Chocolate Milk After Workout: Ultimate Recovery Drink?

chocolate-milkYour post-workout recovery snack is arguably the most important meal of the day. So what do you consume? A protein shake? Water? A sports drink?

According to new research, you may want to start opting for fat-free chocolate milk.

In a study presented to the American College of Sports Medicine, researchers enlisted the help of eight male runners. Following a series of runs, the participants either consumed fat-free chocolate milk or a carbohydrate beverage (like Gatorade) with the same amount of calories.

During recovery, researchers found that runners who drank fat-free chocolate milk had better muscle protein repair when compared to the carbohydrate beverage. A second study found that muscle glycogen levels were also higher for the chocolate milk group. Since glycogen is used for fuel during exercise, replenishing these stores is crucial.

But why?

After exercise, it’s important to consume both protein and carbohydrates; many exercisers make the mistake of consuming one but not the other. Sports drinks usually only have carbs. Powdered protein mixes usually only have protein. Since chocolate milk has a mix of both protein and carbs, it can be a wise choice. Moreover, it’s also inexpensive - and tastier - when compared to many pre-mixed recovery drinks.

There are a few things to keep in mind. First, you’d only want to use fat-free chocolate milk because fat content can slow digestion - and your body needs the protein and carbohydrates quickly. Second, just because chocolate milk is good for workout recovery doesn’t make it a healthy choice during other times of the day. Because quick absorption is crucial after a workout, it’s the only time when ingesting simple carbohydrates - like those found in chocolate milk - is healthy.

Personally, I usually opt for a whey protein powder mixed with simple carbohydrates. It’s not as tasty, but it’s quick, easy and effective. Nonetheless, it’s great to know that chocolate milk is an inexpensive alternative to traditional recovery drinks.

What do you drink after a workout? Let me know in the comments below.

About Davey Wavey

Davey Wavey is a certified personal trainer and YouTube sensation with more than 250 million video views. For Davey's fitness tips and secrets, sign up for his free monthly newsletter - or download any of his affordable and effective workout programs.


  1. Hey Davey,

    What about a flavoured protein shake made with milk instead of water?

  2. Any science that says you are able to drink chocolate milk is science im happy to abide by! 🙂

  3. I have heard this before and occasionally do consume chocolate milk post workout. I just don’t know how to tell if any type of recovery drink/meal is working.

  4. Jeremy Plecko says:

    While I’m sure the researchers of the aforementioned study are intelligent, why would they compare milk (of any kind) to Gatorade when it comes to muscle protein repair? Gatorade contains absolutely no protein. They’d likely be just as well off to drink water for “recovery”. Perhaps I’m missing a key component here, but almost anyone would be able to tell you that milk will do a better job of rebuilding muscle than Gatorade.

  5. Kaye Lyle says:

    It’s so funny to see one of my favourite and most-respected health gurus post this! For years, my father, a high school football coach, has told his boys to drink chocolate milk after tough practises. He had read articles on it, and he had decided to have his team try it. He’s never stopped telling them since. The boys seem to think it works well, too. I’ve taken a picture of the article and plan to show him soon! Thanks for this!

  6. I mix a blender drink of 500ml skim milk, 1/2 cup of uncooked rolled oats, 1/2 cup of frozen berries, a scoop of protein powder and a handful of fresh spinach.

  7. water.. I have my breakfast ten ot 15 minutes after workout.. no time to digest whey protein shake in correct time.

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