening the likelihood of injury, and maximizing performance. This is why athletes and those engaged in sports and fitness on a regular basis often incorporate tailored dietary approaches into their routines to elevate performance and promote muscle recovery.
These approaches may include maintaining a well-rounded diet, staying hydrated, prioritizing quality sleep, allowing adequate rest intervals, and implementing supplementation.
Ingredients that are shown to help muscle recovery
With research pointing to a number of dietary ingredients with the potential to accelerate post-exercise recovery, alleviate muscle soreness, and enhance performance, below we take a closer look at the most prominent ones commonly found in the best supplements for recovery that have been studied for their potential benefits.
Protein, a fundamental nutrient suggested to play a role in muscle recovery and growth, is particularly important for repairing and building muscle tissues that have experienced damage or stress.
Given that one of the integral facets involved in muscle recovery is protein synthesis (MPS) — a process that entails generating new proteins to substitute normal protein turnover and build muscle mass — meeting protein needs is essential for muscle recovery, be it through foods or supplements.
Scientific evidence suggests that muscle recovery can be stimulated by maintaining a daily protein intake within the range of 1.2 to 2.0 grams per kilogram.
Leucine, isoleucine, and valine, the three essential amino acids known as BCAAs, are fundamental for promoting MPS and maintaining optimal muscle health. The potential of these amino acids in lessening exercise-induced muscle soreness has been suggested in some previous research studies.
Some findings indicate that BCAAs could potentially reduce muscle soreness by decreasing markers of muscle damage. Some studies also propose that using BCAA supplements before and after exercise proves beneficial, diminishing the damage incurred during physical activity, hence why a lot of athletes decide to supplement with BCAAs, especially around the time of their workouts.
While these findings suggest that BCAAs can be a useful supplement for muscle recovery, new and emerging evidence presents conflicting views. Certain studies argue that exogenous BCAA consumption may be superfluous for resistance training individuals who are likely already ingesting a moderate protein intake.
Mostly stored in muscles, creatine is a compound naturally occurring in the body that is used as a fast energy source during short periods of intense physical activity, and while the pre-workout performance-enhancing effects of creatine supplementation are widely agreed on, there is growing evidence from studies suggesting that creatine may also contribute to post-workout recovery.
After periods of intense physical activity, during which the depletion of muscle phosphocreatine and glycogen — two important energy sources — often occurs, the introduction of creatine supplementation is thought to have the potential to facilitate the recovery of these fuel sources.
Building on that, elevating muscle creatine levels through creatine supplementation has been shown in multiple studies to establish an intracellular setting that promotes better recovery between both brief sessions of exercise and prolonged periods of training.
Although the well-established link between vitamin D, a fat-soluble vitamin fundamental for physiological processes in the body, and its impact on bone health and immune function is widely established, recent focus has also been directed toward its connection with muscle recovery and performance.
Research findings suggest a correlation between insufficient vitamin D levels and increased muscle damage and inflammation after exercising. This underscores the potential importance of vitamin D supplementation, particularly for those with predominantly indoor lifestyles, during winter months, or among athletes, all of whom commonly experience vitamin D insufficiency.
At the end of the day, while further research is needed to fully understand the multifaceted impact of vitamin D on muscle recovery, maintaining sufficient vitamin D levels is considered pivotal for overall health.
Can you take more than one supplement for muscle recovery?
For those deeply invested in sports, combining supplements to facilitate muscle recovery is a routine practice. Athletes, or simply those serious about working out, often integrate additional recovery strategies, including taking more than one supplement, all to improve physiological responses and elevate their competitive performance.
While the effectiveness of muscle recovery greatly hinges on the nutritional plan, there are instances where dietary efforts simply fall short, prompting the need for supplements to be introduced to round out the diet.
Some of the most common approaches to supplement combinations have been observed to integrate protein and BCAAs, which may help enhance MPS and aid in tissue repair or combine creatine with carbohydrates post-workout to support training adaptations and energy replenishment.
Taking supplements as a professional vs. working out casually
Supplement intake strategies tend to differ between professional athletes and those pursuing fitness casually. This contrast is often shaped by training intensity and individual sports goals. Further down, we give a closer peek at some general disparities between the two groups.
- Recovery supplements for athletes. Given the targeted performance goals, intensive training routines, and the heightened need for effective recovery to sustain top-level performance, professional athletes have a tendency to prioritize precise accuracy in the timing, dosage, and combination of supplements to achieve the best possible results. The supplement regimens of elite athletes are often the result of close collaboration with nutritionists, trainers, and other specialists who consider nutritional profiles, training needs, and health state, all to create personalized supplement plans.
- Supplements for workout recovery as a casual fitness fan. Unlike professional athletes who adhere to highly specialized training routines, those engaging in casual exercise may not have as precise or demanding goals. Their supplement choices often revolve around general health and vitality. Casual fitness fans typically favor straightforward, foundational supplements that support overall health and aid in general muscle recovery, all while being easily incorporated into their daily routines.
Supplement form: which is best for muscle recovery?
The best supplements for muscle recovery are usually determined by personal preferences, health factors, and the targeted area of effect, which is why a universally endorsed solution is often elusive.
While powdered forms, such as protein and BCAAs, can provide a rapid onset of action for those seeking post-workout recovery, supplements in pill or capsule form offer convenience in dosing and portability. Not to mention, there are always supplement alternatives like creams designed for fast and targeted relief, be it muscle soreness or pain.
In the end, however, it all comes down to your needs. Remember that the onset of action, contraindications, and convenience of use vary across these supplement forms. While they have shown promise in supporting recovery efforts, viewing them as complementary to fundamental recovery practices, such as proper nutrition and hydration, rather than as substitutes, is imperative.
Best supplements for muscle recovery — conclusion
Finding the best supplements for muscle recovery that are just right for you involves considering several factors, including your dietary preferences, performance goals, and overall state of health. Even though several supplements, with protein being the main attraction, have demonstrated benefits in supporting muscle recovery, it is important to view them as complements rather than replacements for a balanced diet. Ultimately, achieving optimal muscle recovery involves a combination of personalized nutrition, proper exercise routine, and investment in quality rest.
How long do muscles take to repair?
It depends. While the muscle repair time frame is not the same for everyone, a recovery period of 48 to 72 hours is generally needed for full recovery. The length of this recovery period can be impacted by factors like workout intensity, nutrition, and adequate time for recovery and adaptation, making sufficient rest and maintenance of a balanced diet essential elements to optimize the recovery process and avoid the pitfalls of overtraining.
What causes poor muscle recovery?
Many contributing factors. Poor muscle recovery can result from aftereffects of inadequate rest, dehydration, or nutritional deficiencies. Overtraining and stress can also hinder recovery, with inadequate protein intake and imbalances in macronutrients further contributing. Addressing these factors through quality rest, hydration, balanced nutrition, and training moderation can help better manage muscle recovery.
What are the 3 stages of muscle healing?
Destruction, regeneration, and remodeling. The first stage in the process of muscle regeneration is the destruction phase with the initial inflammatory response. This is followed by a regeneration phase with activation and growth of satellite muscle cells. Finally, the remodeling phase completes the process with the maturation of the regenerated muscle fibers.
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- Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. Neuromuscular Fatigue and Recovery after Heavy Resistance, Jump, and Sprint Training.