Skratch Labs Sport Recovery Drink Mix is an all-natural protein and carbohydrate powder designed to kick-start your recovery process. It's super-easy to stomach, and comes in great tasting flavours. It is quite pricey, though.
Sometimes, after a particularly long or hard ride, you can't really face the idea of downing a recovery shake, which can be overly sweet and bloating. The Skratch mix totally negates this, thanks to its ease on the stomach and pleasant taste.
The mix is available in two flavours: the go-to option of all sports brands, chocolate, and the best friend of most cyclists, coffee. The coffee variant also contains a small dose of caffeine (45mg per serving), which is subtle enough to give your brain the boost it needs after a particularly taxing ride, but not strong enough to cause issues if you're particularly sensitive to caffeine.
I found both flavours great, with a gentle flavour that is neither too subtle nor too strong. I love coffee and so am biased, but am particularly fond of this flavour. It's quite a mild taste that I imagine will suit most palettes, sort of like a very weak latte.
Both flavours sit very easily in the stomach and do not leave you feeling bloated or gassy, as some recovery mixes do. I think this is down to both the subtle flavours and the focus on natural ingredients.
Nutritionally, the natural ingredients in the mix manage to pack a punch, though perhaps not quite as hard a right-hook as I'd like. A 12fl oz/350ml serving – two scoops taken with water – contains 200 calories, a decent 35g carbohydrate and 7g protein. While the carbohydrate content is on par with most recovery mixes, 7g protein is quite small compared with the typical 20-30g in most recovery bars or shakes. This is perhaps excusable though – Skratch points out on its blog that carbohydrate is the key nutrient to replenish after endurance exercise, and the role of protein is more to boost and assist carbohydrate uptake, and so this relatively lack of protein is perhaps justified – depending on what science you believe.
Skratch is a big advocate of fuelling and repairing naturally; many sports products are full of ingredients you've not heard of, whereas Skratch's makeup is a lot more natural. It's also compatible with a range of diets, being non-GMO, gluten-free, vegetarian and kosher.
It also contains added probiotic, which is intended to 'help with absorption of protein as well as lactase which helps with anyone who has issues with milk products or lactose'. I have no special dietary preference, but the focus on whole, clean ingredients can only be a good thing, particularly after a long ride when you might have consumed a lot of overly processed energy food and when your stomach is perhaps a little delicate.
I used the mix after a few short interval sessions and some long rides, and felt strong and recovered the next day. Of course, isolating the good recovery to the effect of the mix, as opposed to other factors such as good sleep, is not possible, but it cannot be excluded from the equation.
The mix comes in large pouches containing 12 servings. This makes a serving work out at around £2.40, which is quite a lot, especially when you consider that you can get a bottle of chocolate milk (an oft-used alternative to recovery shakes) for about £1 from the supermarket, although Torq's recovery drink works out at around £3.33 a serving (£39.99 for a 1.5kg pouch).
I'd say the Skratch recovery mix is worth the money for the quality of the product and its ingredients, and the excellent taste.
A great tasting energy drink that sits well on the stomach and seems to do the job
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Skratch Labs Sport Recovery Drink Mix
Size tested: 600g
Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Skratch Labs says, "Sport Recovery Drink Mix is a new and improved version of our original Endurance Recovery Drink Mix. We improved the recipe by adding a probiotic to help with absorption of protein as well as lactase which helps with anyone who has issues with milk products or lactose. It was created for people who need to refuel with a great tasting recovery drink free of excess ingredients. Next to a freshly cooked meal, this is the best way we know how to nurture you after your toughest workouts.
Sport Recovery Mix is a high calorie food that you can drink. It's designed to be a very convenient way for you to consume a lot of delicious calories with an optimal ratio of carbohydrate, protein, fat, and salt to refuel and rehydrate you immediately after your longest and hardest workouts when you don't have access to a freshly prepared meal from scratch. It takes away your hunger and gets the recovery process going when you need it the most. Read more about the science behind the product here.
Coffee Sport Recovery Mix contains 45 mg of caffeine per 50g (12 fl oz prepared) serving - about half of what a typical 8 fl oz cup of coffee contains.
Non-GMO + gluten free + vegetarian + kosher + delicious.
1 billion active cultures per serving. BC30 supports an overall healthy digestive system, healthy immune system, and enhances protein utilization. Not all probiotic strains are the same - BC30 delivers live cells 10 times more effectively than common probiotic yogurts.
Our Sport Recovery Mix is intended for use immediately after exercise, especially when that bout of exercise leaves you feeling hungry, when you don't have a meal made from scratch readily available, and when you want to fast track the recovery process.
Because our Sport Recovery Mix is a whole food product made with only real natural ingredients, you can also use it when your metabolism is on the fast track and you're so hungry that you're being a menace to yourself and others.
To prepare simply add one serving (2 scoops or one packet) to enough water to make 12fl oz and shake (don't stir)."
Although it's hard to quantify the impact of recovery products, I felt refreshed and recovered the day after some longer rides having used this mix. Of course, this could also be due to other factors, such as sleep and general health.
The large pouches that I tested contain 12 servings, making each serving around £2.40. This is similar to many other products on the market, and cheaper than Torq. I'd say it's worth the price given the quality of the product.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
As I've said, it's hard to quantify the impact of recovery products, but I felt refreshed and recovered the day after some longer rides.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The flavours are excellent, and not too sweet. The drink is easy to stomach after a long ride when you may be a bit sick of overly sweet flavours, or feeling bloated from gels and energy drink.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes – particularly the coffee flavour.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
The Skratch recovery mix is a refreshing change from the typically overly-sweet and artificial alternatives on the market. I like the flavours and it's really easy to drink. Although I do not have a special diet, the focus on whole foods and non GM ingredients is a real plus, as some sports nutrition can be a little terrifyingly artificial. Overall, though it's hard to quantify its effectiveness, it seems to work, tastes good and goes down well – so I'm giving it an 8.
About the tester
I usually ride: Giant TCR / Cannondale Supersix My best bike is: Giant TCR
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding