Replenish what your body needs with these hydrating, nutrient-packed beverages.
Stephen Walkiewicz 1 / 6
Intense workouts take their toll. During exercise, you lose a lot of vitamins and electrolytes through sweat, and burn a lot of your body's natural fuel—carbohydrates.
One of the easiest ways to help your body's recovery during or after a workout is to drink a sports drink. "The help with hydration and fueling—hydration because they have sodium and some potassium, fueling because they have carbs," says Jackie Buell, Ph.D., R.D., a sports dietitian at the Ohio State University.
But it's not always so simple: Many popular sports drinks contain high fructose corn syrup and artificial dyes that aren't quite as great for your recovery.
If you're looking to toss the synthetics aside, then here are a few alternatives Buell suggests for helping your body recover from a grueling workout routine.
Coconut water is chalk full of electrolytes and antioxidants.
According to a study, coconut water has five times more potassium (a vital electrolyte lost in sweat that helps with the storage of carbohydrates) than typical sports drinks, making it a natural hydration powerhouse.
Juice is always a great way to replenish key vitamins and nutrients after an intense workout.
The natural sugars in orange juice (preferably freshly squeezed, or at least not from concentrate) give your body a much-needed refueling. OJ boosts your body's system with carbs and potassium, but unlike most sports drinks, it also packs in vitamin C. For less intense workouts, cut your juice with water to lower the sugar content.
You wouldn't think it, but chocolate milk seems to be all the rage these days for fitness enthusiasts.
It's creamy, delicious, and on par with Gatorade for its workout recovery benefits. Chocolate milk gets your body the protein, calcium and essential carbs that it needs to replenish your muscles after a long run or a draining weight workout in the gym.