In a study published in The International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, subjects given chocolate milk before hopping on the stationary bikes were able to ride 49 percent longer than subjects given a generic carbohydrate-replacement beverage. And on top of that, they pedaled even harder. Total work performed by the chocolate-milk group was greater than the work performed by subjects drinking carbohydrate-replacement drinks or electrolyte-fortified sports drinks.
The reason? Milk has naturally occurring electrolytes that keep you hydrated—more hydrated then water. Its natural sweetness helps push more energy into your muscles. Another study from 2009 found similar results, but it went one step further by asking participants which beverage they thought tasted better. Not surprisingly, 100% chose chocolate milk.
American College of Sports Medicine suggests one of the best post-exercise recovery drinks is chocolate milk. It offers a recovery advantage to help repair and rebuild muscles, compared to specially designed carbohydrate sports drinks.
Experts agree that the two-hour window after exercise is an important, yet often neglected, part of a fitness routine. After strenuous exercise, this post-workout recovery period is critical for active people at all fitness levels – to help make the most of a workout and stay in top shape for the next workout.
The new research suggests that drinking fat free chocolate milk after exercise can help the body retain, replenish and rebuild muscle to help your body recover. Drinking lowfat chocolate milk after a strenuous workout could even help prep muscles to perform better in a subsequent bout of exercise.