Good nutrition plays a big role in exercise performance. Doing the hard work during your training sessions is obviously important; but if you don’t back it up with good eating habits, the results you get from training might not be as good as they could be.
Eating the right things before and during training and competition obviously helps you to perform at your best. What you eat after exercise is just as important though. In order for your body to recover properly and be able to continue to perform well day after day, you have to make sure you are getting the right nutrition after each workout session or game day. By consuming both carbohydrates and proteins, as well as beginning to rehydrate, immediately after exercise, your body can begin to recover straight away, by refilling used glycogen stores and repairing stressed muscle tissues.
But whats the best thing to have? Supermarket, gym and even pharmacy shelves contain a seemingly endless range of nutrition supplements, designed for pre, during and post event consumption; with each making claims of providing optimal nutrition and improved performance. Are these products really that great though? Or is there another choice?
CHOCOLATE MILK FOR RECOVERY
Ask any good nutritionist or dietitian, they will tell you that whole foods will always be better for you than any supplement. In terms of recovery drinks, flavoured milk that you find in your supermarket’s dairy section is possibly just as good, if not better than anything else!
Chocolate milk contains a combination of carbohydrate and protein, often in a ratio of 3:1 or 4:1, which is widely regarded as being optimal for recovery. In addition, it contains vital electrolytes such as sodium and calcium; as well as being an easy way to start the process of rehydration.
Studies have been done in order to establish the effectiveness of chocolate milk to aid recovery after exercise. One study compared chocolate milk, fluid replacement drink and carbohydrate replacement drink in a small number of cyclists, to establish which is a better recovery aid between sessions of exhaustive exercise. The results showed that chocolate milk performed better than the other tested methods.
Another review compared a small number of studies; with the results showing that chocolate milk gives either similar or better results to placebo or other recovery drinks. However, it does highlight the issue that the studies performed give limited evidence; and further studies are required.
SO IS CHOCOLATE MILK THE ANSWER?
The studies into chocolate milk as a recovery aid are generally fairly small and limited. Further research, involving larger numbers of individuals over a broader range of exercises, in higher quality clinical studies, would give a more definitive answer.
However……the data from studies which have been conducted show that yes, chocolate milk is definitely a good option as a post exercise recovery drink; often out performing other products on the market….and due to the nutrition profile of chocolate milk, theoretically it is a great choice. Additionally, the ease of access and the relatively cheap cost, especially compared to other supplements on the market, make it a very attractive option!
But why chocolate milk? Other flavoured milks contain similar nutrition profiles……so why not strawberry or banana flavour? Lets be honest here….chocolate is really the only way to go 🙂