In this study, high school boys participated in 4 days / week of strength and conditioning training for 5 weeks. They were randomly assigned to receive either chocolate milk or a carbohydrate drink after training. The group consuming chocolate milk had significantly greater improvements in strength gains at the end of the study.
The sports drink contained 42 grams of carbohydrate. 168 calories
The chocolate milk contained 44 grams of carbohydrate, 16 grams protein and 5 grams fat. 285 calories
Does this mean chocolate milk was clearly better post workout than the sports drink? Based on this study, we can’t say this as we don’t know how the chocolate milk changed their total protein and calorie intake. They didn’t take diet recalls to assess their overall calorie, carbohydrate and protein intake at the beginning of the study and at the end of the study. The group consuming the chocolate milk may have consumed more total calories and protein during the day. Consume more protein and calories and you are more likely to get strength gains.
But, here is what we do know from the research to date:
Drink fluid + carbohydrates + protein post workout to start the recovery process sooner.
Milk is good for rehydrating + chocolate milk contains both fast carbohydrates and protein.
If you want to make this drink better, add protein powder. If you are in HS, you don’t need much more protein powder (get to about 20 grams total post workout). But, load up on calories (blend peanut butter in it) if you want to gain weight.
Why drink or eat right away after you train?
The sooner you consume protein + carbohydrate the faster you start recovering. Carbohydrate helps restore your energy stores in muscle and gives you the energy you need to build muscle (that is a very energy expensive process!). Protein provides the building blocks to build muscle.
Combine both carbohydrate and protein for greater gains compared to consuming one or the other only.