Increasing your lean muscle mass can have many health benefits, including reducing your risk for developing some chronic conditions and diseases, helping your control your weight and improving your confidence and self-esteem. Milk, and other sources of protein, can help you replace broken-down muscle after your strength-training workouts and help you get stronger.
According to the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Nutrition, it is a myth that eating a lot of protein and protein supplements and exercising vigorously will turn you into a big, muscular person. It reports that your ability to build muscle is affected by your genes, how hard you train and whether or not you are getting enough nutrients and calories. Your age, exercise habits and goals determine how many calories and protein you need each day.
Protein is a part of every cell, tissue and organ in your body and is constantly being broken down and replaced. Adequate amounts of protein in your diet help you stay healthy and can help build up your broken-down muscle cells. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that adult women consume 46 grams of protein each day and that adult men consume 56 grams of protein each day. One cup of milk contains approximately 8 grams of protein.
Building muscle requires that you exercise your muscles. To increase your muscle mass, the American College of Sports Medicine recommends strength-training exercises that allow you to complete 8 to 12 repetitions per set. It recommends strength training your major muscle groups, including your chest, shoulders, back, abdomen, hips and legs, two to three times each week. You should rest at least 48 hours between strength-training exercise sessions.
Milk can be a good recovery drink after your workout, especially chocolate milk, according to the University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler. It reports that chocolate milk has an ideal carbohydrate-to-protein ratio, which allows it to replenish your energy and help rebuild your muscles. Milk is also a hydrating drink and also includes calcium, potassium and some of the B-complex vitamins. Depending on your fitness level and goals, milk and chocolate milk can be better than simple carbohydrate drinks after your workout.
Drinking milk after your strength-training workout is not for everyone. If you are trying to lose weight, you should take note of how much milk you drink and how many calories you are consuming. Also, exceeding the recommended amount of protein is not advisable, as your body stores excess protein as fat or it is eliminated from your body. Most Americans already consume more than the recommended amount of protein each day, and protein supplementation is generally not necessary.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Why Strength Training?
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Nutrition for Everyone: Protein
- President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Nutrition: Physical Activity Facts
- "ACSM's Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription"; Walter R. Thompson, Ph.D., ed.; 2010
- University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler: Chocolate Milk - Exercise Drink?