If you happened to read the novel that was my first blog post on this site, then you already know that I am the unofficial national spokesperson for chocolate milk (CM). I was introduced to it as a recovery drink during my marathon training and still can't believe how much I had been missing out on.
First, you have to know how unlikely it is that I am the one promoting CM for run recovery. I rarely drank milk as a kid. Rather, I preferred Tang, the drink of astronauts. In fact, it was likely 30+ years ago that I had my last leche, the Jr. High cafeteria carton variety. I also really like my PowerAde. It's cheaper than Gatorade and tastes just as good. So when a fellow runner suggested CM, I turned my nose and thought "not a chance."
Then I started to read more and more about the recovery benefits that CM provided. On blogs similar to this and in article after article, I was seeing the same conclusions. And since I was serious about the training, I figured I would at least try it. Try it I did, and I am hooked for life. It is delicious and better yet, it is the perfect post-run beverage. But why? What does science say about CM that makes it the preferred choice. The following bullet points will give you the general idea as I understand it:
- Rehydration: It's an excellent source for replenishing fluids. It is basically water, but better. It is loaded with electrolytes; magnesium, calcium and potassium.
- Refuel & Rebuild Muscles: The optimal ratio of carbohydrates to protein, for slowing the breakdown of fatigued muscle fibers and rebuilding lean muscle, is 4 (carb) to 1 (pro). CM possesses this exact ratio, other sports drinks do not. The protein benefits alone are significant.
- Recovery: The sugar make-up in chocolate helps to rebuild glycogen levels depleted with exercise. This replacement is critical to coming back strong on your next training run.
- Bonus: It's more economical than the alternatives. A gallon of Costco skim will last a week or two. A bottle of syrup will last months.
Study after study confirms the positive effect that this wonder drink has on runners, cyclists and swimmers. I am a believer. Within the first hour following mid-to-long distance runs it is critical to begin recovery. Your next run will thank you. As will your legs days later that use to ache a bit more after heavy milage.
There you have it. I know, I know, it doesn't really sound like something you want to drink following a 6 mile run in 95º weather and sweat dripping down your face. But trust me, it is awesome. Take it from Mr. Anti-Milk guy, if you will follow these simple instructions, you will not regret it:
- Put a large 16 - 20 oz cup in the freezer before you go.
- Run like the wind.
- Return, take cup from freezer and pour in skim milk (Note: Skim provides the same benefits and you don't need any unnecessary fat from whole)
- Stir in 2 Tablespoons of Hershey's Syrup (Note: Go with reduced fat here as well).