Do you ever wonder what you should drink after workouts? If so, you’re in luck – we’re going to clear up some of that confusion today.

Consuming the right amount of fluid can help your body maintain a normal temperature, get rid of toxins and waste, exercise better, and keep your joints lubricated. A reasonable starting point for proper hydration is 64 to 96 ounces of water daily – but the best predictor is watching your urine color throughout the day. Pale yellow urine typically means you are well hydrated. In comparison, urine that looks dark like apple juice indicates that you need more fluids.

After a good sweat session, you need to replenish lost fluids and electrolytes. Consider adding fruit and vegetables to your drink for extra fluid, electrolytes and antioxidants. Also, choose beverages with protein and carbohydrates to help reduce your recovery time.

Tart Cherry Juice Concentrate
Tart cherries are packed full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytochemicals. One of the phytochemicals – called anthocyanin – appears to have anti-inflammatory effects on the body. These anti-inflammatory effects may aid in reducing muscle soreness after workouts. Some individuals notice improvements in arthritis-related pain as well.

The recommendation is to take 2 to 4 Tbsp. of tart cherry juice concentrate daily. Consuming it after workouts appears to be most beneficial. Here are a few ways to incorporate tart cherry juice concentrate:

  • Add into a post-exercise smoothie or protein shake
  • Mix into yogurt, cottage cheese or Kefir (drinkable yogurt)
  • Infuse into water, coconut water or tea
  • Make a cherry milk
  • Stir into hot cereal

Chocolate milk
Chocolate milk is often touted as one of the best recovery beverages on the market. That’s because it contains protein, carbohydrates, calcium, sodium and potassium – all of which are beneficial nutrients for recovery. People are often surprised to find out that per cup, chocolate milk has more electrolytes than most sport beverages. Below, is a comparison of a typical sport beverage versus chocolate milk:

Sport Drink (16 oz.)                                                              Chocolate Milk (16 oz.)
Sodium = 213 mg                                                                   Sodium = 320 mg
Potassium = 60 mg                                                               Potassium = 860 mg
Carbohydrates = 28 grams                                                  Carbohydrates = 50 grams
Protein = 0 grams                                                                  Protein = 16 grams
Cost = ~$1.50                                                                         Cost = ~0.43 cents

It’s best to drink chocolate milk after working out. Roughly 10 to 16 oz. of chocolate milk provides a nice recovery boost.

Coconut Water
Coconut water is often labeled as a natural sports beverage. It’s lower in calories and sugar compared to most commercial sport drinks. But it can be an acquired taste. Try a few different brands of coconut water until you find one that suits your taste buds.

For a change from your usual sports beverage or plain water, try drinking 8 to 16 oz. of coconut water after your workout. For an added flavor boost, infuse your coconut water with 1 to 2 Tbsp. of tart cherry juice concentrate.

Kefir (Yogurt Smoothie)
Kefir is a fermented yogurt drink that is rich in electrolytes, protein, B vitamins and vitamin D. Since Kefir is fermented, it’s also a rich source of gut-promoting probiotics. No worries if you are lactose intolerant – Kefir is 99% lactose free.

After your next workout, try drinking 8 to 10 oz. of kefir. You can also try pouring it over a bowl of fresh berries or making a protein smoothie with it.

To learn more about performance nutrition, schedule a one-on-one consultation Lee Hyrkas at Lee.Hyrkas@bellin.org or (920) 430-4728.