Drinking chocolate milk after a hard workout could give athletes a performance edge, according to a growing body of research. Some studies suggest drinking lowfat chocolate milk after a strenuous workout could help athletes boost power and even improve training times in their next bout of exercise, compared to when they drink a carbohydrate sports drink.
- Recovering with fat free chocolate milk after a hard workout helped recreational runners build more muscle, reduce debilitating muscle breakdown and run longer compared to when they recovered with a carbohydrate drink, according to a new study in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. When the runners drank fat free chocolate milk after a strenuous run, on average, they ran 23% longer and had a 38% increase in markers of muscle building compared to when they drank a carbohydrate-only sports beverage with the same amount of calories.1
- An Indiana University study found endurance-trained cyclists who drank lowfat chocolate milk after an intense period of cycling were able to work out longer and with more power during a second exercise period compared to when the same athletes drank a commercially available carbohydrate replacement drink, and just as long as when they consumed a traditional fluid replacement drink.2
- In another study, after an initial exercise and recovery, cyclists were able to cycle 51% longer during a second bout of exercise after drinking chocolate milk than after drinking a carbohydrate replacement drink with the same number of calories.3
- Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin found that following an exhausting ride, trained cyclists had significantly more power and rode faster, shaving about six minutes, on average, from their ride time when they recovered with lowfat chocolate milk compared to a carbohydrate sports drink or calorie-free beverage.4
- In a recent study, 32 healthy but untrained cyclists who recovered with lowfat chocolate milk had twice the improvement in VO2max—a measure of aerobic fitness and adaptation—after a 4.5 week cycling regimen—compared to athletes who grabbed a carbohydrate drink.5
1 Lunn WR, Pasiakos SM, Colletto MR, Karfonta KE, Carbone JW, Anderson JM, Rodriguez NR. Chocolate milk & endurance exercise recovery: protein balance, glycogen and performance. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 2012;44:682-691.
2 Karp JR, Johnston JD, Tecklenburg S, Mickleborough TD, Fly AD, Stager JM. Chocolate milk as a post-exercise recovery aid. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism. 2006;16:78-91.
3 Thomas K, Morris P, Stevenson E. Improved endurance capacity following chocolate milk consumption compared with 2 commercially available sport drinks. Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism. 2009;34:78-82.
4 Ferguson-Stegall L, McCleave EL, Ding Z, Doerner PG, Wang B, Liao YH, Kammer L, Liu Y, Hwang J, Dessard BM, Ivy JL. Postexercise carbohydrate-protein supplementation improves subsequent exercise performance and intracellular signaling for protein synthesis. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 2011;25:1210-1224.
5 Ferguson-Stegall L, McCleave E, Ding Z, Doerner Iii PG, Liu Y, Wang B, Healy M, Kleinert M, Dessard B, Lassiter DG, Kammer L, Ivy JL. Aerobic exercise training adaptations are increased by postexercise carbohydrate-protein supplementation. Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism. 2011. Epub ahead of print.