Drinking Chocolate Milk After Working Out Is Apparently Great For Your Muscles, Science Says
I think everyone can firmly agree that, as a child, Nesquik was the sh*t. Like, I don't know when and why that magical yellow bottle disappeared from my life, but personally, I'd love for chocolate milk to become a regular staple in my diet again. And for all the haters that say heavenly, cocoa-infused milk is ~unhealthy~, researchers have actually shown that drinking chocolate milk after a workout is, in fact, awesome for your body — so take that.
In a recent review of 12 different studies, researchers broke down why you should be treating yourself to your OG chocolate milk after your sweat sessions. The review, which has been published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, revealed that a glass of chocolate milk contains carbohydrates, proteins, and fat, along with water and electrolytes — all of which are ideal for helping your body recover after a challenging workout.
After the researchers went over the data from these 12 studies, they discovered that it was similar, if not superior to all the other ~fancy~ sports drinks out there that claim to instantly revive your aching, post-workout body.
This is because, according to Fitness Magazine, when you compare chocolate milk to to plain milk, water, or most other sports drinks, it boasts double the protein and carb content.
What's more, the outlet reports, chugging (or sipping daintily, but who can control themselves when it's freaking chocolate milk?) a delicious glass of chocolate milk after your workout can also help prevent post-exercise dehydration due to its high water content. Gains, people. Gains. Seriously though, your muscles (and your taste buds) will thank you for this one.
But it's not just hydration benefits and extra protein that you'll get from a tasty glass of chocolate milk. According to LIVESTRONG, the drink also has tons of B-complex vitamins (aka nutrients that help convert food into energy), along with calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D — all things that ensure your bones stay strong enough to support you through all of those "fun" burpee challenges you're doing during your workout.
Chocolate milk is especially ideal for endurance athletes (read: all of you runners out there), according to Under Armour's MapMyRun blog, because the long-distance cardio leaves your muscles feeling so fatigued that they need a fast, efficient way to refuel. And when solid food might not sit that well right after such an intense workout, the blog explains, cocoa-flavored dairy could be a great alternative until your appetite kicks in.
But, as much as I will always be devoted to the nostalgic magic of chocolate milk, not everyone's a fan of the stuff, not to mention lactose intolerance is a very real struggle for lots of people.
Luckily, there are other post-workout drinks out there that can help with muscle recovery, but still satisfy your taste buds, too.
I'm sure you're already familiar with the benefits of drinking something like Gatorade after a workout, but a lesser known post-exercise bev, according to Muscle & Fitness, is apple juice (preferably with little or no added sugar). The outlet says this fruity drink is a great way to replenish your body after a strenuous workout, as it helps restore your glucose levels, meaning it basically boosts your energy back up when you're feeling really fatigued after a trip to the gym.
Alternatively, if you're vegan or gluten-free and still want to reap the benefits and tastiness of chocolate milk, Megan Ostler, RDN, MS, the head dietitian at iFit, says a personalized nutritional shake like Nourish can help get the job done. "Vegans who exercise often will need extra vitamin D, B12, and iron, whereas for someone who is gluten-free and engages in long-distance runs, a formula with more carbs and B vitamins might be the best fit," Ostler tells Elite Daily. "Nourish can fit anyone's lifestyle and it tastes just as delicious as chocolate milk."
But if prepackaged bevs aren't really your thing, you can easily make your own post-workout drink at home by blending your favorite fruit and protein powder with milk, juice, or water, according to LIVESTRONG. If that's something you want to try, the International Society of Sports Nutrition recommends using whey protein in your recipe, as it "provides a distinct advantage over other protein sources." But if that doesn't sit well in your stomach, you can always experiment with plant-based protein powders, as well.
The bottom line is, whether you're gulping down a refreshing glass of chocolate milk, stocking up on blue Gatorade, or mixing up your own tasty post-workout concoction at home, your muscles will definitely thank you for taking the time to nourish them with something delicious.