On Recovery Drinks: a DIY recipe

Recovery drinks are expensive. My go-to “branded” recovery drink - Recoverite** - retails for $50/tub. That works out to $1.56 per serving (2 level scoops of powder, mixed in 10 oz water), which might not seem like a lot, but multiplied by 5 workouts/week and 52 weeks/year adds up to $405.

Chocolate milk, of course, is a perfectly acceptable alternative. And at $2.99 per half-gallon, the cost per 10-oz serving goes down to $0.47 ($122/year, a 70% savings). My favorite supermarket-bought recovery drink, though, is Silk Soy chocolate milk - at $3.99/half-gal, still only $0.62 per 10 oz).

Two downsides to chocolate milk: refrigeration and expiration (and therefore, more frequent shopping trips). Powder-based drinks such as Recoverite travel better and, in my opinion, taste better at room temperature.

But powder-based recovery drinks don’t have to break the bank - even ones with approximately the same ingredients as a branded recovery drink. The main thing, according to nutrition scientists, is a carbs-to-protein ratio of somewhere around 3:1 or 4:1. The carbs restore muscle glycogen, the protein repairs and builds muscle tissue, and the two act synergistically to help you recover. Some recovery drinks (including Recoverite) are also fortified with electrolytes and extra amino acids.

Turns out, most of these ingredients can be bought separately and combined in the same proportions as “branded” drinks - for substantial cost savings. The main ingredients in Recoverite are maltodextrin (carbs), whey protein, L-glutamine amino acid, and a full-spectrum electrolyte mix. After those, it’s just flavoring, sweeteners, and a few extra amino acids in very small quantities.

And guess what? electrolytes are all readily (and cheaply) available at Amazon.com. I found whey protein (Muscle Milk brand) for even cheaper ($28.99 / 6 pounds) at Costco.

And so it’s with that in mind that I present the Freshwater Swimmer Generic-but-still-Awesome Powdered Recovery Drink - nutritionally indistinguishable from Recoverite:

The recipe produces 6 servings - combine with 60 oz water in a half-gallon container, shake well, refrigerate, and voila! High-quality powdered recovery drink at $0.58 per serving.

How does it taste? Honestly, with no added flavoring - just the natural vanilla flavors included in the protein powder - it tastes even better than Recoverite.

Posted 21 May 2011 in: knowledge base Tags: nutrition