Coaches and strength staff are learning the importance of proper recovery after exercise for their athletes, but, with so many commercial beverages claiming to be the best recovery choice, it can leave even the best trainer sidelined on what product to choose for their weight room.
It’s true a training session isn’t truly over until the nutrients that were lost are replaced. Even though there are countless commercial choices, as a sports dietitian and athlete, I stick to what I know works—chocolate milk. American Academy of Sports Medicine (ACSM), the leading source on sports medicine and exercise science, backs my recommendation and also suggests chocolate milk as a recovery beverage because it has the right mix of protein and carbs, scientifically proven to replenish exhausted muscles and help return an athlete to peak potential.
What about other commercial beverages advertised as a high-protein drink for recovery? Although “milk” may be in the name of several popular commercial drinks, these drinks sometimes do not contain a trace of real dairy milk. It’s good to remember that chocolate milk is real dairy milk and offers a natural source of high-quality protein to build lean muscle, plus fluids and electrolytes—like calcium, potassium, magnesium and sodium—to rehydrate and replenish critical nutrients lost in sweat.
It’s important for coaches and conditioning staff to know that, unlike commercial protein beverages, chocolate milk is a great tasting, affordable alternative to expensive protein powders and recovery drinks—and you can find it anywhere.
Rebecca Turner, MS, RD, CSSD, LD