Recovery Drinks - 4:1 Carb / Protein Ratio

Buy a big bag of maltodextrin and a protein powder you like and mix yourself…

Not to sweet, quick carbs and cheap.


I need to try some of these alternatives. I haven’t been doing recovery drinks but I’m starting to feel the negative tsb a bit and the SSB HV workouts are getting to their peak in week 4 (saturday will be 90mins at 90%). I had a hammer recoverite that I’ve had sitting around awhile (strawberry flavor), I didn’t love it lol and if I recall I tried some other hammer products I didn’t like. I’ve also tried skratch stuff and I think I didn’t care for it either. I’ll have to take a look at SIS, I had some ride drink mix and gels over the summer and really liked their stuff

I just make my own with protein powder of choice and maltodexterine powder. You can set the ratio anywhere you want then.

I don’t know if this meets the criteria, and please let me know if it’s doing more harm than good, but I usually have one banana, a handful of frozen blueberries, and a scoop of whey. Add apple juice and blend. It is so delicious and is a great reward at the end of my harder workouts.

1 Like

I’ve found with Hammer products to stick to the basic flavors like vanilla, chocolate and espresso. Those flavors must be easier to get right. Once you start getting into fancy flavors they tend to be polarizing and taste far from their descriptions. I stick with vanilla and if I want extra flavor I add in my own fruit.

I can’t see how ingesting a banana, blueberries and whey with some apple juice would be harmful. Don’t overthink it—this sounds like a solid recovery drink.


Sounds delicious! The only downside would be if you are trying to drop weight, you may be getting more calories than needed/intended. Probably don’t need the apple juice if you’re looking to cut it down a bit.

1 Like

Thanks for the responses!

@anthonylane, you’re right. It is delicious.

@MI-XC that’s a good thought. I’m not too worried about weight right now, but I’ll rethink this if I ever get to that point. The majority of my training rides are early in the morning so it also acts as my breakfast and tides me over til I have a mid-morning snack at work.

1 Like

just wanted to provide an n=1 experience as someone who has not been doing recovery drinks. I was feeling sluggish earlier this week, a combo of having a slight cold but the legs had a constant heavy kind of burning feeling that they get when they’re fatigued. And believe me when I say that I do not lack carbs in my diet! lol I’m always snacking on carby stuff, maybe too much! I posted yesterday about Hammer Recoverite and I gotta say my legs feel much better today after 3 days of high volume sweet spot compared to Tuesday when I had already been off on Monday and rested. So I may try these recovery drinks instead of just going carb happy

I am really not sure if swapping casein for whey would require changing the ratio. The ratio is one of the few performance nutrition recommendations that has very solid, consistent evidence to support it, and it just basically provides the right signal to initiate all of the adaptive responses you want as a result of the training stress from your workout. The workout provides the stress that initiates the adaptations… and it’s really the adaptations you’re after (e.g. efficiency, vascularization, mitochondrial function, muscle fibers etc). By taking in the 4:1 you trigger those adaptations sooner and more efficiently. The only drawback I would imagine to casein is that it absorbs so much slower than whey. You want the recovery drink to hit your system and get those adaptations going as soon as possible. That’s also why you want the CHO in the drink to be relatively simple easily absorbed CHO. If you have a choice, I’d pick the whey. If you have casein sitting around and need to use it up, I don’t think it will hurt. Recovery drinks are important, but I would argue the CHO is more important than the protein (if you had to pick only one) - to replenish glycogen for the next session. Casein is great to take before bed, because it’s so slow to absorb - it can help with sleep and muscle repair while you sleep.

I prefer chocolate milk when I can, because it really does seem to be the cheapest option, but I’ve found Mike’s Mix to be the cheapest per serving that I can carry in a shaker bottle with me:

That said I’m looking into starting to just combine protein powder and sports drink powder, because my one complaint with MIke’s Mix is that I generally need more electrolytes post ride (well, constantly, but that includes post-ride).

The recovery drinks have so much sugar in them. Is that good or bad? I typically try and limit my sugar intake when I’m off the bike.

SISCP25 gives you 25% off at SIS.

My current setup is:

  1. post evening workout, SIS Overnight
  2. post day workout, SIS Rego (or a few single sachets of Skratch recover I have floating around)
  3. breakfast or mid morning snack at work when I’m avoiding the bad food at work - Gold 100 or something

I found (and shared in a thread) a 40% off coupon, which makes myprotein about 1/2 the cost of SIS.

So longertern, I’m going to have just myprotein (not sure which one of theirs yet), and mix in my own carbs if it’s a daytime workout, and do just protein if it’s a night workout that finishes 8pm+. I went a bit nuts recently, as training a lot and short on time. If money no object, then I would SIS Overnight + Rego as my two options.

I’ve usually mixed my own whey protein isolate w/ whatever else (carb drink mix) to get a 3:1 ratio. At Interbike the folks @ Tailwind Nutrition (4:1 ratio) gave me a LOT of their recovery mix – it uses rice protein as opposed to soy (people have issues with this), pea (takes like gross), hemp (kind’ve low on BCAAs) or whey (a no-no if you’re lactose intolerant or a vegan).

I don’t have a sensitive stomach and I’m ok with exploiting animals so whey did me just fine. But since I’m a quest for a decent placement @ DK200 and BWR I figured why not experiment a bit. I found that the stuff from Tailwind (chocolate… skip the vanilla) seemed to do really well with me – at the very least it’s not worse than any whey mix I’ve tried (home brew or otherwise). Added bonus: the GF likes it because I toot less.

I just ran out of Tailwind and started trying some Vegan Recoverite (Hammer Nutrition 3:1 ratio) – same deal: was given a bunch of samples @ CABDA West. I don’t have enough to really “test” it but I can say this definitively: 1. VEGAN CHOCOLATE TASTES LIKE GROSS; 2. the orange-vanilla is actually pretty ok; 3. the texture of the pea protein is definitely evident.

Hope this helps.

If going for weight loss does it still make sense to do a 4:1 carb/protein ratio? I currently don’t do any recovery drinks (or really anything different than normal eating) after a workout and have lost a good bit of weight. However lately I have felt that I am exhausted part way through rides that I know I should be able to do, so I am thinking it is because I am not recovering enough. From a recent podcast I know I need to start doing a protein drink at a minimum, and a recovery drink sounds like a good idea to both get protein as well as energy (carbs), but I worry with a 4:1 ratio that it is a lot of carbs that would stall my weight loss. Does it make sense to go with say a 2:1 ratio if weight loss is a concern or do the benefits of a 4:1 ratio override that?

Not a drink, but I enjoy a recovery yogurt. I mix 175g of 0% Greek yogurt, 50g Sultana raisins, and 1 table spoon of bourbon barrel aged maple syrup. It’s about a 3:1 ratio and 298 calories, 58.5g of carbs, 18.3g of protein. I suppose I could double up the maple syrup to get closer to 4:1. It’s a bit of a more satisfying small meal if the end of the workout falls in between reasonable main meal times.


The goal of the recovery drink is to restore muscle glycogen and prepare you for your next workout. Even if you are worried about the total number of carbs you consume in a day, I really don’t think you should worry about the carbs consumed in support of that workout, because they are either burned pretty much immediately (if consumed during the workout) or sent straight to the muscles’ glycogen stores (recovery drink).

I actually think that if you are otherwise aiming to lower your carb intake, and eat at a caloric deficit, a maximally effective recovery drink is even more important, because it will be the only time of the day that your body will be prepared to shunt them into the muscles. The rest of the day, between the lower carb intake and overall reduced calories, your body will not be inclined to “save them for a rainy day” and will instead burn them immediately.


I used muscle milk, now I use simple low fat chocolate milk, it works great! Pour your self a glass and drink.

+1 Recoverite

I was using GNC whey protein (3:1 ratio) for years. They changed their flavoring formulation (tastes awful; lots of negative reviews) so I switched to Hammer Nutrition’s Recoverite (also 3:1) about 2 years ago. I don’t know if there is any real testing comparing 4:1 to 3:1 formulations (@ambermalika - have you seen any?), but there is certainly a lot of empirical evidence to support that 3:1 works (10s of thousands of endurance athletes over 20 years have been using Hammer’s Recoverite).

The only thing that I have read about why choose 4:1 (or greater) vs 3:1 is that carbs are less expensive to manufacture than protein and 3:1 is what is needed, minimally, for the body to absorb the protein.

@tofel Regarding Casein: following Coach Chad’s comment in podcast #187 about consuming Casein in the evening prior to bedtime due to its slow overnight absorption, I posted a thread asking other TR Forum users if they used it. The feedback was not very positive . . .


Two comments on pricing:

  1. I believe that the relative comparison you should do when comparing products is $/gm of protein, regardless of whether you consume your recovery drink in powder form, liquid (e.g. chocolate milk) or home made. Most of us are concerned about the amount of protein we consume during the day, including both during recovery and the remainder of the day. Carbs are easy and inexpensive to meet your needs; protein is not.

  2. Nutrition companies LOVE cycling clubs and provide large discounts to its members. Our 200 person club has had a multi-year relationship with Hammer Nutrition. While I can’t quote the discount here, suffice it to say that what most of us have saved on Hammer product pays for our club membership many times over during a year. So, if you belong to a cycling club, you should inquire. If not, might want to seek out the clubs in your area to see what their sponsorship benefits are (of course, in addition to all of the other benefits of joining a club).