What do Mo Farah
(the Olympic gold medal superathlete) and I have in common? It’s not speed,
that’s for sure – he has it, and I don’t.
Rather, the thing we have in common is that we both like chocolate milk after running races.
Yes, it tastes good, and I’ve been known to count down kilometres until I can cross that finish line, head to my car, and down my chocolate milk (I keep it on ice in a cooler box, and if it’s Easter time, there might be white Easter egg in there too. Okay, make it three).
However, chocolate milk (you can also choose your favourite flavoured milk) also has the ideal carbohydrate-to-protein ratio, which your muscles require to replenish glycogen levels. Basically? It’s great for your recovery.
According to The Guardian, the superpowers of chocolate milk were discovered by accident. A scientific study looking at the best beverages for post-exercise rehydration was supposed to pit the best electrolyte sports drinks on the market against each other.
Nine elite cyclists were taken through a series of glycogen-depleting exercises, consuming various recovery drinks in between, while a handful were given just milk as a control to assess the relative benefits of each drink.
And guess what? The cyclists on milk outperformed their rivals by a considerable margin. Sports scientists from a variety of different institutions have since repeated the experiment with similar results.
After running a race, or anything that you’ve sweated for, you need to recover, refuel and repair. And the one thing that ticks these boxes is chocolate milk.
According to Rediscover Dairy, here’s why it’s a winner:
- It has carbohydrates to boost energy, combat fatigue, fill up fuel stores, and ensure hydration
- It has potassium, sodium and magnesium to replace electrolytes lost through sweating
- It is a fluid to prevent heat stress and exhaustion
- It is a protein that helps muscles recover
- It has a rich supply of easily absorbed calcium to build and maintain strong bones
My extra reason? Chocolate milk tastes really good.
And more than just being a great after-exercise drink, kids love chocolate or strawberry milk (my childhood was basically all about strawberry milk). My son loves it after cricket matches – I will sometimes freeze it before so that it’s extra refreshing, and he can enjoy it for longer. They’re also great treats for lunchboxes.
If you don’t want the expense of ready-to-drink flavoured milk in boxes, you can make your own at home – simply add flavoured powder to milk.
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