Chocolate milk and recovery

Hi Lee,

Can you share any good foods, drinks or shake recipes that you may use to speed muscle recovery when riding many days back to back? I typically try and drink milk or chocolate milk right after I ride, and generally eat high protein and high fiber foods.

Thanks a bunch and ride on!

Jon in Vermont

Hey Jon,

Riding many days back to back? I have no idea what you are talking about.


I don’t do “fun” rides as often as I used to, but I do punish myself pretty much every day. Excess work, violent workouts, constant stress, inadequate sleep. Every day. So I guess I’m a decent case study in recovery. (Although I do feel beat down right now.)

Technologically advanced nutritional products claim to make you bigger, stronger, faster … sooner! If you enjoy and believe in those concoctions, that’s great, but I don’t think your body needs technology.

In my somewhat educated and extremely practical opinion, the ideal recovery food has these traits:

• It’s convenient and available right after your ride. The sooner you fill the tanks, the better.

• It contains the right balance of nutrients. Lots of carbs, some protein and various micronutrients.

• It boosts your confidence. You know it’s doing the right stuff. You’re not eating or drinking … you’re replenishing.

• It tastes good.

Based on those criteria, chocolate milk is a pretty darn good recovery drink. As a matter of fact, a study (download results) showed chocolate milk aided post-exercise recovery as effectively as Gatorade and Endurox R4. (Interesting note: That study was supported in part by the Dairy and Nutrition Council, Inc.)

After a ride, eat what you like. Peanut butter and jelly, chicken burrito, fruit and jerky, whatever. A Snickers bar probably isn’t terrible.

Ride hard. Have fun. Eat well. Sleep enough. Repeat.

That’s my take. What do y’all think?


Know more. Have more fun!

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9 replies
  1. electric says:

    Apparently another is non-alcoholic beer… whatever it is make sure it’s got carbs and you drink it RIGHT away – before stretching or anything… doing that will get you the maximum brap for next time according to the various research i’ve read.

    I’ve used chocolate milk on and off for years and had no issues. Lee is right, the most important part is having it accessible and tasty enough that you can down it.

  2. Tyler says:

    I’ve been using orange juice mixed with whey protein isolate (unflavoured) for a recovery drink (workouts or riding). Got this from James Wilson’s programs.

  3. Chris Cowan says:

    Ditto what Tyler says except use 1 cup of orange juice, 1 scoop of Vanilla Whey Protein and some ice…. Makes a delicious orange creamsicle post workout smoothie. It’s so yummy I’m gonna have another one right now!

  4. Matt says:

    I just drink 4-5 monsters to recover. Makes me as fast as Sam Hill. And for days when I’m out of monster, I use chocolate flavored protein powder blended with 6oz of milk, a banana, and a few ice cubes.

  5. Jon says:

    Awesome, thanks guys! I’ve been using chocolate milk on and off for a while – had a big cup after today’s ride where my legs just weren’t there… it’s still very early season in VT

    Definitely going to try the Orange juice creamsicle shake!

  6. Marc says:

    I forgot where I found this, but it was based on science… Try to get 22 grams of protein and 35 grams of carbs into your system within 20 minutes of finishing exercise, for the average male–pretty sure it’s based on your weight. That said, the orange creamsicle will fit the bill.

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