When you’re headed to the gym and want a pre-workout energy boost or a post-workout protein shake, you basically have two options:
- Premade, premixed, ready-to-drink beverages and shakes
- Powders that you can mix with a beverage of your choice
This can often pose a conundrum: Which one is best? Just like with exercise itself, your “best” option varies depending on you, your goals and your lifestyle.
Convenience Versus Customization
On days when you simply can’t be bothered to bring your shaker bottle (and assortment of powders to mix) to the gym, a premixed beverage will save you time and effort.
However, premade beverages don’t offer you any flexibility or customization. You’re stuck with whatever the brand chose to put into its drink.
In contrast, using your own supplement powders allows you to:
- Choose the mixing liquid of your choice (e.g. plain water, almond milk, chocolate milk, etc.)
- Play with the ratios. Want more creatine in your preworkout? Less carbohydrates in your post-workout shake? You can dial in the ratios and ingredients when you mix it yourself.
- Save money. Premade beverages often come at a premium.
Ingredients and Health Effects
Many premade health products need to appeal to the biggest audience possible. Thus, you’ll find they often contain ingredients that the mass public love, but that you may prefer to limit or avoid.
For example, many premade pre-workout drinks may have a lot of sugar, artificial colouring and artificial flavouring. The same is true with post-workout shakes: They may be high in protein, but there may also be questionable ingredients like unnecessary sweeteners and flavours.
If you’re hoping to use only the purest, most effective supplements with no unnecessary fillers or additives, mixing your own drink offers you the most control over the ingredients (and thus the health effects).
In the end, if you can identify a premixed beverage that satisfies all of your goals and only contains the ingredients you want, you may find the convenience of the premade shake or drink is perfect for you.
On the other hand, if you prefer complete control over the ingredients and want the purest, healthiest options, mixing your own drink with powders that you choose yourself may be more ideal.