Repair and rebuild muscles after strenuous exercise with low-fat chocolate milk
Does your body have what it needs to repair itself after exercise? Your workouts have worn down your immune system. Along with dialing back the frequency and duration of your training sessions, the quickest, easiest, cheapest solution is drinking 17 ounces of chocolate milk as soon as you put that last dumbbell back on the weight rack. A study published recently in the International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism found that it was more effective as a form of post-workout nutrition than Endurox, a popular recovery drink (the gold standard for muscle recovery). In this article you’ll find out all the benefits of drinking chocolate milk as a post-workout recovery drink.
What are the benefits of chocolate milk after a workout?
Chocolate milk will for sure be your best option after a training session if you don’t have protein powder anymore. Chocolate milk has both casein proteins and whey. The extra sugar in chocolate milk will provide you with more carbohydrates which give more calories that are great for muscle building and also carbohydrates to boost recovery. Therefore the bit of sugar in chocolate milk will stimulate the release of insulin, which will help shuttle glucose into your hungry cells for complete recovery.
A study shows that if you compare chocolate milk with the normal sports drink that has electrolytes and carbohydrates, it is better when it comes the muscle glycogen’s resynthesizing. This stops the muscles from breaking down and pushes muscle growth because it helps the muscle-protein in synthesizing at a better level. There are also antioxidants found in cocoa which is present in chocolate milk. Antioxidants help with reducing oxidative, and muscle stress damage that is caused by intense training.
Best of all, chocolate milk is highly palatable and inexpensive compared to many ready-to-drink sport supplements.
Believe it or not, chocolate milk has all the right ingredients to optimize your post-run recovery needs! Later you’ll need to enjoy a healthy meal, preferably fish or chicken with a helping of good carbohydrates such as pasta or brown rice (read more on optimum post-workout nutrition).
20+ studies support the benefits of recovering with the high-quality protein and nutrients in low-fat chocolate milk. Here are just a few of them:
- In a recent study, researchers from the University of Texas at Austin had 32 volunteers cycle 60 minutes a day, 5 days a week for 4 1/2 weeks. Those who drank chocolate milk post-pedaling enjoyed greater V02 max gains and better body composition changes than those who drank a plain carb beverage.
- A 2009 study from James Madison University, US, found that chocolate milk promoted better muscle recovery compared with a commercial sports drink (Gilson at al., 2009). Football players who drank chocolate milk after training had less muscle damage and faster muscle recovery compared with those who consumed a sports drink with the same amount of calories.
- University of Texas researchers found that chocolate milk not only promotes muscle glycogen recovery but also results in greater aerobic capacity, lean body mass and reduced body fat compared with carbohydrate (sports) drinks (Ferguson-Stegall et al., 2011). The exact mechanism is not clear, but it is thought that the peptides released during the digestion of milk protein are responsible for alterations in protein metabolism and increasing training adaptations.
- Researchers at Indiana University (Karp et al.,) studied chocolate milk compared to traditional carbohydrate replacement beverages as a recovery aid following exhaustive exercise in nine endurance-trained cyclists. Subjects performed an interval workout to deplete muscle glycogen, followed by 4 hours of recovery, and then an endurance performance trial to exhaustion. Subjects consumed an equivalent amount of carbohydrates (1 g/ kg body weigh) from a traditional ready-to-drink carbohydrate replacement drink or chocolate milk immediately after the depletion exercise and again 2 hours later. Results showed that consumption of chocolate milk after exercise was equal to or better than traditional carbohydrate drinks in time to exhaustion and total work for the endurance trial to exhaustion.
Closing thoughts: Chocolate milk—maybe the tastiest supplement ever
Post-workout, you have a thirty-minute window for protein, up to two hours for carbohydrate. Chocolate milk (six to eight ounces) is a near-perfect recovery drink, in terms both of glycogen and muscle replenishment and of rehydration. Many studies have highlighted the benefits of chocolate milk as a recovery drink, particularly after endurance exercise. There is no doubt that chocolate milk is better than water or sports drinks for promoting recovery after exercise. You will for sure have less muscle soreness and more rapid muscle recovery.