Sports recovery drinks for cyclists, runners and triathletes: all you ever wanted to know
As with so much in the world of sports nutrition, there is a huge amount of bullspit and confusion out there on sports recovery drinks which is why we're here to set the record straight packing everything you ever needed to know into one handy post, also including our favourite recipe for the greatest DIY recovery drink ever. So whether you're a cyclist, runner, triathlete or swimmer, if you're looking to ace your recovery game the best possible way with the right drinks at the right time here goes.
Sports recovery drinks: why bother?
It's a valid point - after all, you don't have to go too far back in sporting history to find Tour de France riders whose team experts recommended they drink nothing at all. The result was hordes of exhausted, overheated and dehydrated cyclists ransacking every cafe and bar they passed, downing everything from beer, wine and whisky to water from fountains.
Old school sports recovery drinks: early Tour de France riders were as hard as nails and drank anything
The world has moved on since those dark days fortunately, and the short reason you want to consider some quality fuel as a recovery drink post-training or racing is to help your body rebuild after your hard efforts have broken it down. It's in this recovery period where training's benefit is made or broken - fueling it well matters.
Sports recovery drinks: can't I just have chocolate milk?
Of course you can, you're a grown up and we're not stopping you. But as far as we're concerned, the chocolate-milk-as-a-recovery-drink thing is both a con and a shortcut to poor recovery and worse performance.
Why is chocolate milk a poor recovery drink choice?
- 99% of chocolate milk drinks will be from industrial dairy farming, a poor place for any nutrition as it means sick animals pumped with antibiotics (to keep them alive in crappy conditions) and hormones (to keep them permanently pregnant and producing milk). These antibiotics and hormones then turn up in your milk
- Milk isn't good for health or bones as it turns out, being associated with higher risks of hip fractures, cancer and early death. This doesn't sound like the idea formula for recovery, or anything in fact, to us
- The study that told us chocolate milk was the perfect recovery drink was carried out at Cornell University, who have their own dairy research facility funded by Dairy Management Inc (DMI), who in turn are funded by the dairy farmers of America
- You don't need to be a hotshot investigative journalist to find this out, the smoking gun's right here on Cornell's website. This is a conflict of interest so large it should have its own postcode (zip code for all our American readers), and it erases any chance of impartiality in the study
Okay, I get it. No chocolate milk - what should I do instead?
Here, to the rescue, comes our very own favourite sports recovery drink recipe that works brilliantly for runners, cyclists and triathletes alike. It's economical, quickly made, and seriously tasty. It also packs a brilliantly balanced recovery punch of protein, good fats and carbs in one hit.
Our favourite DIY sports nutrition drink recipe
- Take one blender and add
- One banana
- A handful of strawberries and/or blueberries
- A few spoons of oats (make the texture creamy, and are 14% protein)
- A handful of raw almonds with a glass of water (deliver instant almond milk as a base for your recovery drink)
- A spoon or two of sugar-free peanut butter (hello protein and good fats)
- Blend for 60 seconds and enjoy
- Recovery drink pro tip: slice and freeze your bananas in advance for a thicker, creamier drink. Also consider frozen berries. Stashing a few bags of these in the freezer means you always have them when you need 'em
Make your own sports recovery drink with our recipe and you too could be as cool as this guy. S'true
What about when I'm really pushing the limits, will this be enough?
Most times, the recipe above will deliver what you need but sometimes you need more. It's for this purpose we created our Pre and Post Workout Shakes. These unique Shakes deliver powerful, elite recovery in one quick and easy package and they are for those training and racing blocks when you need the absolute best in recovery fuel, whatever level you're at.
When your biggest athletic challenges come calling, face them head on with our powerful Shakes. The rest of the time, let your diet and our DIY sports recovery drink recipe do the job beautifully
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