Cross the Finish Line and Choose Chocolate Milk!


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On May 18, I participated alongside the “REFUEL | “got chocolate milk?TM” Campaign during Ironman Texas in Woodlands, TX. I was excited to see so many athletes taking a carton…or two…or eight…at the REFUEL tent at the Finish Line! I have been a big believer of lowfat chocolate milk as an effective recovery drink since the first published clinical studies started coming out in 2006.  Luck would have it, I recently became an Ironman Expert Spokesperson for the campaign, which has given me the opportunity to get the word out about the importance of optimizing your post-workout nutrition and the role that lowfat chocolate milk can play in helping athletes rebound effectively for their next bout of exercise.

Chocolate milk has a lot of research to back up its use as a recovery drink after hard or long workouts. But, choosing a recovery beverage is about more than just the research. It comes down to the question, “do I want to drink this after my workout?”

I was having coffee with some of my friends the Sunday morning after Ironman Texas. Several of them had raced the event and were excited to see chocolate milk at the Finish Line (one is the culprit who took eight cartons!). We started talking about why they like chocolate milk after workouts. The conversation centered around three main reasons:

  • First, in my experience, athletes favor the taste and texture of lowfat chocolate milk over other sports drinks, especially those that are pre-mixed, engineered and often thick and lumpy. The consistency is always going to be perfect, and athletes enjoy the flavor after a tough workout. Nothing beats an ice cold serving of lowfat chocolate milk, especially knowing that it provides carbs, protein and many of the other things your tired body needs to replenish. Just check!
  • Second, chocolate milk is easy and accessible. You can grab it out of your refrigerator, cooler, or at a convenience store and drink it straight from the container (no mixing powders or special formulas). And, since it comes pre-mixed in a container, that container doesn’t add to the dishwasher – you can recycle it or throw it away.
  • Third, chocolate milk is something most of us enjoyed as a kid. Getting to have chocolate milk at the end of a training session or race is a treat – something to look forward to. I know when I tell clients they can use lowfat chocolate milk as a recovery drink – and that real science backs it up –  I see the kid return to their face and see a glimmer in their eyes. “Really? I can have chocolate milk?” they ask. “Absolutely!” I tell them.

As the “Official Recovery Beverage of Ironman” this year, REFUEL will be at 21 total races, giving athletes the opportunity to grab alowfat chocolate milk at the Finish Line. So race and REFUEL – a winning combination! 

Why do you prefer lowfat chocolate milk as your after-workout beverage? Stop by and tell us your story!

Good luck!

Penny Wilson, Ph.D., R.D., C.S.S.D., L.D.

Dietitian for the Ironman Sports Medicine Institute at Memorial Hermann

Disclosure: I am a paid Ironman Expert for Chocolate milk (REFUEL got chocolate milk campaign and World Triathlon Corporation).

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