Benefits of Chocolate Milk After a Workout

Benefits of Chocolate Milk After a Workout

Why is chocolate milk a good post-exercise recovery drink? 20+ studies support the benefits of recovering with the high-quality protein and nutrients in lowfat chocolate milk. How you refuel after strenuous exercise can make a difference in how well you perform during your next workout – that’s why athletes grab chocolate milk for recovery. Read the science about lowfat chocolate milk for recovery here.

Chocolate Milk Post Workout

Athletes drink lowfat chocolate milk post workout because it helps restore muscles quickly to their peak potential and replenish what the body loses during strenuous exercise — including fluids, important nutrients and electrolytes (calcium, potassium, sodium and magnesium) lost in sweat. Lowfat chocolate milk contains the right balance of carbs and protein scientifically proven to help refuel exhausted muscles.1-9

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Chocolate Milk As a Recovery Drink

Milk and milk’s protein has been shown to help athletes gain more lean muscle and lose fat when compared to drinking a carb-only beverage, as part of a regular workout and recovery routine. 10-12 In a study of healthy, untrained men, those who consumed fat free milk after exercise gained more muscle and lost more body fat at the end of a 12-week training program than those who drank a soy protein beverage or a carb-only beverage. All three beverages had the same amount of calories.10

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Rebuilding Your Muscles With Chocolate Milk As a Recovery Drink

Lowfat chocolate milk contains 8 grams of high-quality protein in each 8-ounce glass which helps repair and rebuild muscles after strenuous exercise. Studies have found that subjects who worked out strenuously and who drank regular or flavored milk after a rigorous workout experienced less exercise-induced muscle damage than those who drank typical sports drinks or water. 13-15

In one study, post-exercise muscle biopsies in eight moderately trained male runners showed enhanced skeletal muscle protein synthesis after drinking 16 ounces of fat free chocolate milk compared to when they drank a carbohydrate-only sports beverage with the same amount of calories. This enhancement is a sign that muscles were better able to repair and rebuild.15

What Are the Chocolate Milk Benefits After a Workout?

Scientific evidence supports why athletes may reach for lowfat chocolate milk for recovery after strenuous exercise. Some studies suggest drinking lowfat chocolate milk post workout could help athletes boost power and improve training times in their next bout of exercise later that same day, compared to when they drink a carbohydrate sports drink.16-22 For example, in one study, after an initial exercise and recovery, cyclists were able to cycle 51 percent longer during a second bout of exercise after drinking chocolate milk post workout than after drinking a carbohydrate replacement drink with the same number of calories.19

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  1. Karfonta KE, Lunn WR, Colletto MR, Anderson JM, Rodriguez NR. Chocolate milk enhances glycogen replenishment after endurance exercise in moderately trained males. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 2010;42:S64.
  2. Gilson SF, et al. Effects of chocolate milk consumption on markers of muscle recovery during intensified soccer training. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 2009; 41:S577.
  3. Shirreffs SM, Watson P, Maughan RJ. Milk as an effective post-exercise rehydration drink. British Journal of Nutrition. 2007;98:173-180.
  4. Watson P, Love TD, Maughan RJ, Shirreffs SM. A comparison of the effects of milk and a carbohydrate electrolyte drink on the restoration of fluid balance and exercise capacity in a hot, humid environment. European Journal of Applied Physiology. 2008;104:633-642.
  5. Martin BR, Davis S, Campbell WW, Weaver CM. Exercise and calcium supplementation: effects on calcium homeostasis in sports women. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 2007; 39:1481-1486.
  6. Sawka MN, Montain SJ. Fluid and electrolyte supplementation for exercise heat stress. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2000;72:564S-572S.
  7. Klesges RC, Ward KD, Shelton ML, Applegate WB, Cantler ED, Palmieri GM, Harmon K, Davis J. Changes in bone mineral content in male athletes. Mechanisms of action and intervention effects. Journal of the American Medical Association. 1996; 276:226-230
  8. Maughan RJ, Watson P, Cordery PA, Walsh NP, Oliver SJ, Dolci A, Rodriguez-Sanchez N, Stuart DR. A randomized trial to assess the potential of different beverages to affect hydration status: development of a beverage hydration index. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2015;103:1-7.
  9. Seery S, Jakeman P. A metered intake of milk following exercise and thermal dehydration restores whole-body net fluid balance better than a carbohydrate–electrolyte solution or water in healthy young men. British Journal of Nutrition. 2016; 1-9.
  10. Hartman JW, Tang JE, Wilkinson SB, Tarnopolsky MA, Lawrence RL, Fullerton AV, Phillips SM. Consumption of fat free fluid milk following resistance exercise promotes greater lean mass accretion than soy or carbohydrate consumption in young novice male weightlifters. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2007;86:373-381.
  11. Josse AR, Tang JE, Tarnopolsky MA, Phillips SM. Body composition and strength changes in women with milk and resistance exercise. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 2010;42:1122-1130.
  12. McCleave EL, Ferguson-Stegall L, Ding Z, Doerner PG, Liu Y, Kammer L, Wang B, Wang W, Hwang J, Ivy JL. Effects of aerobic training and nutritional supplementation on body composition, immune cells and inflammatory markers. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 2011; 23:442.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. Lunn WR, Colletto MR, Karfonta KE, Anderson JM, Pasiakos SM, Ferrando AA, Wolfe RR, Rodriguez NR. Chocolate milk consumption following endurance exercise affects skeletal muscle protein fractional synthetic rate and intracellular signaling. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 2010;42:S48.
  16. Lunn WR, Pasiakos SM, Colletto MR, Karfonta KE, Carbone JW, Anderson JM, Rodriguez NR. Chocolate milk & endurance exercise recovery: protein balance, glycogen and performance. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 2012;44:682-691.
  17. Karp JR, Johnston JD, Tecklenburg S, Mickleborough TD, Fly AD, Stager JM. Chocolate milk as a post-exercise recovery aid. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism. 2006;16:78-91.
  18. Thomas K, Morris P, Stevenson E. Improved endurance capacity following chocolate milk consumption compared with 2 commercially available sport drinks. Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism. 2009;34:78-82.
  19. Ferguson-Stegall L, McCleave EL, Ding Z, Doerner PG, Wang B, Liao YH, Kammer L, Liu Y, Hwang J, Dessard BM, Ivy JL. Postexercise carbohydrate-protein supplementation improves subsequent exercise performance and intracellular signaling for protein synthesis. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 2011;25:1210-1224.
  20. Ferguson-Stegall L, McCleave E, Ding Z, Doerner Iii PG, Liu Y, Wang B, Healy M, Kleinert M, Dessard B, Lassiter DG, Kammer L, Ivy JL. Aerobic exercise training adaptations are increased by postexercise carbohydrate-protein supplementation. Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism. 2011. Epub.
  21. Stager JM, Brammer CL, Sossong T, Kojima K, Spanbaur D, Grand K, Wright BV. Supplemental recovery nutrition affects swim performance following glycogen depleting exercise. Presented at the American College of Sports Medicine, 2014.
  22. Potter J, Fuller B. The effectiveness of chocolate milk as a post-climbing recovery aid. Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness. 2015;55:1438-1444.