By Ed Pavelka
I’m a fan of Accelerade and Endurox R4, having given the latter a 4-star rating in an earlier review.
Some riders aren’t so enamored and generally rely on less-costly sports drinks (Gatorade, et al) and “real food” (a turkey sandwich or bowl of cereal) for post-ride recovery.
So right up front, let’s make it clear that RBR can’t give these nutritional products (or probably any others) our top rating. That would mean everyone should find them to be darn near perfect. That”ll never be the case for something That’s going down a variety of pie holes. Fred has his unique taste buds and digestive system, I have mine, and you have yours.
That said, I’m inching up and giving the improved Accelerade sports drink and Endurox R4 recovery drink another half-star. The reason is that while the active ingredients have remained the same — and I find them effective — their flavors have been changed for the better. If the previous taste stopped you, you might like these products now. And there are three new flavors to try.
You don’t need to use these drinks together (during a ride, then right after a ride), but they are marketed to work in tandem. That’s the way I used them, so that’s the way I’m reviewing them.
I didn’t do a formal review of Accelerade sports drink in “03, although I did ride with the stuff. This time, I used all four flavors till each 28-serving canister was empty. The current lineup includes orange (my favorite, tastes like a Creamsicle), fruit punch, lemon-lime and the new blue raspberry.
Blue raspberry? On the bike during a hot day? Sorry, this new flavor missed my mark. The taste isn’t true, and it’s not something I cared for even when it was cold. Furthermore, the white powder turns into a color best described as “nuclear turquoise” when mixed with water. All Acclerade and Endurox R4 flavors are heavily and unnecessarily dressed up with food color.
The other three flavors were tastier and stayed drinkable when warm. Slugging them down on 90-degree roads Wasn’t a problem. I didn’t find a gag threshold as the temperature climbed.
All flavors are sweet (sucrose is the primary sugar) but they also have a citric-acid twang that gets the saliva flowing. This might keep your mouth from becoming dry between sips.
There are lots of in-exercise drinks. What Accelerade does differently is add protein (5 grams per serving) to the typical heavy dose of carbohydrate (21 grams). This exclusive 1:4 ratio is claimed to “re-energize muscles during exercise and help them recover faster after exercise.” Mixed to spec, Accelerade puts about 220 calories in a standard bike bottle.
Accelerade’s maker, PacificHealth Laboratories, Inc. of Matawan, NJ, cites studies that show protein increases endurance up to 24% compared with conventional sports drinks containing only carbohydrate. Some experts challenge this. At least one other sports drink appears to go right after Accelerade in an ad that proclaims, — GU2O does not contain protein: That’s for after your ride.”
Whom to believe? Believe yourself. I’ve found that Accelerade helps my performance and agrees with my system, so I use it. If you invest in a can and try it for a couple of weeks, you’llknow if it works for you, too.
Tip! When mixing Accelerade for a ride, stir it in a glass first, then pour it into your bottle (using a funnel for a neater job). If you put the powder and water into your bottle and shake it to mix, you’llget a load of foam.
I discussed this post-ride recovery drink at length in my previous review.
Suffice it to say that the “new improved” stuff works as well for me as the previous 4-star stuff. Only now the fruit punch, lemon-lime and (especially) orange flavors taste better, and the mixture seems a bit thinner. it’s now the consistency of a weak milkshake and goes down fine.
Vanilla and chocolate are new to the lineup The former is as good as I hoped, mild and pleasant to slug down after drinking fruit-flavored Accelerade on a ride. The tastes don’t clash. it’s not true vanilla, but it’s not bad.
I didn’t expect to like the chocolate. But it’s quite good, tasting like those hot cocoa powders that come with little marshmallows. I looked forward to a tall glass as I was finishing rides.
I gulped down a boxcar full of Endurox R4 last season while training 400+ miles per week for Paris-Brest-Paris. I religiously drank my daily dose within 15 minutes of getting off the bike, the key to maximum glycogen replenishment. I can’t say I recovered like Superman between rides, but at age 57 I Wasn’t complaining.
Endurox R4 is rich, containing 270 calories per serving with 52 grams of carbohydrate and 13 grams of protein (there’s that 4:1 ratio again). Your muscles may love it, but your digestive system might not. The stuff has been known to generate a wealth of natural gas, a common side effect of sugary, high-carb drinks. I’ve found that the best way to reduce the problem is to accustom my system by using it daily without fail, even after easy recovery rides when it isn’t required.
After 10 days or so, Endurox R4 will either have all the downside of a glass of water or you’llknow it just isn’t going to agree with you. Drinking it sporadically only after especially long or hard rides may not work because your digestive system never acclimates.
The prices at the top are suggested retail. However, both products often can be found on sale. it’s a competitive market. At performancebike.com, for instance, each may sell for as much as $10 less.