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Is Chocolate Milk Good After A Long Run?

So is chocolate milk good after a long run? The simple answer is yes…

Chocolate milk has all the amino acids needed for recovery and a 3.1-4.1 ratio of carbohydrate to protein, ideal for post-workout running recovery drink.

Benefits Of Chocolate Milk For Runners Post Workout……

Carbohydrates

After a long run, your body will have depleted glycogen stores. Basically, the stored carbohydrate in your body has either been used up or depleted, which will need replenishing. This is why many long-distance runners hit the wall in marathons.

If you don’t replace lost carbohydrates after a long run, then it will slow your recovery, plus you will more than likely feel more tired post-run, due to the low levels of glycogen stores in your body.

Protein.

Protein is key to muscle recovery. Running puts a massive strain on the muscles of the body, however, particularly the legs.

Protein is what will help you rebuild any wear and tear on your muscles that have occurred whilst exercising.

Hydration.

This is an article in its self. A lot will depend on the conditions when you run. However, you will likely sweat in the long run as your body uses sweating to control your body temperature.

Is Chocolate Milk Good After A Long Run?

However, when you stop, your body cools down, and you lose body fluids that you must replace.

Fortunately, chocolate milk is a liquid that also helps in that area

Vitamin D And Calcium

Plus, you have the added benefit of calcium and vitamin D as well, which positively impacts bone strength.

What Is A Complete Protein?

A complete protein is, by definition, complete in that they have all the essential amino acids required for the human body.

Some examples of amnio acids would be meat, poultry, fish, eggs, cheese and milk.

Plant-based examples would be quinoa, Soy, buckwheat or beans are also complete proteins.

Why The 3.1-4.1 Ratio Of Carbohydrate To Protein Is Important For Recovery.

This is key for recovery because you will need enough carbohydrates in whatever you are using as a postworkout drink.

If not, it won’t top up the lost glycogen store effectively.

The protein part will be at its most effective when the proteins present are most of if not all of the essential amino acids. This, as mentioned, will assist in helping your muscles recover and become stronger.

A Key Amino Acid In Milk That Helps Runners

There are 9 amino acids, but below I share one of the amino acids that are key to recovery. All the amino acids help with energy and muscle replenishment and are within chocolate milk.

However, one is worth pointing out on its own…

Leucine.

Powers a process called muscle protein synthesis, basically speeds up recovery for runners. Leucine helps your body create new muscle cells to replace damaged ones from running and speeds up the bodies recovery process.

Downsides Of Chocolate Milk As A Recovery Drink

Some people find cows milk difficult to digest (see below for alternatives)

Also, chocolate milk is high in sugar. (One cup (240 ml) of chocolate milk can contain up to 3 teaspoons of added sugar.)

This is not an issue post-run for most people as that extra sugar will be more than likely utilised.

However, for some people, this might be a consideration who want to control sugar intake.

Non Dairy Chocolate Milk Alternatives.

If you don’t like milk or can’t tolerate it, then there are alternatives.

For example, you have Soy milk chocolate milk.

Soy milk is still a complete protein but is free of lactate and is a good dairy alternative.

Be aware that plant-based milk such as almond milk is not complete proteins like soy milk or cow’s milk.

Is Chocolate Milk Going To Be More Effective Than A Commercial Sports Recovery Drink?

Studies have shown that, at the very least, chocolate milk is effective, if not more so, than many sports recovery drinks.

Plus, the fact is that it’s a natural product. I think many people would give it the edge.

I will put links to some of the studies in the resources at the end of this article.

It’s worth pointing out that many premade drinks and powders created for recovery generally perform well.

It’s worth looking at the ingredients to make sure there aren’t too many fillers.

As demonstrated by chocolate milk, sometimes keeping it simple is effective.

Whatever you decide to use as a recovery drink, just make sure it works to a 3.1-4.1 ratio of carbohydrate to protein. It contains many, if not all the amino acids, and that is an effective electrolyte so that it helps replace lost fluid and body salts.

Resources And Studies On The Effectiveness Of Chocolate Milk As A Recovery Drink

Postexercise carbohydrate-protein supplementation improves subsequent exercise performance and intracellular signalling for protein synthesis

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21522069/

is runners high a myth

I am a 57-year-old runner that is determined to give ageing a good run for its money :)
Running has given so much, from running 10Ks, marathons, and ten marathons in 10 days.
In this blog, I want to help other runners get better and get the secondary benefits of running: more energy, improved mood and functional fitness.

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