The 5 Best Vegan Post-Workout Supplements in 2022

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When it comes to what you consume during the day, the food you ingest right after your workout is the most important as it’ll allow you to better recover before your next workout. 

Even though it’s proven that calorie intake is the most relevant aspect of gaining or losing weight, consuming the right post-workout nutrient is key to maximizing your recovery and building your muscles.

You have pre-workout supplements that give you an edge during your workouts, and then you have post-workout supplements that aid you in recovery. 

However, there are so many supplements available — each claiming to help you quickly build muscle, strength, and recover — so choosing which one to spend your money on can be daunting. 

To briefly summarize, here are our top vegan post-workout supplements:

Read the entire article for a more in-depth analysis of our top vegan post-workout supplements, and key insights and considerations on the topic of post-workouts for vegans. 

Our Top Vegan Post-Workout Supplements

Vega Sport Recovery

Vega is one of the biggest brands in the plant-based nutrition space, and with good reason as they create some of the best and most affordable vegan supplements.

Their post-workout supplement provides you with important nutrients to optimally recover after a workout, including 4g of protein, 16g of carbohydrates, as well as a wide array of vitamins and minerals, including electrolytes, which are essential minerals one loses when sweating. 

Key Nutrition
  • 16g of plant-based carbs to replenish glycogen stores.
  • Electrolytes for faster recovery.
  • B vitamins and zinc for a healthy immune system.
  • Sweeteners derived from natural sources.
Specification

Brand: Vega

Weight: 540 grams

Type: Powder

Servings: 20 servings

Protein contains essential amino acids that repair and help rebuild muscle tissues that have been broken down during your workout and stimulate muscle protein synthesis, being thus essential to muscle recovery and adaptation to more intense exercise. 

However, this supplement contains only 4g of protein, meaning you could benefit from taking an isolated protein powder since it’s possible to find one with more protein and a more complete amino acid profile. 

The 16g of carbohydrates are also really helpful if on top of weight-lifting you also do cardio, an endurance activity that depletes your glycogen stores that will require replenishing. 

But what actually makes this supplement shine is how many micronutrients it contains, particularly the ones that directly impact exercise. For instance, electrolytes such as sodium and potassium are extremely important because they are lost in sweat and need to be replaced to maintain a proper fluid balance in the body. 

If you experience an electrolyte imbalance, you may experience symptoms such as fatigue, dehydration, cramping, tingling, or even confusion, which are all terrible things that may negatively impact your workouts, and could actually be dangerous. 

In creating this post-workout supplement, Vega has taken into account the varied factors that impact exercise and created a formula that leads to a faster recovery, allowing you to tackle the next workout in a productive fashion. 

Jacked Factory Growth Surge Post-Workout

Rather than focusing on overall recovery, Growth Surge gives more emphasis to muscle-building by focusing on three key ingredients known for supporting lean muscle growth and fat loss.

These three ingredients are 3 grams of creatine monohydrate, 2.5 grams of betaine anhydrous, and L-carnitine L-tartrate, which seemingly play a role in muscle support. 

Key Nutrition
  • Creatine improves strength and power output, which increases muscle gain.
  • Betaine appears to improve body composition, arm size, bench press work capacity, among other aspects.
  • L-carnitine requires more evidence, but seems to reduce symptoms of depression, and slightly limit muscle damage after resistance training.
Specification

Brand: Jacked Factory

Weight: 300 grams

Type: Powder

Servings: 30 servings

The biggest draw in this supplement is the 3 grams of creatine, which is by far the most well-researched and effective ingredient in sports nutrition. It has been proven to cause an improvement in strength and increase power output, which consequently allows you to build more muscle. 

Creatine has also been tested for anaerobic running capacity, and while the results are fairly mixed, they do suggest a small improvement in performance. 

Betaine anhydrous, on the other hand, is not as well-researched and the results are fairly mixed, but more convincing studies noted an improvement in body composition, arm size, bench press work capacity, and a few other aspects like power output. 

The final ingredient is L-carnitine, which brands often claim helps with fat loss, but its usefulness is questionable at this point, particularly in isolated studies. However, it does seem to be an effective tool against depression, and it appears to reduce fatigue in older individuals with low muscular endurance, as well as slightly limit muscle damage during resistance exercise (weight lifting). 

The price of this post-workout supplement doesn’t seem too stretched either based on the stack of ingredients, but I would love to see the addition of protein, as that’s one of the main drivers of muscle protein synthesis, meaning you can always benefit from taking an isolated protein powder

Performance Lab Recovery

Performance Lab is a trustworthy brand that creates high-quality products and is among one of my favorite brands, much like Transparent Labs which I’ll cover in another section. 

This particular post-workout formula contains all the necessary ingredients to support your recovery and help restore the nutrients you need for strength and performance. 

Key Nutrition
  • 20 grams of protein that allow your muscles to repair and for new tissue to be created.
  • 48 grams of carbohydrates that restore glycogen depleted during a workout, preventing muscle tissue from also being catabolized to produce energy. 
  • Electolytes such as potassium, magnesium to maximize post-workout recovery.
Specification

Brand: Performance Lab

Weight: 1680 grams

Type: Powder

Servings: 20 servings

It contains 20 grams of protein derived from organic brown rice, 48 grams of carbohydrates, and a variety of vitamins and minerals that are enhanced with co-factors and probiotics to maximize absorption.

The most important aspect of this recovery formula is the combination of protein and carbohydrates, which are the two most important nutrients you require post-workout if you wish to maximize recovery and experience muscle growth. 

Additionally, it contains a few electrolytes, namely potassium and magnesium, which are essential to prevent issues such as fatigue, dehydration, cramping, and other issues that may ruin a workout. 

Other than the ingredients above, you can also find that Performance Lab has included beta-alanine in their formula, which is the building block of carnosine, a molecule that helps buffer acid in muscles.

This ingredient, like creatine, is well-researched, and its supplementation can improve performance during high-intensity exercise, however, that makes it an ideal addition to a pre-workout supplement, not a post-workout, where the goal should be to maximize recovery. In fact, many sports brands suggest taking beta-alanine 30-45 minutes before a workout, not after. 

With that being said, this is a very complete post-workout supplement, and it contains ingredients that will definitely improve your recovery. 

Transparent Labs Post-Workout

Transparent Labs is usually our brand of choice, and while they’ve launched this muscle-building and recovery formula with five convincing ingredients, I’m a bit skeptical about some of the ingredients.

They are using five ingredients, including 5 grams of L-glutamine, 2.5 grams of betaine anhydrous, 2 grams of L-carnitine, 2 grams of beta-alanine, and 500 milligrams of tart cherry powder. 

Key Nutrition
  • Betaine improves body composition, arm size, and bench press work capacity.
  • L-Carnitine might slightly limit muscle damage, and seems to be effective against depression.
Specification

Brand: Transparent Labs

Weight: 471 grams

Type: Powder

Servings: 30 servings

Allow me to start this mini-review by talking about L-glutamine, the ingredient with the highest dosage in this post-workout formula.

L-glutamine isn’t very effective at building muscle in healthy individuals. It seems to be effective for people suffering from muscle trauma, in other words, those suffering from physical trauma such as burns or muscular wounds (knife wounds) or in disease states in which muscle wasting occurs, such as AIDS.

L-glutamine also seems to exert some benefits when you’re deficient, and this includes a population of people that don’t consume meat, eggs, or dairy. Therefore, it could be that L-glutamine is effective at building muscle in vegans, but that would require research.

This formula also contains betaine and L-carnitine, which we have covered in a previous supplement, and although the evidence is mixed for both, it does suggest an improvement in body composition, power output, and other benefits such as fending off depression and slightly limiting muscle damage.

The most promising ingredient in this post-workout is actually beta-alanine, which has serious evidence suggesting that it enhances muscular endurance during high-intensity exercise (lasting 1-10 minutes), but unfortunately these effects are more useful in a pre-workout formula, rather than a post-workout formula. 

This formula also contains tart cherry powder, but I couldn’t find compelling scientific evidence about its effects on muscle-building or recovery after exercise. 

Garden of Life Sport Post-Workout

Garden of Life is a brand that has been around for a while, and they’re one of the first brands to have started including plant-based formulas in its collection.

The brand claims that this formula can reduce muscle soreness, reduce oxidative stress, and initiate muscle repair, providing everything you need to recover after exertion.

It contains blends of carbohydrates, protein, antioxidants, as well as B vitamins.

Key Nutrition
  • Contains a decent mix of protein and carbohydrates.
  • Has a generous amount of micronutrients, including magnesium, vitamin C, and B vitamins.
  • Also has antioxidant blend to “reduce” oxidative stress.
Specification

Brand: Garden of Life

Weight: 446 grams

Type: Powder

Servings: 30 servings

While it only seems to contain small amounts of carbohydrates (9 grams) and protein (2 grams), it does include some important micronutrients in generous amounts, such as magnesium (an electrolyte), vitamin C, and a variety of B vitamins like vitamin B6, biotin, and riboflavin. 

One of the more interesting aspects about this formula is that it contains an antioxidant blend, which basically serves to reduce oxidative stress which should reduce muscle soreness and support recovery after strenuous exercise, but recent evidence suggests that might not be the case. 

Also, there is a recent study that suggests that antioxidant supplements could hamper your muscle-building efforts because increased oxidation is needed to repair damage to muscle cells (and build muscle). However, that’s just data from one study, so it’s not reliable.

With that being said, this supplement provides you with different characteristics that aid in recovery— protein, carbohydrates, as well as vitamins and minerals— but there are better options above. 

What to Consider Before Buying A Vegan Post-Workout Supplement

Ingredients

The most important aspect you have to consider before you purchase any supplement is its ingredients— because if you want a supplement to be effective, it has to have the right ingredients, and this usually refers to ingredients that are scientifically sound. 

Exercise triggers the breakdown of muscle protein. The rate at which this happens depends on the exercise and your level of training, but even the most well-trained athletes experience muscle breakdown. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

In order for your muscles to repair and rebuild these proteins, taking protein with adequate amino acids gives you the building blocks necessary to build new muscle tissue. 7, 8, 9, 10

As a result, you’ll find post-workout supplements that contain protein, or ones with ingredients such as BCAAs (branched-chained amino acids) which are three amino acids (leucine, isoleucine, and valine) that are heavily involved in the repair and construction of new muscle tissue. 

Post-workout supplements might also contain carbohydrates to help you replenish your glycogen stores, which can rapidly get depleted if you’re someone that does endurance training quite intensively. 

Some research also suggests that taking creatine after a workout is optimal as it can result in greater increases in lean muscle mass and increased muscular strength. Researchers believe this might be due to the increase in skeletal muscle blood flow that occurs from resistance training, resulting in a higher amount of creatine being stored in the trained muscles.

The increased blood flow, combined with the loss of glycogen and other nutrient loss your body experiences during a workout, may mean that your cells are primed to replace what was lost during a workout. 

Creatine also seems to play a role in recovery, although on its own it may not reduce muscle damage or improve recovery after resistance training. 11 However, its benefits seem to be enhanced by taking it with a very replenishing meal comprised of carbs and protein. 12

L-glutamine is also an ingredient that plays a role as a building block of protein, and while it doesn’t seem to have enough evidence to support claims that it might lead to muscle gain or improved strength, it seems to be able to reduce fatigue or decrease muscle soreness. 13, 14

There are certainly various ingredients that could prove beneficial to someone recovering from an intense resistance or endurance workout, however, the one you might choose will probably be relevant to the type of exercise you do. 

Dosages

A supplement might contain highly-effective ingredients, but it’s not going to do much if they aren’t available in the correct dosages. If an ingredient has shown to work at 3 grams or higher, using anything less than that won’t make any difference. 

Therefore, if you’re searching for a supplement, don’t just look at the ingredients, determine if the company/brand is using the right dosages to support the actual clinical effects of a given ingredient. 

Feedback

Something we look at is feedback customers offer brands because if you have the majority of people complaining about a certain product, that’s a red flag. 

On the contrary, a product with an overwhelming number of positive user reviews suggests that the product works as intended. 

The post-workout supplements we have added to this list contain numerous positive user reviews, which speaks volumes about the quality of the supplements and the brand’s trustworthiness. 

Pricing

Even though we don’t think the pricing is as important as some of the other factors we’ve mentioned, it still plays an important role, particularly in the world of inflation we live in. 

However, it’s also important to note that quality has a price, and with supplements, it’s no different, meaning if you want a high-quality supplement, you have to be willing to invest more in it. 

The price of the supplements we’ve included in this list varies from $1.40 to $1.99 per serving, which is not particularly cheap, and we would say that is because these supplements stack various ingredients. 

Additives

Unfortunately, it’s a common practice in the supplement industry to load up a product with additives to justify a higher price tag, and since post-workouts are supplements that tend to stack different ingredients, they’re prone to have more extras than necessary.

As such, we did opt for supplements that don’t contain too many pointless extras, particularly those that might be unhealthy. 

What Is A Post-Workout Supplement? 

post workout supplement

A Post-workout supplement is a supplement that needs to be taken after a workout as they contain ingredients designed to aid with recovery and muscle building.

The formulas will vary between each brand of supplement, but some of the most common ingredients in a post-workout formula include glutamine, BCAAs, creatine, betaine, and protein.

The reason most gym-goers want a post-workout supplement is that they want to be able to accelerate recovery, muscle growth, and even performance. 

You’re free to choose standalone supplements such as creatine or a regular protein powder, or you can go with a post-workout supplement that combines both supplements into one. 

What’s The Difference Between Pre and Post Workout Supplements?

Pre-workout and post-workout supplements have different benefits — while pre-workouts are essentially energy boosters that contain ingredients to give you an edge during workouts, post-workout supplements aid in muscular recovery and muscle-building.

For this reason, they will have slightly different ingredients. For instance, pre-workout supplements will generally contain stimulants such as caffeine or carbs, whilst post-workout supplements will contain ingredients such as creatine or protein, which are beneficial for recovery and muscle growth.

This pretty much summarizes the difference between pre and post-workout supplements. 

Final Word

Post-workout supplements are great if you want to optimize your recovery and build more muscle after each workout, however, it’s important to remember that no supplement in the world can replace a healthy diet, good sleep, and an intense workout routine. After all, they’re merely supplements. 

With that being said, there are a lot of different supplements out there, and every one of them might contain a different formula, which means there’s a big difference in terms of effectiveness. 

We’ve attempted to break down the best vegan pre-workout supplements, providing you with options that contain the most solid formulas, with ingredients that are scientifically sound and delivered in the most effective dosages. We’re convinced that these five vegan supplements are the best on the market right now, and regardless of the one you choose, you won’t be disappointed. 


Editor’s note: The content on this website is meant to be informative in nature, but it should not be taken as medical advice. The content of our articles is not intended for use as diagnosis, prevention, and/or treatment of health problems. It’s always best to speak with your doctor or a certified medical professional before making any changes to your lifestyle, diet, or exercise routine, or trying a new supplement.

References: 

1 – Kerksick C, Harvey T, Stout J, Campbell B, Wilborn C, Kreider R, Kalman D, Ziegenfuss T, Lopez H, Landis J, Ivy JL, Antonio J. International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: nutrient timing. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2008 Oct 3;5:17. doi: 10.1186/1550-2783-5-17. Erratum in: J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2008;5:18. PMID: 18834505; PMCID: PMC2575187.

2 – Jäger, R., Kerksick, C.M., Campbell, B.I. et al. International Society of Sports Nutrition Position Stand: protein and exercise. J Int Soc Sports Nutr 14, 20 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12970-017-0177-8

3 – Murray B, Rosenbloom C. Fundamentals of glycogen metabolism for coaches and athletes. Nutr Rev. 2018 Apr 1;76(4):243-259. doi: 10.1093/nutrit/nuy001. PMID: 29444266; PMCID: PMC6019055.

4 – Chesley A, MacDougall JD, Tarnopolsky MA, Atkinson SA, Smith K. Changes in human muscle protein synthesis after resistance exercise. J Appl Physiol (1985). 1992 Oct;73(4):1383-8. doi: 10.1152/jappl.1992.73.4.1383. PMID: 1280254.

5 – Phillips SM, Tipton KD, Aarsland A, Wolf SE, Wolfe RR. Mixed muscle protein synthesis and breakdown after resistance exercise in humans. Am J Physiol. 1997 Jul;273(1 Pt 1):E99-107. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.1997.273.1.E99. PMID: 9252485.

6 – Phillips SM, Tipton KD, Ferrando AA, Wolfe RR. Resistance training reduces the acute exercise-induced increase in muscle protein turnover. Am J Physiol. 1999 Jan;276(1):E118-24. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.1999.276.1.E118. PMID: 9886957.

7 – Biolo G, Tipton KD, Klein S, Wolfe RR. An abundant supply of amino acids enhances the metabolic effect of exercise on muscle protein. Am J Physiol. 1997 Jul;273(1 Pt 1):E122-9. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.1997.273.1.E122. PMID: 9252488.

8 – Kreider RB, Campbell B. Protein for exercise and recovery. Phys Sportsmed. 2009 Jun;37(2):13-21. doi: 10.3810/psm.2009.06.1705. PMID: 20048505.

9 – Tipton KD, Ferrando AA, Phillips SM, Doyle D Jr, Wolfe RR. Postexercise net protein synthesis in human muscle from orally administered amino acids. Am J Physiol. 1999 Apr;276(4):E628-34. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.1999.276.4.E628. PMID: 10198297.

10 – VanDusseldorp TA, Escobar KA, Johnson KE, Stratton MT, Moriarty T, Cole N, McCormick JJ, Kerksick CM, Vaughan RA, Dokladny K, Kravitz L, Mermier CM. Effect of Branched-Chain Amino Acid Supplementation on Recovery Following Acute Eccentric Exercise. Nutrients. 2018 Oct 1;10(10):1389. doi: 10.3390/nu10101389. PMID: 30275356; PMCID: PMC6212987.

11 – Rawson, ES, MP Conti, and MP Miles. Creatine supplementation does not reduce muscle damage or enhance recovery from resistance exercise. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 21(4):1208-1213, 2007.

12 – Naderi A, de Oliveira EP, Ziegenfuss TN, Willems MT. Timing, Optimal Dose and Intake Duration of Dietary Supplements with Evidence-Based Use in Sports Nutrition. J Exerc Nutrition Biochem. 2016 Dec 31;20(4):1-12. doi: 10.20463/jenb.2016.0031. PMID: 28150472; PMCID: PMC5545206.

13 – Legault Z, Bagnall N, Kimmerly DS. The Influence of Oral L-Glutamine Supplementation on Muscle Strength Recovery and Soreness Following Unilateral Knee Extension Eccentric Exercise. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2015 Oct;25(5):417-26. doi: 10.1123/ijsnem.2014-0209. Epub 2015 Mar 26. PMID: 25811544.
 
14 – Carvalho-Peixoto J, Alves RC, Cameron LC. Glutamine and carbohydrate supplements reduce ammonemia increase during endurance field exercise. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2007 Dec;32(6):1186-90. doi: 10.1139/H07-091. PMID: 18059593.
Alexandre Valente

Hey there! My name is Alex and I've been vegan for more than five years! I've set up this blog because I'm really passionate about veganism and living a more eco-conscious life. Hopefully, I can use this website as a channel to help you out on your own journey!

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