Chocolate milk is a low cost, convenient alternative to post workout recovery drinks. An eight ounce serving of 1% chocolate milk contains about 26 grams of carbohydrate, 8 grams of protein, and 2.5 grams of fat--useful macronutrients in the right ratio to promote recovery. Plus it contains a small amount of sodium and ample amounts of calcium, minerals that are especially important to athletes.
Chocolate milk and other recovery type drinks are not a necessary part of every post workout routine. They can be useful after strenuous exercise that lasts at least an hour or lower intensity exercise that lasts at least ninety minutes given either of the following situations:
If an athlete meets either of the above criteria, then drinking an eight ounce serving of low fat chocolate milk within 30 minutes of a workout ending is helpful for promoting adequate recovery. An athlete who is not restricting carbohydrate intake and is not going to exercise for at least 24 hours should be able to get adequate nutrients through healthy food choices consumed throughout the day, especially if the first meal is consumed within two hours of the workout session ending.
The type of chocolate milk is up to the athlete. Premixed is convenient; self mixing can bring back happy childhood memories of a special treat. Athletes who need to gain weight should choose the full fat version; athletes who need to maintain or lose weight should choose a low fat version.