(RxWiki News) New research from the American College of Sports Medicine indicates the best post-workout beverage for your muscles could be sitting around your refrigerator.
The two-hour window following a strenuous fitness regimen is vital to maintaining strength and staying in shape for following workouts, and drinking fat-free or lowfat chocolate milk, compared to sports drinks, after exercise has been shown to help repair and rebuild muscles. Drinking chocolate milk during this window could even help prepare the body to perform better for subsequent exercise.
Drinking 16 ounces of chocolate milk post-workout was shown to enhance skeletal muscle protein synthesis, which means the muscles were better able to repair and rebuild, compared to when study participants drank a carbohydrate-based sports beverage with the same amount of calories.
Chocolate milk's combination of carbohydrates and protein also led to greater concentration of glycogen (muscle "fuel") in muscles at 30 and 60 minutes post exercise.
Drinking the yummy chocolately drink also resulted in decreased markers of muscle breakdown compared to drinking carbohydrate sports drinks, helping exercisers maintain lean muscle mass.
In a subsequent-exercise performance test, cyclists who drank chocolate milk following an hour-and-a-half bike ride were able to complete an additional 40 kilometer ride in less time than those who drank sports drink.
While milk isn't normally thought of as the go-to thirst quencher following workouts, the drink contains fluids for rehydration and electrolytes (including potassium, calcium and magnesium), both of which are lost in sweat.
Jim Crowell, owner of Integrated Fitness in Pittsburgh, said he
prefers to drink a protein powder mixed with water to limit both processed sugars and dairy in his personal diet.
Crowell recommends sports drinks only be used in endurance training when athletes have depleted potassium storage.