Do You Need a Recovery Drink?

By Nancy Andrews

Is there a Results and Recovery Formula Substitute?

Aug 11th, 2009 | By Nancy Andrews | Category: Nutrition & Weight Loss

dumbbell pull Do You Need a Recovery Drink?Do you really need a recovery drink and is there a substitute to the Beachbody Results and Recovery Formula drink that is advocated for the intensive workouts like P90X, P90X2, Insanity and Insanity Asylum?

It depends on the length and intensity of the workout.  For long and/or intense workouts consuming a carb/protein drink has shown in clinical trials to reduce muscle breakdown and speed up recovery.  So for the intense P90X  and Insanity series workouts, a recovery drink will speed your recovery which means you can build more lean muscle mass AND workout with more intensity for your next resistance workout for even greater muscle gains!

However, a recovery drink is not necessary for most aerobic  and low intensity workouts.  Good hydration that comes with drinking ample amounts of water is always recommended for both weight lifting and aerobic workouts.

So, if you are trying to grow some serious muscle, and are working out very intensely for an hour or more you need simple carbs along with some easily absorbed protein.  Common recommendations range from a 4 to 1 ratio of carbs to protein to a 2 to 1 ratio of carbs to protein.   This will transport the protein to the muscle and help it get absorbed.  Plus, having the carbs will give you a bit of needed energy after a serious workout.

Before we explore alternatives to the P90X Results and Recovery Formula, let’s look at the clinical studies:

Harmon JH, Burckhard JR, Seifert JG.: Ingestion of a carbohydrate-protein supplement improves performance during repeated bouts of high intensity cycling. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 39(5):S363, 2007.  To summarize this study,  a series of cycling sprints were conducted with athletes consuming a 4 to 1 carb (CHO) to protein (PRO) drink before each sprint and the results were compared to a group consuming a placebo.  The group drinking the 4:1 ratio drink outperformed the placebo drink.

Valentine, R.J., St. Laurent, T.J., Saunders, M.J., M. Todd, M.K., and Flohr, J.A.: Comparison of responses to exercise when consuming carbohydrate and carbohydrate/protein beverages. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 38(5):S341, 2006. This study found that “a [carbohydrate-protein] beverage consumed during exercise reduced lactate accumulation and perceived exertion compared to [carbohydrate-only] beverages … and that “there are metabolic and performance advantages of [carbohydrate-protein] beverages over [carbohydrate-only beverages matched for either total calories or carbohydrate].”

Luden, N.D., Saunders, M.J., Pratt, C.A., Bickford, A.S., Todd, M.K., and Flohr, J.A.: Effects of a six-day carbohydrate/protein intervention on muscle damage, soreness and performance in runners. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 38(5):S341, 2006.  This study was done on 21NCAA Division I cross country runners.  Those consuming a four to one carb/protein drink had 27% less muscle damage and 30% less muscle soreness than when they ingested a carb only drink.

Seifert JG, Kipp RW, Amann M, Gazal O.: Muscle damage, fluid ingestion, and energy supplementation during recreational alpine skiing. International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism 15: 528-536, 2005.  This study involved skiers and found that for the subjects that received the carbohydrate-protein sports drink showed no signs of muscle damage, while indicators of muscle damage increased by 49 % in subjects receiving only water.

My only problem with the above studies is that none of these were based on an intensive resistance training program.  Moreover, no lower ratios of carbs to protein drinks were evaluated.  My personal belief is that to maximize your recovery without overloading your body with too many carbs (which could lead to fat storage) you should adjust your carb intake to your lean body mass limits (1.5 – 2.0 grams per pound of LBM) and keep the ratio to a more moderate 2 to 1.

I am now using an alternative to the Beachbody product from ProGrade which has a 2 to 1 ratio plus a ton of other benefits.  Best yet, for a limited time,  you can get a full month’s supply of this recovery formula free if you click on the link below:

ProGrade Workout Free Trial1 Do You Need a Recovery Drink?



*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.


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  1. Thank you! You often write very interesting articles. You improved my mood.

  2. What are some good alternatives to the p90x recovery drink?

  3. Hi Chris,

    I’m not sure what your issue is with the p90X recovery drink because that influences my recommendation. I’ll go over a few things to consider though. If I don’t cover you specific question, please come back and let me know.

    If you want a drink with a 4 to 1 carb/protein ratio and the issue is cost, you can make your own using either of the following two approaches:

    1) For an orange cream drink, use 1 cup milk, 1 cup orange juice and 1 packet Emergin C Tangerine fizzy vitamins. Depending on whether you use organic milk or regular and what size milk container you buy, your cost per serving is between $1.00 and $1.25. This recipe will provide 9 gr protein; 38 gr carb and 0 gr fat with skim milk (or 5 gr fat if you use 2% milk).
    2) For a chocolate drink, you could use a packet of Nestle’s Carnation Instant Breakfast drink and milk and while you’d be a bit low on the carbs you’d spend anywhere between $.75 to just over $1.00 per serving. This recipe will provide 14 gr protein, 38 gr carb and 1 gr fat if you use skim milk (or 6 gr fat if you use 2% milk).

    I’ve been revising the 4 to 1 ratio because I now believe that unless you are a very active person, you just don’t need a ratio that is that heavy on carb. As I stated above, when I use the P90X Recovery Drink, I amend it and end up with more protein and less carbs per serving. If you take a look at my 90 day transformation pictures (see you’ll see I knocked the most body fat off in my last 30 days. I attribute that to 2 things. First, I did incorporate a few Insanity workouts in my P90X routine. The Insanity workout is super high intensity which helps to burn the fat off of you at a faster rate even when you are exercising at a more modest rate in a future workout. The 2nd thing I did was to limit my carbs further than I had been.

    We’ve also been working more mass on Chris (see his pics at In the last week I started him on a new supplement Real Mass by Gaspari. This is making a huge improvement in his ability to gain weight. In fact in the week since we took the pictures, Chris is already visibly bigger. For any of you ‘skinny guys’ out there, you know how hard it is to grow significant muscle mass. Now Real Mass isn’t cheap but it’s cheaper than the P90X recovery drink. I’m getting it for about $1.40 per serving. That’s 2 scoops of powder with skim (0% fat) milk which will yield about 500 calories comprised of 45 gr protein, 64 gr carb and 8 gr fat.

    I know supplementation can be a bit expensive. Here’s a thought for you. We’ve been using the Real Mass as a meal for Chris. Chris works out pretty early in the morning so this ends up being his breakfast. At under $2 (I’m including the cost of the organic milk we use) that’s a very reasonably priced meal.

    Also on the topic of supplementation for anyone trying to build lean mass, I highly recommend Gaspari’s SuperPump250 which is a NO product. I prefer this over NO Explode because it has real studies done on it. Both Chris and I use this before a strenuous workout and we feel more energetic and focused and we do get better pumps. Unlike NO Explode, SuperPump250 actually works better for you over time which is pretty cool. (Although I do recommend going off of it completely for at least a week every 90 days.)

    Hopefully this gives you some ideas and guidance.

    Coach Nancy

  4. Hi Nancy,
    I’m in my 50′s and making life-style changes (exercising, healthy eating, weight loss). I am considering Shakeology as meal replacements, but was wondering how Gaspari’s Myoinfusion protein shakes fit in. Are they meal replacements too? When should they (and Shakeology) be taken? Is Extend something I should also be taking? Thank you Nancy. And congratulations on your great results!

  5. Hi Kathy,

    Thanks for stopping by, and thank you for your kind words on my transformation! We need to look at your needs before I can help you make the best decision for you. I will tell you that in my home, right now, I have and use all three. But I didn’t use all three ‘day 1′. Here’s how I view each of them:

    Shakeology: This is a true meal replacement shake. It has 17 grams of high quality whey protein which your body can easily assimilate and use to repair and recover. But even more importantly, it has over 70 potent nutrients from veggies, fruits, phytonutrients from ingredients like green tea and a lot more. So if you are planning to do modest intensity exercise and are looking for a way to shave some calories out of your diet while still providing better nutrition than your body has seen for a long time, Shakeology is for you. There is a ‘bottom of the bag’ guarantee which I like. Most people love the chocolate flavor best. I like chocolate in my ‘Peanut Butter Dream‘ recipe.

    If you are focused on gaining lean mass while burning fat, the Gaspari Brand Myofusion protein is a great deal. One scoop provides you 25 grams of high quality protein in a low fat, low carb shake. The milk chocolate tastes very good as well. I’ll use this mixed with 2/3 cup water and 1/3 cup 1% organic milk for a tasty snack. Without this I would not get to the protein requirements I need each day.

    The Extend amino acid blend is what I use right before working out. It give me exactly what my body is going to need if I’m gearing up for intense workouts like a run. It also helps to reduce or eliminate muscle soreness. I tend to recommend this for anyone who is working out really hard. I use it first thing in the morning right after I drink 2 glasses of filtered water. It stops my body from producing cortisol (everyone’s body is in a cortisol state after a night’s sleep because you’ve been fasting). Then I work out. If I go for a 2nd workout (I work out, in total about 8 hours a week), I take a scoop in water right before that workout as well. This is the most optional supplement of the three in my opinion.

    Hope this helps you sort it all out. Let me know if you still have questions.

    Coach Nancy

  6. Hi Nancy,
    Thank you for your prompt response. I will be working out at high intensity (for me!) but am really focused on losing weight-cardio4x/wk. and weights, etc. I then hope to do P90x. Could you suggest a Shakeology , protein shake, supplement routine that would give me the most result for my efforts? Can I get the Shakeology through you? I have a trainer putting together a cardio program for me and I plan on making a hard push to hopefully see some significant results by the summer. I should mention, I would eventually like to lose 30lb. and was used to exercising many years ago. Am I being realistic? Thanks for your guidance.

  7. I was wondering what the recommended serving is for the women. I know the label states 2 scoops; but in the message boards, I keep reading 1/2 or 1 scoop for women b/c of our physical makeup? any input on this would be appreciated!

  8. For women who want to gain weight, the 2 scoops are fine. If you want to maintain weight, take it down to 1 scoop. If you want to lose weight, don’t use it at all but instead get a product called Xtend which is a calorie free branched chain amino acid + glutamine + citruline malate blend. Amino acids are almost immediately absorbed by the body do they don’t need to be broken down as protein does.

    While I like the P90X Recovery Drink, there is a lot of sugar in it. Taken in significant doses, that will shut down any fat burning and if more sugar (converted to glycogen) than your muscles can store, will be stored in fat cells.

  9. Nancy,

    During Round 1 of P90x, did you use the bands for 90 days? How long did it take for you to gain enough strength to do pull-ups?

    Could you post an example of a typical meal plan for beginner P90xers with supplements too? I like that you suggest taking Extend before a workout because some mornings I lack the energy to make it through the workouts. It helped if I ate carbs the night before but I would like to eat my carbs at lunch instead. I also like that you address the inaccurate calorie consumption calculator for women.

  10. Hi Iris,

    I’ve actually never used bands with P90X – not even during my first round. We have a pull up bar and I did what I could on it. I’d always start trying to get one out unassisted because I feel it’s important to get your muscles primed for the real movement. But for the 1st month, I could never get up. So after my first attempt, I’d do modified (assisted) pull ups. It took me just over a month before I got the first pull up out. It was on reverse grip pull ups (chin ups) which I find a lot easier than other pull ups. And I took a little jump to get me started. But once you get up, you realize you can do it. And if you can do it once, you can do it more than once so it’s mental as much as physical in my opinion. Just keep trying it will come.

    I do have my general diet recommendations at and, while this is getting a bit dated, I have a sample of what I eat at I’ll go in and update that shortly. Mondays are a big catch-up day for me so it may not be today.

    Finally I see you signed up under me, if you’d send me an email telling me what your goals are and where you are right now, we’ll get started making sure you hit your goals. :) Send the email to pressplayfitness @ gmail . com (remove the extra spaces – I do that to try to prevent email stealing).


  11. Is the recovery drink recommended if i’m trying to loss fat. It seems like a lot of sugar. I understands what the drink is designed for but if i want to lose body fat % should i just be sticking with Whey

  12. Do you think i should have a recovery drink after insanity because i will just be useing it as a form of cardio? I am a bodybuilder and already have a recovery drink after a workout but i am just wondering if another one after insanity would be necessary.

  13. Hi Mark,

    Thanks for stopping by. You state you are a body builder but you don’t state if you are cutting for your season or you are off season bulking up. If your intent is to lean up, then do not take it post Insanity – or at least not a full packet. If your intent is to add muscle, then do take it. The Results and Recovery drink is designed to shuttle the whey protein in it into your muscles fast using the body’s unique hormonal state post intense exercise. So if you are more interested in leaning out, a half serving diluted it with skim milk would be more effective for you.


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