The Best Post-Workout Recovery Drink: Chocolate Milk

April 6, 2018


Protein supplements have blossomed into a multibillion dollar industry as people have flocked into health food stores in search of the best post-workout nutrition options. Although I do recommend a protein supplement in some situations and I in fact use one myself, a childhood favorite may actually yield better results. Chocolate milk, with its unique blend of simple sugars, whey and casein protein, Vitamin D and calcium, and fats provides your body with a complete post-workout option that actually tops many leading protein powders.

Why it Works

Simple Sugars

Usually I advise people to stay away from simple sugars that digest extremely quickly, but after a tough workout, you have a small window of opportunity to keep simple sugars that your body can actually use. When you exercise, your body is pulling on its available energy and your muscles are sustaining very small amounts of damage. You know that your body needs high quality protein to repair your muscles, but it also needs energy – energy that has seriously been depleted. When you ingest simple sugars like those found in chocolate milk, you're providing your body with the immediate energy it needs to recover and begin repairing your muscles.

High Quality Protein

The protein you find in your whey and casein protein supplements is derived from milk, which means milk has the same protein in a more natural, less processed form. The protein you find in milk is about 20% whey and 80% casein, so you receive a good mix of fast and low absorption protein to sustain muscle building for up to eight hours!

Vitamin D and Calcium

Remember how milk is supposed to help kids grow big and strong? The same goes for adults – calcium keeps your muscles and bones strong to help prevent injuries, and Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium.


Contrary to popular belief, eating most fats will not make you fat, and high quality fats can actually improve endurance, help you to prevent injuries, help you build muscle by stabilizing your testosterone levels and more.

How to Maximize Your Efforts

These benefits make chocolate milk a great option to consume within 20 minutes of working out, but even a large glass of milk will only supply you with about 12 grams of protein. If you're serious about gaining lean muscle mass, you should be consuming as many grams of protein as your target body weight daily, so 12 grams alone probably is not going to cut it.

You have a few options. The chocolate milk will easily tide you over until you have time to make yourself a high protein meal to complete your post-workout nutrition. Also, I mentioned earlier that I do in fact use a protein supplement; I just do not use it as my immediate recovery drink. Instead, I take my protein shake with a side of fruit and whole grain carbohydrates about an hour after working out to complete my post-workout nutrition.

When Chocolate Milk May Not Work

If you're lactose intolerant or just do not like the taste of milk you should obviously steer clear of chocolate milk. Also, milk of course has to be kept cold, so it's not always the most practical option when you're going to be at the gym for a few hours. However, you can still work on getting a good combination of the elements that chocolate milk has by eating a variety of foods.

Eating some fruit or consuming a sports drink like Gatorade will help you get the simple sugars your body needs to begin repairing your muscles.

Try to find a protein supplement that has both whey and casein protein so your body has a sustained source of protein. BSN's Syntha 6 and Optimum Nutrition's Nitrocore 24 are both good options and they have some of the vitamins that milk has to promote muscle health.

A scoop of peanut butter or any nut butter will provide you with a lot of healthy fats to also promote muscle growth. Some protein supplements will also feature some good fats, although you should watch the scheduled fat content.


  • zyxwut321 April 6, 2018 at 8:54 pm

    SMART Recovery is definitely not the easier softer way. It's far smaller and less well known and there are far fewer meetings than AA. There's no sponsor, the method is far more open-ended than traditional 12 Step and there's far less direct direction. Those are all GOOD things if you're an independent minded person who isn't looking for a wholesale personality change but are just trying to control your addictive behavior. However, it takes more mental strength and fortitude than simply following a pre-packaged program that sees you as inherently sinful, selfish and "spiritually" unfit and has only one set of loosely religiously oriented┬átools to build you back up again. You can do it, though! It's the POWER OF CHOICE! ­čÖé

  • GCF April 6, 2018 at 8:54 pm

    I wish my dad would have found SMART recovery or Jesus or something. Anything would have been better than all those years of living with a fat pill head that thought he was Elvis. He used to shoot at the TV and everything.

  • Carl Winslow (Big Guy) April 6, 2018 at 8:54 pm

    This man SOUNDS like he knows what he's talking about.

  • Carter Soper April 6, 2018 at 8:54 pm

    Here is a much better video with much better music…┬áSMART Recovery and Alcoholics Anonymous – A Comparison

  • Carter Soper April 6, 2018 at 8:54 pm

    SMART is for real this SHAMWOW guy unfortunately is not. Very poor choice in spokesperson. The words disingenuous, and nausea come to mind. I know it was only 2010 when they put this together, but a little effort would have been nice. The music sounds like it's from a cheap 80's OSHA safety video… Did not enjoy watching any of this. Not SMART guys. Sorry. Recovery is painful enough, educating ones self shouldn't to have to be. PLEASE update with a little more effort.┬á

  • HansofStone April 6, 2018 at 8:54 pm

    MINDFULNESS seems to be the key for me…It's not what happens to me that matters, It's what I THINK about what happens to me that matters…

  • mainstreet prophet1 April 6, 2018 at 8:54 pm

    By the way, if somebody here is asking if this guy was running for president and they are an American….Hmmm….

  • mainstreet prophet1 April 6, 2018 at 8:54 pm

    I suppose the only slight criticism I'd offer is where the gentleman refers to going to meetings for the purpose of pursuing "more than" just the drink/use problem, but for the larger transformation process.. I'm in agreement on everything here really, even this. ┬áAll I'd add is let's be more up front – 'start with' the reality of the reason we are doing this in the first place IS because we abused drugs/alcohol, etc. Addiction is a full time problem. ┬áVery important to be able to specifically recall the pains — so the resolve to feel good with healthier cognition & behavior will have all that much more incentive to win out. ┬áJust don't want to see too much "sweeping" under the rug of the substances when they're such a huge/primary reason to be doing all this in the first place.

    Otherwise I  L O V E  this approach. I am a steadfast member of AA and will continue to be so. It's just so refreshing to see such a great effort out there becoming bigger for those who don't prefer the 12 step fellowships! All in the interest of saving lives..

  • Smart Recovery April 6, 2018 at 8:54 pm

    SMART Recovery meetings (face-to-face and online), messageboards, and chatrooms are free. We do sell publications (these are not required to be purchased), and like any non-profit we do request donations (pass the hat.)

  • readyforthebattle April 6, 2018 at 8:54 pm

    How much do you have to pay. Ha

  • Smart Recovery April 6, 2018 at 8:54 pm

    There's plenty of members to talk to at local or online meetings, as well as the information in our publications and member stories on our website.

  • ndrthrdr1 April 6, 2018 at 8:54 pm

    SMART meetings give me the advantages of AA meetings, such as socializing and comparing notes with others who are also trying to break a bad habit – without the religion.

    Call it "spiritual" to believe in a god, pray to a god, believe that a god is communicating with you, and gather to talk about a god if you want to – that's exactly what "religious" means to me.

  • Smart Recovery April 6, 2018 at 8:54 pm

    SMART Recovery is a self-help method, not psychotherapy. Like any other method, it's not for everyone. We believe a range of choices in addiction recovery is best.

  • BlackLabelSlushie April 6, 2018 at 8:54 pm

    Isn't this narrator running for president or something? ­čśë

  • Terry Vance April 6, 2018 at 8:54 pm

    That's not a robot, it's Max Headroom.

  • Tara Devlin from RDTdaily April 6, 2018 at 8:54 pm

    Where did they hire such a life-like robot?

  • cb90222 April 6, 2018 at 8:54 pm

    @uberstylee, not only is it a relion but a cult as well…

  • Dave Wood April 6, 2018 at 8:54 pm

    Thank God! (Who I choose to call "DOORKNOB"). AA is a religion.

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