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Why does chocolate milk make a great post-workout drink?

2.25.19

This post is sponsored by Built With Chocolate Milk. All opinions stated are my own.

Three years ago I crossed the finish line of my very first marathon, the LA Marathon. I dedicated my early mornings and weekends training for the race for over 3 months. Training wasn’t my only focus during the months leading up to the marathon. I also prioritized my nutrition and recovery. I heavily focused on the foods and drinks I was putting into my body so I could feel my best during my training sessions and on race day. Throughout my whole training cycle my go-to post-long run recovery drink was lowfat chocolate milk. I even had my friend Jaclyn bring me a bottle of chocolate milk to enjoy after the race. After 26.2 miles, it definitely hit the spot!

7 full marathons later, chocolate milk is still my go-to recovery drink. I don’t have my friends or family bring it to the race for me anymore because it’s at the finish line of a lot of marathons around the country!

So why are recovery and nutrition so important after strenuous workouts or endurance exercise, like marathon training?

Proper nutrition and recovery help prepare your body for its next training session.

After a long run or strenuous workout, it’s important to replenish carbohydrates and protein, as well as electrolytes and fluids. Carbohydrate intake helps replete muscle glycogen stores, which is the primary source of fuel during exercise. Muscle glycogen is the form of carbohydrates stored in your muscles and liver. Protein intake after exercise is important as well because it stimulates muscle repair and growth.

So when is the best time to refuel after a workout?

According to the International Society of Sports Nutrition, it’s important to replace carbs and protein 30 minutes after a workout to help prevent further muscle breakdown and enhance recovery and tissue repair. During this window, the muscles are most receptive to taking in fuel.

It’s also important to replenish fluids and electrolytes after endurance exercise to help rehydrate the body by replacing sweat losses.

Did you know that there are over 20 studies that support the benefits of recovering with the high- quality protein and nutrients found in lowfat chocolate milk after a tough workout?

Lowfat chocolate milk contains an ideal carbohydrate-to-protein ratio of 3:1 that’s scientifically proven to refuel exhausted muscles, giving it an edge over water and some commercial sports drinks. The carbohydrates in chocolate milk help replete glycogen stores and the protein helps muscles rebuild and repair after exercise to help you get ready for your next workout.

Researchers also hypothesize that a combination of “slow” and “fast” acting proteins, like casein and whey (the dairy proteins found in chocolate milk) is why chocolate milk is so effective at stimulating muscle protein synthesis.

Chocolate milk also contains the electrolytes calcium, potassium, sodium, and magnesium, and has a high water content to help replace fluids lost as sweat during exercise. Plain water just isn’t enough after a long run. Water lacks carbs, protein, and electrolytes in comparison to chocolate milk, which has all three.

Another reason to love chocolate milk after endurance exercise? It tastes great! I just finished my 18th half marathon and I couldn’t wait to cross the finish line to grab some chocolate milk that was being handed out! It’s refreshing and super delicious! Chocolate milk is also affordable and easy to find! Sometimes I leave my little bubble and drive to meet friends up in LA or Orange County to run. Chocolate milk is easy to find on my drive home from my long runs! It’s also convenient to grab when on-the go. I’m always running from one activity to the next (training sessions, work, errands, etc.) and chocolate milk is easy to transport and take with me. I don’t have to worry about making something in the kitchen after my long runs and can just grab chocolate milk and head out the door!

All my running friends, do you refuel with chocolate milk after your long runs?

Sources:

https://www.uptodate.com/contents/exercise-prescription-and-guidance-for-adults? search=after%20exercise%20protein%20and%20carbohydrates&source=search_result&selected Title=5~150&usage_type=default&display_rank=5

https://builtwithchocolatemilk.com/science/workout-recovery

https://nutritionandmetabolism.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1743-7075-7-51

  • Cockburn E, Hayes PR, French DN, Stevenson E, St Clair Gibson A. Acute milk-based protein-CHO supplementation attenuates exercise-induced muscle damage. Applied Physiology, Nutrition & Metabolism. 2008;33:775-783.
  • Cockburn E, Stevenson E, Hayes PR, Robson-Ansley P, Howatson G, Effect of milk- based carbohydrate-protein supplement timing on the attenuation of exercise-induced muscular damage. Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism. 2010;35:270-277.