Athletes can choose from dozens of post-workout drink options. So many choices can make it difficult to decide which one is best for building muscle and enhancing recovery. However, nature may have the answer. Sports nutritionists are touting chocolate milk as the ultimate post-workout beverage.
When it comes to refueling after a long game or tough workout, low-fat chocolate milk has an ideal amount of nutrients: 26 grams of carbohydrates and eight grams of protein. The carb-to-protein ratio of 3.25:1 is perfect for replenishing energy (glycogen) and providing muscles with the amino acids they need to rebuild and grow.
Chocolate milk also hydrates you since it's mostly made of water. Also, its high levels of calcium and vitamins A and D promote overall health and build strong bones.
Chocolate Milk Recipe
Although chocolate milk is available in cartons and plastic bottles in the supermarket dairy section, you can make your own by mixing two tablespoons of cocoa powder with a teaspoon of sugar in a glass of low-fat milk. Note that 100-percent cocoa powder is a rich source of antioxidants,which reduce inflammation and promote recovery.
Chocolate milk is a great post-workout drink, but don't consume it before or during exercise. It could upset your stomach and do more harm than good. After exercise, though, low-fat chocolate milk should be your go-to drink.
Jim Carpentier is a certified strength and conditioning specialist, a New Jersey-licensed massage therapist and a health/fitness writer. He currently serves as associate health and wellness director at the Greater Morristown YMCA in Cedar Knolls, N.J.
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