Alex Roddie tests a recovery drink that isn’t just for cyclists.

When it comes to nutrition for hikers and backpackers, protein recovery drinks aren’t typically high on our list of things to try out. We’re more likely to chuck a few sandwiches in our rucksack and head to the pub on the way home from the hill. But during the course of testing the Secret Training Stealth vegan recovery protein drink, I’ve started to wonder if a more intentional approach could yield benefits.

Secret Training is the brainchild of European Champion Track Cyclist Tim Lawson, who has many years of experience developing sports nutrition products. Products from the brand include energy drinks, energy gels, protein powders, and various accessories. I was sent the Stealth Vegan Recovery protein drink mix in mint chocolate flavour for review. While aimed primarily at cyclists, runners, and other athletes, there is some crossover with walkers too – particularly those looking to improve their performance.

The idea behind recovery drinks is that, when consumed after hard exercise, they help you recover. They include protein, carbohydrates, electrolytes, and other nutrients that help you stay hydrated and keep your energy levels up.

The Stealth Vegan Recovery protein drink comes in a 660g pack with its own scoop. Each 50g serving provides 170kcal, 1.3g of fat, 19.5g of carbs, 20g of protein (pea protein isolate, rice protein hydrolysate), and 1.9g of fibre (plus a range of vitamins and minerals). All ingredients are suitable for vegans. It’s simple to use: just mix five scoops with 400ml of water and drink.

Every morning, before I start work, I walk a five-mile circuit through the local countryside. I’ve been doing this since the start of 2017 in order to improve my overall fitness and, specifically, my hillwalking strength. Over the last year I have been gradually increasing my pace, and now often average more than 5mph – it’s not exactly running, but it’s the closest I can get to strenuous uphill walking in the Lincolnshire flatlands! I’ve already seen benefits but I have wondered if I should be doing more to improve my recovery after each morning’s walk.

Enter the Stealth Vegan Recovery protein drink, which I’ve been drinking after exercise and before I start my desk work. It’s easy and quick to make, and – although this is impossible to quantify – I have noticed a distinct uptick in my energy levels throughout the morning. Is it just thanks to improved hydration and an extra dose of vitamins and minerals, or have I started to benefit from regular use of a recovery protein drink? I’m not sure, but it has made me wonder if a more intentional approach to nutrition could yield benefits for backpackers who like to travel fast and cover big miles on the trail.

What about flavour? To be honest, it’s a little bland – neither particularly chocolately nor particularly minty, while hinting at both. It tastes ok, but it’s something you’ll want to drink because of the nutritional benefit, not because of the fantastic flavour.

Cyclers and runners will likely find an even clearer benefit in this product, but it’s certainly worth a look for walkers too.