Student athletes put in countless time on the field and in the gym to develop the skills and strength necessary to be successful on gameday. Athletes must also maximize their actions immediately after workouts, and that includes fueling tired muscles with chocolate milk.
Regarding nutrition, there is a 30-minute, post-exercise window of opportunity that is favorable for fueling athletes. Athletes can miss an optimal recovery opportunity if they don’t seize it.
The ideal combination of nutrients after exercise are electrolytes for hydration, carbohydrates to restock lost energy, and protein to help repair muscle mass. After a tough workout, chocolate milk is a natural choice when it comes to the needed nutrients. Chocolate milk made from real dairy milk provides electrolytes (calcium, potassium, sodium and magnesium) along with fluids to help players rehydrate.
With 8 grams of high-quality protein per cup, chocolate milk helps restore muscles quickly to their peak potential and replenish what the body has lost–including carbohydrates. Replacing muscle fuel (glycogen) after exercise is essential to players’ recovery. A recent study in Medicine & Science in Sports and Exercise found drinking chocolate milk, with its mix of carbohydrates and protein (compared to a carbohydrate-only drink with the same amount of calories), led to greater concentration of glycogen in muscles at 30 and 60 minutes after exercise.
To maximize training efforts, encourage players to drink chocolate milk within 30 minutes of workouts.
Rebecca Turner, MS, RD, CSSD, LD, is a Nutrition Affairs Account Manager for SUDIA.