chocolate milk

Chocolate Milk – Good Post Workout Nutrition

Drinking chocolate milk as post workout nutrition following a tough workout will help feed exhausted muscles. Research also shows it can aid in exercise recovery as well. What do you reach for when you get to the end of a workout or game? There are several options to choose from – water, Powerade, Gatorade, All Sport or a myriad of protein shake powders mixed with milk or water or juice.

Joel Stager, Human Performance laboratory director at Indiana University completed a study that was published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism. In it he suggests using chocolate milk as an optimal post workout recovery aid.

Check the ingredient list to see why. High-endurance athlete can really benefit from the carbohydrate and protein ratio of about 3:1 which is optimal compared to plain milk, and sports drinks which will have half of the amount of nutrients. This makes it perfect for feeding tired muscles. Chocolate milk has a high water content to replace lost sweat and to prevent dehydration. It also contains calcium and a small amount of sodium as an electrolyte. Chocolate milk does have a fair amount of sugar but it will help replace the blood sugar and ultimately the glycogen stores that were used up.

Using plain water after your workout will help replaces sweat but nothing else. Spots drinks like Gatorade do contain electrolytes and sugar but contain no protein to help rebuild muscle fibers. Protein shakes can have added carbohydrate but can be quite expensive and time consuming to make. Chocolate milk gives all of the nutrition needed in a store bought package you can take with you.

One word of caution that needs to be made – a casual workout or game does not need the level of carbohydrates and protein that it contains. Endurance type activities like swimming, cycling and marathon training will burn a lot of calories making a drink of chocolate milk ideal. High endurance activities that require a long, sustained effort need higher levels carbohydrates and protein and of course calories.

Stager did his study using cyclists to test chocolate milk as a post workout recovery drink. The athletes biked until physically exhausted then consumed chocolate milk, Gatorade or a high carbohydrate sports drink while they rested for four hours.  They then cycled to exhaustion again. Result? Those drinking chocolate milk performed as well or better than the other athletes consuming different beverages. In the end, as long as you are burning enough calories, you can’t beat the benefits.


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