When you hear the words recovery drink, what comes to mind? In the world of sports nutrition a recovery drink includes two things: carbohydrate & protein. Within 30 minutes of finishing a training session, it's ideal to eat (or drink) a snack that contains a source of carbohydrates and a source of protein. The carbohydrates you eat (or drink) go towards replacing any glycogen (your body's stored form of carbohydrate) that was burned during training. The protein you eat (or drink) helps repair any muscles that were stressed or damaged during training. The purpose behind a recovery drink is that it helps you recover from your training session & put your best foot (or wheel) forward for your next training session.
Q: Do I actually need my recovery-snack to be a drink?
A: Absolutely not. Any snack that has a source of carbohydrates and a source of protein is going to serve the same purpose. Examples of non-drink recovery snacks include a beef jerky stick, crackers & cheese stick or greek yogurt, berries & granola.
Q: What if I don't have a blender or shaker bottle?
Q: Does my recovery drink need to be bottled?
A: Heck no! You can use a recovery mix with water or your milk of choice in a shaker bottle or use it to make a smoothie. My favorite is using the Skratch Labs Recovery Mix in strawberries in cream to make a strawberry banana smoothie. I also love using the horchata flavor to make a coffee horchata recovery drink.
Q: What's the difference between a recovery mix and protein powder?
A: The main difference between a recovery mix and protein powder is the amount of carbohydrates. Research has shown that the ideal carbohydrate to protein ratio is 4:1 to maximize post-training recovery. A recovery mix will have 4 grams of carbohydrate to every gram of protein.
Q: What recovery mixes do you recommend?
A: There are many sports nutrition companies that make recovery mixes. My top five picks are
Skratch Labs Recovery Mix is super tasty in a shake or drink. They offer a vegan chocolate flavor. It contains probiotics and lactase (the enzyme that digests dairy) so it's a perfect way to prevent post-training tummy troubles. It's best for vegans (chocolate flavor), those with lactose intolerance or sensitive stomaches.
Momentus Recovery is so delicious you can mix it with cold water or milk of choice. It's best for those that are constantly on the go.
Infinit REPAIR is vegetarian, gluten free and free of artificial sweeteners. Their Nocturne Nighttime Recovery also includes tryptophan (yes the same amino acid that makes you sleepy on Thanksgiving) to help you sleep. It's best for refueling after night rides or evening training.
Tailwind Recovery contains carbohydrate, protein, AND electrolytes! It is dairy free and vegan. Word on the street is that the salted caramel flavor goes nicely in coffee. It's best for those that want to ditch the shaker bottle & don't own a blender.
SiS REGO Rapid Recovery has an equal carbohydrate to protein ratio and is best mixed with water or dairy-free milk of choice. It's best for those that have higher protein needs or those that like to pair their recovery drink with a post-training donut.
We've included some of our favorite recovery drink recipes below. Let us know what you think!