Drink Debate

Remember hearing about all those studies telling the world that chocolate milk is the best post workout recovery drink?  Sounds pretty good; after all who doesn’t like a big glass of cold, thick, chocolate milk to congratulate themselves on a workout well done?  So what exactly are the advantages of this classic drink over all of the expensive powders and fancy bottled beverages?  Is this truly the ideal food for post-workout consumption?  Here is my understanding of the studies…

Milk is a carbohydrate by definition, but it has a high amount of protein and, depending on the type, a substantial amount of essential fats.  Chocolate is a simple sugar that is palatable in the mouth and spikes energy via raising blood glucose levels, therefore enhancing mood through the endorphins that are already improving the individual’s energy levels and mindset post workout.  Sounds pretty good right?  Carbohydrates and tasty sugar to get the metabolism pumping for instant energy along with protein to metabolize the healthy fats your body craves – is it any surprise that studies strongly suggest that chocolate milk this is the best recovery drink around?

The problem lies in how the studies are fool-proofed.  To take the drink bias of both the study subject and the researcher out of the equation, the test needs to be “double blind.”  This means that the individuals who distribute and the individuals who consume the drink can have nothing to do with the mixing of the drink itself or the placebo, and any taste, texture, and consistency differences need to be so minimal that they are undetectable.  The researcher analyzes the results without knowing which drink is which, only that one drink is A and the other is B, and gives the results to the drink mixer who finally reveals each drink’s identity.

Unfortunately, it is nearly impossible to make another drink that is similar enough to chocolate milk and contains the necessary nutrient combination to convince the researcher or the subject that they are the same substance.  As a result, people are more inclined to enjoy a drink they are familiar with and perform better in turn because of their upbeat attitude sparked by their enjoyment.  To put it simply, people are biased towards performing better after drinking chocolate milk over consuming an obvious placebo, but chocolate milk does serve as a great recovery food for after working out.

So then, if the chocolate milk tests are flawed, what drink do studies suggest is the real optimal recovery option?  Welcome to the world of Endurox®.  The magic formula for an ideal post-workout drink is 4g carbohydrate to 1g protein mix, so making supplements and powders that taste similar is relatively easy since they all have the same consistency.  What separates Endurox® from other 4:1 mixes is what types of carbohydrates and proteins are used and how they are combined to make a product that the body responds to better than it does to anything else (see below works cited for a summary of the two main products).

To sum it up, if chocolate milk is the easiest thing for you to grab after your workout then great because it works well and tastes like an afternoon out with an old friend.  But if you really want to do your body a favor by reducing the soreness of your post-workout while boosting energy and strength availability for your next session, Endurox® is an ideal way to go.

By Chelsea Ellwood

Niles, S., Lachowetz T., Garfi J., Sullivan W., Smith J., Leyh B., & Headley S., (2001). Carbohydrate-protein drink improves time to exhaustion after recovery from endurance exercise. Journal of Exercise Physiology Online, 4 (45-52).

Effects of eleutherococcus senticosus (CIWUJIA) on fat metabolism and endurance performance in long distance runners. Endurox Excel Clinical Studies. The American College of Sports Medicine (2006).

Endurox® comes in several different forms, depending on the type of workout you are using it for and when you plan to consume it.  Restore, for example, is recommended for recovery after workouts lasting one hour or less.  It has been shown to help speed up recovery time and decrease lean muscle damage while using all natural ingredients with limited amounts of sugar.  On the other side of the spectrum, R4 is recommended for athletes working out for periods exceeding one hour, especially if they are partaking in multiple workouts in one day.  This version of Endurox® helps speed up recovery time by replenishing the muscles’ energy stores (glycogen) while reducing muscle damage for better endurance throughout the second workout.  It does all this with the majority of the carbohydrates not coming from sugar.  Both supplements as well as all other Endurox products are available from the Accel Sport website (http://www.accelsport.com/product-info/EnduroxR4.html) as well as in many nutrion stores.


About chellwood
Chelsea (aka Ck) Ellwood, a native San Diegan surfer and triathlete, strives to help others find positivity in their everyday lives. Her primary mission is to understand what enables individuals around the world to appreciate life, so she can serve as a tool for all types of people who are motivated to optimize their quality of life. To achieve this goal, she constantly explores various approaches to holistic health through the avenues of fitness, nutrition, pilates, relaxation techniques, prayer, and more. At the conclusion of her summer internship at Fitness Quest 10, Chelsea will have earned a B.S. degree Summa cum Laude (>3.7 GPA) in the field of Applied Exercise Science with an emphasis in nutrition from Springfield College in Massachusetts. This fall she will return to SC for graduate school, studying Clinical Exercise Physiology within the field of Health Promotion and Disease Prevention. While earning her undergraduate degree in only three years, she worked as a personal trainer for kidney dialysis patients, a facility supervisor and group exercise instructor at SC's award winning wellness center, and a resident assistant in the school dormitories. Chelsea has already begun using her education and passions to gain experience in various locations across the U.S.A. as well as in China. She will continue pursuing her mission this winter as she travels to Sudan (Africa), and hopes to gain insight into preventative health care through an internship in Australia during the following summer. Chelsea's positivity and love of learning is clearly evident in every aspect of her life and she is always open for good conversation with anyone who has something to say!

One Response to Drink Debate

  1. mattbrown8 says:

    Should most individuals/athletes learn to eat better post workout, and get to bed on time, before recommending any supplements? Is the main goal post workout muscle glycogen synthesis, protein synthesis, and rehydration…can we not get that from regular food?

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