[image via Got Chocolate Milk?]
Now that my workout routine is starting to include 2 to 3 long distance runs per week, I’ve really started to think about what I need to be fueling my body with before and after my workouts. Even more so afterwards, because refueling your body properly after vigorous exercise is just about as important as the exercise routine itself.
My favorite post-workout snack is an apple served with Peanut Butter & Co’s White Chocolate Wonderful Peanut Butter. However, despite my peanut butter and apple cravings, I often find myself turning to more protein based foods post-exercise, (chicken, tuna, cheese, etc.) because I was under the impression that protein was the most important post-workout nutrient. And while yes, our bodies and muscles certainly need protein to be replenished after working out, science has shown that what our bodies are really looking for after a tough session at the gym or a nice, long run is carbs!
The American College of Sports Medicine recommends consuming 200-400 calories from carbohydrates (50-100 grams) immediately after working out, because muscles are extremely receptive to replacing stored glycogen (easily stored and converted back to glucose of energy) during that time. So, it turns out that what my brain tells me that I want (apples, bagels, a really big sandwich!) after a tough plyometrics session or a 7-mile run, is actually what my body really needs. Crazy stuff!
While I find that my body most longs for bread and the natural sugars found in fruit after exercising, an article that I stumbled across on Fit Sugar this morning made a pretty good argument supporting the benefits of Chocolate Milk as an optimal post-workout snack. They wrote:
Chocolate milk is a combination of sugar (the sugars naturally found in milk combined with the added simple sugar from the chocolate powder or syrup) and protein, which is one of the primary reasons why research studies repeatedly find it to be the superior post-workout drink when compared to a carbohydrate-only sports drink (e.g., Gatorade). The combo of protein and carbs is better for recovery than carbs alone for the following reasons:
- It helps optimize important postexercise hormones such as cortisol and insulin
- It replenishes your muscle’s energy stores faster
- It improves the process of muscle repair and recovery
Hm! I just might be adding some chocolatey goodness to my after-exercise routine! Part of the reason why I chose to bring this up is that Refuel with Chocolate Milk will be sponsoring the upcoming Fitness & Health Bloggers Conference hosted by FitFluential, and being a fitness & health blogger myself, I think it’d be totally awesome if I could spend three awesome days immersed in the world of health & fitness blogging. (Just think of all the awesome blog posts I’d have to share with you afterwards!)
Also, Refuel With Chocolate Milk is sort of near and dear to my heart, being that they sponsor USA Swimming, hence the image I chose to share above, which any swimmer would know, almost perfectly captures the swimming culture. (I think it’s the dude lying down with his headphones on the pool deck. Totally reminds me of getting ready for a race!)
All that being said, I’m now curious to hear what you all have to say! What’s your favorite post-workout snack and why?