Thursday, January 5, 2012

Building muscle on a budget- Chocolate Milk

Horizon organic chocolate milk is my choice for post workout for price, convenience, and taste!
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Chocolate milk is in many ways the perfect post workout drink, and its incredibly affordable if you are on a budget.  I'll give you some of the top reasons why making chocolate milk your post workout drink is a great idea for your muscles, and for your wallet.

1) Taste  Who can deny that chocolate milk tastes great?  Seriously, I have never met a person who doesn't like chocolate milk (no offense if somehow you don't like the taste).  I personally drink chocolate milk at the end of my weight lifting sessions, and even though it always tastes great to me, it tastes even better right after a workout when your blood sugar levels are low and your glycogen stores are empty.

2) Price  Chocolate milk is pretty cheap.  Milk and eggs are about the cheapest sources of complete proteins you can buy.  You can pick up a 1 gallon jug for about $3 or $6 for organic milk (which I use), both have 16 servings in a container, for less than 40 cents you can get a quality serving of carbs, protein, and healthy fats (if you go with organic).

3) Protein As I stated above, chocolate milk is an excellent source of protein.  Protein is important to take in post workout to help promote muscle growth and repair.  Working out puts stress on your body and causes an environment where fat, glucose, glycogen, and even amino acids are burned for energy.  As muscle breaks down from the stress of a workout it is important to give it a serving of protein immediately after a workout to promote recovery and repair of muscle.

4) Simple Carbs  Simple carbohydrates like sugar are not only good after a workout, they are ideal.  As you workout (especially during weight training) your body burns blood glucose and then glycogen (your body's store of carbohydrates for energy) to fuel the work.  Towards the end of a workout your glycogen stores may be completely diminished, taking in simple carbohydrates post workout can help replenish glycogen stores, provide an insulin response that can shuttle nutrients and amino acids into the muscles, and promote muscle repair and recovery.

5) Ideal protein to carb ratio  There is some debate over what the "ideal" protein to carb ratio actually is, some say 2-1, 3-1, or 4-1.  Whatever the ideal ratio is, most studies have shown that a ratio of carbohydrates to protein somewhere in this range promotes recovery much quicker and more effectively than consuming either carbs or protein alone.  This combination also triggers a stronger insulin response and has been shown to cause up to 100% more glycogen to be retained in the muscle.  A glass of chocolate milk has about 8 grams of protein to 22 grams of carbohydrates, about a 3-1 ratio.

I always recommend choosing organic foods especially when dealing with animal products like eggs, meats, and dairy, but you must weigh the costs and benefits of organic versus traditional grown food on your own.  If you are interested in learning more about carbohydrates and how they affect the body check out my five part series on carbohydrates here.

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