Recovery drink carb:protein ratio

On numerous podcasts Amber and TR have stated that the optimum carb:protein ratio in recovery drinks is 4:1. However, it seems that every manufacturer of recovery drinks uses a different ratio. For example:

SiS Rego (1:1)
High 5 (2:1)
Wiggle (2:1)
Torq (3:1)
Tailwind (4:1)

The carb source and composition in all the above varies between manufacturer (different sources of carbs (malto, fructo, etc, and the ratio between simple and complex carbs), as does the protein source (whey, rice, soy, etc.).

So, who’s right? What is the best / most efficient ratio of carbs: protein? Does it matter as long as you’re getting in some fast acting carbs and protein after a ride or workout?

I already make my own energy drink using a 2:1 ratio of maltodextrin:fructose. Any advice on the ratio of 2:1 malto:fructo to whey protein if I want to make my own recovery drink? Cheers.

I’ve been using around a 3:1 ratio of the very same malto/fructo mix as you to my whey protein. Used to buy For Goodness Shakes recovery when on offer at Amazon and that’s their ratio.

Like yourself I haven’t found any gold standard around carbs:protein but is entertaining finding out what works for me at least.

But how exactly do I really quantify if it’s working anyway with work etc getting in the way? Should I change the ratio on hard days for example?


There is no magic ratio. That’s outdated thinking.

Furthermore, unless you’re competing again later the same day, you don’t need a recovery drink. You shouldn’t delay eating too long, though.

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What is the current thinking please?

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I’m using SiS Rego Rapid Recovery, and it has been great. I tried other recovery drinks and I felt bloated and made me flatulence. With this one, no problems. And they are regularly on sale for 40/50% discount, which makes it affordable enough.

I think the best drink is the one you can tolerate and afford, as long as you get some carbs and protein in after your workouts.


I use Endurox R4 - 4:1

15-25 grams of protein, 100-150 grams of carbohydrate. Not in any fixed ratio, but to independently provide the substrate for protein and glycogen synthesis.

If you are making it yourself then why not just mix protein and carbs according to your own macro requirements for the day?

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E.g., 8-16 ounces of sweetened vanilla yogurt plus some fruit and fruit juice.


I didn’t mention it in my post but I have a very physically demanding job that feeds into the equation. I am always in the position of either having to recover from work for my next workout or recovering from a workout for my next shift at work. I’m in a constant state of recovering in readiness for the next shift or workout. Just to add to the mix, I’m 58. I eat a pretty healthy, balanced diet but sometimes a recovery drink plays its part.

Chocolate Milk. It’s the perfect ratio, cheap, and delicious.

As usual, it’s a bit of a mixed bag, but if nothing else chocolate milk is generally conveniently available.

Based on what? That’s the OPs point

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Endurox R4’s 20 year old marketing campaign based on John Ivy’s original research showing that the addition of protein to a carbohydrate drink enhances muscle glycogen resynthesis.

The thing is, although an approximate 4:1 ratio was shown to be efficacious, it isn’t necessarily optimal.

And I’m thinking that if you take physical jobs into account there will be days when the addition of workouts take more out of the body than others? Would this mean a different ratio is required?

For short workouts I don’t replenish carbs and only have some protein as a dietary supplement. If I have some longer ones then I will mix them and get the carbs in.

Will read the shared studies above and possibly come away more confused about my strategy :slight_smile:

So, if 4:1 is not optimal and outdated, then what is optimal?

So, is Amber’s answer outdated as well?

There is no fixed ratio. Your protein and carbohydrate needs are separate, with the former but not the latter saturating at fairly low dose.

Also note that there is little-to-no evidence that immediate post-exercise protein or carbohydrate ingestion is important over the long haul. Sure, if you’ve got another workout or competition later the same day, or simply won’t be able to have a meal for a few hours, then “recovery” supplements can be useful. Otherwise, though, it’s your overall dietary composition that truly matters, as your body is good at playing “catch up”.

For example, ingesting carbohydrate immediately after exercise instead of 2 hours after exercise will result in higher muscle glycogen stores at 4 hours, but not at 24 hours.

My coach just asks me to have 600ml of skimmed milk and some chocolate milk powder (36 grams of powder) which equates to 22g of protein, and 60g of carbs :slight_smile: Easy, cheap, and a nice excuse to have lots of chocolate milk.

EDIT: I can also add that 95% of the workouts I do is with just water in the bottle.

I use F2C products which I trust wholeheartedly… their recovery drink is 3:1