Is Chocolate Milk Really The Ultimate Post Workout Drink?

Gains never tasted so sweet.

By: Lexy Parsons

When it comes to maximizing your gains, how you fuel your body after a workout is equally as important as the workout itself. After all, if you’re putting the effort into your fitness routine, why not make the most of it? While protein shakes have been known to steal the spotlight as the best post-workout fuel source, there may be some sweet competition: chocolate milk. 

Drinking chocolate milk after a workout may sound counterintuitive, but research suggests this childhood beverage may be the best way to refuel your muscles. That’s right — chocolate milk is more than just a tasty sip down memory lane! 

Find out why chocolate milk after a workout is the best recovery drink and tasty but healthy ways to enjoy chocolate milk post-workout.  

The Benefits of Drinking Chocolate Milk After A Workout 

Building Muscle

During a workout, muscle fibers are broken down, resulting in tiny microtears in response to exercise. The body then repairs the damage in a process known as hypertrophy, increasing muscle size and mass. While muscle growth starts in the gym, it continues in the kitchen — and the fuel you replenish your body with matters!  

Research suggests the 4:1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein is what makes chocolate milk a favorable recovery drink for increasing muscle mass. So, go ahead — satisfy your sweet tooth by drinking chocolate milk after a workout!

Exercise Performance

I think we can all agree, hitting the wall during a workout is no fun. But, what if you could prolong that gasping for breath, can’t breathe feeling? Well, according to research, a healthy post-workout chocolate milk may be the secret performance-boosting trick! Let’s be real; what isn’t chocolate good for?

A research study at Indiana University found swimmers who had chocolate milk post-workout performed better in timed trials later that same day, averaging 2 seconds off their original time. In a sport where every second counts, chocolate milk appeared to be the key ingredient in their recipe for success! 

Faster Recovery 

Workout recovery is trendy right now, but you don’t need fancy modalities to recover faster! Don’t get us wrong — massage guns and foam rollers are great — but hydration, rest, and the proper fuel can work wonders for recovery as well! 

Plus, if recovery can be just as delicious as it is effective, why not satisfy your tastebuds and muscles at the same time? Research suggests drinking chocolate milk after a workout is a speedy method to replenish muscle glycogen, helping to improve recovery time and future performance. The protein, carbohydrates, fluids, and electrolytes (sodium and potassium) found in chocolate milk help to replenish muscle glycogen while preventing dehydration — the perfect formula to nurse tired muscles back to health. 

Is Chocolate Milk Always Healthy?

Before you start guzzling chocolate milk after every workout, keep in mind — it may not always be the best option! Here are a few things to consider.

Intensity and Duration of Workout

If you’re taking a leisurely stroll or rolling out your mat for a restorative FitOn yoga class, you’re probably better off skipping the post-workout chocolate milk and hydrating, or opting for a healthier post-workout alternative. 

So, when does chocolate milk get the seal of approval? Drinking chocolate milk after a workout is best after strenuous endurance exercises, such as swimming, running, or cycling.

RELATED: Top 7 Post-Workout Snacks (+ 3 Recipes) 

Sneaky Ingredients 

Look out for added sugars and sneaky ingredients such as high fructose corn syrup, refined oils, and dextrose. Ideally, look for a brand low in sugar with unprocessed, minimal ingredients! 

Want to whip up a healthier alternative at home? Combine 1 cup of low-fat milk with a tablespoon of unsweetened cacao or cocoa powder and your sweetener of choice. To enhance the nutrient value, opt for a natural sweetener like dates, coconut sugar, pure maple syrup, or honey! 

See below for a tasty and easy healthy post-workout chocolate milk recipe. 

Quality Matters 

Ingredients matter, and quality matters too. Ideally, opt for organic milk when possible and high-quality cocoa powder. When it comes to your sweetener, the higher quality the varieties, the better, like pure maple syrup.  

Need a Dairy-Free Option?   

Are you lactose intolerant or dairy-free? While there are many non-dairy alternatives on the market, many plant-based substitutes have different nutrient profiles than chocolate milk (typically lower in carbs and protein and higher in fat), making them a poor substitute when it comes to using chocolate milk as a recovery drink.

Luckily, there are some great dairy-free alternatives now, like Ripple Milk, which packs in 8 grams of plant-based protein and comes with the addition of calcium, omega-3s, and you can opt for the sugar-free flavor to keep your sugar intake in check. 

A Deliciously Healthy Post-Workout Chocolate Milk Recipe 

Here’s a delicious recipe to whip up after that FitOn HIIT workout. Made without refined sugars or artificial ingredients, this is a chocolate milk you can feel good about enjoying! 

Serves: 1


  • 1 cup organic low-fat milk (or try unsweetened Ripple Milk for a dairy-free option!)
  • 1 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder 
  • 1 tsp. honey 


Step #1: Add all ingredients to a high-speed blender and blend until combined.

Step #2: Pour into a glass and enjoy! 

The Best Recipe for The Ultimate Workout Recovery 

The next time you work up a serious sweat, embrace your inner kid and enjoy a healthy post-workout chocolate milk. But, remember — the best recipe for success involves ingredients outside of the kitchen. While your post-workout fuel is important, remember to prioritize sleep, eat a nutritious diet, incorporate active recovery, and take steps to manage your stress!  

Want more deliciously healthy recipes? Join FitOn PRO for access to personalized meal plans and exclusive recipes to reach your fitness goals faster without counting calories and with foods you’ll love to eat.