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The Latest Post-Exercise Recovery Drink: Got (Chocolate) Milk?

How does chocolate milk compare to other post-workout beverages?
How does chocolate milk compare to other post-workout beverages?

As a mountain biker, I have definitely noticed a big difference in my rehabilitation
after rides when drinking two post-exercise recovery beverages commonly used by
endurance athletes: Endurox and Accelerade. My first time being introduced to these
exercise drinks was after a sprint Triathlon in Cape May. Afterwards, I really had
little to no muscle “soreness” and blamed it on a possible placebo effect. As the
years have passed, I continue to see firsthand the gains of drinking them, and the
research shows the benefit of these drinks in muscle recovery.
Relatively recently, exercise gurus conducted a study comparing the post-workout
effects of Gatorade, Endurox, water and chocolate milk. The winner of this study
was chocolate milk, which demonstrated equal or greater benefits than Gatorade,
Endurox and water. Chocolate milk contains a combination of carbohydrates, protein
and fats in the correct ratio that maximizes the restoration of the depleted energy
stores in our muscle, leading to less muscle “soreness”. Chocolate milk helps
replace electrolytes and fluids lost during physical activity and contains vitamin D
and calcium, two key nutrients for bone health.
One important factor to consider when drinking any of these beverages to recover
post-workout, is you must drink them 20-30 minutes after completing your run, swim
or bike ride to receive the full benefits. At that point, the glycogen stores are at
their lowest and this is the optimal time to replenish them.
Although chocolate milk is undeniably delicious and perhaps more cost-effective, there are certain downsides to the drink when using it for sports participation. Milk
needs to be refrigerated and is less easily transported. I currently use Endurox
when riding, but like to have the option of chocolate milk when possible as a drink
that is less processed. Either way, these drinks provide numerous benefits for the
endurance athlete.

Apex Orthopedic Rehabilitation in Wyckoff, NJ provides orthopedic, spine and sports physical therapy services for the greater Ridgewood, Wyckoff, and Bergen County region. This blog is intended for informational purposes only and should not be used for diagnostic or prescriptive purposes. The views expressed here are the author’s views and should be taken as suggestions. Always consult your doctor or healthcare practitioner before engaging in a physical therapy or rehabilitative program.

Tom Willemann

Tom Willemann

Tom Willemann is a premier physical therapist based out of Bergen County, New Jersey. He holds an MS in physical therapy from the University of Miami, is credentialed in the world-renowned McKenzie Method of Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy (MDT), and holds an OCS (Orthopedic Clinical Specialist) certification. As of 2018, there are approximately 14,000 ABPTS certified specialists in the nation and less than 400 of them are located in the state of New Jersey. Tom is the owner and director of Apex Orthopedic Rehabilitation in Paramus. He opened the clinic, which specializes in spine and sports injury prevention, in 2004 after many years of experience in the field. Tom’s caring interest in others and his strong belief in continuity of care, combined with his clinic’s ability to find solutions for the most difficult orthopedic problems, have earned Apex Orthopedic Rehabilitation its excellent reputation with patients and medical professionals in northeastern New Jersey and beyond. A true “family man,” Tom takes pride in his clinic’s warm and welcoming environment.
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