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

Enjoy the health benefits of some powerful ingredients in these all-natural concoctions.

Medically reviewed by Nathan Diaz, MS, RDN, LD Nathan Diaz Nathan DiazMS, RDN, LD twitter_iconinsta_icon
Written by , MSc (Nutrition), CDE Priyanka Sadhukhan MSc (Nutrition), CDE Experience: 8 years
Edited by , BA (Literature & Psychology), PG Diploma Arshiya Syeda BA (Literature & Psychology), PG Diploma linkedin_icon Experience: 7 years
Fact-checked by , BPharm, Certified Health & Wellness Coach Moksha Gandhi BPharm, Certified Health & Wellness Coach linkedin_icon Experience: 2 years
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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 glycogeni  A stored form of glucose made up of many glucose molecules and serves as an energy storage in animals and humans. 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 sports drinks as a part of your fitness nutrition.

The natural sugars, antioxidants, and dietary fiber in homemade pre- workout nutrition and post-workout nutrition drinks will help keep you energized and improve your overall health. In this article, we have listed 13 best homemade pre- and post-workout drinks to improve your energy levels. Take a look.

13 Best Homemade Pre- and Post-Workout Drinks

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

Diana Gariglio-Clelland, a registered dietitian, says, “ A pre-workout supplement containing caffeine can be one way to boost your energy for a workout. Taking this type of supplement half an hour to an hour prior to exercising will help you sustain energy for the duration of your workout. You can also tailor your pre-workout snacks to give you the energy you need. A fruit smoothie or a sliced apple with some peanut butter can be good options for fueling your body during exercise.”

1. Beetroot Juice

Beetroot juice
Image: Shutterstock

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

Chia-berry juice
Image: Shutterstock

 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

Coffee
Image: Shutterstock

 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). So, if you are looking for performance-enhancing drinks, try this simple black coffee recipe.

protip_icon Quick Tip
If you prefer working out in the evening or at night, consider a non-caffeinated energy source for a pre-workout boost. Consuming caffeine a few hours before bed can interfere with your regular sleep pattern.

4. Green Tea

Green tea
Image: Shutterstock

 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

Coconut water
Image: Shutterstock

 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).


protip_icon Quick Tip
The best time to drink coconut water is on an empty stomach first thing in the morning. So, even if you don’t want to replace your pre-workout beverage, you may combine the two for more benefits.

6. Cherry Lemonade

Cherry lemonade
Image: Shutterstock

 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

Orange energizer
Image: Shutterstock

 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 a drink containing these natural energy boosters 30-60 minutes before you go to the gym.

8. Pomegranate Passion

Pomegranate-passion juice
Image: Shutterstock

 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). It works as an energy drink for a gym session that helps you stay active and agile if consumed 30 minutes prior to it.

9. Watermelon Energizer

Watermelon energizer
Image: Shutterstock

 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 performance enhancing drink is loaded with natural sugars and is rich in bioavailable compounds like lycopenei  A bright-red organic pigment responsible for the bright color of tomatoes and other fruits and vegetables. 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

Banana-apple juice
Image: Shutterstock

 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

Grapefruit pre-gym drink
Image: Shutterstock

 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, electrolytesi  Minerals with an electric charge that balance the amount of fluid in the body and have the ability to affect many bodily functions. , 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

Coconut spirulina energy drink
Image: Shutterstock

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 electrolyte drinks like coconut water, spirulina restores hydration levels and maintains electrolyte balance.

13. Cinnamon Tea

Cinnamon tea for a post-workout drink
Image: Shutterstock

Ingredients

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cinnamon stick or 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

How To Prepare

  1. Boil one cup of water.
  2. Add one cinnamon stick or one teaspoon of ground cinnamon.
  3. Allow it to steep for about 10 minutes.
  4. Remove the cinnamon stick (if you are using one) and enjoy your soothing cinnamon tea.

Why This Works

Cinnamon contains antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties (19). It also boosts metabolism, making it an ideal beverage for a pre-workout drink in a tea form. A study done on rats found that cinnamon supplementation after a workout helps reduce the oxidative damage caused by intense exercises (20).

Shavonne Morrison, a registered dietitian, says, “To boost your energy before a workout, try having something small with a good amount of carbs and fat/protein to get you through your exercise regimen. Depending on the type of workout you’re doing, and when in your day you are doing it, you can have a banana with a handful of nuts, some trail mix, a small fruit smoothie with nut butter and chia or ground flax seeds, etc. Just keep it light and include both carbohydrates (for quick, immediate energy) and fat/protein (for energy that lasts throughout your workout).”

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 and hydration drinks over marketed ones?

Readymade Vs. Natural Energy Drinks

Woman drinking readymade workout drink versus woman drinking homemade workout drink
Image: Created with Dall.E

The market is flooded with readymade energy drinks and post-workout meal replacement shakes. 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-workout energy drinks as well as post-workout energy drinks and smoothies at home. Here’s why you should choose natural energy drinks over the readymade ones:

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

Hence, it makes perfect sense to make your own DIY recovery drinks for workouts. 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 supplement drinks when you exercise moderately for more than 90 minutes.
  • If you exercise longer than usual, consume muscle recovery drinks 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.

Learn how to make 3 delicious and easy pre-workout recipes at home! Save your money and time with these cheap DIY recipes. Check out this video!

Infographic: Tips To Keep In Mind For Workout Drinks

A homemade pre-workout drink can boost your stamina and give you strength during your workout. Be it coffee, beetroot juice, or green tea, the options are many. Additionally, we have compiled a list of tips you should keep in mind for your pre- and post-workout drinks. Check out the infographic below to know more!

tips to keep in mind for workout drinks (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

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 vitamin 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

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. Diana Gariglio-Clelland, a registered dietitian, says, “Protein shakes are best saved for after your workout to support muscle recovery and regrowth. Protein takes longer to digest than carbohydrates, so it isn’t ideal for drinking them shortly before a workout.”

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.

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.

Key Takeaways

  • Pre-workout drinks offer strength while post workout drinks help replenish energy and muscles.
  • Perfect pre-workout drinks to improve performance are coffee, green tea, chia seed-based drinks and beetroot juice.
  • Pre-workout drinks should always be taken 45-60 minutes before exercise.
  • Always keep yourself hydrated throughout the exercise.
  • Coconut water, lemonade, pomegranate, banana apple juice are drinks that can help you feel rejuvenated after a workout.

References

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. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. Influence of dietary nitrate on the physiological determinants of exercise performance: a critical review, Applied physiology, nutrition, and metabolism, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25068792/
  2. Vascular effects of dietary nitrate (as found in green leafy vegetables and beetroot) via the nitrate-nitrite-nitric oxide pathway. British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22882425
  3. Assessing the Values of Blueberries Intake on Exercise Performance, TAS, and Inflammatory Factors, Iranian Journal of Public Health, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6124147/
  4. Nutritive Value of Seeds, chia seeds, dried, U.S. Department of Agriculture.
    https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170554/nutrients
  5. A Daily Cup of Tea or Coffee May Keep You Moving: Association between Tea and Coffee Consumption and Physical Activity, International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6163361/
  6. Effect of endurance training supplemented with green tea extract on substrate metabolism during exercise in humans, Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20459475
  7. Rehydration after exercise with fresh young coconut water, carbohydrate-electrolyte beverage and plain water, Journal of Physiological Anthropology and Applied Human Science, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12056182
  8. Nutritive Value of Cherries, sweet, raw, U.S. Department of Agriculture.
    https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/171719/nutrients
  9. Consumption of Cherries As a Strategy to Attenuate Exercise- Induced Muscle Damage And Inflammation in Humans, Nutrición Hospitalaria, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26545642
  10. Nutritive Value of Oranges, raw, navels, U.S. Department of Agriculture.
    https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/169917/nutrients
  11. Nutritive Value of Lime Juice, raw, U.S. Department of Agriculture.
    https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/168156/nutrients
  12. Potential ergogenic activity of grape juice in runners, Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26288392
  13. Effects of pomegranate supplementation on exercise performance and post-exercise recovery in healthy adults: a systematic review, The British Journal of Nutrition, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30350760
  14. Nutritive Value of Watermelon, raw, U.S. Department of Agriculture.
    https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/167765/nutrients
  15. Comparison of Watermelon and Carbohydrate Beverage on Exercise-Induced Alterations in Systemic Inflammation, Immune Dysfunction, and Plasma Antioxidant Capacity, Nutrients, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of health
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4997430/
  16. Bananas as an Energy Source during Exercise: A Metabolomics Approach, PLOS One, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3355124/
  17. Nutritive Value of Grapefruit, raw, pink and red, all areas, U.S. Department of Agriculture.
    https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/174673/nutrients
  18. Spirulina in Clinical Practice: Evidence-Based Human Applications, Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    url
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Nathan Diaz

Nathan DiazMS, RDN, LD

Nathan is a clinical dietitian with 6 years of experience and seeks to improve the health of people through nutrition therapy. He graduated from Florida International University and received his Master's degree in Dietetics and Nutrition.

Read full bio of Nathan Diaz