By Ed Pavelka
Recoverite is made for post-ride energy replenishment and muscle recuperation. Therefore, this is a hard product to evaluate, a tough review to write. It’s impossible to know how I would have felt on rides if I hadn’t swallowed the stuff.
It’s easy to use, though. You drink two scoops of Recoverite mixed in 8-12 ounces water as soon as possible after riding, then have another two-scoop serving 60 minutes later. This provides 332 calories from 65 grams of carbohydrate and 20 grams of protein, along with glutamine and various minerals and other nutrients. It’s all being ingested during the hour when the body’s “glycogen window” is wide open. This is the crucial period after exercise when muscles are most able to refuel, repair and rebuild.
Recoverite, from the boutique sports supplement company Hammer Nutrition in Whitefish, Montana, is a sophisticated product. The label lists 16 ingredients but no artificial flavors, colors or sweeteners. No wheat, gluten, or added simple sugars either. According to Hammer, “If a recovery drink contains any of [these] ingredients, it may cause unwanted side effects that may actually hinder your recovery or worse.”
The dig may be aimed at Endurox R4, the best-selling recovery drink. I’ve used it for several years. Endurox lists dextrose as its primary ingredient and contains artificial flavor. It has a significantly different formula than Recoverite although it’s designed to do the same thing. Its suggested price in the 28-serving size is $44.95, the same as the 32-serving size of Recoverite. Endurox can often be found for 20-25% less at the big mailorder companies. Hammer products are sold direct or through shops and are rarely discounted.
Recoverite is fat-free (Endurox has 1 gram per serving) and claims to contain only high-quality complex carbohydrate and whey protein isolate. Hammer says its 3:1 ratio of carb to protein is the optimum for glycogen synthesis, rebuilding lean muscle tissue and supporting the immune system. Endurox has a 4:1 ratio and uses whey protein concentrate, which Hammer calls an inferior protein source.
Recoverite mixes easily in water, making a thin white liquid with a mild, chalky citrus flavor. Compared to Endurox it’s not very sweet and under no circumstances would it be called yummy. I don’t need to force down Recoverite, but it isn’t a treat to drink. Endurox, on the other hand, is almost like a milkshake — thick, sweet and without chemical notes. And it comes in five flavors, including my favorites, chocolate and vanilla. A kid would like Endurox.
For me and some riders I know, there’s an adaptation period for Endurox. It’s rich enough to cause uncomfortable stomach and bowel rumblings, which fortunately fade away after several uses. I experienced none of that with Recoverite.
How’s It Work?
Now comes the hard part. This test is an experiment of one. What I found using Recoverite may or may not parallel the experience you’d have.
I drank Recoverite after eight rides, but of course it wasn’t a blind test with a placebo involved, so it’s hard to tell how well it helped me recover. I’ve always felt that Endurox does some good and I believe I can say the same for Recoverite. But a bowl of cereal can help post-ride recovery too.
After getting used to Recoverite following several three-hour rides, I did the best test I could by riding 113, 122 and 141 miles (182, 196, 227 km) on three consecutive days. Hey, it’s a tough job by someone has to do it. These rides averaged 6,200 feet (1,880 meters) in elevation gain.
- The 113-miler was the day after a 54-mile ride that ended with the recommended two servings of Recoverite. I felt good during the long one and averaged 17 mph (27.4 kph). Then I drank Recoverite.
- On the next day’s 122-miler, I felt pretty puny — not well recovered. My endurance was okay and I could spin on flat ground, but every time I had to press the pedals on a climb — particularly when standing — my legs felt empty. I was basically low on gas for the whole 7:15 and averaged 16.4 mph (26.4 kph). Then I drank Recoverite.
- The next day, I felt good on the 141-miler. I wasn’t exactly fresh and frisky, but my quads weren’t hollow or sore and I averaged 17.4 mph (28 kph). I was definitely more recovered than on the previous ride.
I did what I could to help this experiment by eating the same dinner each evening and the same breakfast before riding, and sleeping the same amount. Therefore, I expected to feel about the same on each ride and for that feeling to be good. So I was disappointed on the second ride but pleased on the first and third. It was the first time this season I rode 100+ miles on three consecutive days. To rebound on the third and longest ride was encouraging.
I’ll continue drinking Recoverite. I have to — I bought two of the 32-serving tubs with the expectation that it would work at least as well as Endurox. I’m not sure yet if it’s better. As rides go by and Recoverite goes in, I’ll write an update if I learn anything worth reporting.