Every coach wants their athletes to perform at their highest levels on the field or court, as well as in the classroom. Optimal performance begins with proper recovery, and flavored milk, such as low-fat chocolate milk, is a great sports nutrition option that rehydrates the body and quickly replaces the carbohydrates lost after workouts and practice sessions. Student athletes and coaches can take advantage of the benefits of milk for sports recovery immediately following strenuous exercise by focusing on the three R’s: replenish, repair and rehydrate!
Replenish – Exercising uses energy in the form of carbohydrates, so give the muscles and body an energy source to replace what the body uses. Flavored milk is a nutrient powerhouse that offers protein and eight health benefits of dairy, including calcium and vitamins A, B, and D.
- Timing: Replenish your body immediately following exercise or at least 15-60 minutes after training and again three to four hours later.
- Amount: Your body weight (in pounds) ÷ 2 = the number of grams of carbs you should consume.
- Choose: Low-fat chocolate milk, fruit (apple or banana), pretzels
Repair – Exercise breaks down muscles, so give them the recommended daily protein intake to build them back up.
- Timing: Immediately or within 15-60 minutes after training and again 3-4 hours later
- Amount: 20-30 grams of high-quality protein
- Choose: Low fat chocolate milk, Greek yogurt, string cheese, peanut butter
Rehydrate – Exercise can dehydrate the body and cause a loss of electrolytes, so give your body the fluid it needs.
- Timing: In the first two hours after training
- Amount: 16-24 ounces of fluid per pound lost (heat, humidity, intensity and length of workout are factors that increase the amount of fluid to be replaced following a workout)
- Choose: Water and flavored milk (this packs a one-two punch to replace fluid and nutrients, such as protein and carbohydrates).
Paul Moore, MS, RD, CSSD, LDN, CSCS, NSCA-CPT provides continuing education for fitness, personal training, and strength/conditioning professionals through Fitness4Professionals, Inc. In addition to being a registered dietitian, Paul is a board-certified specialist in sports dietetics and a certified strength and conditioning specialist. Find Paul on Twitter @fitness4pros.