In the 30 minutes following a workout, your body is hormonally primed to absorb nutrients and deliver them to cells for rapid recovery. Since it takes you several hours to digest solid food and benefit from the nutrients, a drink mix can be a more effective way to refuel immediately following a workout.
Each recovery drink mix is a little different when it comes to carb and protein makeup, and some include other components that are beneficial for recovery. If you don’t have time to try out all our brands, don’t fret. Our staff members have tried out plenty of recovery drinks, and here’s what we think:
For a hefty dose of carbs:
If you’re looking for a drink mix with a high carb count, try Endurox R4 (52g carbohydrate per serving) or GU Recovery Brew (52g carbohydrate per serving). Carbohydrate needs will vary from person to person and depending on the duration of your run. Play around with your post-run carb intake to figure out how many grams of carbs you need to fully recover and be ready for your next run.
For generous protein:
All of our recovery drink mixes include protein because it is critical for muscle recovery. If you want a drink mix with more protein, try Hammer Recoverite (10g protein per serving) or Endurox R4 (13g protein per serving). Remember that it’s important to limit use of recovery drink mixes to post workout, because protein can be difficult for the body to digest if consumed just before a workout.
For a little fat:
If you want a recovery drink mix with a little fat, try GU Recovery Brew Chocolate Smoothie (2g fat per serving) or Endurox R4 (1.5g fat per serving). Adequate fat in the diet can actually help to decrease muscle soreness and inflammation, and can also help your body to keep its glycogen stores intact.
For a sweet taste:
If your palate craves sweetness right after a run, a recovery drink mix like GU Recovery Brew or Endurox R4 offers a sweet treat that will help you heal post-workout. Get the delicious taste of a sweet beverage without the ensuing sugar crash.
For minimal sweetness:
If you’d rather have something a little less sweet after your workout, try a drink mix with a more subtle flavor, like Fluid Recovery Drink Mix or Hammer Recoverite. The mild flavors of these recovery mixes are excellent for those who prefer to keep it mellow right after a run.
For a lighter recovery drink:
For the carb, protein and electrolyte benefits of a recovery drink mix with fewer calories, the PowerBar Ironman Restore Sport Drink helps speed muscle recovery and rehydration, and clocks in at just 90 calories per serving.