January 28, 2009 posted by

Recovery Formula

During my P90X postings last year I don’t think I ever got around to discussing Recovery Formula. The last few weeks I’ve received numerous emails asking if we could replace the sugar in RF with stevia. This, I can only imagine, has come about with the marketing hoopla over no calorie sports drinks. I blogged a while back on “the world’s most inane beverage” when I discovered that Gatorade was making a “low sodium” electrolyte drink. Since sodium is your primary electrolyte, I posed the question what could be more ridiculous? And they’ve answered; a sports drink with no energy. Amazing.

A quick lesson: calorie is a word we use for energy in the foods we consume. When we exercise we greatly increase the amount of energy (and electrolytes) we burn. Sports drinks were designed to replace things depleted while doing sports, which are primarily calories and electrolytes.

Marketers don’t care about such pesky details. They are aware that people like new things, whether or not these things make sense. People like words like “no calories” and “no sodium” and, apparently, will buy them even if their goal is to buy something with calories and sodium.

Recovery Formula, as the name suggests, is designed to aid in recovery from exercise. This requires calories, among other things. I’ve written an article that discusses this process in laymen terms, and here it is.


  • Now that’s some funny shit. I like the recovery drink and does a great job, but then I’m not very scientific about these things. I like sugar in my sugar, caffeine in my coffee and alcohol in my cocktail. Does that make me old school?

  • Using the P90X Recovery Formula has greatly improved the results I obtain from exercising. I tried making my own recovery drink or using the drink made from gators with limited improvements. The RF balanced formula is magic.

  • it is interesting. The whole GI theory … but as you mention you need it at that time (after a workout) and can handle it. So you can do yourself harm by limiting things too far. On the lighter side, the taste makes it sooo good too 😉

  • People like neat little packages, like the GI theory or the Zone or whatever. Rationale argues that since we don’t behave the same way all the time, it makes little sense to eat the same way all the time. Eat for what you do seems a lot more simple.

  • I usually consume a protein shake following my workouts. It usually contains about 45 grams of protein and is mixed in with some fat free milk. Looking at different types of recovery drinks, I see very low protein amounts (usually around 10-15grams). Do you think its better to consume a higher amount of protein along with a higher amount of carbs or is it better to consume the amounts in the recovery drinks and then consume a standard protein shake an hour or two later?

  • If you read the attached article it explains the science as to why you want primarily carbohydrate after a workout. 45 grams of protein would interfere with the glycogen recharge process and, hence, be counterproductive. You’d better better off saving that drink for later, at least and hour or two.

  • That’s great info. Thanks!

  • I just started P90X two weeks ago and I didn't buy the RF yet, and after doing some research I think I will get on it immediately, like another follower I too was doing protein after a workout instead. But in my own defense I sent my bf to GNC and asked him to ask the clerk for a recovery formula and this clerk sent him home with this protein powder, so I did take it foolishly thinking "well he should know, he works there" in just two weeks I see how he didn't know but I know now. I will get an order in tonight and hope to get it super quick and be on my way to a better stronger me. Thanks for the blog, well the whole entire program seems a huge benefit for me, I have tried multiple weight loss programs designed by well known fitness guru's yet this seems to be most effective in holding my interests and keeping me motivated. I haven't a single explaination except I love it.

  • GNC carries a recovery formula called Endurox R4. I have been using it with the Insanity program. It seems to work wonders. Replenishes energy and reduces muscle aches and pains.

  • Hi Steve,I am still attempting to understand the Changing in the Recovery Drink in Nov 2010, eliminating the Fructose.I have been watching an interesting (and "Heady") discussion on Sugar and Fructose by Robert H. Lustig, MD, UCSF Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology at minute 45 he speaks about how the body processes Glucose, Ethanol & Fructose. He calls Fructose a poison like ethanol, but also at minute 1:01 states that for the athlete that depletes the Glycogen even HFCS is a good choice.So I am wondering if for the P90Xer adding back a bit of the fructose may not be a bad thing (Especially for flavor)

  • If enough people complain about the flavor we will fix it. We should be able to do it with dextrose though.

  • btw, all sugars work for sure. It's just that dextrose provides a slight advantage and that's why it's there.

  • I am doing the P90x workout where I am living in Kathmandu nepal. Many challenges to the diet and many questions but for now about the recovery drink. I have been doing 8oz of milk with a bananna 2ts of straight peanutbutter one scoop of a walmart protien drink and some ice all blended up. From what i read it doesn't seem optimal. What would be a good sub for here since nothing premade is available. We do have a rehydration salts packet available that is used for diareaha??????

  • There's WalMart in Nepal?! I didn't see any of those.Anything mainly carbs with some protein will work okay (this is why chocolate milk is touted all the time). The main thing to do is try and make it around a 4 parts carbs to 1 parts protein and very little fat ratio. Anything close will work very well.

  • No walmart I brought it from the US. When you say a carb in drink form would that be like juice? or could it be food? and then protien like the powder? I do have hersheys chocolate syrup that i could mix with milk. thanks for you help.'Dennis

  • I know this is a old blog (4 years) but if you still check it i have a question. I recently read that High GI foods/sugar/carbs can lower hgh levels and that hgh levels are very high after a workout. So question is should I wait a period of time after working out before taking recovery formula to keep my hgh levels high? And what would this period of time be? 1 hr? Thanks again if you still check this blog. I appreciate all your beachbody chats and watch them all.Thanks,Brandon

  • Steve,Been a follower for a while and I know that this is an old post and you're switching to a new site but just in case you still check this blog, I have a question.I recently read that high GI/sugar/carbs lower your hgh and that after a workout, hgh levels are very high. My question is would it be beneficial to hold off on the recovery formula for a certain "period of time" to allow hgh levels to increase? And if so what is the amount of time? I know you said to take recovery formula within 30 mins after workout, but would I be able to put this of for 1 hour in order to take advantage of hgh levels?Thanks a lot! I look forward to hopefully hearing from you. I watch all your beachbody chats and I look forward to the next one with you and Dennis.Brandon

  • Brandon, It's a great question and I've written about it a bunch, though not here apparently. I actually had a conversation with bodybuilder Tom Platz on this subject years ago and both are known effects. We both agreed that the best protocol, because the GH release is short lived, would be to finish the workout, shower, etc, maybe relax a bit (hard core dudes like to nap for 20 minutes to increase the GH effects but this is serious nitpicking over a minimal effect) and then replenish glycogen. In a perfect world that is likely the best scenario. If you are going to pick only one, glycogen replenishment is far more important than the others.

  • Thanks Steve, I really appreciate your time and response. I really enjoy and will continue to follow you're chats and blogs.Thanks, Brandon

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