Pre and post workout I've learned that there are better alternatives to sports drinks full of chemicals and sugar or artificial sweeteners. Simple Chocolate Milk.
I love Oberwise brand, available in much of the Midwest and all over Chicagoland, as it's low fat and has no added artificial ingredients, rBHT growth hormone OR white sugar (using a natural plant extract for the sweetness). It's gluten free (yes, pure milk should be but much of the dairy you see in stores contains thickening agents made with grains.) Oberweis Dairy does not use such thickening agents in their dairy products.
Plus they use cows that are treated humanely, as happy cows -who are not stressed, produce better quality milk. The end product is less sweet than what you may have had, with a rich, thick taste, that when cold, is as satisfying as any high calorie milkshake.
It's MUCH cheaper than high performance supplements and beverages for athletes. (and you're NOT going to miss consuming artificial colors, high fructose corn syrup and tasty Gycerol Ester of Wood Rosin).
One cup of Oberweis low fat chocolate milk has just 90 calories, and has more B Vitamins then you might realize, nutrients you need to convert food into energy as well as Vitamin D for healthy bones, calcium and phosphorous. Low fat chocolate milk doesn't have a high dose of saturated fat or cholesterol but DOES have over a dozen vitamins and minerals. And of course, there's the protein.
You need protein. You're not going to get that from a couple cups of coffee pre or post workout.
A cup of Oberweis chocolate milk has 9 grams.
It also has lots of calcium. Sure you can get your calcium from broccoli but after you work out how often do you think "boy I'd love to have some fresh broccoli right now".
A number of studies have shown that calcium can actually impede your body's ability to absorb fat, and when researchers in Nebraska analyzed five of these studies they estimated that consuming 1,000 mg more calcium can translate to losing nearly 18 pounds of flab that otherwise would have been lost with calorie reduction alone.
Additionally, in a study published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, subjects were given chocolate milk before hopping on a stationary bike and were able to ride 49 percent longer than subjects given a generic carbohydrate replace beverage. They also pedaled harder. Milk has naturally occurring electrolytes, you don't need those expensive fortified sports drinks and it's sweetness helps push more energy into your muscles.
Vitamin D - your secret weapon. When I had my physical two weeks ago, my doctor asked if I was taking a Vitamin D supplement. That's not a question I've been asked before. This nutrient is getting a lot more attention and people as people are getting less and less of it as the natural Vitamin D we'd get from sunlight is reduced as we spend more time indoors or covered with a hat and long sleeves due to skin cancer concerns.
Vitamin D is important as it's responsible for moving calcium from your food to your body, so if you're running low on it, you're losing some of that calcium you take in. A Vitamin D deficiency can easily sneak up on you with symptoms of weak muscles, easily breakable bones, and depression. But make sure your chocolate milk has a little fat in it, as you need a little fat to break down the Vitamin D (but skip the whole milk as it has too many calories to make it a habit if you're cutting calories).
So next time you finish your workout or those 12,000 steps for the day consider a soothing and tasty glass of cold chocolate milk.
Your muscles and taste buds will thank you.