What should you drink to recover after a training session?
Which nutrients aid recovery and in what quantities should they be consumed?
What kinds of food and drink are ideal for providing these nutrients?
There is no doubt that at least once in your career as an athlete you have asked yourself one of these questions. Perhaps at the end of a particularly tough training session when you really felt “empty”.
The first thing you should know is which nutrients actually aid recovery:
Apparently the ideal food for recovery purposes should contain all three ingredients together or, in other words, carbohydrates as fuel, protein for muscular recovery and liquids to replace those that have been lost.
Well, research carried out at Texas University in Austin (USA)*claims to have found the answer after discovering that chocolate milk is the perfect post-training recovery drink. It is supposed to have two vital characteristics:
1. it helps athletes replace the liquids they have lost during exertion and boosts muscle mass to aid physical recovery.
2. it contains the ideal combination of carbohydrates and proteins that muscles require to restore optimum glycogen levels after exertion.
The results of this research were confirmed by a study carried out on professional cyclists. This study has proven that:
Research has shown that chocolate milk contains a three-to-one ratio of carbohydrates to proteins and this allows glycogen levels to be restored quicker than most sports drinks. Moreover, adding chocolate is not just a matter of adding flavour but a practical expedient because the extra sugar provides more carbohydrates.
The other important thing about this research concerns when to drink. It has, in fact, been noted that the necessary supply of carbohydrates and proteins must be consumed within two hours of physical exercise. Waiting any longer would mean more time is required to restore natural levels.
Chocolate milk has proven to be the ideal drink for recovering without any dip in performance and it is also the easiest and cheapest method of replenishing lost energy.