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Milk helps muscles heal faster.

Lowfat chocolate milk contains high-quality protein to help repair and rebuild muscles after strenuous exercise. Several studies have found that subjects who drank regular or flavored milk after a rigorous workout experienced less exercise-induced muscle damage and muscle soreness than those who drank typical sports drinks or water.1-4

Milk and chocolate milk are important parts of an active lifestyle. That’s because drinking milk helps you get ready for any activity, while drinking chocolate milk helps you recover, refuel and rebuild for what comes next. Being active puts greater demands on your body, and drinking both milk and chocolate milk can help ensure you’re putting the right stuff in. With milk, you get a nutrient package that athletes of all ages need, including many not found in formulated sports drinks: 13 essential nutrients including a natural source of high-quality protein to build lean muscle.

But knowing when to drink milk can make all the difference. Drinking milk 1-3 hours before exercising preps your body for activity and gives your body time to absorb the nutrients.

Drinking chocolate milk right after you exercise helps refuel and rebuild tired muscles. Athletes drink lowfat chocolate milk post-workout because it helps restore muscles quickly to their peak potential and replenish what the body loses during strenuous exercise—including fluids, important nutrients and electrolytes (calcium, potassium, sodium and magnesium) lost in sweat. Lowfat chocolate milk contains the right balance of carbs and protein scientifically proven to help refuel exhausted muscles.5

Research also shows that milk is one of the best beverages for hydration—even better than water or sports drinks. Researchers credit milk’s natural electrolytes, carbohydrates and protein for its effectiveness.6,7

Stronger muscles

A growing amount of research continues to suggest that not only does chocolate milk help athletes refuel and rebuild muscles after a tough workout, but it also helps build stronger muscles.

A new study investigated the combined effects of chocolate milk consumption with resistance training in 22 healthy, untrained men. The men were split into 2 groups: One group strength-trained and recovered with a high-protein chocolate milk (providing 30 g of protein in about 16 oz), and one group only strength-trained. After 8 weeks, the group who recovered with chocolate milk saw significant differences in muscle size, strength and power and lost significantly more body fat compared to the strength-training-only group. The researchers concluded that chocolate milk “should be considered a suitable post-exercise nutritional supplement.”

Another recent study looked at the effect of high-protein dairy milk with resistance training compared to that of a carbohydrate beverage with the same number of calories and strength training. Thirty resistance-trained young men trained four times a week for six weeks and drank either dairy milk or the carb-based beverage within 30 minutes of their workout and again before bed. After six weeks, the milk group had significantly more muscle, was stronger and had more power compared to the carb-based-beverage group.

A study in high school athletes found significant strength gains in those who recovered with lowfat chocolate milk (about 16 oz) as part of an intense five-week training program compared to those given a typically available sports drink (about 24 oz). In fact, teen athletes who recovered with lowfat chocolate milk were able to bench press an average of 3.5% more at the end of the program than they could at the beginning, while those consuming a typical sports drink actually decreased their bench-press weight by close to the same amount (about 3.2%). And, while both groups showed improvements in squat strength, the teen athletes drinking chocolate milk improved nearly twice as much, lifting an average of 15% more weight than they could before (compared to about 8% more in the group recovering with a sports drink).