Long, hard workout? How about a tall glass of chocolate milk

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Life Time Fitness now has an official refueling beverage: chocolate milk.

The Chanhassen-based company announced it's adopting the official refuel beverage in partner with the Built With Chocolate Milk campaign, run by a program that's funded by the nation's milk processors.

In the press release, the Life Time says the program will educate some of its members about "the post-exercise recovery benefits of chocolate milk."

The Business Journal notes the chocolate milk industry has also been working with Hastings-based Anytime Fitness.

Now, you may be thinking, "Wait, what? When I'm done working out, sweat pouring down my face and muscles burning, I'm supposed to drink chocolate milk?" In commercials, you usually see people spraying water or a colored sports drink all over themselves; not a thick brown dairy product (as delicious as it is).

But there may be something to it.

AskMen.com calls chocolate milk "one of the best post-workout options." Fitness Magazine reports on a study that described the kid-favorite beverage as "an optimal post-exercise recovery aid." WebMD cited a study calling the combination of carbohydrates and protein in chocolate milk "just right" for recovery.

What's going on exactly?

University of Arkansas Medical Sciences says it's the protein content.

Chocolate milk contains double the carbohydrate content of milk, water and most sports drinks, the university writes, and carbs are good for worked muscles; it has a high water content, helping with re-hydration; plus it adds Vitamin D, calcium, sugar and sodium, which aid in re-energizing the body.

"Every cup of chocolate milk contains between eight and 11 grams of protein," the school says of recent studies. "Experts say that ideally you will want to consume between 15g and 25g of protein after a workout, which equals between 500ml and 750ml of chocolate milk."

The website Greatist looked at three chocolate milk studies, and distilled it to three conclusions. Those who used chocolate milk post-workout gained more muscle and lost more fat during the exercise, performed better overall, and were quicker to adapt to exercises.

Fitness Magazine says it's not equally beneficial for everyone; it's best for sports that require endurance and constant sustained movement, such as running, swimming or biking.

And just because it's good for recovery, doesn't mean it's healthy. Healthynomics.com says chocolate milk has a lot of sugar and calories, which can be bad for people trying to lose weight. In addition, the site references a Sweat Science article that says aggressive refueling is really only necessary for people working out twice a day. For the average exerciser, water and a regular meal will do the trick.

Minnesota Wild star Zach Parise is on board. He appeared in a "Got Chocolate Milk?" commercial last December, which the Built With Chocolate Milk campaign is behind.

Life Time will provide chocolate milk to participants of the Built With Chocolate Milk Studio Cycle Classes, the Life Time Cycle Club, the Athleta Esprit de She women’s race series and the Leadville Trail 100 Mountain Bike events.

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