Over the years I’ve sampled various post-workout products and none suit all my desires so I’ve delved into making a homemade protein shake recovery mix — my own blend of powders I can dump into a cup of milk and blend with a banana to make a quick, nutritionally sound and tasty recovery shake.
If you are interested in honing your nutrition knowledge, I recommend Racing Weight by Matt Fitzgerald. Straightforward. Zero fad recommendations. Research based. Field tested by pro and Olympic athletes. Practical. No dogma. Doable.
Why I decided to formulate my own mix (a “NATSTACK” if you will):
 I’m not down with most of the whey-based options (e.g. Muscle Milk).
Not a huge fan of the taste (can be chalky), some have artificial sweeteners (part of the taste, and I’d rather give my body real sugar that it knows how to process), I found myself gaining weight when using it (I’m a triathlete and not interested in gaining weight), most have tons of other stuff (for fancy labeling), and I like to keep it simple and raw (if I need an amino or something, I’ll add it myself).
 I want something heartier than straight chocolate milk.
Here’s a look at stuff I mix in (if it doesn’t show below click here):
 Non-whey options are good but pricy as a food staple.
 If money were no object, I’d have Core Power ship me crates every week.
There’s nothing I drink faster than a bottle of their Chocolate High Protein blend right after a workout, but at $2.50/11.5oz bottle, that racks up so I make it a luxury here and there, or I grab one at a gas station when I’m in a bind and can’t get home to get nutrients in me before heading on to my next thing. Also, see above — I want something heartier than plain chocolate milk.
[UPDATE: Core Power changed their formula. They got rid of the sugar and added artificial sweeteners, and then they said they’d sell the old formula on Amazon …
For that reason, we will continue to make our original formula in Chocolate and Vanilla, exclusively on https://t.co/qqesjm1lwo! We do suggest you double-check the bottle size when ordering – the new 14oz is also available on Amazon, but the original formula is in 11.5oz bottles.
— Core Power (@CorePower) May 23, 2019
… but at this moment (June 29, 2019), I only see the new, artificially sweetened formula in 14oz bottles on Amazon.]
I want to blend in a banana, peanut butter, strawberries, almond butter or other items, so a bottle of anything alone won’t cut it.
It might tide me over, but it doesn’t give me the satisfaction of a meal.
 I like control.
Enter “NATSTACKS”: Homemade Protein Shake Recovery Mix(es)
I looked at a couple mixes I liked and reverse engineered the recipes from the ingredients list, nutrition facts, and generic nutritional info about each ingredient.
Homemade Protein Shake Recovery Mix – Formula 1
- 250g powdered milk
- 75g powdered sugar
- 75g table sugar
- 75g cocoa powder
- 10g vanilla powder (yes it’s a thing)
- 5g salt
Drop all these into a container, shake it up and boom you’re good to go with your homemade protein shake recovery mix. I don’t have the $ ready for you at the moment, but I am sure it is near 25% the cost of equivalent stuff in bin with fancy packaging … and you know exactly what’s in here:
Put a heaping tablespoon or two (25-40g) into 8-12oz of your choice of fluid (rec: almond milk or whole milk), add a frozen banana, honey, cacao nibs, a pinch of cloves or nutmeg, a spoon of peanut or almond butter … whatever you want to spice it up.
- For the sugar you can mix and match powdered sugar, table sugar or baking sugar (which is finer than regular sugar but still grainy and not a powder). Just net out at 150g of sugar.
- Cocoa powder can be dialed up or down for however chocolatey you like it.
- Vanilla powder can be swapped for liquid extract as the poweder isn’t common in grocery stores. 1 tbsp. Put that in last. It will make things a little clumpy, which is why the powder is better. You could skip the vanilla and be fine.
Handy Tool for Scaling Your Batch:
Want to try a little this time and scale up to a huge batch next time? Easy.
Plans for Homemade Protein Shake – Formula 2+
- add glutamine (hands down, here’s your best bang for your buck glutamine offer) (also, why glutamine)
- suggest swaps for peanut butter powder in place of all or some powdered milk
- suggest amount of peanut butter powder as an addition (choco + PB flavor)
- suggest amount of ground nuts and/or cacao nibs to add for fun
- set precise amounts of cocoa powder for low/medium/high chocolatey-ness
- experiment with dextrose (glucose equivalent from corn) in place of some table/bakers/powdered sugars
Oh yeah — you’ll want a kitchen scale:
It’s easier to manage this process by weight than volume, so that’s how I did it. Any of these scales will do. Seriously, don’t go nuts making this decision. Super accuracy is not important here. Fwiw, I got this one, which handles up to 15lbs or 7kg.
Disclaimer: all my nutrition knowledge is informal and experiential from the field of my own training. I have no license or qualifications from a governing body to dispense personal nutritional information. I also share this taking no concern for anyone’s allergies or specific dietary restrictions. That’s up to you to figure out. Consult a doctor, registered dietician or nutritionist. That will do you some good anyway.