Paying attention to all aspects of performance can mean the difference between a premiership and an early exit. Good hydration and nutrition are essential to help teams perform at their optimum. And chocolate milk might just be the secret nutrition weapon to get you and your team across the line! A growing body of scientific research has identified chocolate milk as an effective drink for rehydration and recovery— prompting athletes and those who advise athletes on nutrition to take notice.
The ultimate rehydration drink
Good hydration is essential for AFL players. In the warmer football months such as preseason and finals AFL players can lose on average 1.8 litres of fluid per hour. If a player loses over 2% of body weight as fluid their performance is likely to be affected. Dehydration can lead to fatigue, loss of concentration and difficulty making decisions – not ideal when you are playing for a premiership.
Consuming water or a sports drink during the game will help maintain hydration levels; however replacing fluid and electrolyte losses after the game is just as important for optimum recovery. Players continue to lose fluid through sweat and urine even after exercise, so you should aim to replace losses by 150%. So if you are 1 kilogram lighter after your workout, you need to drink 1.5 litres over the next 2-6 hours.
And that’s where choccy milk is the best bet. Studies have shown chocolate milk is as good if not better than a sports drink for athletes rehydrating after intense training. Chocolate milk contains fluid and electrolytes such as sodium, potassium and magnesium that help replace what is lost in sweat. But that’s not all....
Recovery and repair
As well as containing everything you need for rehydration, chocolate milk provides protein to repair muscle damage and carbohydrates to replenish depleted fuel stores.
During a footy match or training session, your body uses carbohydrate stores (called glycogen) in your muscles for energy. If these glycogen stores are not replaced your performance during your next session might be compromised. Drinking chocolate milk straight after exercise replenishes glycogen and sets you up to perform better at your next workout or game.
High-intensity games and training also lead to the breakdown of muscle tissue. Intake of 20-25g of high quality protein in the first hour after exercise can help promote faster muscle rebuilding. Drinking 500 - 600ml chocolate milk provides the protein needed to help repair damaged muscle tissues and promote muscle growth.
Whether it's on the footy field, the training track or in the gym – chocolate milk will help prepare your body for tomorrow's performance. To find out how to pour more into your performance visit www.dairyaustralia.com.au/sport
Roy, B. 2008. Milk: the new sports drink? A review. Journal of International Society of Sport Nutrition 5:15
Karp JR et al. Chocolate milk as a post-exercise recovery aid. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab 2006; 16(1): 78-91
Thomas KP et al. Improved endurance capacity following chocolate milk consumption compared with 2 commercially available sport drinks. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab 2009; 34(1):78-82.
Elliot TA et al. Milk ingestion stimulates net muscle protein synthesis following resistance exercise. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2006; 38:667-674.