WARMING WINTER FITNESS
Forget fluorescent energy drinks. Take your winter cardio to boiling point with a comforting hot chocolate
Liquid recovery is big business: by 2023, the sports drink market is expected to be worth £142m in the UK alone. But there’s still something about downing a can of fluorescent tropical fizz after a long winter run that leaves us a little cold. Thankfully, scientists at Shahid Sadoughi University in Iran have found a cream-topped alternative that’ll warm your soul.
After reviewing the data from 12 studies, they concluded that you’re better off pouring yourself a mug of hot chocolate (mixed with milk – instant doesn’t count). It contains the perfect combination of carbohydrates, electrolytes, proteins, flavonoids, fats and vitamins for optimum repair. The researchers compared key recovery markers, such as heart rate, perceived rate of exertion and levels of cramp- causing lactic acid, after subjects performed cycling and running tests. They revealed chocolate milk and sports drinks to be equally effective for recovery in most cases. However, they noted that regular hot chocolate drinkers took six minutes longer to reach exhaustion during their high-intensity workouts.
It might sound too good to be true, yet the science is satisfyingly simple. While most sports drinks contain carbs to replenish fuel, as well as electrolytes to restock those lost during exercise and counteract fluid retention, they lack the protein content needed for effective muscle repair – so you’re more likely to feel sore and sluggish the day after a long-distance run. If you want to bolster your endurance in the darker months, get ready with the mini marshmallows.
SWEETEN THE DEAL TO ENJOY SPEEDIER GAINS