Touchstone Blog Archive
Monday, February 8, 2010
  Chocolate Milk- The Best Recovery Drink
After periods of intense workouts- like a Crossfit session at GWPC, a few hours of bouldering in the wave at Ironworks, or an intense yoga work out at Mission Cliffs, the body needs nutrients to replenish spent glycogen stores and build muscle.

While there are many options out there for post-workout nutrition, one of the best, and simplest, is Chocolate Milk. Many people were unaware of the benefits of the drink until Michael Phelps drew attention to the beverage at the 2004 Olympics, when he was seen drinking chocolate drinks after swims. Several different medical studies have been conducted on the benefits of chocolate milk including the Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism back in February 2008.

Chocolate milk has been discovered to work just as well as regular sports drinks, most notably, like Gatorade when consumed after exercise. It works best for re-hydrating the body and helping to rebuild muscle that was depleted of energy during a workout.
Many magazines such as Runner’s World and Fitness have done articles employing the benefits of chocolate milk after exercise. Based on studies done by Dr. Joel Stager that conducted research on bicyclists who drank Gatorade and chocolate milk after exhausting their muscles, shows that those who drank chocolate milk were able to recover quickly and last just as long while bicycling to those who had Gatorade.

Chocolate milk is packed with carbohydrates and protein, something that depleted muscles need to recover. When you exercise you contract your muscles to an extent and many endurance athletes may exhaust their muscles and this is why restoring and hydrating your body is extremely important. Water is simply not enough when it comes to refueling and that is where chocolate milk takes a step over sports drinks. Though sports drinks contain an amount of water, they lack natural protein and carbohydrates that are naturally occurring in milk. And with Vitamins A and D plus calcium provided through milk, it helps in bone strengthening and building muscle.

A 2007 British study found that regular milk also helped restore fluid levels in the body post-exercise in the heat. Milk has the right amount of carbohydrates and protein that the body needs in order to recover tired muscles and for quicker results. Water is not substantial enough to provide these essential nutrients and that is why many sports doctors and nutritionists are now recommending chocolate milk as a recovery drink over regular sports drink or water.

The high amount of water contained in chocolate milk is one of the main reasons why it’s chosen over regular water because of the extra vitamins and protein contained in it that replenishes the body’s water content quicker that was lost as sweat during exercise. Chocolate milk also contains small amounts of sugar and sodium allowing the body to stabilize quicker as it allows them to retain water and gain energy which is an essential process during recovery.

When comparing water and sports drinks it becomes clear which is best for you. Of course water does the ultimate process of replenishing fluids after sweat loss, but unfortunately that’s all it does. Water does not include any added vitamins or minerals unless it’s specially fortified with these substances. Energy drinks on the other hand provide a way to replenish and balance electrolytes in the body.

As an affordable option to expensive replenishment drinks, chocolate milk has also been made a staple in the diet of many Yosemite diets. On a severe budget one summer, Ironworks climber and road warrior, James Lucas spent three months drinking only chocolate milk. He crushed that season.

Read more about chocoloate milk at Chocolate Milk.Com and Chocolate Milk as a recovery drink.

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he sure crushed...his ankle, that is.
I climbed El Capitan in 12 hours that season. Plus all that calcium helped my bones recover for when I did break them. Thanks Justin.
Great article. When will Mission Cliffs start stocking chocolate milk in addition to gatorade?
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