The 11 Best Muscle Recovery Supplements of 2024, RD-Reviewed and Expert Tested

Train hard for an hour a day and you’re left with 161 hours each week. And if you’re serious about gaining muscle, losing fat, or becoming more athletic, you’d be wise to focus on your recovery during that time. What you eat, how you sleep, and practicing mobility work can all help your muscles recover (which is how they grow back bigger and stronger). Assuming you have those three things dialed in, you can (and probably should) start thinking about supplementation. 

Muscle recovery is a multifaceted process, and no single supplement can address every physiological process that occurs. However, to help you determine the best muscle recovery supplements for your needs, our expert testers have personally tried dozens of supplements claiming to boost muscle recovery in some way (including some of the best protein powders on the market). From greens powders to creatine and even sleep aids, we’re sure you’ll find what you’re looking for here. Plus, we’ve included expert insight on their ingredients and effectiveness from our in-house registered dietitian to boot. 

The 11 Best Muscle Recovery Supplements of 2024

Best Overall Muscle Recovery Supplement: Legion Recharge

Best Protein Powder for Muscle Recovery: XWERKS Grow

Best Sleep Aid for Muscle Recovery: Transparent Labs Sleep Aid

Best Post-Workout Supplement for Muscle Recovery: Jacked Factory Build XT

Best Multivitamin for Muscle Recovery: Onnit Total Human

Best Amino Acids for Muscle Recovery: Momentous Vital Aminos

Best Carbohydrates for Muscle Recovery: Jacked Factory Carb Surge

Best Creatine for Muscle Recovery: Bulk Supplements Creatine Monohydrate

Best Electrolyte Drink for Muscle Recovery: BUBS Naturals Hydrate or Die

Best Casein Protein Powder for Muscle Recovery: Naked Nutrition Micellar Casein

Best Greens Powder for Muscle Recovery: Kylea Total Living Drink Greens

Editor’s note: The content on BarBend is meant to be informative in nature, but it should not be taken as medical advice. The opinions and articles on this site are not intended for use as diagnosis, prevention, and/or treatment of health problems. It’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor before beginning a new fitness, nutritional, and/or supplement routine. Individual needs for vitamins and minerals will vary

About Our Expert

This article features contributions from Chelsea Rae Bourgeois, M.S., R.D.N., L.D., a registered dietitian with 10 years of experience in the clinical setting. She provided insight into the various muscle recovery products included in this round-up, giving us more detailed information on the efficacies and qualities of specific supplement profiles. Everyone’s body is different, so it’s best to consult your doctor before you try any new products.

How We Tested and Chose the Best Muscle Recovery Products

The BarBend team comprises competitive athletes, certified personal trainers, and lifelong fitness enthusiasts. To determine the best muscle recovery supplements currently available, we’ve tested hundreds of different profiles across different supplement categories, using a multi-point methodology to rate each profile on a scale of 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest). Below are some of the categories and components that played into our rankings.

Read the BarBend Supplement Testing Methodology page for further information on how we trial and test the products chosen for this guide and more.

Formulation: How effective each supplement is depends on its ingredients and dosages. When it comes to selecting any supplement for our round-ups, the criteria are mostly the same: We want full ingredient lists (not blends), to see third-party testing labels, and doses that are at (or at least close to) the clinically effective dose. 

Taste: While some people can overlook a bad-tasting product, most can’t or won’t consistently take supplements that they don’t enjoy. Simply put, a product has to taste good to become a regular addition to your supplement stack.

Solubility: Similar to taste, if a supplement mixes terribly, leaving you with a gritty, clumpy texture, you’re not going to stomach it well. That’s why we grade all of the powdered supplements we test on solubility — the ability to dissolve completely into liquid. Our testers usually mix powders into different liquids using different tools (shaker bottle, hand blender, standard blender) to determine the score. 

Third-Party Testing: The FDA doesn’t closely regulate what ingredients are in a supplement. So, we put a premium on brands that present plenty of transparency with their ingredients,” says BarBend’s Performance Editor, Bojana Galic. Third-party testing is critical for ensuring that supplements are free from dangerous contaminants and actually contain what they claim to contain.

Cost: Every supplement on the following list is in a different category, so pricing will vary supp to supp. Typically, you get what you pay for; supplements that provide effective doses of certain ingredients, are third-party tested, and have a solid reputation (all things you want) cost more. We’ve kept our selections moderately and reasonably priced relative to each category’s specific range. 

Best Overall Muscle Recovery Supplement: Legion Recharge

Legion Recharge

Legion Recharge

Legion Recharge is a well-rounded option that includes a solid dose of creatine monohydrate, along with l-carnitine l-tartrate, which may help to reduce exercise-induced muscle damage and improve recovery.

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Price Per Serving: $1.33

Servings Per Container: 20

Calories Per Serving: 5

Key Ingredients: Micronized Creatine (5g), L-Carnitine L-Tartrate (2.1g), Corosolic Acid (10.5mg)

Third-Party Testing: Yes (Labdoor)

Available Flavors:  Strawberry Lemonade, Fruit Punch, Strawberry Kiwi, Arctic Blast, Watermelon, Sour Candy, Grape, Blue Raspberry, Unflavored


Clinically effective doses of recovery-enhancing ingredients

Corosolic acid may optimize nutrient uptake into cells

Naturally sweetened with zero-calorie stevia 

Lab testing results are available online


Expensive when taken daily

Corosolic acid may cause hypoglycemia in some people

Stevia may not be tolerated by everyone

This lab-tested post-workout drink is an all-in-one source of creatine monohydrate, L-carnitine, and corosolic acid, making Legion Recharge a no-brainer when it comes to optimizing your supplement stack.

“I love that Legion Recharge is formulated with science-backed ingredients and doses. Each scoop provides a whopping 5g of creatine monohydrate, 2.1g of L-carnitine L-tartrate, and 10mg of corosolic acid”, said registered dietitian Chelsea Rae Bourgeois, who gave Recharge a score of 4.25 out of 5 for its overall formula.

“I like that Legion included corosolic acid,” Bourgeois adds. Corosolic acid is extracted from banana leaves and has been studied as a way to manage metabolic diseases. One study found that this nutrient does enhance glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity, which may help you absorb and utilize carbohydrate sources more quickly. (1) Note that the research wasn’t focused on workout performance, so while the study results are interesting, your takeaway should be that corosolic acid may it — not that it will help. 

Our tester, a certified personal trainer, drank Legion Recharge after her workouts and was so impressed with her faster recovery times that she incorporated it into her daily routine. “It hasn’t prevented me from feeling sore, and I could be imagining this, but I feel I recovered much more quickly between tough workouts,” she said.

A BarBend tester trying the Legion Recharge supplement.

The powder dissolves easily in water, earning a solubility score of 5 out of 5. We can’t speak for every flavor, but our tester loved the Strawberry Lemonade, saying, “…it had the perfect balance of sweet and tart.” The flavor also received a 5 out of 5.

That said, each flavor, even unflavored, contains stevia. This natural sweetener keeps the added sugars low but doesn’t agree with everyone. We’re not going to knock Recharge too much for including stevia, but keep this in mind if you have a sensitive stomach.

Lastly, this product may not be appropriate for people on blood sugar-lowering medications. Corosolic acid could interact with them, potentially leading to hypoglycemia. It’s a good idea to consult with your doctor before taking Legion Recharge.

Read our full Legion Recharge Creatine Review.

Best Protein Powder for Muscle Recovery: XWERKS Grow

Xwerks Grow

Xwerks Grow

One of the very few protein powders with no carbs or fat whatsoever, this product contains 25 grams of whey protein isolate and is great for anyone looking for a leaner protein option.

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Price Per Serving: $1.97

Servings Per Container: 30

Calories Per Serving: 110

Protein Per Serving: 23-25g

Key Ingredients: Whey Protein Isolate (27.8g), BCAAs (6g), Stevia, Artificial Flavoring (in Strawberry flavor)

Third-Party Testing: Yes (Ellipse Analytics)

Available Flavors: Vanilla, Chocolate, Peanut Butter, Strawberry


Adequate protein for rebuilding damaged muscles

Uses high-quality, lean whey protein isolate

Zero grams of added sugar


More expensive than other whey proteins

Not ideal for weight gain

Doesn’t taste great mixed with water

With 25 grams of complete whey protein isolate per serving, XWERKS Grow is one of the best whey protein powders to add to your diet for aiding muscle repair. Whey protein is known for stimulating muscle protein synthesis and enhancing the recovery of muscle tissue function. (2) Muscle recovery takes longer without adequate dietary protein; you’re potentially leaving gains on the table if you’re not getting enough protein. 

XWERKS Grow is low in fat and carbs, making it helpful for meeting your macros on a cut. Chelsea Rae Bourgeois was particularly impressed with its nutrition profile. “I like that XWERKS Grow is a lean protein powder, providing 25 grams of protein per scoop. And you get six grams of BCCAs — another bonus,” she raved.

Its leanness is partly due to the use of stevia, a natural sugar substitute that keeps the carbs low, and whey protein isolate, a protein type lower in carbs and fats. We rated the formulation a 4.5 out of 5. That said, you may want a whey protein that’s higher in calories and fat if you’re in a bulking phase. 

XWERKS Grow protein powder

Bourgeois was slightly less impressed with the price, saying it’s “…one of the more expensive options on the market. Still, you get 25 grams of protein for two dollars, so it’s not too outrageous.” The price also makes sense, considering the grass-fed whey and cold-processing technique used during manufacturing.

Where this protein really shines is its great taste and solubility, earning a 5 out of 5 rating for both. Our product tester, a certified personal trainer, raved that “The flavor was perfect! It tasted like a vanilla milkshake without being overly sweet. It blended super smoothly with no grittiness or clumps.” 

Not surprisingly, our tester preferred it with milk, telling us that “The vanilla was way better blended with milk, but it’s not too bad with water if you’re in a pinch.”

Read our full Xwerks Grow Whey Protein Review.

Best Sleep Aid for Muscle Recovery: Transparent Labs Sleep Aid

Transparent Labs Sleep Aid

Transparent Labs Sleep Aid

A solid night’s sleep is essential for your recovery and to optimize performance in the gym. Transparent Labs sleep time formula offers up tried-and-true ingredients such as melatonin and zinc and a couple of extras like tart cherry and vitamin B6. The end result: great sleep without that groggy feeling.

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Price Per Serving: $1.00

Servings Per Container: 30

Calories Per Serving: 0

Protein Per Serving: 23-25g

Key Ingredients: Vitamin B6 (10mg), Magnesium (200mg), Zinc (15mg), L-Glycine (1,000mg), Tart Cherry (500mg), Melatonin (2mg)

Third-Party Testing: Yes (Informed Choice)

Available Flavors: Unflavored


May increase melatonin levels for better quality sleep

200mg of magnesium per serving

Third-party tested by Informed Choice


Vitamin B6 may not improve sleep for everyone

Must be taken on an empty stomach

One serving is four capsules

Sleep is a restorative process, allowing our bodies to heal from the stress and exercise-induced damage of the day. Inadequate sleep can impair recovery and even increase the risk of injury in athletes. With its innovative blend of melatonin, tart cherry, magnesium, and other potentially sleep-enhancing ingredients, Transparent Labs’ Sleep Aid will help you get A-level Zzzs. 

Melatonin is a hormone that helps regulate circadian rhythms. Interestingly, the consumption of tart cherries may increase our natural melatonin levels. (3) Rutaecarpine, also found in Sleep Aid, is an herb that may help remove caffeine from the bloodstream, potentially helping you fall asleep faster even after a late afternoon latte. (4) Including magnesium as an ingredient is also a winner, as this mineral may help improve sleep quality in people with insomnia. (More research is needed to be sure, however.)

Despite providing 588% of the daily value for vitamin B6, research on the benefits of this micronutrient for improving sleep quality is in its infancy. One study suggested that it may help people with insomnia. However, the results of that study weren’t entirely clear since B6 was tested in combination with melatonin (a more proven sleep aid). (5) Vitamin B6 may also improve sleep quality by reducing symptoms of restless leg syndrome.

Transparent Labs Sleep Aid

We like that Sleep Aid is Informed Choice Certified, meaning it’s been independently tested for the presence of banned substances. Since the FDA doesn’t strictly regulate dietary supplements, other sleep aid supplements may not be as safe.

This supplement only scored 3 out of 5 for convenience. One serving is four capsules, which some people may find difficult to take especially if taking other supplements or medications at night. Also, if you usually drink one of the best protein shakes or eat before bed, you’ll have to choose between a meal or Sleep Aid, as Transparent Labs recommends taking their sleep aid on an empty stomach.

All in all, Sleep Aid is a relatively affordable supplement with an innovative blend of ingredients that are quite promising. If you’re in the market for a sleep supplement, it’s a solid choice.

[Related: Top Tips For Sleeping Your Way to Improved Performance and Health]

Best Post-Workout Supplement for Muscle Recovery: Jacked Factory Build XT

Jacked Factory Build XT

Jacked Factory Build XT

This post-workout supplement uses a unique mushroom blend and ancient peat and apple extract polyphenols designed to help reduce muscle soreness and inflammation, boost hypertrophy, and get you ready for your next workout. 

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Price Per Serving: $0.83

Servings Per Container: 60

Calories Per Serving: 0

Key Ingredients: PeakO2 (adaptogenic mushroom extract blend), ElevATP® (ancient peat and apple extract), AstraGin® (Panax notoginseng root extract and astragalus extract)

Third-Party Testing: N/A

Available Flavors: Unflavored


Adaptogenic mushrooms may calm post-workout inflammation

Polyphenols and antioxidants may reduce muscle soreness

AstraGin® improves absorption of muscle recovery ingredients


Contains proprietary blends

Has a slight herbal flavor

Not allergy friendly

The primary use for taking Jacked Factory Build XT is to increase the work you can put into the next workout. However, its unique formulation of adaptogenic mushrooms and polyphenols may also reduce post-exercise inflammation and muscle soreness, potentially shortening your recovery time and getting you back in the gym faster.

The PeakO2 blend in this supplement is packed with antioxidant-rich adaptogenic mushrooms known for their stress management and anti-inflammatory benefits. Reishi was found to have potential benefits in soothing inflammation, though the study did say there is a gap in research for Reishi and more trials are needed. (6

Another ingredient blend in this post-workout supplement, ElevATP®, is a polyphenol-rich blend of ancient peat and apple extract. According to a 2021 meta-analysis, polyphenol supplements that contain flavonoids significantly enhance muscle strength recovery and reduce muscle soreness within four days following a grueling workout. (7)  It’s possible that Jacked Factory Build XT could provide these same benefits since apples are naturally high in flavonoids, although this hasn’t yet been studied.

We were impressed by the addition of AstraGin®, a botanical extract added to improve absorption of the other ingredients. According to the manufacturer, it does this through its beneficial effects on the gut microbiome, supporting the growth of beneficial bacteria while restricting the growth of pro-inflammatory bacterial strains. 

Although human studies on AstraGin® are limited, it holds promise for improving muscle recovery by enhancing the absorption of other nutrients.

Our tester, a USA Weightlifting Level-2 coach, was excited by the adaptogenic mushroom blend but noted that “There’s a slight herbal taste to this supplement that isn’t totally off-putting but is noticeable. Some people may not like it. You must take two capsules at once, but they’re easy to swallow together.”  We score the taste 3.5 out of 5 and convenience a 4 out of 5.

We did have to ping the formulation slightly due to the use of proprietary blends, giving it a total score of 3.5 out of 5. Jacked Factory tells us the total amount of adaptogenic mushrooms in the product, but they don’t list the amounts of each individual mushroom. It’s the same for the ancient peat and apple extract blend.

Best Multivitamin for Muscle Recovery: Onnit Total Human

Onnit Total Human

Onnit Total Human

Onnit Total Human is a multivitamin supplement that comes in individual packets of supplements for each day and night. Each packet includes an array of supps, from a B complex to antioxidants and even spirulina. 

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Price Per Serving: $4.60

Servings Per Container: 30

Calories Per Serving: 0

Key Ingredients: StronBONE (Vitamin E, Vitamin K2, Copper, Manganese), Alpha BRAIN® (Vitamin B6, L-Tyrosine, L-Theanine, L-Alpha Glycerylphosphorylcholine), Krill Oil, Omega-3 Fatty Acids, B-Complex, Shroom TECH Sport (Vitamin B12, Cordyceps, Ashwagandha, Rhodiola, Astralagus), Spirulina, Chlorella, Shroom TECH Sport (Adaptogenic Mushrooms, Turmeric Root Extract), Key Minerals (Calcium, Iodine, Magnesium), Onnit Tranquility Blend (Valerian Root Extract, Chamomile Extract), Vitamin C 

Third-Party Testing: N/A

Available Flavors: Unflavored


Contains adaptogenic mushrooms to reduce inflammation

Tranquility Blend may enhance recovery by improving sleep

Provides a boost of anti-inflammatory nutrients


Requires you to take 16 total capsules spread between two daily servings. 

Relatively expensive for a multivitamin

Night pack induced intense dreams for our tester

It’s simple to categorize Total Human as a multivitamin formula, but Onnit’s 135-dollar stack is more of a regimen, consisting of a day and night pack with 16 total capsules. Total Human provides a variety of vitamins, nutrients, omega-3 fats, and adaptogens that promote cognitive function, muscle and joint function, and sleep. 

Inflammation is a normal result of an intense workout. Some inflammation is necessary for healing damaged muscles, but extended inflammation (aka chronic inflammation) can prevent you from recovering as quickly. When combined with anti-inflammatory foods, this product provides additional inflammation-calming ingredients like adaptogenic mushrooms, omega-3 fats, and turmeric root extract.

In addition, the night pack contains a “Tranquility Blend” of valerian root and chamomile to promote better quality sleep. 

Our tester, a USA Weightlifting Level -2 coach, took this multivitamin for 20 days. “The night pack has helped me sleep without waking up during the night, although I’ve noticed it occasionally causes intense dreams that aren’t normal for me. I can usually wake up more quickly, too,” he said.

He also felt that the effects of the day pack were the most noticeable, giving him “a boost of mental clarity and focus. I feel amazing on days when I take the day pack.” We scored this a 4.5 out of 5 for efficacy.

Onnit Total Human Daytime

A significant downside, however, is the daily total of 16 pills. Our tester noted, “Swallowing eight pills in the morning and another eight at night is a lot! I was able to swallow eight pills together, but other people probably won’t be able to do this.” Because of this, we rated it a 3 out of 5 for ease of consumption.

However, because it did not have the bitterness or unpleasant aftertaste of the other best multivitamins we tested, it earned a 5 out of 5 for taste.

Onnit Total Human is very expensive. However, it’s hard to compare the cost of this supplement to other multivitamins as Onnit’s formula is significantly more substantial than other supps in the multivitamin category. We think it works well. Still, regardless of how effective it is, $137 is $137, so consider whether or not you can afford $1,500 a year for this supplement. Not everyone can. 

Read our full Onnit Total Human Review.

Best Amino Acids for Muscle Recovery: Momentous Vital Aminos

Momentous Vital Aminos

Momentous Vital Aminos

This supplement blends nine essential amino acids to help build strength and improve your performance. One bag costs $44.95 and comes in a tropical punch flavor.

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Price Per Serving: $1.50

Servings Per Container: 30

Calories Per Serving: 35

BCAA Ratio: 4:1:1

Key Ingredients: L-Leucine, L-Lysine, L-Isoleucine, L-Valine, L-Arginine, Alpha Ketoglutaric Acid, L-Threonine, L-Phenylalanine, L- Histidine HCl, L-Cystine, L-Methionine, L-Tyrosine, L-Tryptophan, Rebaudioside A (stevia extract), 

Third-Party Testing: Yes (Informed Sport)

Available Flavors: Tropical Punch


Contains nine essential amino acids for muscle repair

Includes leucine to stimulate muscle protein synthesis

No added sugars thanks to stevia extract


Under-researched BCAA ratio of 4:1:1

Expensive for the amino acids provided

Only one flavor

Essential amino acids are indeed “essential” for repairing exercise-induced muscle damage and building lean muscle, both normal parts of the muscle recovery process. The best BCAA supplements, in particular, are effective for reducing muscle soreness. (8) With 13 amino acids, including all nine essential amino acids, Momentous Vital Aminos is a quick, easy way to boost these muscle-supporting nutrients.

When asked for her thoughts, Bourgeois advised, “Our bodies can’t make essential amino acids, so we have to get them through our diet. While you can get them from various foods, Vital Aminos makes it easy.”

However, she had concerns about the BCAAs ratio, which is 2:1:1 in most supplements. “Vital Aminos is a 4:1:1 ratio of leucine, isoleucine, and valine. While more might be better for some, this increased ratio of BCAAs isn’t well-researched, giving me pause on the formula,” Bourgeois noted. All in all, she rated the formulation a 2.5 out of 5.

That said, we appreciated that these aminos get their sweetness from zero-calorie stevia rather than sugar or artificial sweeteners. While our tester, a certified personal trainer, enjoyed the Tropical Punch flavor, she could only rate it a 2 out of 5. “The flavor is strong, which is good, but it means you’ll have trouble mixing it into juice, pre-workout, or other sports beverages without getting a strange flavor combo.”

Vital Aminos is a fairly expensive supplement for 6,745 milligrams of amino acids per serving, roughly equivalent to 6.7 grams of protein. You can easily get this amount more cheaply from food, but the cost could be worth it depending on how highly you value convenience. We rated Momentous Vital Aminos a 3 out of 5 for price. 

[Related: What’s the Difference Between BCAAs vs. EAAs Anyway?]

Best Carbohydrates for Muscle Recovery: Jacked Factory Carb Surge

Jacked Factory Carb Surge

Jacked Factory Carb Surge

This clean complex carb supplement is manufactured in the USA in a cGMP certified facility without any added sugar. Each 23.7-gram scoop provides 23 carbohydrates, 10 of which are cluster dextrin.

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Price Per Serving: $0.60

Servings Per Container: 30

Calories Per Serving: 90

Carbs Per Serving: 23g

Key Ingredients: Pea Starch (as Carb10®, 15g), Cluster Dextrin (10g), Natural & Artificial Flavors, Sucralose

Third-Party Testing: N/A

Available Flavors: Unflavored, Peach Mango


Convenient source of carbs

Easily digestible sources of carbohydrates

Short ingredient list


Has an artificial aftertaste

More expensive than whole food sources

Jacked Factory Carb Surge is an effective addition to your post-workout recovery regimen as a convenient source of quick-digesting, long-acting carbohydrates that won’t cause acute spikes in insulin levels. These carbs help replenish the skeletal muscle glycogen that gets used for energy during endurance exercise, ensuring you have an adequate fuel supply for your next workout.

Interestingly, the carbs in this powder do this without causing insulin spikes and leading to unwanted body fat accumulation. While spikes in insulin following the ingestion of carbs are natural and normal, excessive spikes from refined carbs can promote the storage of these carbs as fat. 

The pea starch used in Carb10® is rich in resistant starch, making it a low-glycemic source of carbs. Cluster Dextrin, another slow-acting carb, is absorbed quickly thanks to its low osmolality (electrolyte-to-water balance) yet doesn’t spike insulin. We like that it enhances muscle glycogen resynthesis and prepares the muscles more quickly for your next workout.

“This isn’t my favorite way of consuming carbs,” said our tester, a certified personal trainer. “However, I think it could be really helpful for bodybuilders or others with super strict macros and body composition goals.” If you eat a fairly standard number of calories, you’ll probably feel fuller from eating your carbs. However, if you consume many calories, drinking one of the best carb supplements is a simple way to keep your intake high without feeling overly full and sluggish.

The consistency of this powder was great when mixed with water or juice and reminded our tester of pre-workout, earning it a 5 out of 5. She wasn’t as impressed with the taste, however. “It has a super sweet, artificial flavor that’s quite fruity. The flavor is okay, but it left an aftertaste that I could have done without,” she said.

Lastly, we felt that most people looking to replenish their glycogen stores after a long run or tough workout would benefit just fine from carbohydrate-rich foods, which are also much more affordable for the same amount of carbs. That said, if you have ambitious body composition goals or simply like the convenience, Jacked Factory Carb Surge is an effective carb option.

Best Creatine for Muscle Recovery: Bulk Supplements Creatine Monohydrate

BulkSupplements Creatine Monohydrate

BulkSupplements Creatine Monohydrate

This creatine is clean and simple. It comes with 2.5 grams of micronized creatine per serving, and you can buy it in bulk to save money. Plus, it’s tested both in-house and by a third party for any impurities.

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Price Per Serving: Starting at $0.17

Servings Per Container: Varies

Calories Per Serving: 0

Key Ingredients: Micronized Creatine Monohydrate (5g)

Third-Party Testing: Yes

Available Flavors: Unflavored, Peach Mango


Creatine promotes muscle glycogen resynthesis 

Enhances the recovery of muscle function

Available in various sizes

Third-party tested 


Only available as an unflavored powder

Packaged in a bag, which can get messy

The best creatine supplements are known for their ability to help you exert more effort during high-intensity activities, and as effective agents for promoting muscle recovery. The Bulk Supplements Creatine Monohydrate is a great way to support your muscles by enhancing muscle glycogen resynthesis, facilitating faster muscle function recovery, and preventing overtraining effects. (9)

Bourgeois was wowed by the simple, effective formulation of this creatine, rating it a 4.5 out of 5. “Bulk Supplements hit it out of the park with this creatine powder. Each scoop provides 5 grams of micronized creatine monohydrate and nothing more, It’s simple and to the point.”

She was only disappointed by the lack of a flavored option. While being unflavored makes it easy to mix into various foods and beverages, Bourgeois felt that people who prefer to mix their creatine with water will get bored quickly.

BarBend tester trying Bulk Supplements Creatine Monohydrate.

That said, our tester, a certified personal trainer, appreciated the neutral flavor and absence of bitterness or strange aftertaste, rating it a 5 out of 5. She gave it the same rating for solubility, saying: “It dissolves perfectly in water when mixed in a shaker cup since the only ingredient is creatine.”

We also love that Bulk Supplements requires all its products to undergo third-party testing, ensuring they’re free from dangerous contaminants like steroids or stimulants.

One disadvantage, though minor, is the packaging. This creatine supplement is a loose powder in a large bag, which can easily make a mess if you aren’t careful. Also, make sure you’re not already getting creatine from other supplements. For example, Legion Recharge (our best overall pick) contains five grams of creatine monohydrate. There’s not much point in taking more than five grams, so check your current stack to ensure you’re not unnecessarily double-dipping. 

Read our full Bulk Supplements Creatine Review.

Best Electrolyte Drink for Muscle Recovery: BUBS Naturals Hydrate or Die

BUBS Naturals Hydrate or Die

BUBS Naturals Hydrate or Die

These convenient single-serve packs of electrolytes are great for on the go and come in a research-backed ratio to help keep you hydrated. They have high-quality, all-natural ingredients and are certified by NSF.

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Price Per Serving: Starting at $1.89

Servings Per Container: 18

Calories Per Serving: 40

Electrolytes Per Serving: 2000mg

Carbohydrates per serving: 10g

Key Ingredients: Organic Coconut Water Powder, Himalayan Salt, Organic Stevia, Magnesium Oxide

Third-Party Testing: Yes (NSF for Sport Certified)

Available Flavors: Lemon, Orange, Organic Coconut


Comes in three distinct flavors

Replenishes electrolytes lost in sweat

Excellent electrolyte-to-carb ratio


High in sodium

Saltier taste than other electrolyte packs

Expensive due to high electrolyte content

All endurance athletes understand (or should understand) the importance of replacing the electrolytes lost in sweat after a long run to maintain proper hydration. But the best electrolyte drinks are also important for muscle function, which is where BUBS Naturals Hydrate or Die comes in clutch. These packs contain an impressive electrolyte-to-carb ratio, making them a great choice for optimizing recovery.

Minerals like magnesium and potassium support muscle repair by bringing water into the muscles. Electrolytes are also essential for muscle contractions and preventing muscle cramps. 

Bourgeois is impressed by the quality of these packs. “BUBS Naturals Hydrate or Die is packed with electrolytes and a decent dose of carbohydrates,” she said. “With 2000mg of electrolytes and 10 grams of carbs per serving, you get maximum hydration without the sugar crash. It’s a powerful tool for hard-hitting endurance athletes.”

Why are carbs important? They give you a jump-start on replenishing your muscle glycogen stores, helping you prepare for the next run. 

Bourgeois’ one concern is the high sodium content. “With 670mg of sodium per serving, this is not for your leisurely workout days — 670mg is almost a third of your recommended daily sodium limit, so it should be saved for days that you really sweat,” advised Bourgeois. Overall, she rated these electrolyte packs a 4 out of 5 for formulation. 

As far as taste, our opinions were mixed. Our tester, a certified personal trainer, said, “The orange flavor is mild and very salty. I felt like I was licking salt off my lips.”  The Hydrate or Die packets also dissolved perfectly in water when our tester used a shaker cup, earning it a 5 out of 5 for solubility. 

Lastly, remember that because this mix is higher in electrolytes than most of its competitors, it’s also more expensive. Overall, BUBS Naturals Hydrate or Die is a solid choice for endurance athletes needing a big hit of sodium after significant sweat losses.

[Related: Signs You’re Not Getting Enough Electrolytes]

Best Casein Protein Powder for Muscle Recovery: Naked Nutrition Micellar Casein

Naked Micellar Casein

Naked Micellar Casein

This slow-digesting protein powder contains, at max, three ingredients, making it one of the cleanest shakes you can add to your regimen. Naked Micellar Casein provides between 26 and 27 grams of protein per serving, allowing your muscles to fuel up, grow, and recover properly throughout the day.

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Price Per Serving: Starting at $1.31

Servings Per Container: 76

Calories Per Serving: 110

Protein Per Serving: 26g

Key Ingredients: Micellar Casein, Organic Coconut Sugar (in Chocolate and Vanilla flavors)

Third-Party Testing: Yes (Gluten-Free Certification Organization)

Available Flavors: Unflavored, Chocolate, Vanilla


Slow-digesting casein supports muscle repair overnight

Free from artificial ingredients and unnecessary fillers

Great in protein baked goods


Unflavored doesn’t taste great on its own

Slightly harder to shake up than whey

Coconut sugar in flavored versions adds 6g carbs

It’s expensive 

With 26 grams of casein per serving and a paired-back ingredients list, Naked Nutrition Micellar Casein is one of the best casein proteins for repairing torn-up muscles while you sleep. As a slow-digesting protein, casein provides a steady supply of amino acids to help the muscle-building process continue and prevent muscle breakdown overnight. (15)

With micellar casein as the only ingredient, the formulation is hard to beat. While artificial ingredients and food additives are safe to consume, some people prefer to avoid them as they can cause gastrointestinal issues. 

Micellar casein is the least processed, whole form of casein. It’s absorbed more slowly than other types of casein, so it’s the preferred choice when your goal is to support muscle repair over many hours.

Our tester reading the Naked Micellar Casein ingredients list

The unflavored casein is a good option if you want a versatile protein that can be blended with various flavors. “I liked this protein mixed with flavorings like chocolate syrup, cinnamon, coffee, and vanilla, and it was delicious in a chocolate mug cake,” noted our tester, a certified personal trainer. Unfortunately, our tester wasn’t a fan when trying the unflavored casein by itself. “The unflavored casein tastes like dry milk, which isn’t good at all on its own,” she said. “I wouldn’t recommend drinking it on its own.” All in all, we rated it a 4 out of 5 for flavor due to its versatility.

We also liked how smoothly it blends with water or milk. Our tester scored it a 4 out of 5 for solubility. “It dissolved really well when I used a shaker cup to blend it with water. I didn’t notice any settling, but it did take longer to shake up than my whey protein so I took a point off of my rating.” 

We couldn’t try the other flavors, but we imagine they taste better than the unflavored casein. The only downside to this supplement is that bodybuilders and other individuals with super strict macros may not want the extra six grams of carbs that the organic coconut sugar used in the chocolate and vanilla powders provides.

[Related: Best Casein Protein]

Best Greens Powder for Muscle Recovery: Kylea Total Living Drink Greens

Kylea Total Living Drink Greens

Kylea Total Living Drink Greens

These greens contain 12 grams of protein and the nutritional equivalent of 7 to 10 servings of fruit and vegetables, along with 2,000mg of spirulina, probiotics, and a B-complex.

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Price Per Serving: $3.30

Servings Per Container: 30

Key Ingredients: Vegan Protein Blends (Pea Protein, Rice Protein, Pumpkin Seed Protein), Vitamin & Mineral Formula, Amino Acids Formula (Glutamine, Taurine), Natural Vegetable & Fruit Formula (Alfalfa Juice Powder, Spirulina Juice Powder, etc.), Antioxidant Formula, Enzymes, Probiotics, Blueberry Flavor

Calories Per Serving: 120

Protein Per Serving: 11g

Available Flavors: Greens

Third-Party Testing: Yes


Antioxidants fight oxidative stress to support recovery

A blend of complementary plant proteins supports muscle growth

Contains many vitamins and minerals


Uses a proprietary blend with vague ingredient amounts

Pricier than other greens powders

Gimmicky use of the term “superfoods”

The best greens powders are great for providing an extra boost of nutrients for overall health and wellness, but they can also help support exercise recovery. With its sky-high antioxidant content and balanced provision of macronutrients and micronutrients, Kylea Total Living Drink Greens can help calm exercise-induced oxidative stress and build muscle mass.

Claiming to provide the equivalent of seven to 10 servings of vegetables in a single scoop, this greens powder is undoubtedly rich in antioxidants. This makes it a promising option for fighting the oxidative stress that naturally occurs within exercising muscles, potentially helping to shorten recovery time. (10)

Bourgeois was especially impressed by the protein content. “Kylea Health Total Living Drink Greens really stands out among the crowd with its macronutrient content. I love that you get 11 grams of plant-based protein with every serving,” she said. Thanks to the complementary plant proteins, it’s a good start for repairing and building muscle compared to other greens powders — especially if added to a protein shake or smoothie for an optimal protein dose of 25 to 40 grams. 

At nearly $100 per bag, however, the sticker shock is real. Bourgeois likes the product but feels it’s probably a little overpriced. While I love that it provides a decent amount of macro and micronutrients in every scoop, it’s one of the more expensive greens powders on the market. Plus, it contains proprietary blends, so you can’t be sure exactly what you’re spending your money on,” she said. We score this a 3.5 out of 5 for value. 

Kylea Total Living Drink Greens at the BarBend garage gym for testing

Bourgeois was also unimpressed with the marketing terminology, as “superfoods” don’t really exist. (It’s worth noting that “superfoods” is a commonly used marketing term and isn’t unique to Kylea.) 

Thankfully, any concerns about it tasting overly grassy are unnecessary. Our BarBend product tester loved the flavor, scoring it a 4.5 out of 5 for taste. “It tastes mainly like blueberry or acai, with a slight green tea flavor and mild nuttiness. It’s basically like a protein shake with added greens, and that’s what it tastes like.

All things considered, this is the best greens powder for muscle recovery thanks to its antioxidant and protein content. Its formulation scored a 4 out of 5, with dings for cost and the proprietary fruit and vegetable blend.

Read our full Kylea Health & Energy Total Living Drink Greens Review

Benefits of Muscle Recovery Supplements

When it comes to supplements claiming to boost muscle recovery, figuring out whether these claims are true can be challenging. And if you’re on a budget, you need to know that your hard-earned money is actually going to something that will give you results. The benefits of muscle recovery supplements will vary based on the supplement type, but you can expect the following types of benefits:

Faster recovery of muscle function: A muscle’s ability to forcefully contract is temporarily reduced after a tough workout, which makes sense considering that they’re now fatigued and damaged (in a good way). Protein supplements and creatine can help shorten muscle fatigue and accelerate muscle function recovery. (2)(9)

Help repair and build muscle: Dietary protein provides us with amino acids, the “building blocks” of muscle protein. The benefits of protein for building muscle are well-known, with optimal daily intakes of 1.4-2 grams of protein per kilogram body weight, or about 20-40 grams of protein every few hours. (11)

Improve sleep quality: In athletes, poor sleep can lead to detriments in strength, endurance, reaction time, and cognitive function; poor sleep can even increase the risk of muscle injury. (12)(13) Therefore, supplements with sleep-enhancing benefits can help improve sleep quality and improve athletic performance. 

Help prevent muscle cramps: If you don’t get enough micronutrients from your diet or are an endurance athlete who sweats a lot, you may be prone to muscle cramps. Electrolyte packs with minerals like potassium, magnesium, and phosphorus may help prevent cramps in some athletes. (14)

Replenishing muscle glycogen: Post-workout carbohydrate supplements can help quickly replenish muscle glycogen stores used for energy during endurance exercise. Exercising with depleted glycogen stores can result in reduced athletic performance.

Can reduce muscle soreness: Delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is natural after a strenuous workout, but it can prevent you from returning to the gym as quickly if it lasts for an extended period of time. Some supplements, such as BCAAs and polyphenols, can reduce muscle soreness, helping you recover more quickly. (7)(8)

Calm exercise-induced inflammation and oxidative stress: Exercise naturally induces acute inflammation, which is required for healing damaged muscles. Free radicals are also produced, contributing to oxidative stress within the body. While these processes are normal, antioxidant- and polyphenol-rich foods and supplements can help calm exercise-induced inflammation and fight oxidative stress to promote recovery. (10)

How Much Do Muscle Recovery Supplements Cost?

Because the types of supplements used for muscle recovery vary widely, their prices vary widely. In general, greens powders, specialty multivitamins, and electrolyte packs run close to $2 to $3 per serving, while simple formulations of creatine cost less than $0.50 per serving.

What to Consider Before Buying Muscle Recovery Supplements

Muscle recovery supplements aren’t one-size-fits-all. To get the most out of any supplement, it’s important to consider how it supports your goals and whether it fits within your budget. And since the supplement world isn’t tightly regulated, it’s important to choose from reputable brands offering quality products.

Third-Party Testing

Choosing a supplement that has been third-party tested is incredibly important. Otherwise, you can run the risk of ingesting unsafe levels of heavy metals, steroids, anabolic hormones, or other contaminants. 

Our tester mixing XWERKS Grow

It’s nice when brands test their products using their own labs, but it’s ideal to use independent, unbiased labs. Informed Sport, Informed Choice, and NSF Certified For Sport are all examples of gold-standard third-party testing to look for on supplement labels.

Price Per Serving

You’ll most likely get the results you want when you take a supplement consistently. Price plays a big role in consistency, as a supplement that’s out of your price range won’t be a repeat purchase. 

Instead of focusing on the total cost of a product, checking the price per serving will give you a better idea of how it fits within your weekly or monthly budget. It can also help you identify purchases you’d be willing to give up to prioritize supplementation. 

Label Transparency

When looking at the nutrition facts label, check whether the product lists the amount of each ingredient. Many products use proprietary blends, perhaps providing the total amount of a blend of ingredients, but not of each ingredient separately. 

A jar of Legion Recharge.

Using proprietary blends isn’t automatically a red flag, but they don’t help the brand build customer trust. Transparent labels are key for showing exactly how much of each ingredient you get from your hard-earned dollars. 

Your Recovery Needs

To prioritize the supplements that best serve you, consider your individual recovery needs. 

If you suffer from insomnia and notice it affecting your energy levels, a sleep aid supplement (in combination with other lifestyle strategies) may be more helpful than a pre-workout. Similarly, if you struggle to eat enough protein to build muscle despite eating balanced meals, protein powders may be most helpful for your recovery needs.

Muscle Recovery Supplements FAQs

What is the best muscle recovery supplement?

We chose Legion Recharge as the best overall muscle recovery supplement due to its clinically effective doses of evidence-based ingredients like creatine, L-carnitine, and corosolic acid to promote overall recovery. We also love that it’s third-party tested with lab test results posted on the website. And at $1.33 per serving, it’s relatively affordable as well.

How much do muscle recovery supplements cost?

The price of muscle recovery supplements can vary quite widely, considering the range of different supplement types included in this category. You can find bulk creatine monohydrate for as little as $0.17 per 5-gram serving, all the way up to greens powders and recovery multivitamins for over $3.00 a serving.

How can I speed up muscle recovery?

Optimal muscle recovery requires a combination of factors: adequate sleep, rest days, and consumption of carbs, protein, micronutrients, and antioxidants. Pick one of these to focus on at first and work your way up to meeting as many of these goals as possible.

Do muscle recovery pills work?

The effectiveness of any muscle recovery pill depends on having research-backed ingredients in clinically effective doses. Otherwise, they’re probably a waste of money.


Cannarella R, Garofalo V, Calogero AE. Anti-Dyslipidemic and Anti-Diabetic Properties of Corosolic Acid: A Narrative Review. Endocrines. 2023; 4(3):616-629.

Davies RW, Carson BP, Jakeman PM. The Effect of Whey Protein Supplementation on the Temporal Recovery of Muscle Function Following Resistance Training: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Nutrients. 2018;10(2):221. Published 2018 Feb 16.

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The post The 11 Best Muscle Recovery Supplements of 2024, RD-Reviewed and Expert Tested appeared first on BarBend.


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