From protein shakes and BCAAS (branch chain amino acids) to electrolytes, many gym buffs are adamant about taking special sports drinks to help them recover from their workouts.
But a new study has confirmed that there may be a much simpler, more effective and delicious option: chocolate milk.
In fact, according to the research from Shahid Sadoughi University in Yazd, Iran, chocolate milk not only allows exercisers to workout for six minutes longer than the average sports recovery drink, but also improves heart rates and lactic acid levels, which causes cramp.
Chocolate milk contains carbohydrates, proteins and fats, as well as water and electrolytes, all of which are crucial when it comes to post-exercise recovery.
The researchers analysed 12 existing studies in which about 150 total participants had drunk chocolate milk after completing exercise tests such as running or cycling.
The participants were then measured for various markers such as heart rate, lactic acid level and tiredness.
It was found that chocolate milk was either more or equally effective as placebo or other recovery drinks, although the researchers note that further studies need to be undertaken to draw definitive conclusions.
“Chocolate milk contains carbohydrates, proteins, fats, flavonoids, electrolytes, and some vitamins which make this drink a good choice for recovery in athletes,” said study author Dr Amin Salehi-Abargouei.
“The take-home message is that chocolate milk is a low-cost, delicious and palatable option for recovery and provides either similar or superior effects compared with commercial drinks.”
However chocolate milk isn’t the only option - certain smoothies, cereals with milk or soup can provide the necessary nutrients too.
Drinking plenty of water is of course essential to replace the fluids lost through sweat when working out, but water along won’t provide your body with what it needs for the muscles to recover.
Chocolate milk, anyone?