Problem digesting Recovery Shake

Hi Guys,
Lately, I started using a recovery shake after heavy workouts, from the brand Etixx.
8,6g whey proteine and 35,9g of carbs (maltodextrine, glucose, fructose) per 50g of powder. So that’s close to a 4:1 ratio?
I have a real difficult time digesting it, resulting in cramping, gas, bloating and now even nausea. Not really helpful. Normally I consume the shake immediately after workout, now there was almost one hour in between, and I’m almost feeling sick…
I think I’m having trouble digesting the protein, because I have this too when eating Skyr, also known to be a great source of protein.
Are there any tips for helping my body digesting this shake? What other things interfere with digesting protein?
Fiwiw, I’m a real ectomorph.

Thanks in advance!

I’d suggest ditching it, can’t see how it is doing you any good. Why would you want to find some kind of hack to tolerate it, if its doing that to you?

Maybe try ‘real’ food, a recovery meal. i.e Chicken or Turkey with Rice, or a plant based milk rice pudding, the options of easy to digest food are endless without resorting to highly marketed chemical crap.


If a recovery shake was causing me that many problems then I would try something else.


I agree with the other comments, though If you really want to stick with a recovery shake (I like them for the convenience factor personally), I might suggest trying a non-dairy source of protein (e.g. not whey), since it sounds like that’s an issue for you based on the contents of the recovery drink and your issues with Skyr, which is also dairy.

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Non diary is indeed something to look into! I didn’t realise whey is also a diary product. Could be the cause. I like the shake for the convenience also, but the others are right about not wanting a hack to tolerate it.
Soy protein should be ok then?

Have you tried Soy or Almond Milk?

I sometimes make a banana, soy milk, blueberry (frozen blueberries) smoothie a lot easier on the system than whey although not as high in protein (can blitz some lentils in there as well to up the protein)
I can tolerate eggs so sometimes through an egg in as well.

Another other option is pea or legume protein.
I prefer solid recovery meals though, if I have a shake I tend to need to eat solid real food as well, hence I don’t make shakes as often as I used too unless in a very heavy block of training or as others said convenience, but to be honest over nigh oats or a rice pudding made the night before is pretty convenient.

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I work out in the morning pre-breakfast - a scoop of protein with my porridge (also made with frozen berries, topped with almonds) is my “recovery” meal.

For me the science isn’t there enough for me regarding a specific shake and it’s timing, particularly to persist if a shake was having side effects. I prefer to eat rather than drink.

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It’s a recovery shake and not a protein shake per se. On a recent podcast Amber talked a lot about the importance of having a 4:1 carbs to protein ratio, especially after hard workouts.

The main study that is cited for the 4:1 carb:protein ratio as a post-exercise meal did not control for calories. They basically compared 400kCal of carbs vs 500kCal of carbs/protein. At least one other study that kept calories equal saw no difference between straight carbs vs 4:1 carb/protein mix. I’ve also been seeing less support for the ‘1hr post-exercise recovery / anabolic window’ recently.

My personal view is that I don’t do shakes unless there is a compelling convenience reason to do so at the time. Drinking your calories is less satiating that eating the same calories.


This. I know Amber is a supporter, but every time I look into this I don’t see the evidence, particularly in single day workouts.

I’ve taken both approaches, and my n=1 is I can’t say I’ve noticed a difference in recovery. I find drinking calories means it’s harder work for me not to eat something again nearly straight away. With real food, I get a couple of hours, with a shake, I found I was looking for something straight out of the shower (shake off the bike, into the shower).

Having said that, I’d still be within the hour window, if it exists, albeit less easily digestible carbs.


I agree and that’s what I do. The only time I feel like ingesting simple sugar is during races or very hard rides. Otherwise, I always eat more “real” food both during and after workouts.

I though that with “sugar” you meant carbs since OP is talking about a drink.

However, I guess they recommend simple sugars because they are quicker to digest and it’s easier to get more calories compared to normal food.

Also, the podcast has a wide audience and I guess there are many potentially new/inexperienced athletes who most likely would benefit from having something as simple as two scoops of sugar and one of protein powder immediately after a workout.

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I know, Dylan Johnson has mentioned it a couple of times in his videos. However, it was brought up in the podcast thread and this is Amber’s response if you haven’t seen it.

I read the response. I haven’t seen signs of broad consensus (i.e. multiple studies that replicate the results that control for calories) that 4:1 is better than just carbs or just eating a bunch of food. I haven’t specifically looked though. At this point it looks to me like one-off studies and they are hard to draw conclusions from due to the lack of consistency, small sample sizes and lack of replication of findings. My view is if people are going to preach the 4:1 ratio there should be a solid, quantifiable reason to do so and it should be applicable to me not just to a world tour level athlete who is burning 5-6k calories day after day in a stage race.


From what I have read I think it makes sense to have both simple and complex carbs. Mostly to get the stores fueled up quickly but also to keep that process up for a certain period.

Though I would question whether it really matter to us non pros. Obviously just my anecdotal evidence but as long as I hit my macros, I recover just fine from 10-15 training hours per week.

That being said I am a bit biased towards simple carbs. I avoid them as much as possible to be honest.

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For me, I only have a protein/recovery shake if I am trying to workout again later in the day or if I know it will be a couple of hours until my next meal and I am short on time (Bike straight to run errands then finally dinner). Otherwise real food is probably better in terms of digestibility and health.

There have been other studies that showed that muscle glycogen is able to be fully refilled in about a day so unless you are doing 2-a-days or are following up a hard evening ride with a hard morning ride then the recovery shake might not be super beneficial beyond just the additional calories that it provides.

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I’ve had a similar reaction to whey protein but I can eat yogurt just fine. For post recovery protein I just go to the fridge and find some left over salmon, chicken, or some yogurt if no leftovers are available. I might mix the chicken or salmon with some beans and make a quick bowl or a salad with some vinegar. Yummy and real food.

Although protein shakes are convenient, if it is giving you GI problems, I would just stick to whole food but with an emphasis on faster digesting protein and carb sources, like egg whites and white rice.

If you are insistent on having a post-workout shake, try using a product why protein powder without lactose, such as ISOPure.

For what it’s worth, you could also try using liquid egg whites (the ones you buy in a carton, not from an egg) and blend those in with fruit (don’t knock it until you try it). It actually makes for a really tasty smoothie, and is pretty quick digesting.

Ok, that’s a lot of info and background! Thanks all for pointing me in a lot of useful directions.
I’m not new to sporting and working out, but I’m rather new to the scientific background of nutrition.
We are very aware of nutrients in our daily life (fresh cooking and mostly whole foods), but I’m struggling to pull this through in sport food. I’ll look into this a bit more.
I never do 2 workout days, and almost never day after day workouts. There is always a day in between workouts. So I guess I’ll leave the shake. I just liked the idea of giving my body all it needs to get stronger, but if I can do the same with eggs, rice and other healthy stuff, that will be my choice.
Thanks all!

I was having the same problems as you when I started having a recovery shake with 2:1 carbs to protein.

I ditched it and started taking the SiS Rego Rapid Recovery that has close to 1:1 ratio, and now I have zero GI issues. I think it was too much carbs at once for my gut to digest.

Fwiw I would try ditching the dairy protein as well. I also found myself having some serious gastric distress post-smoothie and after some elimination testing it seems the source was a high volume of almond milk, so I switched to water and everything is gravy. If it’s too much simple sugar, try a banana in place of some of the sugar. Also a big fan of rice, beans, veggies and/or sweet potato post ride.