Get some Milk!

An Exercise Recovery Drink That Improves Body Composition


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 damage.

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 recovery.

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 D Levels”
Science Daily. “Diet Rich in Calcium Aids Weight Loss In People With Calcium Deficient Diets” “Milk Helps Exercise Recovery”
Medical News Today. “Chocolate Milk's 'Natural' Muscle Recovery Benefits Match Or May Even Surpass A Specially Designed Carbohydrate Sports Drink”



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