Sunday, October 21, 2012

Get Chocolate Milk : It Really Does a Body Good!

(A version of this article first appeared on 24 Savvy)

If you watch any sporting event, you will almost certainly come away with the impression that water or Gatorade are the only beverage recovery options for the inspiring, or the aspiring athlete.

Water may be great for fluid replacement, but it certainly can’t replace depleted nutrients or help you regain energy after a grueling workout. This is where your old frenemy carbohydrates--found in sports drinks like Gatorade--can come to the rescue.

According to the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), these recovery periods are key opportunities to influence training outcomes. If carbohydrate needs are neglected after training, you diminish potential gains from your workout. Therefore, if you don’t refuel your carbohydrate stores properly, you have essentially wasted your training session.

However, as Dr. John Hawley showed in an issue of the Journal of Sports Science (2006), man does not recover by carbohydrate alone. “Ingesting protein with carbohydrates immediately after exercise reduces muscle soreness. The ability to sustain high level performance day after day is limited by how well glycogen stores are recovered and muscle tissues are repaired.”

Joel Stager, physiologist and director of the Human Performance Laboratory at Indiana University, finds that a great recovery option is one that has a high carbohydrate and protein content.

His latest study was published in a recent issue of the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism. In the study, Stager finds an old kid favorite--chocolate milk--to be an optimal post-exercise recovery aid. His findings have also found traction outside of the lab, with athletes and coaches alike.

“I am a huge fan of chocolate milk after workouts,” says Jerry Shreck, head strength coach at Bucknell University. “I tell my athletes to go to the cafe and slam two glasses after a workout.

Courtesy : Got Chocolate Milk?
“You have about a 45 minute window after a workout when your body will be craving nutrients to combat the hormone imbalances that you created during the workout. At this time, your body will take in those nutrients at a more optimal rate. Therefore, your body can use them to immediately start repairing itself, which aids in quicker recovery. “

Now drink up--to your health and your hot new body.

Chocolate milk, it really does a body good!

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