I ran cross country and track all throughout high school and my one coach would always tell us to drink a glass of chocolate milk after a hard workout. My mother is a health nut and when I told her I had to drink chocolate milk she told me that drinking chocolate milk after a workout only applies to professional runners otherwise it is a myth. She claims that high school runners did not run hard enough to need chocolate milk after a workout, but time and time again my coach told us to drink it.
To answer this question we should first state the components of a “good” sports recovery drink. The three key ingredients to a proper recovery drink include carbohydrates, proteins, and water. These ingredigients aid to replenish the body after it lost the necessary muscle glycogen , muscle tissue, and any lost fluids. The purpose of a recovery drink is to give the body the nutrients and energy it looses after a hard workout. Popular recovery drinks include Nuun (which aids to replenish electrolytes), SIS (science in sport tablets or protein powder), Optimum Nutrition: Essential AmiN.O Energy, Gatorade recovery drinks, and many others. So what makes these more favorable than others? A main factor to consider is the idea of the carbohydrates to protein ratio. An ideal ratio is anywhere between 3:1 to 4:1. Gatorade recovery drinks have a 1:1 ratio.
Chocolate milk’s benefits include the ideal ratio of 3:1 carbohydrates to protein, the presence of whey protein (digests and absorbs quickly and also replenishes amino acids into the blood stream), the cheap cost, and the presence of protein casein, which aids to reduce the amount of muscle breakdown. Here is a chart showing the differences between chocolate milk and Gatorade’s recovery drink
In the end it is evident that chocolate milk is a better recovery drink than Gatorade’s recovery drinks. But the initial question, is chocolate milk a good recovery drink answered? In some ways chocolate milk is a good recovery drink aiding to replenish the necessary nutrients, calories, and energy that athletes lose during workouts. Athletes need to drink and eat more than a non-athlete therefore they can afford to drink chocolate milk after a workout, whereas a non-athlete would most likely be putting on more weight from drinking loads of chocolate milk. So chocolate milk is a decent recovery drink, but at least I would recommend only to drink it after the hard workouts, not just every run.