You have just worked out and broke a sweat. Now it is time to replenish your body with a tall glass of refreshing, cold… chocolate milk.
Surprised? Don’t be! Quite a few studies have found that low-fat chocolate milk is a great post-exercise drink.
After resistance training, it is very important to help the body recuperate. This research confirms that chocolate milk is excellent for this purpose because it has a good carbohydrate to protein ratio, which helps replenish energy systems, as well as repair and build more muscle than some traditional sports drinks.
Some of the research suggests that ingredients in low-fat chocolate milk, such as calcium, sodium and a bit of sugar, lead to a quicker post-exercise recovery.
What if low-fat chocolate milk is not your cup of tea? If your exercise routine is especially intense, you might benefit from a post-workout sports drink — the ingredients included in these beverages will replenish your energy level and help you recover quicker. Depending on your goals, you will want either a 1:1 ratio of carbs to protein for a fat loss program or a 2:1 ratio of carbs to protein for a muscle building or athletic performance enhancing program.
*It's worth noting that your best post-workout protein source comes from a high quality whey.
While a post-training drink is important for the recovery process, so is sufficient hydration during the exercise itself.
In fact, data from the American Council on Exercise shows that the body can lose more than a quart of water during one hour of exercise — fluids that must be replaced not only to improve the quality of your workout, reduce fatigue and muscle cramping, but also to prevent the dangers of dehydration — heat exhaustion, heat stroke and even kidney failure.
Therefore, drinking water during a workout — about 4 to 6 ounces for every 15-20 minutes of exercise — is essential, and even more so in the summer.
What are the best workout thirst quenchers?
Basically, it depends on your goals, taste, as well as the length and intensity of your sessions. However, it is wise to avoid drinks that are high in calories and sugar- you don’t want to put on weight — and do I really have to remind people to stay away from alcohol?!?!
For best hydration, here is what I recommend:
- Water is still the best choice for hydration, especially if weight loss is your goal and for less strenuous workouts.
- For high intensity, longer duration workouts, you may want to consider a sports-drink that is low in sugar and contains electrolytes.
- And for those who are adventurous and open to new experiences (and something I have NOT tried myself), you may want to consider beetroot juice, this might be a refreshing alternative. Research from Exeter University in Britain shows that, due to high nitrate levels present in this drink, it not only hydrates, but also boosts athletic performance.
Whatever fluids you choose, be consistent about hydration, not just during your workout but throughout the day. It’s one of the simplest steps you can take to ensure a safe and effective workout and recovery period, and overall better health.