You just got back from your run. It could have been a long run, a short run, a workout, or even a race! To make sure you don’t crash and start your recovery process, you need to start giving your body fuel. There is no shortage of fancy recovery drinks, tablets, powders, etc. that are on the market, but it’s unclear if they’re actually worth the cost as they’re typically not cheap. Shawn of The Final Turn has been using the same post-run drink formula for over a decade and it’s led him to two Boston Marathon Qualifying times. What is it? Chocolate milk.
Why Chocolate Milk?
Well first off, liquid recovery drinks are typically preferred over solid recovery items such as a protein bar after running. Liquids are more quickly digested and absorbed compared to solids which typically will lead to faster and more enhanced recovery. Though milk isn’t the best source of hydration, it provides more hydration than a solid and after any type of run, you need to ensure you refuel and rehydrate your body.
The great thing about chocolate milk is that it has the required ratio of 3-4 grams of carbs to 1 gram of protein. Not only that, it’s considered a completed protein that provides the essential amino acids that your body can’t make. Typically, you want to consume between 15g and 25g of protein after a workout and 16oz of chocolate milk contains 16g-22g of protein (depending on the milk you select).
In addition to the science, it’s a quick recovery drink that you don’t have to wait for any powder or tablets to dissolve and you know exactly what’s going into your drink. Some of the recovery drinks on the market have ingredients you’ve never heard of!
Also, chocolate milk is just downright delicious!
Now, it might seem straightforward, it’s chocolate milk. Just two ingredients. You’re right, but you need to consider proportions, type of milk, and the type of chocolate syrup.
Today, there is traditional milk and several alternatives to milk. While each one provides different advantages and disadvantages, the goal of chocolate milk to refuel and rehydrate with the right number of carbs and amount of protein. Check out the list of milk and milk alternatives and their characteristics. The nutritional values are based on an 8oz serving.
As mentioned, we want to maximize the number of carbs and protein post-run. Traditional cow milk still yields the best results and will help you maximize your recovery. If traditional milk isn’t an option, Soy or Oat milk are the best alternatives in our opinion.
Chocolate Syrup Options
Now we can get to the good stuff. Not only does the chocolate syrup help make your post-run drink taste amazing, but it also provided additional nutritional value to aid in your recovery.
While there are several different chocolate syrup offerings out there, they don’t differ too much in terms of the nutritional value they bring when it comes to helping you recover. Depending on the milk you select, that will have a greater impact. Our suggestion is to find any chocolate syrup at your local grocery store and you’ll be in good shape.
If you want to go all out, you can make your own chocolate syrup with just cocoa powder and powdered sugar. Here’s a recipe we recommend.
Now, you don’t want to put 8oz of chocolate syrup into 8oz of milk, but you want to make sure you have the right ratio to balance the nutritional impact while making the drink taste good. Remember, you want to aim for 15-25g of protein and maximize carb intake after your run. So, if you select traditional 2% cow milk, a 1oz glass of milk will do the trick. From there, a tablespoon or two of chocolate syrup will give you the right taste and right amount of nutritional value. Play with the recipe over time and find your sweet (ha) spot!
When To Drink It
Research shows that you should aim to refuel your body within 30-60 minutes of finishing your workout. This is the point where your muscle glycogen (or your energy) stores are at the lowest. We recommend drinking your chocolate milk within the first 20 minutes after completing your run. So, get back from your run, cool down, stretch out, make your concoction and drink it!
Chocolate milk is one of the simplest, yet most effective recovery drinks for runners out there. You can save yourself some money and confusion from all of the recovery drinks on the market and go with this amazing option. Not only does it help your body recover more quickly, but it’s also a nice tasty reward after some hard work!