Protein Shakes vs. Recovery Drinks
I’ve noticed that a lot of people seem to confuse recovery drinks with protein shakes. I remember that the difference between the two was a big eye-opener for me and my hubby when he was first starting out.
- Protein Shake – A protein shake is simply a form of protein replacement. It’s an optional way for you to drink one of your protein servings as outlined by the P90x nutrition plan. This is helpful because the first phase of the program requires a very large amount of protein – larger than your typical “healthy” diet. When you are a Level III and are required to down 9 protein servings per day, the option to drink one or two can be a lifesaver, rather than, say, eating 27 ounces of chicken!
- Recovery Drink – A recovery drink must have a 4:1 carb to protein ratio. Your recovery drink serves a specific scientific purpose – speeding muscle recovery and reducing soreness, and therefore allowing you to continue to work hard day after day. The science behind this is that muscle growth occurs when you harm your muscles. You work out, lifting weights or doing pullups, etc., and it causes micro tears in your muscles. This is the cause of soreness. Then your body repairs those tears, and in the process adds a little bulk. Repeat this process over and over, and you get muscle growth. Your muscle actually uses sugar to repair these tears – thus the recovery drink is a sugary drink that provides your body with the tools it needs to fill in the gaps quickly. The more effectively it does this, the less sore you are the next day. Which also has the side-effect of letting you bring it more effectively the next day, and the next, and the next. The time-frame for this recovery drink is also important – you need to drink it within a half hour of your workout, and don’t eat or drink anything else other than water during that time, or you’ll mess up the ratio. Please also note that your recovery drink DOES NOT count as a protein or fruit serving, even if it has protein and fruit in it. The way the P90x nutrition plan works, one food counts for one serving – since the recovery drink is already accounted for in the plan, it will not count for anything else.