Recovery Drinks

by Louise | December 26th, 2011 | Eating Tips

First and foremost, water is the fuel that I will always recommend after exercise. I don’t see that changing in the future. For endurance exercise, athletes will need a bit of extra fuel; then, the refueling beverages of choice are water and low fat chocolate milk (which is both economically friendly and known to have an ideal blend of protein and carbohydrates: 3-4 parts of carbohydrate to 1 part of protein). Soy milk is an okay alternative, but has not been shown to be quite as effective as chocolate milk.

In general, a recovery drink has three essential ingredients:

  • Carbohydrates – to replenish glycogen stores, which are depleted during exercise.
  • Protein – to repair and rebuild muscles after exercise.
  • Water – to replace fluid loss as a result of training.

It’s actually easy to make your own recovery drink by blending some yogurt, fruit, milk, a bit of honey, and a touch of salt. Add a few ice cubes, and you will have a delicious recovery smoothie; however, as simple (and budget-friendly) as making your own drink actually is, many of us prefer ready-made recovery powders, which don’t involve dirtying a blender, are easy to take when on-the-go, and typically don’t require any refrigeration.

Most brands of recovery powders will make similar claims of the benefits of using their product: significantly improved glycogen replenishment, protein synthesis, muscle repair, and endurance levels. What’s the best recovery drink powder? The best recovery powder is simply the one that makes you feel best. Unfortunately, finding that one can be an expensive, experimental process. Never buy a bulk package until you’ve tried mixing a glass of the product on your own. A sample in a store can be misleading.

One of the most popular recovery powders is Endurox R4. Endurox R4 comes in chocolate, fruit punch, lemon lime, tangy orange, and vanilla. Like many powder recovery drinks, it has a somewhat chalky or gritty texture (especially when not mixed well) that can be unpleasant at first, but most users learn to ignore or to even grow to like that about it. It goes down best when chilled. Other recovery powders include:

  • Amino Vital
  • Clif Shot Recover
  • Gatorade G Series 03 Recover
  • Hormel’s Great Shake
  • PowerBar Recovery Drinks
  • Recoverite

Some athletes will even argue that there’s no sense in working out if you don’t have a recovery plan. Running on empty glycogen stores the next day will lead to fatigue and an inefficient workout. Additionally, it is important to remember that muscles are not built during a workout – they are built afterward, provided that the body has enough of the right fuel to do so. Recovery fuels are an essential part of an active lifestyle.

  1. Sarah G. says:

    You mentioned Endurox R4 but have you heard of Bonavitas R12? It has 170 less calories, 30 grams less sugar, not to mention a ton of antioxidants equaling 7 cups of blueberries (which is rare in a recovery drink), 10 grams of protein and a lot of vitamins and minerals. Some of the other brands you mentioned use coloring and other un-natural elements in their recovery drinks. Bonavitas is all natural. You should probably check them out. I think you’ll dig it. Some people like to discover indie bands before they blow up and go mainstream, I like to discover the latest and revolutionary nutritional supplements before they go BIG! Let me know what you think.

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All health and fitness information is provided for educational purposes. Please consult with your physician before beginning any exercise regimen.