Sports dietician offers advice on why milk has so many benefits for athletes
Milk and chocolate milk have been getting increased attention as go-to recovery beverages of choice for those who workout, but are they really as great as so many people believe? St. Vincent Sports Performance sports dietician Sigornie Pfefferle says absolutely.
So what makes milk so great? It's all about refueling, rehydrating and repairing:
"During a workout, our muscles primarily use carbohydrates, which are stored in our bodies as glycogen, as a fuel source," Pfefferle says. "Well, just like gas for a car, as you work, those fuel stores get burned leaving you on empty at the end of a workout. In order to recover quickly, you have to refuel/refill the tank with carbs, and milk, especially chocolate milk is a great source of carbs."
"It is essential to replace the fluids and electrolytes, primarily sodium, lost via sweat post-exercise," Pfefferle says. "Milk not only helps replace the fluid lost, but, because it contains about 150mg/cup of sodium, it can help replace some of the electrolytes lost in your sweat, too."
"Intense, long workouts break down muscle; in order to repair muscle, you need protein," Pfefferle says. "Milk is an excellent source of high quality protein needed to repair and rebuild muscle. In fact, research has shown that consuming protein and carbs, both of which are contained in milk, immediately post workout leads to a six times greater rate of protein synthesis vs. waiting 3 hours to refuel."
Pfefferle says milk not only covers the three R's of recovery, but it's also packed with other vitamins and minerals essential to everyday health, most notable are calcium and vitamin D, both essential to bone health.
"So next time you are looking for a post workout recovery option, go for a tall glass of milk," Pfefferle says.
About St. Vincent Sports Performance
St. Vincent Sports Performance has supported and helped develop world-class athletes since 1987. The first and largest hospital-based program of its kind in the United States, St. Vincent Sports Performance employs over 60 Certified Athletic Trainers, sports medicine physicians, certified strength and conditioning specialists, licensed sports psychologists and registered sports dietitians. Together they have trained athletes at every level from middle school, to Olympians, to the NFL and NBA, to Motorsports and NCAA athletes. Learn more at