In 2007, I included an article in my swim team’s monthly newsletter called, “Got Milk? Try Chocolate After Your Workout.” The article first appeared in Fitness Magazine and it is about the benefits of post workout chocolate milk for endurance athletes. It is based upon research done by exercise physiologist, Joel Stager, who works at the Human Performance Laboratory at Indiana University. Stager also doubles as a swim coach, and yes, he has tested his research on his swimmers.
According to a quick Google query of “chocolate milk after workout,” the information is still relevant, which means I’m comfortable sharing it on my blog. All you triathletes and swimmers can thank me later.
Stager says that chocolate milk is an “optimal recovery aid” for endurance athletes, even better than a lot of commercial grade post workout drinks:
- When you compare chocolate milk to most sports drinks, it has twice the carbohydrate and protein content (which is good for tired muscles).
- Compared to water, which replaces sweat lost during a workout, chocolate milk has sodium and sugar. You might think that sodium and sugar are inherently bad – but here’s why they’re good for endurance athletes: Sodium helps them retain water. Sugar gives them get a little energy boost.
The article made it very clear that chocolate milk won’t offer the same benefits to non endurance athletes because they don’t need as many calories, proteins or carbohydrates in their diets.
Stager also recommends that the chocolate milk be ingested in the first 30 to 60 minutes of finishing an endurance workout. The science being that glycogen stores are lowest at that point, which means the muscle fibers are ready to replace them. Many elite athletes only have six or seven hours of recovery time between workouts, which is another reason it is a good idea to replace glycogen stores within that time frame. Other good options include bananas peanut butter (both of which blend together with milk quite nicely).
“But as for milk, Stager continues to recommend it to his athletes, and Karp, a runner and coach, has permanently switched from Gatorade to chocolate milk to recover from his daily runs. “Gatorade was expensive, but milk’s something I already have in my refrigerator,” Karp said. “It’s easy, it’s cheap, and it’s got everything that I need after my workout.”
-Phillips, “Got Milk? Try Chocolate After Your Workout.”
I don’t know about you, but these are the kinds of studies I like to read. Will any of you be reaching for a glass of chocolate milk after your next endurance workout?