This study demonstrates that a store-bought chocolate milk drink (473 ml, 44 g carbohydrate, 16 g protein, 5 g fat, 300 Kcal) facilitates strength improvements over the duration of a seven-week training camp in highschool athletes. The improvements seen in the chocolate milk condition were significantly higher than the carbohydrate drink condition (710 ml, 42 g carbohydrate, 0 g protein, 0 g fat, 160 Kcal), likely due to the protein content of the chocolate milk which would enhance recovery more so than a carbohydrate-only drink. This highlights that something as rudimentary as chocolate milk can provide sufficient fuel for performance and recovery. Chocolate milk is easily accessible, relatively cheap (compared to specialist supplements, for example) and palatable and, as such, proves to be a suitable choice for those looking to facilitate performance without the need for expensive supplements.
The aim of this study was not so much to prove that chocolate milk is a better option for post-workout recovery than carbohydrate drinks, as this finding has already been shown. Instead, this study sought to take laboratory findings into the real-world and, as such, the authors decided not to match the energy content or volume of the two beverages as this would take away from the “store-bought” nature of the two beverages.
By using a pre-existing summer camp, the results highlight that chocolate milk is not only an effective post-workout drink but also that it is feasible, practical, and accepted by actual athletes in a real-life training setting. Coaches should therefore consider that just because a drink isn’t produced by a supplement or sports company, this doesn’t mean it cannot provide the right fuel for the performance and recovery of their athletes and this is discussed well in the podcast link below.