Drinking Chocolate Milk After A Workout Boosts Performance

Your kids (or the kid in you) will love this. New research finds that drinking chocolate milk after a workout helps your endurance and muscle building, reduces fat and appears to improve performance.

This delicious drink has the right mix of carbs and protein according to researcher John L. Ivy, Ph.D. from the University of Texas. The work appears in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research and the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism, and was also presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine.

When you’re recovering from a workout, the two things you want to do for your body are to replace sugar stores in the muscle, and turn on protein synthesis and stop its breakdown. Low fat chocolate milk does both, and in a truly delectable package too. The chocolate milk beat out two other options tested – no calorie drink and a carb drink without protein.

In one of the two projects, Ivy had 10 fit and trained cyclists work out over two hours, to the point of fatigue. Then they drank either the low-fat chocolate milk, the carb or the no calorie drink afterward, and again two hours later.

After four hours, the subjects did a 40K cycling time trial. The cyclists who got the chocolate milk completed the time trials significantly faster, shaving 6 minutes off their time when drinking the chocolate milk compared to the carb drink.

The chocolate milk appears to activate proteins that block protein breakdown. This keeps both protein and muscle, and helps in the recovery process.

In a second study, Ivy and the researchers worked with 32 untrained subjects by having them cycle for 60 minutes a day, five days a week for four and a half weeks.

One group got chocolate milk right after the workout and one hour later, the second group got the carb drink and a third a placebo, no cal beverage.

The experts examined maximum oxygen uptake, used as a way to gauge aerobic endurance – those who drank chocolate milk saw an improvement in maximum oxygen consumption, compared to those drinking the other two beverages.

Those who drank the milk also tended to have a bigger increase in lean body mass and bigger reduction in body fat.

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Discover The Best Post Workout Drink That Boosts Results… Continued…

The researchers were not even trying for a direct comparison of chocolate milk to sports drinks, and they recognize that sports drinks intended for use after a workout usually do have protein and are a good, healthy choice. The chocolate milk used in the test has a better carb protein mix than white milk – with about 11.5 grams of carbs per 100 milliliters, 3.5 grams of protein and 2 grams of fat. The carb drink tested had 15 grams of carbs, 2 grams of fat and no protein.

Gatorade, in case you’re interested, is marketed as a sports recovery drink that does contain protein. Spokespeople for the company point out that you should take in 10-20g of protein within 30 minutes of a workout to aid in muscle recovery, as well as replenish the carbs and electrolytes you’ve lost during the exercise.

The study was funded by industry groups the National Dairy Council and the National Fluid Milk Processor Promotion Board. The findings make sense according to Barbara Lewin, RD a sports nutritionist from Ft. Myers, Fla, who reviewed the research but wasn’t involved in the study. She sees no surprise that the chocolate milk beat out the other two options tested, and points out that protein shakes aren’t the answer either since carbs are so important to the recovery process.

So, when drinking chocolate milk after a workout how much should you have? That depends on how hard you’ve exercised, and your weight. About 8 to 16 ounces are a good starting point. If you’re 120 pounds and have just done a light workout, keep the calories around 120. If your exercise was high intensity, the calories can double your weight, or about 240. For an average intensity workout, Ivy suggests about 50% of the calories you’ve burned.