Do you reach for an energy drink or a glass of
juice to recover and refuel after a workout? These drinks help to
replenish glycogen stores, but when it comes to getting great
results from a strength-training workout, milk could be the beverage
of choice. According to a study published in the journal Medicine
and Science in Sport and Exercise, drinking milk after a resistance
training session could help to improve your body composition.
The Benefits of Drinking Milk after a Workout
Researchers at McMaster University in Canada gave
a group of young women a 17-ounce beverage to drink an hour after
their resistance training routine. One group sipped fat-free white
milk while the other rehydrated with an energy drink that contained
sugar. They continued drinking their respective beverages after
their resistance training workout for a full 12 weeks.
The results? Both groups gained lean body mass,
but the women who drank fat-free milk after their workouts gained
more muscle and had greater gains in strength than those who sipped
an energy drink – but that’s not all. Only those who drank fat-free
milk after their workout lost body fat. The milk drinkers had larger
gains in lean body mass and strength without gaining significant
amounts of total weight since their gain in muscle mass was
compensated for by a loss of body fat. Sounds like the ideal
recovery drink, doesn’t it?
Why Milk is the Ideal Recovery Drink
Milk contains a combination of ingredients that
may improve body composition. It’s fortified with vitamin D, and
higher vitamin D levels have been linked with greater weight loss
success. It’s also a good source of calcium. Research shows calcium
may boost fat loss, especially in people who are calcium-deficient.
Both vitamin D and calcium have the additional benefit of boosting
bone health, which is important for all females. Plus, it’s a good
source of muscle-building protein. Drinking milk after strength
training can even help with exercise recovery. Some research shows
that drinking milk after a workout reduces markers for muscle
Is Chocolate Milk an Even Better Recovery Drink?
Other research has looking at low-fat chocolate
milk as a muscle recovery drink found it to be a good replacement
for carbohydrate-rich sports drinks. Chocolate milk is a good source
of calcium, protein and vitamin D like white milk, but chocolate
contains catechins, which may have additional benefits for muscle
The Bottom Line?
After a strength-training workout, reach for a
glass of fat-free milk instead of a carbohydrate-rich sport drink.
Do it consistently, and you could see improvements in your body
composition – less fat and more muscle. Plus, milk is the ideal
drink for bone health, and many women don’t get enough calcium in
their diet. Sporting a milk moustache has its benefits.
Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.
42(6):1122-1130, June 2010.
Medical News Today. “Link Between Successful Weight Loss And Vitamin
Science Daily. “Diet Rich in Calcium Aids Weight Loss In People With
Calcium Deficient Diets"
Nutraingredients.com. “Milk Helps Exercise Recovery"
Medical News Today. “Chocolate Milk's 'Natural' Muscle Recovery
Benefits Match Or May Even Surpass A Specially Designed Carbohydrate
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