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Content Source: Should You Drink Chocolate Milk After a Workout?

Flipping 50 Podcast

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Kyle Case: Hello and welcome to the Huntsman World Senior Games Active life, my name is Kyle Case, and I'll be your host on this amazing journey as we attempt to help you get the most out of your life. Joining me in the studio today is my copilot, Jeff Harding. Jeff, how you doing today?

Jeff Harding: Je suis très bien.

Kyle Case: We're back to French.

Jeff Harding: Yes, we are, très bien.

Kyle Case: I feel like I need to learn a little more French than I know. I know that très bien means, like, three times good.

Jeff Harding: Very good.

Kyle Case: Yeah.

Jeff Harding: Très is very-

Kyle Case: Yeah, oh, not-

Jeff Harding: Not trois.

Kyle Case: It's three.

Jeff Harding: Trois is three.

Kyle Case: Oh, well, there you go. See, I've been misinterpreting that my whole life, I just thought it meant three.

Jeff Harding: No, it's just very good. Très is very. Like, très grande is very big.

Kyle Case: Well, I am glad that you are very good.

Jeff Harding: How are you, Kyle?

Kyle Case: I'm doing good. I'm doing really, really good.

Jeff Harding: No Portuguese?

Kyle Case: No, not today.

Jeff Harding: Okay.

Kyle Case: We'll throw that in next time. Well, okay (foreign language-portuguese).

Jeff Harding: Oh, very good.

Kyle Case: There we go, I threw it in there. So, Jeff, I know that you work out regularly.

Jeff Harding: Yes, I do.

Kyle Case: You consistently walk pretty much every single day.

Jeff Harding: Yeah, every day.

Kyle Case: At least when you're able to.

Jeff Harding: Several miles a day, yep.

Kyle Case: Yeah, that's awesome. What's your post-workout go-to food or beverage, I'm just curious, do you have one?

Jeff Harding: No, I don't, actually. I mean, when I'm ... I do it in the early morning, so usually when I'm done I go shower, and I don't drink any of my shower water, so ... So, when I get to work I get a 44 ounce bottle of-

Kyle Case: Of water.

Jeff Harding: ... cup of water, and I start drinking that.

Kyle Case: So water is our post-workout thing, and that's a good one.

Jeff Harding: It is.

Kyle Case: That's a good one. Have you ever heard that chocolate milk might be the ultimate go-to drink for post-workout?

Jeff Harding: I have, but I like chocolate milk too much.

Kyle Case: Oh, okay, okay. Well, I've heard that for a while, and like you, Jeff, I just want to believe that it's true.

Jeff Harding: Well, you're seeing it pop up at more races and other places.

Kyle Case: Yeah, I want to believe that it's true, and I want to believe that it's true because I really like chocolate milk.

Jeff Harding: I do, too.

Kyle Case: Yeah, yeah, maybe ... like you said, maybe too much.

Jeff Harding: Too much.

Kyle Case: So, it turns out that there's some new research on the topic that I wanted to share with you today. I found this article written by Zee Krstic, writing for Cooking Light Magazine, and here's the deal, I think we can all agree that eating or drinking something following a tough workout is a good idea. The question comes down to what, right?

Kyle Case: So, there are countless options, like the traditional sports drinks, there are some studies that indicate that alternatives like coconut water are a good idea, and you said water, water is always a good choice, I think.

Jeff Harding: Oh, I like water.

Kyle Case: But what about chocolate milk?

Jeff Harding: I like chocolate ...

Kyle Case: Listen-

Jeff Harding: Between chocolate milk and water, chocolate milk might win that fight.

Kyle Case: Yeah, it might win that battle, huh? So, chocolate milk tastes good, it has a good combination of water, protein, and simple carbohydrates that all help replenish your body after physical exercise. A new review of research on chocolate milk's efficacy was recently published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, so this-

Jeff Harding: Gesundheit.

Kyle Case: Yeah. This is a legit study. The analysis weighed chocolate milk against other beverages in post-workout recovery, and here's the good news, and this is good news, they found that chocolate milk was just as effective as sports drinks-

Jeff Harding: Yes!

Kyle Case: ... and water.

Jeff Harding: Oh, I'm sorry, did I say that?

Kyle Case: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, sports drinks and water in helping you recover and come down from an exercise session. The review tried to determine how these drinks played into a number of things, and here's what they were looking for, exertion rates, heart rate, lactate levels, and they look for that because lactate is a benchmark of how much lactic acid is in your body, and that's one way of determining how sore you're going to be after the workout. They also looked at creatine kinase levels, which is an enzyme that illustrated the extent of damage done to your muscles following a workout.

Kyle Case: And while water and sports drinks are tried and true recovery drinks, they're a good option, no one's saying that they're not, but there is one way in which chocolate milk actually has a bit of an edge-

Jeff Harding: Well, what's that?

Kyle Case: ... and that is in carbohydrate ratios.

Jeff Harding: Well, true, because water has no carb.

Kyle Case: Right, so, the ratios in carbohydrates in chocolate milk are actually a good ratio. A 2012 study published in Acute Topics in Sports Nutrition found that low fat chocolate milk naturally contains a very desirable four to one carbohydrate to protein ratio, making it ideal for helping your body rebuild muscle after exercise, and it also contains a slightly higher sodium content, which helps with the hydration.

Jeff Harding: Very good.

Kyle Case: So, here's the kicker, many health professionals recommend carb and protein rich drinks like chocolate milk only after a very hard or intense workout. So, it's not like you can just walk around with your 44-ounce jug clear full of chocolate milk thinking-

Jeff Harding: Darn it.

Kyle Case: ... that you're doing yourself a favor.

Jeff Harding: Darn it, you always do that to me, try to get my hopes up and then you dash them against the rocks.

Kyle Case: I do have that tendency. I'm not trying to, but I know that's what happens oftentimes.

Jeff Harding: Okay, the stuff you find on the Internet does it then.

Kyle Case: That's true, that's true. Nancy Clark, she's a registered dietitian, she says chocolate milk has sodium and calcium, which we lose when we sweat, it's also got carbs to refuel and give energy, and the protein helps to repair any damage that happens, but, again, it's ... The best to take a chocolate milk break is after a good, intense workout, so ...

Kyle Case: But really it is good for you. A glass of chocolate milk within the 20- to 30-minute period after your workout, which health experts call the metabolic window, can help your body maintain energy as the carbs and protein within the chocolate milk help your muscles recover.

Jeff Harding: Very good.

Kyle Case: So, again, maybe walking around with a 44 ... or, you know, a gallon of chocolate milk under your arm isn't the way to go, however, once you're done working out it's a good recovery drink.

Jeff Harding: Well, you know, I do find after I drink milk I'm still thirsty, so I'll stick with my water.

Kyle Case: Stick with your water, okay.

Jeff Harding: Yeah.

Kyle Case: They do say that if you're looking for a substitute to chocolate milk, which I'm not sure why you would be looking for-

Jeff Harding: Why would you want to do that? No, no.

Kyle Case: ... a substitute to chocolate milk, but if you are looking for a substitute, look for beverages, or foods, they say, that have at least a three to one ratio of carbs to protein. And some examples of that are bananas with a high-protein additive like peanut butter, or Greek yogurt.

Jeff Harding: So, just scoop the peanut butter on the banana and eat it.

Kyle Case: Yes.

Jeff Harding: I can do that, I can live with that.

Kyle Case: That's actually a good post-workout-

Jeff Harding: I can live with that.

Kyle Case: ... scenario, so ... Honestly, I'm kind of excited about that good news.

Jeff Harding: It is good news.

Kyle Case: Because like I said before, I do like chocolate milk, but-

Jeff Harding: And you work out aggressively, so-

Kyle Case: Well, sometimes I do, some days I don't.

Jeff Harding: When you work out it's often aggressively.

Kyle Case: I'm also excited about our guest today, Jeff-

Jeff Harding: Yes, I am, too.

Kyle Case: ... joining us by phone from Colorado is Deborah Atkinson. Deborah is a master personal trainer, a strength and wellness coach, and has over 30 years of experience in the health and wellness industry, and that is because she started when she was six years old.

Jeff Harding: That's what I figured.

Kyle Case: She has written several books, in addition to that hosts her own podcast called FlippingFifty, and I had the pleasure of being on her show just a few weeks ago, and I'm excited to continue our conversation. Deborah, welcome, and thanks for joining us.

Debra Atkinson: Well, thanks so much for having me, you guys are fun.

Kyle Case: Well, thank you. We hope that's the case, sometimes we just think maybe we're a little silly, but ... But, hey, you've been in this industry for a long time, Deborah, and I'm just curious your take on chocolate milk, what do you think, a good recovery drink or skip it?

Debra Atkinson: Well, boy, that's a loaded question. So, knowing I work with women, you know that-

Kyle Case: Yes.

Debra Atkinson: ... I work primarily with women, and a lot of times what we're finding right now, and you're hearing this, too, food sensitivities are becoming an issue, and those of us who grew up knowing milk is healthy, we need more milk, and for so many reasons it is, not everyone can handle it and digest it well. So, it can cause some issues.

Kyle Case: Yeah.

Debra Atkinson: But, bottom line on what you said, you know, I wholeheartedly do agree with, you know, whether you do it from chocolate milk or you do it somewhere else, that there is a type and there's a timing of post-workout nutrition. And it's true, it only really counts if you've done a really more higher intensity, vigorous kind of workout, otherwise, you know, we probably overcompensate a little too much anyway.

Kyle Case: I think that's a fair statement.

Debra Atkinson: Yeah, yeah, don't you? So, you know, I think for some people it may work. One thing that does change, I'll throw this out, for adults over 50, the best time to refuel after that higher intensity exercise is no longer within a 30-minute window. And I used to say that, too, and that was the research, but we know there's a blunting effect for muscle protein synthesis that happens for about 60 minutes after a tough workout.

Debra Atkinson: So, the best time to put fuel back in is about 60 to 120 minute, or one to two hours, after you work out. Waiting actually helps you.

Jeff Harding: Does that continue for ... I mean, is that for anybody over 50 on, or is it 50 to 60, 50 to 70?

Debra Atkinson: It's for anybody 50 and on, and, you know, we don't know exactly where that flip is for the switch where that happens, but the older we are the more it's true.

Kyle Case: Okay.

Jeff Harding: That's really, really true for me, then.

Debra Atkinson: Yeah, those studies, you know, a lot of the studies looking at that were actually men over 70, so it's definitely more true as we age.

Jeff Harding: Well, I'm not quite there yet, but I'm ... You know, I'm closer than I was.

Debra Atkinson: But you're heading that way, right?

Jeff Harding: Well, I am.

Kyle Case: We're all hoping to head that way, for sure.

Kyle Case: So that's interesting. Yeah, that's interesting, thanks for sharing that and updating the information that we had talked about. I knew there was a good reason we were going to have you on the show, and that's one of what I think will be many as we go along.

Kyle Case: So, I want to talk a little bit, Deborah, about flipping 50, tell me what that means to you.

Debra Atkinson: You know, really, before we even get to the physical stuff, that is about flipping the mindset that we have about it, that, you know, this second half can be so exciting. There has never been a better time to be 50 and older. So, that second half, we've got all this wisdom, you know, and fortunately we are now okay with not having all the answers, asking questions is okay with us.

Jeff Harding: We've got Google, we don't need to know the answers.

Debra Atkinson: Well, true, Dr. Google knows everything. But, you know, we don't have to pretend anymore. I think we're all okay admitting, you know, it's easy enough to get the answers, someone else has figured this out, it's all figure out-able, and that's kind of a relaxing and calm place of wisdom.

Debra Atkinson: And there's no reason that we can't bring our bodies along for the ride. There's a lot of proof that our old beliefs about physically what happens with the aging process needs a second part of the sentence, and that is if you don't do anything to fight it.

Kyle Case: Yeah.

Jeff Harding: Yeah.

Debra Atkinson: And we can take control of how we age at this point.

Kyle Case: I love it. I love it. It really is a mindset, and we talk about that a lot here at the Huntsman World Senior Games, because I feel like there's two groups of people in that 50 to 60 age group, or pre-50 that we talk to. One is the group that can't wait, they're excited, they're looking forward to competing in the games, they've been looking forward to it, and they're just counting their birthdays down. And then there's the other group that, you know, gets to 50 and is like, oh, I'm not going to do a senior event because I'm not yet a senior.

Kyle Case: But, really, it's just a mindset. We like to think of it as more like a ... you know, a senior vice president at a bank, it's experience, it's ... like you said, it's wisdom, and if we can just embrace that, and enjoy it, and jump forward into the ride, I think that you come out of the other end much better and much happier.

Debra Atkinson: So true, you know, I have to tell you a funny little story. When I was probably in college, between college and graduate school, I kept hearing about, you know, on the college campus, the master swimmers. And I was like, how do I get to do that? I want to be a master swimmer, can I go ... I had no idea that this was older adults and I was aspiring to be there already, you know, so, super fun, and really, I mean, that would be the hope, that we aspire to be in that group.

Jeff Harding: Well, that's right.

Kyle Case: Absolutely, I love it. I love it. You're listening to the Huntsman World Senior Games Active Life, and we're visiting with personal trainer and wellness coach Deborah Atkinson. We're talking a little bit about Flipping 50, and the attitude that it takes to understand and embrace aging. Active aging, really, is what we're talking about, active aging. And we're talking a little bit about women in particular.

Kyle Case: Deborah, I want to ask you a question. What are the biggest mistakes that women make with exercise after 50?

Debra Atkinson: Oh, that's a loaded question, how much time do we have? You know, one of them is that they shy away from weight training, so you're probably going to hear me echo this response in some way for the rest of the duration. But they shy away from it either because they haven't done it before in their lives, and so it is intimidating.

Debra Atkinson: So, to anyone who's got daughters, or daughter-in-laws, or grandchildren who are teens and 20s, get them into the weight room. Encourage them to do it now while they are confident, and, you know, have them growing old differently than we have.

Debra Atkinson: But, I think that's a big one, it's intimidating to walk into a weight room, and many of the weight rooms still, even though women make up 80% of the people who have personal trainers, you know, and at least 50%, it's a little bit higher for women, in gyms, they're not necessarily built to be female friendly. They still look like a guy place, a man cave, if you will.

Kyle Case: It's true.

Jeff Harding: And they smell like one, too.

Debra Atkinson: This is true. That's a whole nother conversation. And, you know, the other thing is they, in their past, did lift weights, but they had a negative experience with it, they got bulky, you know, or bigger, and so that's a fear. And the irony there is they're not wrong, potentially they did get bulky, but it's because ... I'm 54, when we were learning how to strength train in high school and college, we were given a bulk building protocol, three times 10, or three times 12, is a bulk building protocol.

Debra Atkinson: So, you know, there's some legitimacy to that, but that's probably the number one mistake is fearing weight training, not doing it, or delaying it. And to anyone listening out there who hasn't yet, it is, though, never too late. You know that 90 year olds can see benefits from strength training.

Kyle Case: Absolutely, we've talked about that a number of times on the show, the importance, the benefits of it, and there are so many. It's not only the muscles, which is an important aspect, that's an important part of it, but weight training is good for your bones, they've found that it's good for your heart, they've found that it's good for your brain. There are so, so many benefits to weight training, not the least of which is strength and balance so that you're not, you know, falling down, and breaking that hip, and becoming that unfortunate statistic.

Kyle Case: So, I love that, and I agree with that. I think that's a big thing that we need to, again, flip our mindset and our thought process about that. And I've talked to a lot of women that have that same concern, you know, oh, I don't want to be a bodybuilder, and then they see these pictures of what they're not shooting for. That's not their goal. There's nothing wrong with bodybuilding, but it's not their goal, and they think I'm just going to end up looking like that.

Kyle Case: And, boy, there's just so many other benefits, and the fact is, is that the pictures that I'm being shown, you're probably not going to end up looking like that. There's a lot of other-

Jeff Harding: No, not me.

Kyle Case: ... stuff going on there, not the least of which is probably hormone supplements and a variety of different things. But to be able to be strong, and to be able to be balanced, and confident in the way that you move, I think, is one of those key aspects of weight training and why we need to get there.

Kyle Case: And I loved what you said, too, Deborah, that we need to get there earlier on so that we can create this habit, and this lifestyle, of resistance training, and weight training, and how much better off could we be if we did that starting early. But today's the day, let's start today, right?

Jeff Harding: Well, and I was going to just jump on ... You said resistance training, we've been talking about weight training, but resistance training is just as effective, because it's going to keep ... If you do it right you're going to have the strength to stand up for the rest of your life out of a chair without help. You're going to be able to move. I mean, just resistance training, it doesn't have to be weights, it could be rubber bands so that you're basically working against your own muscles.

Kyle Case: It could be that gallon of chocolate milk that you carry around, you know?

Jeff Harding: You're just teasing me now, Kyle. You're just teasing me.

Kyle Case: So what are the biggest exercise benefits for women that are short on time? Because, I mean ... And I guess women and men, really, because we live in a crazy world, we're busy, we've got work, we've got family, we've got a lot of things going on. How do we maximize the time that we have when it comes to exercise?

Debra Atkinson: Yeah, great question, because that is probably the number one obstacle for any of us. And, you know, first of all I'm going to poke holes in that question. If somebody else out there is listening and thinking that is so it, I just don't have time, don't have time, my question is, how long do you think it takes?

Kyle Case: That's a fair-

Debra Atkinson: And you can choose the answer.

Kyle Case: That's a fair question, right?

Jeff Harding: Just turn things right around, huh? And flip it back at them.

Debra Atkinson: Yeah I just flipped, didn't I? Good. Okay, so, the answer is, you know, strength training, let's look at the breakdown for strength training, resistance training, whatever we want to call it, but that overloading the muscles so that they get stronger and give you more stamina, endurance, energy, better posture, all of it. You can get that done in about 10 minutes twice a week, so a total of about 20 minutes.

Debra Atkinson: The question, really, I think most people have is what do I do with that 10 minutes, you know, if I've got it? And when you know what to do, you can pick up weights from your bedroom floor and do it in your pajamas if you need to, and then jump into your shower, and you're done. So, it can take very little time to get that resistance training piece in.

Debra Atkinson: As far as cardio goes, you know, we have been ... If listeners are flipping 50, they have probably been a cardio king or queen, for sure a queen, that's what we did. You know, walking into the gym notoriously in the last 30 years, the women are on the cardio pieces and the men are in the weight training room. And, really, flipping a little bit of that would have helped all of us a little more, you know, kind of balancing it out.

Debra Atkinson: The women will really ... as we age, we really elevate the strength training component in terms of, if we want the most benefits ... And we have a choice, let's say, or do, for a cardio workout and a strength training workout, that we only have time for one, I would choose strength every single time, because at the end of the year your metabolism is going to be better, you're going to have prevented muscle losses, and you're going to have the same kind of ... you know, we listed all of those benefits.

Debra Atkinson: A couple we didn't specifically call on, anxiety and depression are big things for women, and we're seeing so much research come out showing that better than any drug, better than any cognitive therapy, exercises can benefit anxiety and depression. So, I mean, looking at how little time it takes is really the key. A little bit of high intensity exercise, or something we negate, we forget a lot, it's called NEAT, non-exercise activity time.

Debra Atkinson: So, I'm a fitness professional, so I'm not telling you not to do that. We sit so much, all of us, that we probably need to balance that more with some exercise of the formal type. But even just if you love to garden, you love to ... You've got a dog that needs to be walked, tell yourself, remind yourself, that those moments of gardening, walking, if you enjoy hiking, you enjoy golfing, all of those little bits of activity count.

Debra Atkinson: If you're stuck to a desk, even getting up every half an hour, if you can, or every hour, walking to the bathroom, let people think you have a small bladder even if you don't.

Jeff Harding: Well, when you get my age you do have one, and you do have to go that often, so it's no acting there.

Debra Atkinson: Right, right. But all of those little pieces add up, and, you know, we've had it backwards. We've turned into this population that thinks we have to exercise, but the more active you are in your everyday life, the less you have to depend on exercise, and you just need some very purposeful types of activity in small doses to keep you moving forward and prevent muscle loss.

Kyle Case: Awesome, awesome, I love it. We've talked about you as a personal trainer, we've obviously heard your expertise as a wellness coach, you've also been an athlete throughout a lot of your life, and you have done six Ironman distance triathlons, which is incredible, congratulations on that.

Kyle Case: You mention that you've done a little bit of adjusting in your training for those races. We've got just about a minute and a half, but what are some of the things that you've done to adjust your training as you've gotten a little bit older?

Debra Atkinson: Great question, so ... and very exciting. Really what I just did is took that answer I just gave you and kind of expanded it like an accordion to meet the need. So, let me tell you that I've done six but, you know, it's been very dark by the time I finished. I was not on a podium-

Kyle Case: That's okay.

Debra Atkinson: ... you know, in the finish. That is right. You know, the crowds get bigger actually, as it gets darker, so it's okay.

Debra Atkinson: So that said, you know, those unfamiliar, Ironman, they give you 17 hours to do it, so, you know, it's not uncommon for an age grouper like myself, not a pro, to be out there for 13, 14 or more hours. So, that's a lot of training, but what I've done is really cut back in volume and increased intensity, and strategically done that, because we can elevate cortisol to the point when we're at midlife and beyond, the rest of our hormones are wreaking havoc, so we're more susceptible to negative effects of stress.

Debra Atkinson: And exercise may be fun for you, too, it is for me, that even those of us who love it can make our hormones wanky by doing too much of a good thing. So, I've cut way back, increased intensity, and I exercise with purpose, just like I would recommend for anyone else to do. So, everything has a meaning and a purpose, it's not just exercise for exercise’ sake, and more in volume is not the key.

Kyle Case: That's great. That's great, I love it. So, Deborah, that's about all the time that we have to visit with you today, but you've got a lot of stuff going on online, how do people find you online if something that you have said resonated with them today?

Debra Atkinson: Absolutely, FlippingFifty, and it's all words, so it's spelled out, no spaces, just Great place to go, and if they'd love to do something that gets them started and convinces them they can do it, they can join me for a 5-day flip, and that's the number five day flip.

Kyle Case: Awesome, awesome. Deborah, thank you so much for joining us today.

Debra Atkinson: Thanks for having me, you guys are fun.

Jeff Harding: You've been great, thanks.

Kyle Case: Jeff, it's time.

Jeff Harding: It is.

Kyle Case: It's time to register for the Huntsman World Senior Games. If you register by August first you can take advantage of the early bird registration and save $20 dollars off that registration fee. So, all you got to do is visit and register today.

Jeff Harding: Today.

Kyle Case: The 2018 dates of this year's games are October eighth through the 20th. Remember to tune in live next and every Thursday at 5:30 PM Mountain Time on AM 1450, or FM 93.1, you can also find this show as a podcast on our website, again, at

Kyle Case: Our inspirational thought for the day is contributed to Confucius, Jeff, and he says, “It does not matter how slowly you go, as long as you do not stop.”

Jeff Harding: That's true.

Kyle Case: Until next Thursday, stay active. Bye everyone.