Review of High Protein Recovery Shakes for Endurance Athlete

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Boost: This milk-based ready-to-drink (RTD) product is fairly tasty and comes in a variety of flavors (vanilla, chocolate and strawberry) and contains a fair amount of vitamins. It is easy to find at most any grocery store and is usually under $1 per bottle. The ratio of carbs to protein is 4:1, which is a bit high in carbs (ideal is 3:1) for an athlete. It goes down smooth with very little aftertaste.

Athlete’s Honey Milk: This unique product is RTD and although milk-based, a special process has made it lactose-free. It has relatively few ingredients including honey as the sweetener. The carb to protein ratio is 1:1, which is a bit low. The 26 grams of protein are comprised of 20 grams of casein protein and 6 grams of whey protein. It contains 60% calcium and 25% vitamin D. This product has limited availability in a few stores, but can be ordered on-line at: www.AthletesHoneyMilk.com. According to the website, new flavors including vanilla, Acai-Pom, chocolate and coffee will be available soon. This drink is one of my favorites based on taste, but the difficulty in finding it place limitations on it.

Recoverite: This powdered product from Hammer Nutrition comes in chocolate, strawberry and citrus. The carb to protein ratio is 3:1, which is the ideal ratio. The protein source is whey protein, which does not make it lactose-free, however, it is gluten-free. The one thing I don’t like about this product is the fact that it contains the sugar alcohol Xylitol which can wreak havoc on your digestive tract. The cost is approximately $2.80 per packet.

Chocolate Milk: Quick and easy, this product is superior to most drinks due to the perfect ratio of carbs to protein (3:1), superb absorption rate and low cost of less than 30 cents per serving. The taste is unbeatable if you are a chocolate fan!

Carnation Instant Breakfast: This tasty product was used by Olympian Swimmer Michael Phelps. It is milk-based and requires mixing with 8 oz of milk. The flavors include chocolate, strawberry and vanilla. It is fairly inexpensive with 1 packet costing around .75 cents plus a glass of fat-free milk costing around .13 cents with a grand total of .88 cents per serving. This product is easy to find in most grocery stores near the cereal aisle.

Powerbar Recovery Drink: This orange flavored powdered drink is loaded with carbs, but doesn’t hit the desired ratio of 3:1 carb/protein, with a ratio of 6:1. The source of protein is whey. The cost is about $1 per serving. In all fairness, I had a hard time finding this product and have not had a chance to taste it.

Premium Protein (from Costco): This vanilla flavored shake mix was purchased at Costco for under $30. At 68 servings per container, that comes out at only .44 cents per serving, not bad at all! The carb to protein ratio is 2.8, just under the ideal. The protein source is mainly from whey, but also contains egg albumin. This powder is a bit difficult to mix and requires either a shaker or a blender to get the lumps out. The taste is very vanilla and slightly watery, this can be improved by using milk instead of water if you can afford the extra calories

Endurox R4: This product comes in many flavors including: fruit punch, vanilla, chocolate, lemon-lime and orange. The carb to protein ratio is 4:1, with the protein source being whey. Anti-oxidant vitamins C and E are added to this drink to “decrease recovery time”, but studies are lacking. I do like the fact that they have added 420mg of L-Glutamine per serving. L-Glutamine has been proven to help combat stress-related injuries at the cellular level, but I think the amount does need to be increased. At $2.28 per serving, you’d be better off to get your protein and glutamine from beans, fish or a steak.

EAS Myoplex Original: This powdered shake comes in standard flavors such as vanilla, chocolate and strawberry. The cost is approximately $2.14 per packet. The carb to protein ratio is only 2:1, making this a high protein drink and a bit lacking in carbs needed to replete your glycogen stores. The source of protein is mainly whey with some egg protein also.

Genisoy Protein Shake: This lactose and gluten-free product has a carb to protein ratio of only 1:1, not nearly enough carbs for an endurance athlete. The protein source is strictly soy, which to me has a bit of an aftertaste. Comes in flavors such as strawberry-banana, vanilla and chocolate. The cost per serving is approximately .61 cents.

Perpetuem: Another product by Hammer Nutrition, this powder comes in caffe latte, orange-vanilla and unflavored. It contains 25 mg of caffeine which isn’t a lot when you consider a cup of coffee has around 80mg. The source of protein is soy, while the carb to protein ratio is nearly 8:1! This product is mainly for use during exercise, not after. The cost is $1.50 per packet.

Summary: This is by no means an all-inclusive list, there are TONS of products out there. My suggestion is to use what tastes good and is convenient for you. If cost is a factor, try using flavored milks or Premium Protein powder found at Costco. You should try and eat or drink about 30-60 grams of carbs and 10-20 grams of protein within 15-30 minutes of exercising for the best results. Please contact me if you have further questions or would like to receive personalized nutrition coaching at: Linda@ExpertNutritionConsulting.com