Another Innovative Idea


The swim coaches at Kenyon College first told me about this last. Dr. Joel Stagger at Indiana University actually researched this. He stumbled upon the idea because he is also a swim coach. He was looking for something practical and inexpensive that he could give his swimmers after morning workout to insure they were replenished. He came up with chocolate milk because it has all the correct nutrients to speed recovery. Before you judge this, remember thirty five years ago they were still telling us to limit water consumption because it would make us sick during exercise!

Milk does a body good, or does it?

Local runners skeptical of Dairy Council's latest findings

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Mary Schmitt Boyer

Plain Dealer Reporter

Got milk?

Not after a run, say local athletes.

In spite of a new study funded by the Dairy Council that suggests athletes might want to opt for chocolate milk instead of drinks like Gatorade or MetRx after exercise, Northeast Ohio high school cross country runners turned up their noses at the idea.

"That seems like it would make you sick," said Paul Verga, a state qualifier on the Lakewood cross country team. "I wouldn't want to do it. I might try it once, but it doesn't sound that appealing. After a workout, if I come home and my mom pours a glass of milk, I won't drink it."

Added Anthony Fischer of St. Edward: "I don't think I could do it. I think it would bother my stomach too much. It's too heavy after a race."

For the study, published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, researchers had nine cyclists bike until their muscles were depleted of energy, rest four hours, then bike again until exhaustion, three separate times.

After each initial workout, the cyclists drank about two cups of one of three beverages: lowfat chocolate milk, a traditional fluid-replacement drink like Gatorade or a carbohydrate-replacement drink like MetRx.

During the second round of exercise, the researchers found that cyclists who drank chocolate milk during the rest period were able to bike nearly twice as long as those who consumed the carbohydrate-replacement drink, and just as long as those who consumed the replacement drink. The researchers concluded that chocolate milk, with its high protein and carbohydrate content, might be an effective and cost efficient alternative to commercial sports drinks for recovery from intense workouts.

The idea made sense to St. Ignatius cross country coach Mike Gallagher. "It has to be chocolate milk," Gallagher said. "It has the sugar and the protein and a little bit of fat, so it's the perfect food and it seems to be absorbed quickly. A lot of kids do it. It seems to be a drink they enjoy having, and in terms of complete nutrition, it's better than Gatorade or any of those sports drinks."

According to Nancy Zwick, a registered dietitian who works for the Dairy Council, the key is to drink milk within two hours after exercise.

"It's not like they're going to run across the finish line and guzzle a carton of chocolate milk," she said. "That's not typically what needs to happen. But we know they need to replenish carbohydrates. All exercise tears down muscle mass. If you want to rebuild that, we've found that chocolate milk can help."

Hannah Chaney, a sophomore on Brunswick's regional champion cross country team, remained skeptical.

"I've never heard anything like that," she said. "I don't think I would do it. You need milk with cookies, not after a run."

Plain Dealer Reporter Bob Migra contributed to this story.

To reach this Plain Dealer reporter:, 216-999-466

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Vern Gambetta

Vern Gambetta

Director at Gambetta Sports Training Systems
Vern is the Director of Gambetta Sports Training Systems. He has been the a conditioning coach for several MLS teams as well as the conditioning consultant to the US Men's World Cup Soccer team. Vern is the former Director of Conditioning for the Chicago White Sox and New York Mets. He has lectured and conducted clinics in Canada, Japan, Australia and Europe and has authored six books and over one hundred articles related to coaching and sport performance in a variety of sports. He has a BA in teaching with a coaching minor and an MA in Education with an emphasis in physical education from Stanford University.
Vern Gambetta


Athletic Development Coach & Consultant. Founder of GAIN Network. Proud dad. Love to read everything.
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