As I mentioned in a previous post, my wife took off for a few weeks for a work trip. I took this opportunity to really ramp up training. I did quite a few longer rides and bricks and hit 18-20 hours per week the last three weeks. A lot of my training is done away from home so I started looking for something convenient to consume in the hour or so between workout and getting home to eat. I am typically a fan of whole foods, but I just wasn't finding something that I could easily bring with me and have right when the workout was over (I just can't drink chocolate milk after a hard workout!).
I wanted something that I could just keep in my gym locker to make for right after a workout when I wasn't right next to the fridge. This prevents me from stopping at one of those lovely fast-food establishments on the way home! I ended up getting some Gu Recovery Brew from Trisports for about 30 bucks (http://www.trisports.com/gu-recoverybrew.html). I figured $2 per serving is well worth the convenience. Here are my thoughts after two weeks of use.
Taste: Obviously this is somewhat important. With all of the "recovery" drinks out there now, if one doesn't taste good, I'll go to another. Actually, the Strawberry-watermelon flavor was the main reason I went with this. I typically crave something sweet right after a workout, and it sounded like this would hit the spot. I was not disappointed. The brew was just sweet enough to curb the craving and didn't leave a bad taste or cotton mouth after words. It also wasn't grainy like a lot of the drinks with protein in it.
Effectiveness: It doesn't matter how good something tastes if it doesn't do the trick (at least for me). Of course, this is all anecdotal thoughts, I didn't do any blinded studies. However, I often struggle with cramps (usually in my big toe) when I first go to bed after days with long or tough workouts. I never had any cramping the evenings I took the Recovery Brew. That was the most important thing to me as it prevents me from falling asleep right away. I don't know that I felt "better" the next day or not. Since I was hitting higher volumes than I previously had, DOMS was still working against me.
Overall: I do not have any evidence to support whether it made me be able to perform longer or at a higher intensity. I'll leave that to the researchers at GU! I decided to go with this particular drink because I think Gu is a reputable company, I appreciate the research that goes into their products, and they seem to have figured out how to make training and recovery nutrition taste better than most others. I know a little bit about nutrition to say the least, and the blend of simple/complex carbs and protein is spot on with current recommendations. I am sure I will venture out to see if I find anything I like better, but I am very pleased with the first recovery drink I have tried.