I am a huge fan of exercising. I find it to be a very useful form of stress relief and I love the feeling you get when you finish a hard circuit. However, I never know what to eat afterwards. I’m not usually hungry, but I have been told time and time again that it is very important to get some protein back in your system at least twenty minutes after you finish your routine. Being a college student, it can be even harder to find a healthy effective, post workout meal. Protein bars are great but they just don’t do it for me. Then, I remembered hearing from my stepmother that chocolate milk is actually highly beneficial to your health, especially after you finish a workout. I found this hard to believe, but I do enjoy chocolate milk; so I thought I would do some research and find out if this tasty treat really is the best post workout supplement.
According to THIS article, chocolate milk actually has very helpful ingredients when it comes to your recovery. The drink has a high water content, which makes up for the dehydration and the sugars are just enough to help your body recover. Also, it has valuable carbohydrates and proteins that are crucial to a strong recovery. It was sounding pretty good to me, but I was still not convinced that a drink I used to consume as a treat could actually be helpful.
So, I continued my research. THIS study done made famous by Joes M. Stager tested nine different cyclists. They were asked to cycle for as long as they could and then were given a four hour break . During this time, the athletes would drink gatorade, Endurox R4, and low-fat chocolate milk. After the four hours were up, the cyclists were asked to once again cycle until exhaustion. The study had positive results as those who drank the chocolate milk had an equivalent, or even increased performance compared to those who consumed the other sports drinks. The article above also mentions that your average athlete should reconsider how much chocolate milk they are consuming. However, if you are training hard or leaving the gym, it is still seems to be a highly beneficial drink.
Now as I was uncovering the wonders of chocolate milk, I also wondered how soon after a workout you should be recovering and consuming protein. According to one ARTICLE, the best option is for you to get your additional protein within thirty minutes of finishing your workout. They also suggest you split it up and drink some before and after, however, I am sure some post workout protein would be sufficient. This is fairly close to what I have been taught over the years; however, an article from Men’s Health begs to differ. THIS article claims that the allotted time to consume your protein supplement is actually much longer. It goes on to explain that contrary to what experts believe, the muscle growth continues for anywhere from 24-48 hours. Obviously it is better to drink some chocolate milk earlier, but you do not need to stress about getting your protein in within the half an hour.
Overall, it can be hard to decide whether or not you truly want to drink chocolate milk or if you want to drink it within thirty minutes of your workout. However, after doing some cost-benefit analysis, it is clear it couldn’t hurt to try. I would not recommend chugging a carton of chocolate milk, but giving smaller portions a try does not seem to be harmful in anyway.