What do Apolo Ohno, Shawn Johnson, Hines Ward, Carmelo Anthony, and I have in common? I’ll give you a clue; it has nothing to do with our athletic abilities, even though I wish it did. Stumped? The answer is, we all refuel with chocolate milk after our workouts.
When I first heard the buzz about chocolate milk being used as a post-workout recovery drink, I was intrigued. I love chocolate milk, I love running, and I really loved the thought of drinking chocolate milk after a run. To make things better, the news came right as I began training for my first half marathon. Having never acquired a taste for rehydration sports drinks, I had been sticking to water after my runs. Let’s just say my body was beginning to show me that was not a good idea.
I’m not going to lie and tell you that the first time I drank chocolate milk after running I instantly felt as though I could go run again, but I can tell you that I liked the taste and decided to stick with it for that reason alone. I continued my training, with chocolate milk as my recovery drink, and over time I realized that my body felt better prepared to take on what I was asking it to do.
What I’m saying may sound odd, but these benefits are not just in my head. Multiple studies have explored the advantages of chocolate milk as a post-workout recovery drink compared to water or carbohydrate-only drinks, and the results are highly favorable.
Let’s look at what makes chocolate milk an athlete’s best friend:
Superior Nutrient Composition:
- 9 essential nutrients
- B vitamins
- Calcium, vitamin D (nutrients not found in most hydration drinks; they restore lost calcium and decrease the risk of stress fractures)
- Sodium, potassium, magnesium
- Vitamin A
- Carbohydrate, protein
- Contains a 3:1 carbohydrate to protein ratio to restore depleted glycogen
- Athletes who drank chocolate milk post-exercise were able to workout longer and/or harder during their next session
Milk and Your Muscles:
- Contains quickly absorbable whey protein and more slowly absorbable casein protein to provide amino acids continuously post-workout
- Results in enhanced muscle synthesis
- More effective than a carbohydrate-only drink in gaining muscle tone
- Results in less exercise-induced muscle damage
- Promotes greater gains in muscle and loses in fat
Restoring Fluid and Electrolytes:
- Highly effective at restoring and maintaining normal hydration status
- Provides important electrolytes lost through sweat
- Cost effective; around 50 cents per 8 oz.
- Basic ingredients; not created in a lab
- Highly portable
The best part is that these results have been proven in both trained and untrained athletes; so don’t think that you have to be like my Olympian friends to reap the benefits. Next time you go for a run, bike ride, or weight lifting session, try drinking chocolate milk afterwards. Your body will thank you.