By Ed Pavelka
You get older, you recover slower. That’s probably not news if you’re in your 50s or older. In fact, at this point in our cycling lives, slower recovery seems to be the main downside to aging. We can still ride pretty fast and pretty far. It just takes more time before we can do it again.
I rode my first Paris-Brest-Paris at age 45, my second at 53. If I make it back to France this year, I’ll be lining up for that 750-mile randonnee as a 57-year-old. Long training rides last winter told me I’m no longer bouncing back as quickly as I once did. I don’t like that. I wanted to see if I could improve my recovery and again feel strong and lively the day after an extended ride.
So I turned myself into an Endurox R4 addict.
For 40 days (and counting) I’ve been taking a 405-calorie dose after every ride, no matter how short, long, hard or easy. I’ve even been drinking it on days off. My objective has been to infuse my system with the stuff, giving it the maximum opportunity to live up to its hype, which is considerable:
- 55% improvement in endurance
- 36% decrease in post-ride muscle stress
- 69% reduction in free radical buildup, sparing muscle damage
- 70% increase in insulin levels, replenishing muscle fuel (glycogen) faster and rebuilding protein
- 220% increase in muscle glycogen levels
Endurox R4 can be used during rides, too, but the maker, PacificHealth Laboratories, has a sister product, Accelerade, which is marketed for that.
What separates both products from similar drinks is their inclusion of protein in a 1:4 ratio with carbohydrate. That’s the protein proportion that PacificHealth says optimizes glycogen replenishment, and it can show you studies that back the claim.
A standard serving (2 scoops) of Endurox R4 has 13 grams of protein, 53 grams of carbohydrate and 1 gram of fat, yielding 270 calories.
Experiment of One
I think Endurox R4 makes a positive difference. I don’t feel benefits equal to those astronomical percentages above, but I’m generally riding strongly day to day. The question, of course, is how much of my improved recovery is due simply to getting fitter. Some, for sure.
A big test came in late March when I rode 687 miles in 8 days at the PAC Tour endurance training camp. I drank Endurox R4 within 15 minutes after finishing each day’s ride. Despite the big spike in mileage, I didn’t develop much muscle soreness or lose energy. In fact, my average speed improved during the week, which included two rides of 120 miles.
For me, the three flavors range from almost yucky (“tangy orange”) to nearly yummy (“fruit punch”) with “lemon lime” in between. They mix with 12 ounces of water to make a slightly thick and sweet potion, which goes down easily. The powder dissolves with minimal clumping.
Because I’m up there in weight (185 pounds), I’m prescribed 3 scoops instead of 2. This means I get only 18 servings out of the $40, 28-serving jar. That breaks down to $2.22 per day. But it’s pretty easy to find this size Endurox discounted by $10-$13. Performance sells it cheap, and word has it that Endurox is its No. 1 product in sales volume. It must work for lots of riders. (If you’re 120 pounds or less, one scoop will do.)
It’s a Gas
Downside? Your digestive system may not like Endurox R4 as well as your muscles do. It could cause gas and other disturbances. I found I was more susceptible if I took it only on special occasions, such as after a very long ride. Since I’ve been drinking it daily, my system tolerates it well. Fred, however, has problems.
It’s said that the average human farts 14 times per day. With Endurox R4, you could exceed your quota in 5 minutes. The best way to know if its benefits come with this side effect for you is to try it for at least a week.