The other day I was chatting with a friend talking about recovery drinks. I’ve been on a chocolate milk kick for a while now – as I’ve previously gone in depth on. Given it’s been proven to be just as effective as more expensive drinks, and chocolate awesome – it seems like a no brainer.
Regarding recovery drinks in short; it’s important to properly refuel yourself immediately after a workout – in particular during the initial first 15 minutes upon finishing a workout. Marketing-wise these are known as recovery drinks/foods. Note that Soda and French fries typically do not fall into such a category…
We were starting to wonder and do mental math – is chocolate milk actually cheaper? The reason for this is when you think about it, with a powder drink like Endurox (the most popular recovery drink) – you’re combining it with water – which is effectively free. Whereas with chocolate milk, you’ve got the milk…which isn’t so free. Would it still be cheaper if you factored in the milk?
Well…I decided to figure it out.
Chocolate Milk Cost Analysis:
First up is the cost of the Chocolate Syrup. There’s two options here – Costco and everything else. Costco cost me $5.29 for those two massive 48oz containers. The grocery store has 24oz bottles for $3.00. But, I like Costco as it gives me an excuse to go eat free samples, so we’ll use that as our cost basis.
So – item #1 – cost of chocolate bottle at Costco: $2.50 per 48oz
Now, comes the question of how much chocolate syrup is per ‘serving’. Because I have 16oz glasses, I’ve decided to use that as my serving size for both Endurox and Chocolate Milk – so everything would scale appropriately. According to the back of the chocolate bottle, this means four tablespoons. But that’s a lot of chocolate. So I’m going to use two. Now, before you say “You’re skewing the result!”, read on. Really…it won’t matter cost wise (although technically would nutrition wise).
Since the syrup says 35 servings, this means that each bottle would give me 35 glasses of chocolate milk.
Thus…the cost per 16oz glass is for syrup: $2.50/35= 7.4 cents.*
Now…onto the cost of the milk.
A typical gallon of milk costs $3.50 when not on sale. And each gallon is 128 ounces, and therefore creates 8 servings of 16oz each.
Thus…the cost per 16oz glass is: $3.50/8= 43.75 cents.
Finally…the total cost per glass of chocolate milk is: 51.15 cents. or… $.51/glass.
*Note, if you want more chocolate to fulfill the ‘recommended’ 4 tablespoons, add another 7.4 cents. 😉 Thus 58.55 cents per glass.
Endurox cost Analysis:
I shopped around a bit online and found the cheapest price I could. Which, was $44.95 for a 4.56 pound tub of Endurox. This contained 28 servings. Each recommended serving is two scoops that go into 12oz of water. Obviously you can add more water if you want to get 16oz, or less if you want it thicker. But since water is free, it’s sorta a moot point.
Luckily the math here is simple. To determine the price per serving we take the cost and divide it by 28. Thus… $44.95/28 = $1.60
Thus, the cost per glass of Endurox is $1.60 per 12-16oz (recommended portion).
In case it isn’t clear already who won… I’ll make a little graph that shows the two costs:
Cost per glass of Chocolate Milk:
1) Chocolate Syrup: 7.4 cents
2) Milk: 43.75 cents
3) Total Cost per serving: $0.51
Cost per glass of Endurox:
1) Endurox Powder: $1.60
2) Water: Free
3) Total cost per serving: $1.60
So there you have it. Now, the most important thing is taste. And since I think Endurox tastes akin to Camel Piss*, and Chocolate Milk tastes awesome…it’s a winner regardless of cost. 🙂 But the fact that Endurox is 3 times more expensive than Chocolate Milk means by switching to Chocolate Milk you’re giving yourself a small Economic Stimulus package.
*Note, I don’t know what Camel Piss tastes like, but I do know what it smells like…and it smells like Endurox. Thereby I can only assume they taste the same.
**Secondary note: It’s already been scientifically proven that Endurox and Chocolate Milk have the same benefits for recovery (actually more benefits), so I avoided that whole topic – but did cover it a while back.
Haha, I was going to ask you how you knew what camel piss tastes like! Hmm, so chocolate milk it is!
Uhm, but you get some added value out of drinking something green. well, maybe on St Patrick’s day.
If you like something green for St Paddys day checkout this awesome Shamrock Shake flavor protein from Trutein link to supplementwarehouse.com
Excellent analysis! Tons of high school coaches are pushing the chocolate milk these days as recovery drinks for athletes. Very interesting!
But I can’t do chocolate! (She whines.) Is there such a thing as vanilla syrup? If there were, do you think it would have the same recovery benefits as chocolate? Man, this recovery drink thing could be so simple if only. But thanks for the cost comparison. What’s your take on recovery meals in the couple of hours after a hard workout? Do you do anything special/different or do you just make sure to eat?
Endurox is a conundrum. First it begins as a white powder, but when you add water turns into it’s given color. Fruit Punch = Red, Berry = Blue, Lemonade = Yellow. Secondly, it does smell like Camel Piss*, but it tastes good.
* I don’t know the smell or taste of camel piss, but I would guess it’s akin to horse piss, which I am familiar with.
Sometimes I change it up and use the Nesquik chocolate powder. Of course, nothing is better than just opening wide and squeezing the chocolate syrup bottle. Mmmm…
To the person that doesn’t like chocolate, the chocolate syrup is arbitrary in the milk. The whole chocolate milk recovery drink is a play on the carb to protein ratio for a recovery drink. So if you don’t like chocolate simply replace that with plain sugar or any other glucose solution to keep the carb/protein ration which is close to 4:1.
You forgot to compare beer, too.
If you had our water bill you wouldn’t say water was free, either….
Nice work, though!
Nice analysis but the color alone would sway me to drink chocolate milk.
I LOVE chocolate milk after hard workouts. Thanks for providing even more evidence that it’s my best choice 🙂
milk …any day of the week!!!
thats my vote and I’m sticking to it…
I have also tried the Endurox vanilla and chocolate mixed with milk, and chocolate milk still tastes much, much better.
Now if only I could drink milk and have chocolate…I guess my wallet is going to be slim.
I also try to recover with real food and drinks. I’ve never had Endurox, and the fact that it smells like camel piss makes me never want to try it!
The cost difference is certainly much better, but I have to disagree with what you said about the taste. The only flavor of Endurox I have had was Fruit Punch, but that it AMAZING! I have tried about 7-8 different recovery drinks, and the Endurox has the best taste and the best results.
To be fair, I don’t like milk and don’t drink it at all, otherwise it may be more appealing to me. Also, to agree with Mike, my coach for football does push milk as a better option than protein mixes.
I have yet to try the chocolate milk. My fiance swears by it, he used to make milkshakes, cleaning the blender got too annoying though.
This is awesome! Thanks for justifying my Ovaltime-after-workout habit 🙂
I tried this using the 50% light syrup and moded it with an added scoop of chocolate protein powder. It was actually very tasty. Great idea!
Thank you for confirming for me EVEN more that chocolate milk is the WAY to go!! I still have about 1/2 a tub of Enduroxx but I’ve been going for the choco milk afterward instead. After how many years of Enduroxx…I have really come to loathe the taste. It IS SO NASTY.
What if I squeeze chocolate syrup into my mouth for about a 10 count, and wash it down with milk.
I also maintain that Coke and donuts are good recovery food.
Mmmm…chocolate. So glad to read this post, now I know.
I wish I liked milk and it didn’t do nasty things to my GI system. I’m lazy about refueling after workouts and often skip eating altogether until it’s convenient, which is often too late. This needs to change…
yay chocolate milk!! now, i wonder what happens to the various formulae if you sub in soymilk…
Great analysis as always, two question/comments: I thought the “choc milk” thing referred to premixed and I wonder where Soy Milk fits in?
If you have problems tolerating cow’s milk it’s getting easier and easier to find 1% goat’s milk out there. I buy it here in FL at my neighborhood Publix. It’s definitely pricier than cow’s milk but I think it would still work out to be cheaper. It’s also a required taste as it has a bit of a “goat-y” flavor but I’ve become a fan. And as a bonus if it’s goat it cuts down a lot on roommates, family members, etc. using it up!
You know, that’s awful funny. I’ve been drinking a glass o’ milk after my long bike rides lately, because it felt like the right thing to do. I didn’t realize it really was the right thing to do. 😀
Tap water in NJ maybe free but I wouldn’t drink it. Nasty stuff.
So you may want to factor in paying for the water too.
The price is much cheaper now for a 28 serving tub of Endurox R4. $19.99
Check here link to supplementwarehouse.com!
Endurox R4 fruit punch is really not as bad as most if not all the others plus it’s amazing,really works. Don’t get me wrong I love chocolate milk (haven’t used it as a recovery drink yet) it’s just a matter of portability, can’t keep milk in a car in Houston TX. If you’ve been here, you’d know
Given that estimated 30 percent of the world’s population is lactose intolerant, drinking large amount of milk for recovery is probably good for some but not the best for others.
Ideally I try to avoid dairy, but if I do ‘cheat’ on that it WILL be by using chocolate milk as a recovery drink. make sure you get the four parts carb to one part protein ratio — whether measuring by calories or grams, same deal. mixing your own chocolate milk can save money, but getting the 4:1 ratio right might be elusive. and low or no fat is key, as fat will slow the absorption, making for less effective recovery. for me, the issue comes down to convenience: sometimes after a workout I don’t go home immediately, maybe not for hours, so carrying two scoops of endurox (and adding water when needed) might be a lot more convenient.
thing is, unless you are an endurance athlete doing well over an hour of stressful work, a recovery drink might be completely superfluous. and if you ARE doing well over an hour of hard work at a stretch, why? even marathoners are doing more, shorter workouts with interval training instead of interminable cardio death-slog…
I don’t know whether it will affect your calculations but there is 64 oz in a gallon and not 128.
‘A typical gallon of milk costs $3.50 when not on sale. And each gallon is 128 ounces, and therefore creates 8 servings of 16oz each.’
I’m an idiot please ignore my last post re: gallon – it is 128 oz.
I don’t know what I was thinking.
I usually buy HL Chocolate Milk or Daisy Chocolate milk directly from the supermarket. Provides some other nutrients as well. But maybe I should look deeper into low fat milk and hersey choco syrup as an alternative. I find the cost quite high for chocolate milk though they are priced the same as plain milk.
How much chocolate milk do you normaly drink after a workout? Do you drink more after long runs, vs tempo or track work outs?
Mostly just after longer/harder efforts – more than 75 minutes. Or occasionally just when I feel like it…like tonight. 😉
Thank’s for bringing this one back up. Chocolate milk has some problems that R4 doesn’t induce.
1.) Milk curdles in the stomach, which may cause an increased digestive time.
2.) The fat in the milk makes the body work harder to digest. Even non-fat milk has up to .5% fat.
While it is cheaper, you may be cheating yourself out of fully using what the chocolate milk has to offer, especially if you are shooting for that all important post-workout refueling window.
I prefer a little more protein in my post workout recovery drink then this recipe advocates
Thanks for the redirect to an older post. With the dessert talents of “the Girl” at hand, have you experimented with homemade chocolate syrup? I have no idea about performance, but is sure is yummy.
This may have already been posted but I’m too lazy to go back and check. It’s actually cheaper than your original equation. Why buy milk and chocolate syrup? Just buy organic chocolate milk.
This is a fun post.
BUT cows milk is bad for humans and you’d need chocolate that was more expensive and not sold at Costco to get rid of additives and corporate sugars like HFCS.
Additive-wise Endurox even less natural, therefore less healthful. Some dried apricots, nuts, and lemon juice infused water is a much more healthful post workout snack.
Also, from the comments, a lot of people seem conditioned to accept America’s food pyramid as gospel. Get an education on what you are doing to your bodies!
Don’t like dairy, have a bit of an allergy to it. After trying several manufactured post-ride recovery drinks, I have found that Silk Dark Chocolate Almond Milk works well. Even tastes better than cow’s milk in mho. I get it at Publix in Florida, but I have seen Chocolate Almond Milk at Costco. Cost is about $3.50/half-gallon, so it is a little more expensive. 16 oz. provides about 240 calories. Try it, you’ll like it.
The requirements for before ,during and after a work out can and is different from person to person . However there are some basic guide lines and one can dial in their personal requirements from there.
If you sweat a lot and the duration of your workout is longer then 1 hr ,you must ensure your intake is adequate.I started to include sea salt and no more cramps,lower HR and better recovery times. I check my resting pulse first thing in the morning after and if a bit high then the next days work out is a recovery ride ,it used to be called long slow distance (LSD).
What ever works best for recovery is most important ,because with out complete recovery you are not able to improve ,if that is your goal.
I will give the milk thing a try , but must admit the Endurox has been the drink of choice albeit more expense.
UK reader here. I can’t put this delicately, so here goes – over here we tend to think anything made by Hersheys and labelled “chocolate” actually tastes like vomit. Literally. Sorry, but that’s just how it is.
link to nitecloak.wordpress.com
Is Nesquik (which doesn’t), as good ?
(Sorry for offending anyone by dissing a national institution. Feel free to have a go at warm beer if you wish.)
This is the truth – I recently had the misfortune to be given a bag of Hershey’s Kisses by a client and tried one while stood in front of them. I’m not sure my efforts not to hurl went entirely unnoticed… Still, milk and golden syrup or treacle might do the trick!
Did nobody see Endurox R4’s vitamin E and C concentrations? Vitamin E and C are beneficial anti-oxidants to neutralize free radicals that damage muscle tissue. If you’re going to compare Milk and R4 correctly, you need to add some dissolving C and E vitamins.
-Proud Endurox user since 1997.
Nothing here said which was the best recovery drink. Also I came across this when I was looking for more RX. I don’t know if this is the right thing to do, I mix milk with RX instead of water.
The whole idea is to consume a 4 to 1 ratio of carbs to protein. For the person not liking chocolate, as someone previously posted, use any carb source to achieve the proper ratio. It really has nothing to do with CHOCOLATE per se. The Endurox does offer excellent anti-oxidant amounts as Tim Johnson states. If you otherwise consume pills to achieve those amounts you have to calibrate that co$t into the comparison. Bob McBride, mixing RX4 with water does not achieve the ratio of 4 to 1 which is proven to be the best ratio to refuel your body, within 15 minutes. I do love chocolate milk and use it often when away from home and I didn’t have the forethought of packing powder. THEN the cost basis is substantially increased when one purchases Chocolate Milk(high fructose corn syrup free) at a store.
I am new to reading your Rainmaker sight and appreciate all of the insight you put forth. I was directed here when looking to upgrading/changing my GPS/HRM watch. I think I am sticking with my Timex Global “CLOCK”, although I like the info on the other ANT+ devices compatibility.
Long time EnduroxRX4 and especially Ciwujia(Excel) user. Any future review of ‘shrooms for endurance athletes? Since you have the corporate ear maybe one of the suppliers/producers would pony up for a before/after blood draw and analysis in re their cordyceps!
A glass of low-fat milk and a banana.
Hey there, new to your site, but have fallen in love with it quickly. Side note on this article, it is a good idea to think about the quality of foods your consuming as well. The chocolate syrup is filled with HFCS ( corn syrup ) and is not great for you. Make your own with some honey, coco powder, and salt for even more healthy option, but more expensive. Or just go with honey and milk option, add a banana and your doing awesome. All this coming from a fat ass who needs to spend more time on your site and than go for a run.
We can’t drink dairy milk either, so we use soy milk & instead of choc syrup, we use cocoa powder & a tablespoon of honey. This is in 12 oz. of the milk. Tastes awesome & have had results as good as with Endurox.
Here in Cincinnati we have a convenience store chain named United Dairy Farmers and they have Serious Chocolate Milk (1%) in 16 oz. and half gallons. It’s da bomb after a workout!
I don’t drink milk, so Endurox R4 it is. The tangy orange tastes great and it dissolves in cold water. Add ice cubes and it’s great to help cool down.
I’ll drink chocolate milk as long as I can. I use Ovaltine myself. What might keep older folks, besides anyone who is truly lactose intolerant, from drinking this long term is that the human body tends to decrease production of lactase, the enzyme that breaks down lactose, as we get older. When lactose doesn’t get digested, that’s when we get stomach aches.
Chocolate syrup is cheaper if homemade, (plus less additives)
Just made a batch.
Equal measure of water and granulated sugar, boil until sugar dissolves,
Turn heat down to a simmer and add equal measure of pure cocoa powder (teaspoon of vanilla as well)
Let it thicken slightly (barely a few minutes)
Allow it to cool,
I use cups to measure all identical proportions.
I pour it into wide neck squeezy ketchup bottles for storage.
500mm bidon of milk + 40 grams of syrup = 1 all natural recovery drink,
(Often thought of adding whey powder but bah to expensive…….)
Hersey Coch milk is pretty bad, unless you are a kid and don’t know better. I bought TruMoo High Protein chco Milk at the convenience store near my commute destination, price: $1.79, Calories 400… I think you are going the low cost/quality route in your comparison…
Maybe not such a bright idea to consume animal byproducts that raise your cholesterol, IGF-1 and estrogen levels while weakening your bones.
Not to mention that virtually all milk distributed in the United States contains the bovine leukemia and/or bovine immune deficiency viruses.
All from peer reviewed articles published in scientific journals.
Dairy “science” is tobacco science.
link to nutritionfacts.org
Cool story, but that site is run by an author that sells many vegan-focuses books. Also, it has a nonideal rating: link to mediabiasfactcheck.com
You should do some reviews on other recovery drinks like bcaa and post workout drinks.
xtend bcaa or a pre workout like mesomorph or something similar.
link to samedaysupplements.com
link to samedaysupplements.com
or any other bcaa or pre workout (post workout you recommend)
Here in Germany most people I know who are serious athletes use SiS (Science in Sport) ReGo
It doesn’t contain dairy products and instead uses organic non-GMO soy. I’ve found the strawberry flavour to be the best and buying directly from them in bulk is the cheapest way.
I’ve tried the whole milk thing in the past and it just isn’t a suitable recovery drink. It takes too long to digest and doesn’t stop the muscle pain the next day, whereas ReGo does for me at least. Wiggle’s reviews suggest it’s working for 99% of people too.
If you’re not a serious athlete then it’s likely some quick carb and protein after exercising will work just fine. Food is better than heavily marketed powders, after all.