Helping You Raise the Bar...Without Hurting Yourself!
Chocolate Milk and Post Workout Recovery

by Dwayne Hines

Got Milk?

Cycling champion Kristin Armstrong was recently asked the secret to her success (she won a gold medal in the recent Olympics in China. Her answer? She told Idaho Health that it was "chocolate milk." Why? She revealed "I use chocolate milk as my recovery drink after races and workouts. The carbohydrates fuel my muscles after exercise. The protein reduces muscle breakdown and stimulates growth. And milk’s natural electrolytes help restore fluid balance." Is Kristin correct? And how does it pertain to hard gainers? Kristin is right on target. The latest research indicates that milk is the best post workout recovery choice. In spite of what Gatorade says, milk is a far better post workout drink. Unfortunately Gatorade lacks protein. Studies have shown that the availability of free amino acids immediately after exercise increased muscle anabolism by increasing protein synthesis and decreasing protein breakdown. It turns out that protein is a vital recovery factor, and if you neglect this factor you miss out on the full prospect that your exercise session can provide.

Protein intake appears to be particularly important in exercises which result in muscle damage, such as repetitive power workouts to exhaustion and eccentric exercise (producing force during muscle lengthening - as noted in the Training & Conditioning Journal).

In addition to getting protein, getting the right type of protein enhances the recovery effort further. The right type of amino acid intake for recovery includes a lot of leucine. Donald Layman, University of Illinois nutrition professor, points out that taking the amino acid leucine right after a workout can shorten the downtime your body needs between workouts. Layman’s studies demonstrated that when leucine was ingested within 15 minutes of the completion of a workout, the leucine appeared to quick-start the protein rebuilding process - exhibiting that muscles can recover more quickly, and that the body can be better prepared for the next round of hard core training. Guess what contains a lot of leucine? Milk.

A study at Virginia Tech University found that circulating amino acids rose for those who took milk after exercise (specifically resistance training-weight lifting exercise) and decreased for those in the carbo only and placebo groups. Sorry again, Gatorade!

The final factor in favor of milk as the perfect post workout choice is the fact that it is liquid. Liquid gets put to work quicker than solid food, and this gives it the edge on other forms of protein such as steak, eggs, etc, for the quickest action to start muscle recovery.

Milk is a simple but super effective post workout recovery aid. Try some the next time you workout – within 15 minutes of the completion of the routine.
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