Fuel Up with Milk

Fitness isn't an activity, it's a lifestyle. It's going to the gym even when it's cold outside. It's getting to sleep early because tomorrow's race day. It's making smart choices every day, so you'll be ready when game day comes. And while some of those choices are hard, one choice is always easy: drinking milk.

Drinking white milk throughout each day and chocolate milk to refuel post-workout is a great way to maximize your hydration routine. Everyone needs an edge—let milk be yours.‚Äč

Low-fat chocolate milk is a proven performance booster.

From helping you recover faster so you can train more, to helping increase speed and aerobic fitness, chocolate milk can give athletes an edge they can't get anywhere else. And there's research to prove it.

  • A new study in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports and Exercise showed that when runners drank fat-free chocolate milk after a strenuous run, they ran 23% longer and had a 38% increase in markers of muscle building compared to when they drank a carbohydrate-only sports beverage.1
  • An Indiana University study found endurance-trained cyclists who drank low-fat chocolate milk after an intense period of cycling were able to work out longer and with more power during a second exercise period later that same day compared to when the same athletes drank a commercially available carbohydrate replacement drink.2
  • A study in Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism showed that cyclists were able to perform 51% longer during a second bout of exercise after drinking chocolate milk than after drinking a carbohydrate replacement drink.3
  • Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin found that cyclists shaved about six minutes from their ride time after recovering with low-fat chocolate milk compared to a carbohydrate sports drink or calorie-free beverage.4
  • And lastly, healthy but untrained cyclists who recovered with low-fat chocolate milk instead of a carbohydrate drink had twice the improvement in VO2max—a measure of aerobic fitness and adaptation—after a 4.5 week cycling regimen.5

Refuel and rehydrate.

Low-fat chocolate milk has the right mix of carbs and protein to refuel muscles after a tough workout. It's also better at rehydrating than commercial sports drinks. Consider the evidence below.
  • A recent study found that drinking 16 ounces of fat-free chocolate milk led to greater concentration of glycogen (necessary for refueling muscles) in muscles at 30 and 60 minutes post exercise.6
  • In a study of 13 male college soccer players, post-exercise consumption of low-fat chocolate milk was found to provide equal or possibly superior muscle recovery compared to a high-carbohydrate recovery beverage with the same amount of calories following a four-day period of intensified soccer training.7
  • Another study compared the rehydration effectiveness of four beverages: low-fat milk, low-fat milk with added sodium, water and a sports drink. Researchers found that milk may be more effective than water or sports drinks at restoring and maintaining normal hydration status after exercise, likely due to milk's electrolyte content and energy density.8 These same researchers also found that drinking fat-free milk after a period of exercise-induced dehydration restored fluid balance better than a commercial sports drink.9
  • Research suggests that rigorous exercise may cause substantial calcium loss, which can increase the risk of stress fracture. Calcium, along with potassium, sodium and magnesium, are lost in sweat, and low-fat chocolate milk can help replenish these essential minerals.10-12

Rebuild muscles.

Evidence suggests that milk contains high-quality protein, which can help repair and rebuild muscles after strenuous exercise. It has also been shown to help athletes gain more lean muscle and lose fat when compared to a carbohydrate-only beverage.

  • Several studies have found that subjects who drank regular or flavored milk after a rigorous workout experienced less exercise-induced muscle damage than those who drank typical sports drinks or water.13, 14
  • Post-exercise muscle biopsies in eight moderately trained male runners showed that after drinking 16 ounces of fat-free chocolate milk, the runners had enhanced skeletal muscle protein synthesis—a sign that muscles were better able to repair and rebuild—compared to when they drank a carbohydrate-only sports beverage.15
  • Consumption of milk-based proteins were found to bring a positive net muscle protein balance, indicating that whole protein consumption can stimulate muscle protein synthesis after resistance exercise. Over time, this could lead to increased muscle size and strength.16
  • Researchers found that while both fluid milk and a soy protein beverage resulted in a positive net muscle protein balance and more muscle protein synthesis, dairy milk consumption after exercise resulted in a greater net muscle protein balance and 34% more muscle protein synthesis.17

Reshape your body.

Losing fat while building muscle is the goal of most fitness regimens. And milk can be a powerful ally. Here's how:

  • In a study of healthy, untrained men, those who consumed fat-free milk after exercise gained more muscle and lost more body fat at the end of a 12-week training program than those who drank a soy protein beverage or a beverage containing only carbohydrates. All three beverages had the same amount of calories. A second study found similar results for women.18, 19
  • In another University of Texas at Austin study, 32 healthy but untrained cyclists who recovered with low-fat chocolate milk gained more muscle and lost more fat during training—a 3-pound lean muscle advantage compared to athletes who recovered with a carbohydrate drink.20