Chocolate Milk for Post-Run Recovery

Chocolate milk
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While the store shelves may be packed with all kinds of sports recovery drinks, the ideal post-run beverage may actually be one that you've enjoyed since you were a kid.

Chocolate milk is one of the best recovery drinks out there because it's high in protein and carbohydrates, so it helps with glycogen restoration and reduces muscle breakdown. Unlike regular milk, it contains the ideal carbs to protein ratio (3 grams carbs to 1 gram protein) that is recommended for post-long run recovery.

Its high water content also helps replace water lost through sweat during your run. Chocolate milk also contains B vitamins and minerals, such as calcium, which supports bone metabolism. In addition, some runners find that chocolate milk is easier on their digestive system after a long run, Many find that they can't handle solid food immediately after a long run, but the chocolate milk goes down easy.

Research has shown the benefits of chocolate milk for runners. One study found that runners who drank fat-free chocolate milk during the three hours after a run had heightened markers of muscle protein repair compared to those who drank a carbohydrate drink.

Another study found that chocolate milk also contributes to replenishing glycogen stores in muscles, a source of fuel during prolonged exercise. Muscle glycogen levels in runners were tested 30 minutes and 60 minutes following ingestion of either the fat-free chocolate milk or a carbohydrate beverage.

Muscle glycogen content was greater for the chocolate milk drinkers at both measurement times.

Chocolate milk has a lot of other benefits: It can be relatively inexpensive compared to recovery sports drinks and it's easy to make at home or find at a convenience store after a run. And, of course, I think most people would agree that cold chocolate tastes great and refreshing.


Source: "Chocolate Milk May Help Repair Muscles, Restore Glycogen After Exercise", American College of Sports Medicine press release, 6/3/10

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