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The Science Behind Dr. Pete’s Recovery Drink

Are you looking to bulk up and gain some extra muscle, or even just get more toned with some extra protein before classes let out soon? There may finally be a Penn State product out there to help you do just that: Introducing Dr. Pete’s Recovery Drink.

There have been many different types of drinks to hit the market that claim they can help you recover for a workout. Companies like Gatorade, Muscle Milk, Powerbar, and many others all have products out on the market that are designed to help athletes recover. How do they recover you ask? Through protein and complex carbs that help your body’s muscles grow and get fueled up.

Now enough of the health and nutrition lessons. The protein and recovery drink industry is famous at schools like the University of Florida for its close ties to Gatorade, but there’s never been a drink directly related to Penn State — until now.

This new protein-rich sports drink was developed by Penn State researchers with the help of Dr. Pete Bordi, an associate professor of Hospitality Management and also the director of the Center for Food Management. This drink has been in development for a long time, and he is very excited for the unveil of the new product. This drink is chocolate milk with a kick, as it is infused with an innovative research-based protein formula that is embraced by Penn State football.

Dr. Bordi has been through a lot to make this drink become a reality, developing this drink for the past 13 years. In those 13 years he tested the product with many famous athletes at Penn State, changed the formula a couple of times, got Franco Harris to own the rights of the drink, and is now finally putting the drink out on the Penn State market.

Harris — NFL Hall of Fame running back and Penn State alum — owns a company called RSuper Foods and owns the rights to Dr. Pete’s recovery drink. Harris has also served as a part of the advisory board for the Penn State Center of Food Innovation.

The drink is a protein-rich recovery drink that includes all three of the major proteins found in many different types of recovery drinks — whey, soy and casein. Dr. Bordi has worked with Dupont Nutrition and Health to analyze the research and to create a formula for this new drink with high-quality proteins.

As many products use only one protein, Bordi states that since his product includes three major proteins it’s more beneficial to the body by helping ensure that muscles slowly recover from a workout and reduce the chance of injury. After 13 years of testing, researching, and planning, the product is finally ready to launch. I was able to talk to the man behind the drink to talk about his newest product.

Onward State: What inspired you to go out and make a sports recovery drink?

Dr. Pete Bordi: “What inspired me to develop this drink was my father. My father had passed away from leukemia and it was really hard to see him how he was towards the end. He was very limited, and it was hard to see him not get the energy and protein that he needed. So I got a grant, developed our first product and we needed some people to test it.”

OS: Who allowed you to do the first tests of your product?

PB: “Coach Joe Paterno was the first one to allow me to test my product over 13 years ago. When we asked he was ecstatic and the players were excited to try this new thing. At first they hated it, I remember players saying “oh my gosh, this sucks” about the prototype and we found out that it was too thin. So then we went back to the lab with some new materials and made a different formula to help the drink become thicker, but we kept the same flavor. When the players tried the product the next time they all said “this is what we needed, this is what we’re talking about.”

The funny thing was that we never changed the flavor, only the thickness of the beverage and it was just the little difference in thickness that made reactions of the players from one end of the spectrum to another. Joe Paterno was so supportive of the products and I couldn’t thank him enough for allowing us to start our product with them.”

OS: Did any of the other head coaches allow you to test your product?

PB: “The coaches at Penn State have been so generous and so supportive of letting us test our product. We’ve worked with Coach Bill O’Brien and his staff, and just recently we worked with Coach James Franklin and his staff. The coaches and players have been amazing with their support of our research over the years. The players especially have been wonderful for allowing us to use them as our benchmark.”

OS: What makes your product different than others on the market?

PB: “Our product is all natural. Many products nowadays claim to be ‘all-natural’ but are infused with many different chemicals to help the drink taste better that may not be so great for the body. We use all-natural ingredients, optimize our drink with the three major proteins, and use fresh milk. A lot of the players that have tested it have said that it is just like drinking chocolate milk.”

OS: Do you use the same type of chocolate that the Berkey Creamery uses for their chocolate milk?

PB: “We do use the same cocoa as the creamery so it does have sort of a similar taste as Creamery chocolate milk, but it is a different formula. It is going to taste different because it is a different type of product. This isn’t your ordinary chocolate milk — it may taste like it — but there is more to it than that.”

OS: Do you have any ideas for future products? Any different flavors?

PB: “Strawberry. We want to make the next flavor strawberry because we know that if we only keep chocolate out there, people may get sick of it. We need some variety with our flavors and strawberry seems like the obvious next step.”

OS: What are your aspirations for Dr. Pete’s Recovery Drink for the future?

PB: “My goal is to take this drink to the national stage. That’s been the goal from the beginning and I think we can reach that goal. It helps that we have someone like Franco Harris, who owns the rights to the drink, on our side.”


If you are an athlete looking for a nice protein drink to help you recover after your workout or someone who wants some extra protein in their diet, this may be the drink for you. While also tasting a lot like chocolate milk, Dr. Pete’s drink packs 34 grams of protein per serving which is good if you want to try and add some extra ammo to your guns for this summer.

Dr. Pete’s Recovery Drink is available at Cafe Laura in the Mateer Building and will be available at the Berkey Creamery in the near future.

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About the Author

Jacob Abrams

Jacob Abrams is a sophomore from Oxford, PA, majoring in Management in the Smeal College of Business. Jacob is the President/GM of The LION 90.7 FM along with being a play-by-play commentator and sports talk show host. He is a sports fanatic, and strongly supports the Philadelphia Phillies, Flyers, Sixers, and the New Orleans Saints. He is a first-generation Penn Stater, and in his free time he likes to play sports and sing. You can follow him on Twitter @jake_abrams and contact him at [email protected]

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