Remember the days of little league baseball when your post-game snack game consisted of a sandwich (white bread, no crust), Capri-Sun and some cookies? Most of us have probably abandoned those early favorites and turned instead to water, sports drinks, granola/energy bars, or even possibly the occasional adult beverage to refuel after exercise or sports activities. All of these refreshments have one thing in common—they’re all forms of post exercise nutrition. Turns out what fuel you give your body after exercise is just as important as what you consume prior. In fact, proper post exercise nutrition helps to reduce the risk of injury, improve your performance during the next game or workout, and boost your health and well-being.
In addition to water, athletes need:
• Protein to help build muscle, reduce muscle breakdown and work with carbohydrates to restore muscle glycogen
• Carbohydrates to restore muscle glycogen
• Fluids and Electrolytes to help replenish what’s lost in sweat (sodium, calcium, potassium, and magnesium) and to help rehydrate the body
• Vitamins and Minerals to contribute to overall health and nutrition
So, you may now be wondering “What do I have in my refrigerator that has all that?” The answer might surprise you—chocolate milk! Athletes such as Michael Phelps drew attention to this at the 2004 Olympics when cameras spotted him chugging Carnation chocolate drinks following his swimming events. Studies now show that chocolate milk aids the body, particularly the muscles, in recovering from bouts of exercise. A recent study published in the Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, found that chocolate milk has double the carbohydrate and protein content compared to plain milk, water, and most sports drinks—a perfect recipe for replenishing tired muscles. Its high water content replaces fluids lost as sweat, preventing dehydration. Plus it packs a nutritional bonus of calcium, and includes just a little sodium and sugar—additives that help recovering athletes retain water and regain energy. It appears the delicious verdict is in. Chocolate milk is an optimal post exercise drink to promote muscle recovery and fluid restoration following intense exercise. Need more incentive? It’s also cheaper (and better tasting) than most sports drinks you’ll find in the market. Not only is chocolate milk good for your health, but chocolate packs good nutrition.
To read about other studies on chocolate milk as nature’s recovery drink, go check out refuelwithchocolatemilk. If you’re looking for an excuse to drink more chocolate milk, visit our Sports Wellness Center website and sign up for one of our fitness classes.