Thoughts about post race recovery shake

I usually bring protein shakes for post race quick recovery shake, sometimes (rarely) bagels.
Since I live in NY it takes a while before I can get home and eat a proper meal (usually 30min-1hr ride post race) plus I usually hang around to watch the other races.

I’ve been thinking of switching to more weight gainer shake, this way theres more carbs in the shake. (no im not doing the full serving 800-1200 calorie shakes)

I’ve been using BSN Syntha 6 200 cal, 15 carb, 22 protein.

Im looking at ON Gold Standard Gainer (1 scoop) 360 cal, 58 carbs, 27.5 protein.

What’s your thought? Any post nutrition tips? Or should I just add maltodextrin (too sweet?)

Chocolate Milk


Not answering your question, but what does the science say about whether recovery drinks are needed? The little research I did seemed to indicate that, unless you have multiple events, close together, you probably don’t need one. Your glycogen stores will be replenished, naturally, by normal food after roughly 24 hours.

I mean, shoot, I drink 8 ounces of chocolate milk after a workout, but it’s more for that feeling of “this is good for me”. I don’t know if I’d go hole hog like you are. Are you finding that it’s not helping enough?


You can even go organic, DHA Omega 3.

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I wouldn’t bring milk and leave it out in 90 degree NYC summer for few hours… would you?


This is not a workout…

Assuming 30 min to the race, plus 20 min warm up = 5-600 calories
1 gel 5 min prior to race 100 calories plus 80 calories skratch lab drinks = +180
Crit Race can range from 800-1500 deficit
Post race food = 200-300 calories from shake or pls 400 cal bagels if im lucky
Ride home 30 min 300 calories - i’ve seen this closer to 800 on longer race commute
No matter how you carb loaded, there’s not enough in the tank.

So its unreasonable to add more carbs, have you ever bonk on your ride back home or cramp because you lack all the necessary nutrient? Its not fun plus it hurts your next workout.

@Nate_Pearson you’re the pro eater what would you do?

I put mine in a thermos for situations like that and it stays nice and cold. I live in Texas so plenty of heat here to deal with too.


I take a post workout recovery shake after anything more than a recovery ride and I believe it offers me benefits. Hard to prove scientifically but I am happy. What is the worst that can happen if you take a shake?


I mean, if it was me, I’d try to take it back :woozy_face:

And, yeah, you can just store your chocolate milk with an ice pack, or in a thermos, or in a cooler.

and I’m not crazy to ride to a race, race, and then try and ride back. If that’s the case, then yeah, go for that shake!

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I take a protein shake after every tough ride. I use a hydrolyse protein (30g protein/serve) and then make up the carbs myself, sometimes with just rice milk (30g carbs) on bigger rides I add maltodextrin based on ride kJ, how many carbs during etc.

I like to have the flexibility of changing the amount of carbs depending on the workout, but I get the convenience of an all in one product.

I come from weightlifting background and am trying to maintain some muscle.

When I tracked my calories recently I found I tend to have lots of carbs when training hard and protein suffers, so the 30g protein shake aids in immediate recovery and boosts overall daily protein. Win win

Edit: to answer your specific question. I’d choose the ON gainer. You can get away with much more than 15g of carbs

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There’s definitively some conflicting info out there but I feel I’ve heard consistently (including the TR podcast with Amber) that a recovery shake after a hard workout is very beneficial and a 3:1 or 4:1 Carb to protein intake with the carbs being a high GI index like Maltodextrin or similar spikes insulin which increases the muscles absorption of protein

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+1 on the Thermos

Chocolate milk is cheaper than a fancy recovery shake mix, and has nearly identical nutrient benefits. A nice 3:1 Carb to protein ratio, and cost savings works for me!


The problem is no one in New York have cars, so cooler and such are out of the question.
Subway or biking is the way to get to races, the latter tends to be faster and more efficient.

Chocolate milk is hard to come by, specially races around here are at 6 am, finding a bodega is a scavenger hunt at that time. Plus milk makes mucus which is not fun while riding your bike. I mix the shake with water post race.

I’ll look into the ON gainer, and Ambers post.

Also another caveat is that everything needs to go in a small backpack, this is why shakes are easy on the go.

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For recovery honestly…what’s wrong with a chocolate bar and beef jerky? Make a 4:1 ratio out of it.No need for refrigeration. Sure it may not get absorbed QUITE as quickly as a completely liquid meal, you can just jam it in a saddle bag or backpack.

Sometimes I think people get too worked up over ideal, when easy and effective will accomplish the task 95% as well.


One gel 20 min before start. Sometimes I’ll do a gel right at the start line.

I won’t eat or drink in the race if it’s under an hour and it’s not hot.

Eat everything I can afterwards in a carb centric manner. :slight_smile:


I like the BSN Syntha. good ratio of protein to carb, can always add carbs. One of the best tasting whey protein powders out there!
I have it after almost every ride, except the easiest recovery rides.

Second this… I’ll down a Scratch Labs Chocolate Recovery Shake after a hard workout if I plan on doing another hard workout the next day (I.e., weight/resistance training then hard ride). Plus, Scratch Labs’ shake tastes like the next best thing to chocolate milk (albeit more expensive).

Most of my races (mtb) are 1.5-1.75 hours in length and by the time we do awards, etc it could be an hour or more after I finish before I can get a good meal. If that’s the case I take in something right after I do a warm-down. In the past I’ve done full fat chocolate milk. Recently I’ve used Tailwind Rebuild. It provides a little more than the choc milk and tastes pretty good. Rebuild is 240 cal. per serving and has 43g carbs, some sodium, and 10g of protein. They tout full chain amino acids too.
Since it comes in single serve packs I can just add it to a bottle and refill my bottle at an aid station or the medical tent. I don’t have to worry about keeping chocolate milk cold and I can always have a packet in my “go bag” in case I want some after a hard ride.

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It’s pretty much chocolate milk

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