Recovery Drink Options

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Tuesday, April 14, 2009
When you exercise, your muscles use up stored glycogen. Glycogen is what your muscles use for energy. Glycogen consists of glucose molecules.

The point of a recovery drink is to restore the glycogen in your body after a work out and studies have shown that it's best to do this 30-60 minutes after your work out because that's the prime time to trigger glycogen restoration.

Carbohydrates are our main source of glucose, so it's important to consume carbohydrates 30-60 minutes after working out so your muscles can recover. Other studies have shown that adding protein along with the carbohydrates will increase glycogen restoration. Different sources indicate that ratio of carbohydrates to protein should be somewhere between 2:1 and 4:1.

A lot of work has been done in the field of sports nutrition and as a result, different recovery drinks have come to market. Some of which can be rather expensive. But there are other options. There was a study in 2006 examining the effectiveness of Chocolate Milk as a Post-Exercise Recovery Aid which found that 1% Chocolate Milk performed better than a Fluid Recovery drink (Gatorade) and a Carbohydrate Replacement drink (Endurox R4).

I wanted to look into the details a little more and examine the costs of each.

Some people have said that Endurox R4 is similar to the P90X Recovery Drink . I'm not sure how accurate that is, but it does have the same ratio of carbs to protein (4:1). The P90X recovery formula seems to have 5g of Creatine, which I haven't seen in any other recovery drink. Creatine supplies energy to muscles and promotes muscle growth. It is a popular supplement for people looking to increase muscle mass and is available at many nutrition stores such as GNC.

The chocolate milk study indicates that you should have 1g of carbohydrates for every kilogram of body weight. That works out to be about 4.5g for every 10 lbs. Since there are 25g of carbs in an 8oz glass of low-fat chocolate milk, that means 1.44 oz for every 10 lbs of body weight. That's about 28.8oz of chocolate milk for someone weighing 200lbs or 3.6 cups of chocolate milk. That seems like a lot. In the chocolate milk study they said they gave a drink after exercise and then 2 hours into the recovery period. For each drink they used the same volume. I think they split the volume between the two servings, but I'm not sure. They had people who were more fit and they were consuming on average less than 18oz of recovery drink.

Gatorade seemed to do pretty well, almost as well as milk even though it didn't have any protein and less carbs.

Of all the different options (P90X Recovery Drink , Endurox R4 Classic, Chocolate Milk and Gatorade) Endurox R4 has the most carbs per serving at 56g. P90X Recovery formula has 30g of carbs, Chocolate Milk has 25g and Gatorade has only 14g. Lets assume we have a 124lbs person. (I picked a weight to make the math easier.) They would need 56g of carbs in their recovery drink which means 1 serving of Endurox R4, 1.9 servings of P90X Recovery drink, 2.2 servings of chocolate milk or 4 servings of Gatorade for our 123 lb exhausted person.

Below is a chart showing price per serving, and price of a 56g of carbs serving. Endurox R4, P90X Recovery Drink and the GatoradePowder have shipping included in the price. Endurox R4, and Gatorade powder mix are things that are easy to find locally. Gatorade you can find in most supermarkets and Endurox R4 as well as other recovery drinks can be found at stores such as GNC. Without the shipping cost, these options become more attractive in terms of price.

DrinkCarbs gEquiv servingsServings per contPricePrice/ServingPrice/equiv serving
P90X Recovery Drink 301.872550.9$2.04$3.80
Endurox R4 Classic561.002845.95$1.64$1.64
1% Choclate Milk252.2483.49$0.44$0.98

The P90X Recovery Drink Recovery formula is by far the most expensive per equivalent serving of carbs. It does have 500mg of Creatine but the recommended dose of creatine is 5 grams. Adding 5 grams of creatine to a drink adds only 25 cents to the cost per equivalent serving.

The clear winners seem to be Endurox R4 and Chocolate Milk. Even though Gatorade was less expensive per equivalent serving, it doesn't contain any protein and you'd need to drink 4x as much as Endurox R4.


  1. just curious where you got the prices for the P90X recovery formular? You should also note in the article that the product, if constantly use and purchased on a home direct program is free shipping. It also has a 30 day supply. If one was to taqke the cost on home direct of $44.00 and divide that by 30 days, it only comes to $1.46 per day. Thats a far cry from your suggestion of 3.80 cents per serving.

  2. I wrote this post back in 2009, back then I probably got the price for the P90X recovery drink from amazon or beachbody's website. The cost per serving back when I write this post was $2.04. $3.80 is the cost per equivalent serving. Endurox R4 had the highest level of carbs so I determined how many servings it would take for each drink to achieve the same number of carbs as Endurox R4. While the price per serving of the P90X recovery drink and Endurox R4 are similar, to get the same amount of carbs from the P90X recovery drink as you would from Endurox R4 you would need to drink almost twice as much of the P90X drink (1.87 times to be exact). For Gatorade to be the equivalent grams of carbs as Endurox R4 you would need to drink 4 glasses.



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