Post-workout drinks can be key for recovery and performance, this we know. Typically we reach for water, Gatorade, or good ol’ chocolate milk. But the Pickle Juice Company has introduced a drink, Pickle Juice Sport, with claims that it’ll help replace electrolytes and relieve muscle cramps after a long workout. It has us wondering—will it really?
The main elements of most workout recovery drinks are carbohydrates, sodium, potassium, and water for rehydration. Pickle juice contains sodium, an electrolyte frequently lost through sweat in a tough workout, but it’s low in potassium, which is also key for preventing cramps. One 2010 study showed that a small amount of pickle juice might help skeletal muscular cramps in endurance athletes, but it’s uncertain which ingredient actually causes the positive effects (so it may not have anything to do with the brine), and further studies are needed to prove its effectiveness for regular athletic activity. All in all, it’s unlikely to be effective enough to warrant a change to your post-workout drink.
Instead, pick up a coconut water, as it contains both potassium and sodium. Or, if that’s not really your style, try watermelon water, another good source of potassium. (See more about which detox and recovery waters to try and which to skip.)
And even though electrolytes and adequate hydration are important, don’t underestimate complex carbs and protein—the two can really give your muscles a little TLC pre- and post-workout. Up your recovery game with easy-to-pack snacks, like an apple or a banana with peanut or almond butter, a protein bar, a handful of nuts, Greek yogurt, or your favorite smoothie. Aim for less than 150 calories to keep your recovery snack in the snack category (rather than a meal).