Protein Shake or Chocolate Milk: Which Is Better Post-Workout?

December 9, 2012 | Raymond Tucker

Must See Nutrition Videos

Athletes are taught to refuel with protein immediately after a workout. Most opt for a quick hit with an easy, portable protein shake. But just drinking protein won't replenish muscle glycogen stores. (See Get the Most Out of Your Post-Workout Protein.) After an intense workout, the body has basically depleted all of its glycogen, which is the primary fuel used for energy production. In order to get the most out of your workouts and to achieve peak performance, restoring glycogen immediately after a workout is extremely important. It's one of the reasons energy levels decrease when carbohydrate intake is reduced.

Bottom line: you need to consume something that contains both protein and carbohydrates.

That's why the only post-workout drink I'd recommend to an athlete—high school, college or professional—is low-fat chocolate milk. After a workout, your muscles are like a sponge ready to soak up whatever you feed them. One cup of low-fat chocolate milk is fortified with 30% of your daily recommended calcium, 25% of your daily recommended vitamin D, and phosphorus. Plus, it's a good source of vitamin A and C. With 26 grams of carbohydrates and eight grams of high-quality protein, a single serving of chocolate milk is the perfect blend of what your body needs after a strenuous workout to replenish your glycogen stores and repair damaged muscle tissue.

You can purchase chocolate milk almost anywhere. For maximum results, I recommend drinking a pint of low-fat chocolate milk after your workout. It can also be used as a healthy afternoon snack to keep you energized throughout the day.

Raymond Tucker
- Raymond Tucker, CSCS, a Level 1 Track Coach certified by the United States Track and Field Association and Level 1 FMS certified by Functional Movement...
Raymond Tucker
- Raymond Tucker, CSCS, a Level 1 Track Coach certified by the United States Track and Field Association and Level 1 FMS certified by Functional Movement...
Must See
Dwyane Wade Leads by Example
Views: 6,631,865
Peyton Manning Dumbbell Bench With 80+ Pounds
Views: 37,127,207
Dashon Goldson: "You Just Gotta Have Heart"
Views: 4,901,621

Featured Videos

A Day in the Life of NBA D-League Star Seth Curry Views: 69,070
Kevin Love's Cone Hop Basketball Shooting Drill Views: 9,456
Eastbay Path to the Pros Episode 2: Laying the Groundwork Views: 133,452
Load More


STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers


Latest issues of STACK Magazine


Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice


Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes


Find the latest news relevant to athletes

Most Popular Videos

Perfect Dwyane Wade's Signature Euro Step
Views: 1,308,880
What Ryan Hall Eats for Breakfast
Views: 795,300
STACK Fitness Weekly: How To Do a Muscle-Up
Views: 778,676
Greg Nixon's Hill Training Program
Views: 705,782
Roy Hibbert 540 lbs Deadlift
Views: 1,561,942

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

Eat Like a Champion, Part 3: Post-Workout Nutrition

Welcome to the STACK Eat Like a Champion article series, where we talk to nutrition experts about how to eat to beat the competition. You'll learn how...

Why Your Gut Might Be the Most Important Part of Your Body

How and Why to Eat Mindfully

What You Need to Know About Protein

4 Endomorph Diet Strategies to Accelerate Fat Loss

5 Changes Fast-Food Restaurants Are Making to Become Healthier

Avoid Pigging Out: How to Conquer Food Cravings

Are Chokeberries the Next Super Food for Athletes?

Performance-Boosting Snacks with a Satisfying Crunch

Big Breakfast, Small Breakfast, No Breakfast: Which Is Best?

The Nutrition That Powers Joe Thomas's Iron-Man Streak

Are 'Healthy Chips' Really Healthy? 5 Popular Options Examined

How Can Zero-Calorie Diet Soda Be Bad for You?

12 Grab-and-Go High Protein Snacks

Surprising Muscle-Building Snacks

What You Need to Know about Fats

How 100 Pro Athletes Like Their Eggs

Is It Okay to Eat the Same Thing Every Day?

Post-Holiday Chocolate Health Benefits

Macronutrients, Part I: Carbohydrates

8 Recovery Foods Recommended by Sport Dietitians

3 Tips to Eat Healthy on a Budget

Feed for Speed: 5 Foods and Supplements That Make You Faster

Why Every Athlete Should Drink Tea

Study Ranks Paleo As Second-Worst Diet

Russell Wilson Wants You to 'Eat the Ball'

How to Build a Meal Plan to Suit Your Body Type

Halftime Snacks for Quick Refueling

Fuel Up for Soccer Like the U.S. Women's National Team

Types of Yogurt: What's New and What's Best for Athletes

Game-Day Nutrition for Soccer Players

The Right Way to Gain Weight During the Off-Season

Why Chicken Soup Strengthens Your Immune System

How to Turn Nutrition Goals Into Actions

Bone Broth Breakdown: Should You Eat This 'Super' Soup'?

Eat Like a Champion, Part 2: How to Lose Fat Safely

Simple Nutrition Tips for Faster Workout Gains

Cheerios With Quinoa: Coming Soon to a Grocery Store Near You

Why Are People Drinking Charcoal?

The Soccer Tournament Nutrition Checklist

Fuel Your Performance with Peas