This may not be news to you, but it’s relatively new news to me. I thought that I should share as summer training schedules really get underway.

In 2006, the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolismcompleted a study about using Chocolate Milk as a recovery drink for athletes, specifically cyclists. They followed “healthy, non-smoking, highly-trained cyclists” monitoring their workouts and recovery time. Joel Stager tested the effects of Chocolate Milk, Fluid Recovery and Carbohydrate Recover drinks. The athletes cycled to exhaustion, then drank one of the drinks during recovery. Afterward, they cycled to exhaustion a second time. The study claims that “athletes who drank chocolate milk after an intense bout of exercise were able to work out longer and with more power during a second workout compared to athletes who drank commercial sports beverages.”

Many magazines and news stations picked up the story. Fitness Magazine caught the story, but warned everyone from immediately switch to chocolate milk after light exercises. “A drink like chocolate milk is most useful to a cyclist, swimmer, or long-distance runner. These sports stress high endurance levels and constant, sustained movement. Competing athletes need high levels of calories, carbs, and protein to sustain that level of performance.”

Gatorade, on the other hand, was not as impressed with the study and has challenged the results. It was the fluid replacement drink referred to in the study and had results comparable to chocolate milk. The Gatorade company found the study a little misleading; “Gatorade which has less than one-third the calories of chocolate milk performed equally as well as chocolate milk” – and both performed better than carbohydrate replacement drinks.

I generally drink water while I am working out and after working out. I never really bought into the hype of fluid recovery or carbohydrate recovery drinks. Although, this year is the first year, I am actually training regularly and pushing myself to new limits every week.

Chocolate milk fresh from the local farmer’s market does seem to provide great motivation, much more than the sweet tropical punch Gatorade.

It’s also important that we don’t forget water.