One of the most heavily marketed supplements by Beachbody is the Results and Recovery Formula. A lot of people ask, is it worth it? If you want to maximize your results with any workout program, your post-workout meal is one of the most important things to consider. To the best of my knowledge, and taking into consideration latest trends in sports nutrition, Beachbody has really done their homework with the Recovery formula, and price-wise it is comparable to most other products on the market.
This is not a protein shake!
First off, this product is not to be confused with a whey protein shake. The truth is, the importance of any recovery formula is in its carbohydrate composition, and secondarily its protein composition. Therefore, it is especially important to note that this product is not supposed to be consumed throughout the day like a protein shake or meal replacement shake, but ONLY immediately after a workout.
Simple Carbohydrate Blend
The Recovery Formula is made up mostly of dextrose and maltodextrin. Dextrose is chemically the same as a glucose (blood sugar), and maltodextrin is a corn-derivative polysaccharide (multi-molecule sugar). Both have a high glycemic index number, which means they will be absorbed by the body very quickly. The fact that these ingredients are in liquid (powdered) form lead to even faster absorption. This is key in post workout nutrition as your body is ready to take simple carbs and convert them into glycogen (stored carbs) to replace the stores in your muscles which are depleted after a workout. If these stores are left depleted, you will eventually replenish them throughout the day, but if they are left "empty" then you will most likely drag through the rest of your day, or worse get urges to eat a ton later on in the day. Anybody who has ever worked out mid-day and then crashes by mid-afternoon knows this feeling! High-glycemic foods are bad for you almost every time of day EXCEPT right after a workout; the release of insulin, an anabolic hormone, is actually desired after working out anaerobically (i.e. P90X, Insanity, etc.) to replenish glycogen and promote muscle repair and rebuild.
Compared to other recovery drinks that use fructose or sucrose (table sugar) or worse, High Fructose Corn Syrup as their sugar sources, the Beachbody drink's use of dextrose and maltodextrin is preferred. Did you know that until this past year Gatorade used a "fructose-glucose syrup" (read: High Fructose Corn Syrup) as its sugar derivative? Powerade still uses HFCS as it's sugar source.
4:1 Carb to Protein ratio
While clearly the carbs play the most important role in recovery, most sports nutrition experts have come to a consensus that having a 4:1 carb to protein ratio in a recovery event is ideal. Using Whey Protein Concentrate in the Beachbody formula, this ratio is achieved, providing about 40g of simple carbs and 10g of whey protein. Whey protein is one of the most easily absorbable proteins and has an amino acid spectrum conducive to muscle growth. The only thing that is not ideal about this formulation is that it comes from "concentrate" instead of "whey protein isolate" which is a denser source of whey protein. Protein in the diet throughout the day is important to provide the body with amino acids, which are the building blocks of muscle, and controlling blood sugar. Protein in the recovery event may be absorbed for immediate use in muscle repair, and may even help replace the glycogen stores as well.
Vitamin C and l-Glutamine
These two ingredients are known to help reduce cortisol levels post-workout. Cortisol is the "stress" hormone, that is released by the adrenal glands when the body is physically or emotionally undergoing stress. While cortisol is an important chemical response in the body, an excess of cortisol post-workout can lead to a catabolic effect (breaking down) of muscle tissue and increase in storage of fat. I do not know of another recovery drink that includes this much vitamin C (750% daily value) and l-glutamine. Vitamin C may also help combat soreness (truth be told though, expect to be sore your first week of p90x no matter what!). L-glutamine is also considered a "universal" amino acid which can have multiple uses in the body, as it can act like other essential amino acids.
There is a trace amount of creatine in the formula as well, which many people choose to use as a supplement on its own to help with energy during a workout, and recovery. An over simplified description of creatine is that it helps create and utilize ATP as an energy source more efficiently during strenuous activity. When taken before a workout, this can give an energy boost and may help you get more reps, and therefore cause more stress on the muscles. More reps means you increase the build during muscle repair and recovery. When taken after a workout, it can also aid in protein synthesis in the muscles. Creatine may add weight to your body, as your muscles will retain more water (this will also give you a more bulked up look), but the amount in the recovery drink is probably not enough to really affect you in this way. Truth be told, creatine in the recovery event isn't really necessary, but some of the Beachbody trainers encourage you to have a scoop of recovery drink DURING your workout and in that case, having the creatine might be somewhat valuable.
When you check out prices in comparison to other products (here I choose Accelerade), Beachbody's drink is fairly priced, when you take into consideration the serving size. The Beachbody drink is about $49.95 and has 25 servings (60g per serving, or 2 scoops, or 220 Calories). Accelerade by comparison has 60 servings (31g per serving, or 1 scoop, or 120 Calories) and is $52, a reasonable comparison. Endurox is similarly formulated to the Beachbody drink (l-glutamine, dextrose, and Vitamin C included, but no creatine and also contains fructose) and is $59.99 for 28 servings (75g, or 2 scoops, or 270 calories). Beachbody recently changed the formulation of the Recovery drink, which is why it is a little more expensive than it was about a year ago. To learn more about the old vs. new recovery drink, read my blog article.
If taste is a deal breaker for you - you are in luck! Beachbody's drink tastes great, it is a sort of orange smoothie flavor. Many people I have met on the p90x discussion boards like it. The newer formulation does taste a little different than the original formulation, but to my taste buds it isn't worse, just different.
Beachbody's Results and Recovery Formula contains the correct carbohydrate blend, a desirable 4:1 carb to protein ratio, vitamins and supplements to help curb cortisol levels and aid with soreness, and a little bit of creatine to aid in protein synthesis. It is about as well-formulated as, or better formulated than any other product on the market and is comparable in price. Smart post-workout nutrition is essential to see results, and to not crash later in the day, so if you are using a Beachbody product or working out regularly, it is highly recommended to use this drink, or a comparable formula.
Ready to buy? Follow this link! On that page there is a full nutrition label available as well.