Serving Size Recommendations for a Recovery Drink

Mike's Mix Best Of Mike's Mix, Sports Nutrition 22 Comments

The composition of Mike’s Mix Recovery Drink is the optimal blend of nutrients to facilitate every athlete’s recovery from strenuous exercise.  However, like all aspects of nutrition, the amount of post-workout supplementation should be unique and customized for each individual.  A universal serving size is not appropriate for a population who differ in size, gender, athletic activity, duration, as well as long-term fitness goals. Those seeking weight loss and toning have different nutritional considerations than those working to reduce their Ironman time. Unfortunately, only a limited space is available on the Mike’s Mix Recovery Drink label, therefore I present the following article for more specific serving size recommendations. 

Click here for serving size chart

If you critically compare recovery drinks you may notice that quality products have similar compositions.  However, recommended serving size for these same products varies considerably; from 90 to 900 calories per serving.  This variance reflects the diversity of athletes purchasing recovery drinks.  Low calorie drinks appeal to those counting calories (formulas are almost always calorically equivalent but serving size is adjusted to give the illusion of being low calorie), whereas bulk formulas appeal to young weight-lifters or football players attempting to pack on pounds.  Although the macro-nutrient requirements to restore energy reserves and repair muscle tissue amongst athletes is universal, the optimal quantity of nutrients varies according to activity, duration of activity and personal goals.  It is useful then to distinguish two broad categories of athletes when discussing serving size:

  1.  Strength training / general fitness athletes who work out intensely where duration of workouts is typically one hour or less
  2. Endurance athletes whose workouts tend to be over an hour. 

Strength Training / General Fitness / Bodybuilding 

In general I would recommend a smaller serving size for shorter duration strength training workouts.  A major consideration for strength training athletes is to minimize muscle protein catabolism (breakdown) while promoting muscle anabolism (building).  Nutritional intervention can cause an elevated blood insulin level which both reduces muscle catabolism and stimulates muscle protein synthesis.¹

A pre-workout meal is critical to keep insulin levels elevated during a workout to reduce muscle catabolism.  A small meal of whole foods with both carbohydrate and protein is sufficient to keep insulin levels elevated throughout a workout.  The urgency for immediate post-workout nutrition is reduced for shorter workouts in the presence of a pre-workout meal because active digestion continues even after a workout has ended.  A post-workout meal of both high-quality protein and carbohydrate (Mike’s Mix Recovery Drink) will provide amino acids as substrate for muscle synthesis and keep insulin levels elevated to help stimulate this process.

How much is needed though?

One study found that a small amount of whey protein (10 grams) and carbohydrate was sufficient to significantly stimulate muscle protein synthesis.²   Therefore, I would suggest this equivalent of Mike’s Mix (10 grams of protein in a 50 grams serving) as the minimum for total calories in a post-workout meal.  However, following consumption of Mike’s Mix I would strongly suggest a meal of whole food after 1 to 2 hours.  This will keep insulin levels elevated and a steady flow of amino acids available for muscle synthesis.

One factor that is often overlooked when discussing nutrition for strength athletes is the role of glycogen (stored muscle and liver carbohydrate) on performance and the need to maximize its storage to get the most from training.  Power output increases significantly when maintaining maximum glycogen storage³ and high glycogen levels are correlated with positive mental attitude and avoidance of over training.(4Mike’s Mix is designed to promote rapid glycogen synthesis immediately following exercise.  In short, the strength athlete that is mindful of consuming adequate carbohydrate to keep glycogen levels high will have higher quality, more powerful workouts. 

Endurance / Ultra-endurance

Endurance and ulta-endurance athletes seek to recover energy stores quickly and be physically prepared for frequent workouts.  Post-workout, these athletes’ glycogen supplies are reduced to almost nothing, their blood sugar is low and their stomachs are empty. Their most relevant consideration for recovery is replenishing lost glycogen stores and rehydration.  For the past 30 years countless studies have examined the ideal administration, composition, and dosage involving post-workout nutrition to accomplish maximizing glycogen stores.  Ivy and colleagues examined ideal dosage of high-glycemic carbohydrates in their classic study from 1988.  What they discovered was that consuming 1.5 grams of carbohydrate per kilogram body weight immediately after exhaustive exercise (2 hours of cycling) and again 2 hours post-workout maximized glycogen restoration. (5) To put this in perspective, I am a 75 kilogram athlete and would require a 450 calorie serving immediately after exercise and another 450 calorie serving 2 hours later.  However, numerous recent studies have found that the addition of protein to carbohydrate in post-workout nutrition further increases the rate of glycogen restoration and lowers the amount of carbohydrate needed to maximize resynthesis. (6) Several studies have now confirmed that a carbohydrate protein supplement is most effective when consumed at 1.2 to 1.5 grams x kg x h. (7) For a 75 kilogram athlete, this is between 360 and 450 calories per hour.  The serving size recommendation on the Mike’s Mix label is a 382 calorie serving which would be optimal for a small to average sized athlete (most male and female endurance athletes).

Weight Loss / Toning 

Another group seeking a quality recovery drink are those primarily concerned with weight loss or body toning.  The P90X and similar workout plans have become increasingly popular and many followers of these programs have turned to Mike’s Mix to aid them in recovery from moderate duration (about an hour) intense workouts. Those seeking weight loss from exercise are often faced with a quandary regarding weight loss and sports nutrition.  By nature, a recovery drink is filled with calories, which are something that most people seeking weight loss try to avoid (if your recovery drink claims to be low-calorie throw it away, it’s a gimmick).  However, your body cannot recover from exercise without sufficient consumption of macro-nutrients (calories).  On the flip side, moderate caloric reduction while maintaining good nutrition is a powerful and effective means to weight loss.  It is important to remember that drastic caloric reduction can have adverse effects on long-term weight loss efforts. (8) Furthermore, the research available on recovery drinks has focused on enhancing post-exercise nutritional status which does not necessarily align itself with other nutritional considerations such as weight loss.  Therefore, it is necessary to find a balance between consuming sufficient calories to facilitate recovery while reducing daily caloric intake with little research to go on. On the bright side, it is very difficult to store fat immediately after exercise.  Your muscles are in a unique metabolic state following an intense workout and the macro-nutrients consumed (even in fairly large quantities) are rushed to muscle (and other organ) cells for immediate use. Pay more attention to your calories outside of your post-workout meal and don’t short change yourself on the most important meal for recovery.

One thing to keep in mind while dieting, or trying to put on muscle, is that total calories consumed at the end of the day will determine whether you are losing or gaining weight.  Keep track of daily caloric intake and figure in enough quality food, including your post-workout nutrition, to maintain health and energy and you will be on your way towards success. In the chart below I have made specific recommendations based on workout type, weight and gender for weight loss, which is approximately 20% less than my recommendation for other athletes.  This reduction in calories should not significantly reduce the effectiveness of the recovery drink, but still fit into a healthy diet with moderate calorie reduction.  If you are having trouble recovering and always seem to be tired take in more calories daily.

Serving Size Chart


Female Male <170 lbs Male >170 lbs
Weight Loss 2 level scoops (50 g) = 191 calories 2 level scoops (50 g) = 191 calories 2 level scoops (50 g) = 191 calories
Muscle Gain 3 level scoops (75 g) = 287 calories 3 large scoops (90 g) = 345 calories 3 overflowing scoops (100 g) = 382 cals
Recovery 2 large scoops (60 g) = 230 calories 3 level scoops (75 g) = 287 calories 3 large scoops (90 g) = 345 calories

Female Male < 170 lbs Male > 170 lbs
Weight Loss 2 large scoops (60 g) = 230 calories 2 large scoops (60 g) = 230 calories 2 large scoops (60 g) = 230 calories
Muscle Gain 3 large scoops (90 g) = 345 calories 3 overflowing scoops (100 g) = 382 cals 3 overflowing scoops (100 g) = 382 cals
Recovery 3 level scoops (75 g) = 287 calories 3 level scoops (75 g) = 287 calories 3 overflowing scoops (100 g) = 382 cals

Female Male < 170 lbs Male > 170 lbs
Weight Loss 3 large scoops (90 g) = 345 calories 3 overflowing scoops (100 g) = 382 cals 3 overflowing scoops (100 g) = 382 cals
Muscle Gain 3 overflowing scoops (100 g) = 382 cals 3 overflowing scoops (100 g) = 382 cals 3 overflowing scoops (100 g) = 382 cals
Recovery 3 overflowing scoops (100 g) = 382 cals 3 overflowing scoops (100 g) = 382 cals 3 overflowing scoops (100 g) = 382 cals







22 Responses to Serving Size Recommendations for a Recovery Drink

  1. Mark

    Is it OK to drink the mix while I workout? Then also immediately after the workout?

    • Mike

      Yes, the mix will work well for a sports drink during your workout. However, it should be mixed at a lesser concentration. I wrote an article on the subject for you to referrence for specifics on concentration and amounts:

  2. Jai

    Thanks for all your information. This is so helpful and nice to have. I love the recovery drink. It’s an awesome price. I just started using it and i hope to see some gains in the next few months.

  3. Gerald Feigin

    I am 56 ride my bike 2-3 hours and wish to avoid post ride muscle soreness. I ride at a moderate, non-competitive speed somewhat faster than casual. How much of your mix would you recommend afetr I ride?

    • Mike

      If your goal is to avoid post-muscle soreness, I recommend drinking at least a quart of water and additionally slowly sipping a full 100 gram serving of Mike’s Mix. Also, do a little walking after your ride, avoid sitting for about an hour to keep blood flowing in your legs.

  4. Scott

    Hi Mike,

    Maybe I’m just overlooking it but I can’t find the number of servings in a 4lb jar. I also read somewhere that the entire jar must be used within two weeks or it can go rancid. Can you also address that concern?

    Male 140lbs taking mainly for recovery and muscle gain.


  5. Chris Holmes

    how big is a scoop, is it like a teaspoon. I brought the big bag and i didn’t get a scoop, so i need to know

  6. Kyle

    I typically work out after work before dinner and typically attend a 45 minute to 1 hour group exercise class including spinning, boot camp, body pump, and step. I usually eat a banana about 10 minutes before I start working out, and have recently been taking a relatively small protein shake right after. I’ve been reading a lot about recovery and decided to order your product today!

    Anyway, once I leave the gym, I go straight home and prepare dinner. Depending on what I’m having, I might start eating anytime between 30 minutes to an hour and a half after I’ve finished the workout. Currently my goal is weight loss/tone, but once I get to an ideal weight, I would be using the drink for recovery, maintenance, and increased performance. Because of the proximity to dinner, would you recommend an even smaller serving size than what you have listed above?

    • Mike

      Good question. To answer it there are two things we must keep in mind. First, you must consume sufficient calories to allow for proper recovery and second, you must keep your total daily calories low enough to allow for weight loss. In the scenario you described, my recommendation for you would be to take at least a two scoop serving (191 calories) after exercise, regardless of when you will be eating dinner. If necessary, make adjustments to your eating to assure that your daily calories agree with your goal amount of weight loss/maintenance.

      Although losing weight is a daunting task (and every person on the planet has an opinion on the best way to go about accomplishing this) there remains one indisputable fact: to lose weight you must consume fewer calories than you are using in a day. So every successful diet, independent of how often you are eating or what your calories consist of, will reduce your daily caloric intake below total energy expenditure. A calorie journal is the best way to determine how many calories you are consuming daily. Without this, you are just guessing. Trust me, the journal is worth the extra work. Use your journal to make adjustments to your daily caloric intake so that you are losing around half a pound of body-fat a week.

      I have trained clients seeking weight loss for 15 years and in that time I have developed a rule of thumb for determining how to balance recovery nutrition with calorie consumption and weight loss. For every half hour of sustained moderate to intense exercise consume an extra 150 to 200 calories (female and male respectively). Seeing you are burning more than twice as many calories from exercise you will still have a negative calorie balance. It makes sense to consume these calories within an hour or two after exercise when your body can best take advantage of repairing and refueling. If you do this there is a much better chance that your blood sugar won’t drop to a point where you become ravenous a few hours later.

      So yes, take your recovery drink and eat dinner. All of my clients have been able to consistently lose body-fat while eating between 1500 to 1800 calories for females and 1800 to 2100 calories for males (everyone is a little different) a day on a non-training day, then adding additional calories, using the formula above, on days with exercise. As an example, you might consume 1900 calories a day on a non-exercise day. On a day with an hour of consistent exercise you should be consuming around 2300 calories. Hope this helps, if you have any more questions please don’t hesitate to ask.

  7. liz

    Thank-you for your prompt response. This article did help me with my concern about how many scoops to use of your recovery drink..I really appreciate it. It is very nice of you to take the time to answer our questions. No wonder you have very good reviews on-line. Thanks again.. And I will keep buying your Chocolate Flavor Drink it is Deliscious. High Five……

  8. amanda

    Is there any way to calculate the above serving size suggestions based on calories burned during a workout? For me, biking for 1.5 hours burns significantly less calories than jogging for 1.5 hours since they are performed at different intensity levels. I track calories burned with a heart-rate monitor that is pretty accurate. I would be interested to see a formula for how many calories one should consume in a recovery drink to aid weight loss, muscle gain, or recovery based on how many calories are burned during the activity proceeding the recovery drink.

    • Mike

      Your serving of Mike’s Mix is not designed to replace all the calories consumed from exercise. Depending on body size, intensity of workout, duration, gender, age, efficiency, etc amount of calories consumed from a workout vary endlessly. However, you can assume that a steady, fairly intense workout will burn anywhere from 500 to 1000 calories an hour and the largest serving size of Mike’s Mix that I recommend in 386 calories, so Mike’s Mix alone will not restore the caloric deficit from a workout. The above suggested serving sizes were determined in consideration of recovery, with an emphasis on reducing the serving size from that on the label to assist those trying to lose weight. Whether you are trying to lose weight or gain it (add muscle) your total daily marcronutrient intake (calories) will determine whether you are progressing towards your chosen goal. Although Mike’s Mix contributes to this daily total it is really just a small part of a day worth of eating. In other words, it really doesn’t matter if you take in 1000 calories or 200 calories of Mike’s Mix after you workout as long as it fits into your daily caloric eating goal for either weight loss or gain. Obviously it is easier to keep your daily caloric intake down if individual meals are smaller, so to assist people towards this goal (a lot of my customers are trying to lose weight) I determined minimal serving sizes based on gender, weight, and intensity to bolster recovery.

  9. Gary

    Hi Mike. I am currently doing the Insanity program by Beachbody. I wake up about 6:30 am and my workout usually starts about 7:30 am. My energy levels are really falling off by the end of my workout. This is because I am exercising on an empty stomach. Some fitness sites I have visited recommend eating half of a banana or two tablespoons of peanut butter to give my body the energy it needs to complete the workout. Unfortunately, by the time I send my wife and daughter on their way it is 7:20 am. Most fitness websites recommend to wait at least one hour after eating a small meal before exercising. My schedule does not allow me to wait one hour after eating. Can I drink a small serving of Mikes Mix to fuel my workout?



    • Mike

      Hello Gary,

      The wait one hour after eating before you exercise recommendation is an oral tradition passed down through the generations and most often applied to swimming. The only ramifications of eating before a vigorous workout is abdominal distress or at worse vomiting. Obviously, vomiting and swimming can make a dangerous combination. However, what you eat, how much you eat, and when you eat before a workout should be dependent on what your tolerance is to a full belly during a workout. My recommendation is to eat a smaller breakfast immediately before your workout and if you find your stomach can handle it gradually increase to your normal size meal. I suggest taking in a whole food meal consisting of carbohydrate and protein. My standard is a large bowl of oatmeal with either eggs or a protein powder.

      I would advise not relying on Mike’s Mix to fuel your workout. The formula is designed for post-workout nutrition which is very specific to the metabolic conditions after intense exercise.

      Take Care,

  10. Aaez

    Hey Mike! I just ordered your chocolate recovery shake and I was wondering how much I should consume after exercise. For workouts above 2 hours the chart recommends 3 heaping scoops for males, but I only weigh 118lbs, so should I consume less? Will having 2 scoops be enough for me? Or should I just take the full 100gram serving? I am trying to lose a little weight, so I do not want to be consuming excess calories. I’m not sure if it matters, but I am 16 years old.

    P.S. My main(and only) type of exercise is cycling. My usual weekday rides are around 1 hour 30 minutes and my weekend rides are any where from 3-7 hours.


    • Mike

      Thanks for choosing Mike’s Mix. For your shorter rides you will probably do fine with a smaller serving. However, total daily carbohydrate intake should be kept in consideration for an up and coming rider like yourself. If you want to learn more take a look at this: Pay particular attention to table 2, which breaks down general recommendations for carb intake both post-workout and daily based on body mass.

      Hope this helps. If you have any more questions please don’t hesitate to ask. Ride on!

  11. Jeff

    If I was to have a serving of 3 level scoops(75 grams) of the chocolate mix, how much water should I add for the best taste and consistency? I am gearing up to do p90x starting in June and I just purchased 2 of the 8 pound bags(should be enough for the duration of p90x if my calculations are correct) of the chocolate mix after reading many glowing reviews.

    • Mike

      The amount of liquid added to your mix is completely dependent on personal preference. The less water, milk, or juice you add to your mix the richer the flavor. I prefer my chocolate Mike’s Mix relatively rich. I add about a cup and a half of water, but I know many other customers use 2 or more cups. Let us know what you prefer after you mix a couple up.

  12. Bryan

    I do a P90x type workout first thing in am. I usually don’t have time to fit in a meal prior to my workout. I notice that I am very fatigued during the day. I am in pretty good shape otherwise. How should I use your recovery drink optimized to my schedule? I am 170lbs. Thanks!


    • Mike

      Hello Bryan,

      As long as you feel energetic during your workout I wouldn’t worry too much about eating before it. Take the Recovery Drink immediately after the workout. Take 2 or 3 scoops depending on the duration of your workout and then try to eat a moderate sized meal an hour or two after finishing the recovery drink. With this eating schedule I will bet your energy will improve significantly during the day.


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