Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Run + Chocolate Milk = Runner's Recovery

Drink Chocolate Milk after your runs and train like there's no finish line.  Running is a part of your life.  So should refueling with chocolate milk.

Just like stretching, it can be pretty easy to forget to refuel after your workouts.  The kids are waiting for you, the laundry needs to be folded and your spouse probably has things they want to scratch off of their to do list, too.  However, just like MAKING the time for your workout, you really need to MAKE time to refuel (and stretch!) after your runs, too.  Your body will thank you later.

An easy way to do this, is prepare your refueling beverage beforehand and have it cold and readily available after your workout.  Keep single servings of chocolate milk in your refrigerator.  This makes them easier to grab and also involves less dishes to load in the dishwasher later!  Pop single servings of chocolate milk in a cooler to enjoy after a "destination run" away from home or for after a race.  Prepare a chocolate milk smoothie in the morning and keep it in the refrigerator, so all you'll need to do is grab it to enjoy when your run is complete.  

Refueling with chocolate milk will also satisfy your sweet tooth and keep you from getting post-run hunger after a grueling workout or long run.  It will keep you satisfied and help you feel fuller longer.  You will be less likely to search the pantry later or raid your kids' snack stash.

How it works:
After a tough workout, chocolate milk helps restore muscles quickly to their peak potential and helps replenish what your body has lost – including fluids and critical nutrients lost in sweat. 
Chocolate milk is a natural choice when it comes to electrolytes, providing many of the same electrolytes that are added to commercial recovery drinks (calcium, potassium, sodium and magnesium) along with fluids to help you rehydrate. In fact, some research suggests milk may help you stay hydrated after exercise, more than some commercial sports drinks.
  • Replacing muscle fuel (glycogen) after exercise is essential to an athlete’s recovery. A recent study found that drinking 16 ounces of fat-free chocolate milk with its mix of carbohydrates and protein (compared to a carbohydrate-only drink with the same amount of calories) led to greater concentration of glycogen in muscles at 30 and 60 minutes post-exercise.1

  • In a study of 13 male college soccer players, post-exercise consumption of lowfat chocolate milk was found to provide equal or possibly superior muscle recovery compared to a high-carbohydrate recovery beverage with the same amount of calories following a four-day period of intensified soccer training.2

  • Drinking lowfat or fat-free milk after exercise could restore hydration better than other popular post-exercise beverages, according to one study. The study compared the rehydration effectiveness of four beverages: lowfat milk, lowfat milk with added sodium, water and a sports drink. After exercise in a warm climate, participants were given one of the four test beverages and the researchers measured hydration status. While all beverages restored hydration status equally, the researchers found that milk may be more effective than water or sports drinks at maintaining normal hydration status after exercise, likely due to milk’s electrolyte content and energy density.3

  • In a second study, the same researchers found that drinking fat-free milk after exercise-induced dehydration restored fluid balance better than a commercial sports drink. The researchers concluded that “milk can be an effective post-exercise rehydration drink, with subjects remaining in net positive fluid balance throughout the recovery period.”4
Drinking milk after exercise can also help replace essential electrolytes that are lost in sweat. These essentials include potassium, sodium, magnesium and calcium. The loss of calcium is of particular concern since research suggests rigorous exercise may cause substantial calcium loss, which could increase the risk of stress fractures.5-7

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