Home > Cooper Updates > Chocolate Milk: The Ultimate Workout Recovery Strategy

Chocolate Milk: The Ultimate Workout Recovery Strategy

Refueling after a workout can be tricky. It is helpful to understand more about what your body needs to properly recover. Whether you’re running or lifting weights, your body is using its glycogen stores as fuel.

Glycogen is the stored form of glucose — the main molecule your cells break down to produce energy. Most of your glycogen is found in your liver and muscle cells. When you deplete your glycogen by working out, you become fatigued. The goal is to replenish or refuel the cell as soon as possible after a vigorous workout. After light to moderate physical activity, an immediate post-workout snack is not as crucial. For optimal results, aim to consume your recovery fuel within 30-45 minutes after a challenging workout.
Refreshing Delicious Chocolate Milk with Real Cocoa
After you exercise, your body begins to replenish its glycogen stores and repairing your muscles. This is why sports dietitians recommend a post-workout snack that contains both carbohydrates and protein. The International Society for Sports Nutrition recommends keeping the ratio of carbs-to-proteins around 3:1 or 4:1. This happens to be the precise ratio for chocolate milk! In addition, chocolate milk also rehydrates quickly and is high in potassium — a helpful electrolyte for athletes. Chocolate milk brands recommended by Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services include:

  • Horizon® Organic Low-Fat Chocolate Milk
  • TruMoo® Low-Fat Chocolate Milk
  • Great Value™ 1% Low-Fat Chocolate Milk
  • *Fairlife® Reduced-Fat Chocolate Milk

*Because Fairlife is ultra-filtered, it contains 50 percent more protein and 50 percent fewer carbs, making it a 1:1 carb to protein ratio.

There are certainly other foods and drinks that provide that same balanced ratio for post-workout recovery. Other snack ideas that are ideal for optimizing recovery are:

  • 7 oz. Greek yogurt + 1 cup blueberries with a drizzle of honey = 20 grams protein, 30 grams carbs
  • ⅔ cup of almonds + 1 banana = 15 grams protein, 30 gams carbs
  • Turkey + cheddar sandwich on whole grain bread = 20 grams protein, 30 grams carbs

Whatever recovery snack suits your fancy, make a habit of eating something you know has the right fuel to resupply your muscles with nutrients to stay strong and recovery properly.

Meridan Zerner, MS, RDN, CSSD, LD, Cooper Clinic Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, contributed this article.

For more information on chocolate milk and post-workout recovery read this blog.

Categories: Cooper Updates
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