12 Best Pre And Post Workout Drinks: DIY Recipes To Improve Energy Levels

Medically Reviewed by Nathan Diaz, MS, RDN, LD
Written by Priyanka Sadhukhan, MSc (Nutrition), Certified Diabetes Educator

Pre-workout drinks are essential to boost energy levels and offer strength and stamina while you are exercising. Post-workout drinks help repair wear and tear of muscles and replenish glycogen stores to fuel the body.

Commercial workout drinks are loaded with unreasonably high amounts of caffeine and contain harmful ingredients that may deteriorate your health in the long run. Hence, opt for homemade drinks.

The natural sugars, antioxidants, and dietary fiber in homemade pre- and post-workout drinks will help keep you energized and improve your overall health. In this article, we have listed 12 best homemade pre- and post-workout drinks to improve your energy levels. Take a look.

12 Best Homemade Pre- and Post-Workout Drinks

All these homemade juices are excellent options for pre-workout drinks. They boost energy and increase exercise performance. These juices can also be used as post-workout drinks by adding homemade roasted dal powder, pea protein powder, or oats powder to increase their protein content and aid muscle recovery. 

1. Beetroot Juice

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Ingredients

  • 1 beetroot, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • A pinch of pink Himalayan salt

How To Prepare

  1. Blend the beetroot and transfer it to a glass.
  2. Add lime juice and pink Himalayan salt to it.
  3. Stir well and drink.

Why This Works

Beetroot is one of the healthiest vegetables and loaded with nutrients. Beetroot juice contains nitrate, which improves exercise performance (1). Nitrate is converted into nitric oxide (NO) in the body. Nitric oxide helps in vasodilation (increases the length and width of blood vessels), improves blood flow, and increases muscle contraction (2). This sweet veggie provides energy and tastes great when mixed with lime juice and Himalayan salt.

2. Chia Berry Juice

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 Ingredients

How To Prepare

  1. Toss the berries and mint leaves into a blender and blend well.
  2. Pour it into a glass.
  3. Add honey and chia seeds to it.
  4. Stir well and drink.

Why This Works

Berries are loaded with antioxidants and contain natural sugars. The polyphenolic content of blueberries have antioxidative effects and suppress  post-exercise muscle fatigue. A study in Korea on runners showed that supplementation with blueberries increased exercise performance effectively (3). Chia seeds are good sources of protein and dietary fiber (4).

3. Coffee

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 Ingredients

  • 1 ½ teaspoons instant coffee
  • 1 cup hot water

How To Prepare

  1. Add hot water to the cup containing the coffee powder.
  2. Stir well and sip.

Why This Works

Coffee is a rich source of caffeine, an energizer. Caffeine is not harmful when taken in limited amounts. However, it is present in high quantities in energy drinks, which might affect your health. A study showed that drinking tea or coffee in limited amounts improves physical activity and energy levels and reduces fatigue (5).

4. Green Tea

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 Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon green tea leaves
  • 1 cup water

How To Prepare

  1. Pour a cup of water into a saucepan and let it come to a boil.
  2. Switch the burner off and let the water cool down for about 3 minutes.
  3. Add the green tea leaves and steep for 3 minutes.
  4. Strain the tea into a cup.

Why This Works

Green tea is loaded with antioxidants and a small amount of caffeine. Having it about an hour before working out will provide energy and also prevent you from feeling tired and hungry. A study in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports showed that green tea extract improved exercise performance and increased whole body fat utilization during a workout (6).

5. Coconut Water

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 Ingredients

  • 300 mL coconut water
  • 2 tablespoons chopped coconut

How To Prepare

  1. Add the chopped coconut to the coconut water and stir well.
  2. Refrigerate it (if you have time and there is a perfect climate outside).
  3. Enjoy a chilled drink after your gym session.

Why This Works

Coconut water is a natural electrolyte that helps replenish the lost salts and balances the electrolyte concentration in your body. Studies found that drinking coconut water could be very effective in rehydrating the body after exercise (7).

6. Cherry Lemonade

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 Ingredients

  • ½ cup chopped cherry
  • ½ cup lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • ¼ teaspoon fennel seed powder

How To Prepare

  1. Toss the chopped cherries and a little amount of water into a blender. Blend well.
  2. Pour it into a glass and add honey, lime juice, and fennel seed powder.
  3. Stir well before drinking.

Why This Works

A single cup of cherries (138 g) provides many nutrients (8). Studies show that the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of cherries may provide relief from post-exercise injury and lead to faster muscle recovery (9). Adding lemonade to makes it a perfect homemade pre-workout drink.

7. Orange Energizer

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 Ingredients

  • 1 cup chopped orange
  • ¼ cup green grapes
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • ½ teaspoon roasted cumin seed powder

How To Prepare

  1. Toss the chopped orange and green grapes into a blender. Blend well.
  2. Pour it into a glass. Add lime juice and powdered roasted cumin seeds.
  3. Stir well and drink.

Why This Works

Oranges and lime juice are good sources of vitamin C (10) (11). Grapes are loaded with natural sugars, thereby providing glucose to your body, which you need before exercising. A study concluded that purple grape juice improved the performance of runners by increasing time-to-exhaustion due to its high antioxidative and anti-inflammatory effects (12). Consume this drink 30-60 minutes before you go to the gym.

8. Pomegranate Passion

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 Ingredients

  • ½ cup pomegranate
  • 2 tablespoons passionfruit pulp
  • 1 teaspoon honey

How To Prepare

  1. Blend the pomegranate and passionfruit in a blender.
  2. Pour the mixture into a glass.
  3. Add honey and mix well.

Why This Works

A review study states that drinking pomegranate juice enhances exercise performance and post-exercise recovery (13). Drink it 30 minutes before hitting the gym to stay active and agile.

9. Watermelon Energizer

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 Ingredients

  • 1 cup watermelon
  • 1 cup coconut water
  • A pinch of pink Himalayan salt
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice

How To Prepare

  1. Toss the watermelon into a blender.
  2. Blend well and strain the seeds.
  3. Add coconut water, lime juice, and pink Himalayan salt.
  4. Stir well and drink up.

Why This Works

This drink is loaded with natural sugars and is rich in bioavailable compounds like lycopene and vitamins A and C (14). It is also an electrolyte balancer. A study on 20 male cyclists supplemented with watermelon puree over two weeks showed that it enhanced endurance exercise performance and increased post-exercise antioxidant levels (15). Consume it 45 minutes before working out or 5-10 minutes after workout.

10. Banana Apple Juice

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 Ingredients

  • 2 large banana
  • ½ cup chopped apple
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • ½ cup milk or water (You can replace cow milk with almond milk if lactose intolerant.)

How To Prepare

  1. Wash the bananas and apple and pat them dry.
  2. Peel the bananas and cut into slices. Peel and cut the apple into half. Cut one half into medium-sized pieces and store the other half.
  3. Add the banana chunks, apple pieces, and honey in a blender jar.
  4. Add milk. (You can also use water to make it a low-calorie juice).
  5. Blend all ingredients until you obtain a smooth puree.
  6. Check the consistency. If it is too thick, add more milk to dilute it and blend it again for 5 seconds.
  7. Pour it into serving glasses, garnish with a banana wheel, and serve.

 Why This Works

Banana is a versatile fruit loaded with vitamins and minerals along with high-energy carbs. One medium banana (around 118 g) gives 27 g of carbs, 3.1 g dietary fiber, and 105 kilocalories. Having bananas before and during prolonged and intensive exercises can help increase exercise performance (16).

11. Grapefruit Pre-Gym Drink

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 Ingredients

  • 1 grapefruit
  • 1 cup chopped sweet lime
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • ½ teaspoon black salt

How To Prepare

  1. Toss the chopped sweet lime and grapefruit into a blender and blend well.
  2. Pour the juice into a glass.
  3. Add honey and black salt to it.
  4. Stir well before drinking.

Why This Works

This drink is a great source of water, electrolytes, and natural sugars (17). It will keep you energized and hydrated (100 g grapefruit contains 88 g of water) while doing exercise. Consume it 60 minutes before working out.

12. Coconut Spirulina Energy Drink

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Ingredients

  • 1 glass tender coconut water
  • 1/2 teaspoon spirulina powder

How To Prepare

  1. Mix spirulina powder with a glass of fresh tender coconut water.
  2. Stir well and drink up.

Why This Works

The polysaccharides and essential fats in spirulina are absorbed rapidly by the body and help in releasing energy. Spirulina also aids the growth of Lactobacillus bacteria (gut-friendly bacteria), which enable the production of vitamin B6 and release energy (18). When combined with coconut water, spirulina restores hydration levels and maintains electrolyte balance.

These are the best homemade energy drinks to charge yourself before and after going to the gym or working out at home. But why choose homemade energy drinks over marketed ones?

Readymade Vs. Natural Energy Drinks

The market is flooded with readymade energy drinks, and all of them claim to keep you energized all through your gym session. But experts recommend skipping the store-bought ones and making some natural pre- and post-workout energy drinks at home. Here’s why you should choose natural energy drinks over the readymade ones:

  • Natural energy drinks contain less sugar (mainly fructose). As they are homemade, you can easily alter their sugar content as per your requirements.
  • They do not contain more than 8% of carbohydrates, which eventually aids weight loss.
  • The sodium content of these natural drinks remains under control, which is essential for people with hypertension.

Hence, it makes perfect sense to make your own workout drink. But there are certain points that you should keep in mind. 

Factors To Consider While Working Out

  • Our body loses a considerable amount of water while working out. It is best to weigh yourself before and after exercise. Drink 16-24 ounces of fluids for every pound lost during exercise.
  • Water is always one of the best choices that you can make. It is even better to have something that contains electrolytes to replenish the water-electrolyte balance in the body. Consume water when exercising moderately for less than 90 minutes. Choose zero to low-calorie electrolyte sports drinks when you exercise moderately for more than 90 minutes.
  • If you exercise longer than usual, choosing a drink packed with protein and carbs within 2 hours after the workout. The carbs help refuel the cells and replenish glycogen stores, while protein helps rebuild muscle tissue.
  • If you have diabetes or are obese, avoid fruit juices as they contain fructose or fruit sugar that leads to an insulin spike.
  • Make sure that you consume the pre-workout energy drink at least 45-120 minutes before exercise (this depends on the person). Experiment with your pre-workout meal timing to see what suits you best.

While there are many packaged drink options available, opting for natural energy drinks for the gym mentioned above would add to your workout benefits better. Homemade and nutritious, these healthy drinks not only help repair the wear and tear of muscles post a strenuous workout, but also help replenish the lost electrolytes and fill you up with vital nutrients. Beetroot juice, chia berry juice, coconut water, cherry lemonade, and watermelon energizer are some of the many options mentioned above that you can explore. Opting for a homemade energy drink helps you avoid the toxic ingredients and rush of added sugar in the readily available packaged energy drinks.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I drink lemon water during a workout?

Yes, adding lemon water can help you stay hydrated while you sweat out those extra calories.

Can I drink milk after a workout?

Yes – milk, combined with banana or other fruits, can make for a nutritious refill after your workout.

Is it okay to work out on an empty stomach?

No, it is not advisable to work out on an empty stomach as you may feel fatigued quickly. The resultant low sugar and electrolyte levels may also lead to lightheadedness.

Can you take salt and water before a workout?

Yes, any drink with salt and water helps build your reserve of the basic electrolytes. These help balance out any loss due to the excessive sweating.

Should I drink a protein shake immediately after a workout?

Protein helps repair and rebuild your muscles after a workout. Taking a protein shake before and after a workout can help.

Can I eat rice after a workout?

Yes, carbohydrates help replenish the glycogen after intense workouts. Rice, with some lean protein, makes for a good option to have after a workout.

Sources

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Check out our editorial policy for further details.
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Nathan Diaz

(MS, RDN, LD)
Nathan is a clinical dietitian who seeks to improve the health of people through nutrition therapy. He graduated from Florida... more

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