Along with the proper amount of exercise, diet and nutrition are essential components of any serious fitness program. An important part of a well-rounded fitness program will also include a post-workout nutrition plan.
After strenuous exercise, it’s essential that your body gets the nutrients that were lost during training. After exercise, your muscle’s glycogen stores are depleted, and without proper fuel your muscles won’t have a chance to recover.
The hour following exercise is known as the “Golden Hour” in the fitness and health community. It’s essential that you consume the proper nutrition during this important time.
There are a wide variety of supplements on the market. Many of these nutritional items can be effective in providing protein, which will increase muscle synthesis and help reduce muscle breakdown.
These supplements can often contain the proper blend of carbohydrates, which will help refuel the body as well.
That being said, there may be another option. Chocolate milk is a favorite treat for children and a guilty pleasure for some adults. And the good news is that chocolate milk after workout is becoming an increasingly popular snack.
The American College of Sports Medicine conducted a recent study that revealed consumption of chocolate milk after workout aided in muscle protein synthesis during recovery.
The study also explained that in addition to muscle repair, chocolate milk effectively replenished lost glycogen stores in the body. This resulted in positive post-workout recovery benefits and aided in prolonged exercise.
What’s this mean? Well, according to the Mayo Clinic, athletes need fuel for energy, and the body’s preferred choice is carbohydrates, like sugar. The body also needs protein to repair muscles after exercise.
The ingredients in chocolate milk are a combination of carbohydrates and protein. They both play an important role in the recovery process.
Chocolate milk contains protein, which is made up of amino acids. Milk protein is 80% casein protein and 20% whey protein. These are two fundamental proteins that are responsible for building muscle.
Athletes and people who exercise frequently need to consume between 1.7 to 2 grams of protein per pound of body weight, notes the National Strength and Conditioning Association.
While protein is an essential ingredient to successful post-workout recovery, carbohydrates are just as important. They help to deliver the essential protein to your muscles.
When you exercise, glycogen stores in your body are depleted. These glycogen stores are responsible for supplying energy to your body. If you don’t properly refuel after exercise, your body will utilize protein to help serve as its energy source. This will have a catabolic effect on your muscles, and after a while will start to break down muscle tissue.
According to the University of Texas Health Science Center, chocolate milk has the perfect ratio of carbohydrates to protein. The added sugars of chocolate milk help to refuel your exhausted muscles.
Chocolate milk after workout also helps to rehydrate your body. Milk is 90% water and contains electrolytes that are lost through sweat. The University of Texas explains that a 16 ounce glass of low-fat chocolate milk provides about 16 grams of protein and 52 grams of carbohydrates. The fat content will vary depending on whether the milk is 1%, 2%, or skim milk.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans have traditionally recommended drinking 3 glasses of low-fat or fat-free milk daily to help build healthy bones. With this new research, it looks like milk, particularly chocolate milk, can do more than just build healthy bones.
If you are on a diet, skim milk will be a better choice for you. Conversely, if your goal is to bulk up, drink whole milk. Either way, it looks like chocolate milk after workout can now be scratched off your guilty pleasure list. Now if only we could say the same thing for doughnuts.