This month, we welcome Brittany Haag, the 2016-2017 Pennsylvania Alternate Dairy Princess as a guest contributor.
Most people involved in the dairy industry love anything and everything about cows. Though cows are one of my favorite animals, you are more likely to find this princess at the dance studio. I am Brittany Haag, the Pennsylvania Alternate Dairy Princess, and the daughter and sister of generational dairy farmers in Mohrsville, Pa. Growing up, I showed cows, fed calves and cleaned out stalls just like every other farm kid. However, I found my passion to be on the dance floor.
Since I was four, I have taken dance lessons and competitively danced since I was twelve. In my 15 year-long dancing career from grade school through all four years in college, I was on the dance floor 42 weeks out of the year, 15 hours a week, feeling true exhaustion and visibly seeing blood, sweat and tears after practice. Every practice, I would push my muscles to the maximum, hoping to nail my triple pirouette or jump an inch higher in my grand jeté.
When I tested my body’s endurance and strength to these great levels of stress, I knew the recovery time after a workout was just as important as the warm-up and the exercise itself. Before, during and after a dance practice, most dancers would go for a giant bottle of any sports drink or a huge glass of water to feel hydrated. However, I was the exception. I was the only dancer at the studio who would chose to re-hydrate with chocolate milk. Yes, chocolate milk.
If you haven’t already heard, chocolate milk is the one of the best refuel drinks after a workout. As a dairy farmer’s daughter and promoter of the dairy industry, I knew the amazing nutritional benefits milk offered for my body, but my dance friends did not. Simply bringing in chocolate milk to practice would drum up conversation and questions like, “Isn’t that going to make you feel sick?” or “Why are you drinking chocolate milk with all that sugar in it?” These are common questions everyone asks about chocolate milk, but I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to talk to my peers about the benefits of drinking chocolate milk after a workout.
First, the two-hour window after you exercise is the prime time to drink chocolate milk. In these two hours, your tired muscles are trying to recover and rebuild. In order for muscles to work, our bodies need high levels of carbohydrates and proteins. Compared to plain milk, water and sports drinks, chocolate milk has double the amount of carbohydrates and proteins.
Chocolate milk is also 87% water, which means the water content in milk will replace the fluid lost while sweating, which aids in preventing dehydration. Our bodies also need something to metabolize after a workout to safely rebuild our muscles. Water, though it feels refreshing, only replenishes our fluid levels whereas chocolate milk can do this and also provide adequate carbohydrate replenishment and proteins and sugars to metabolize.
In addition, one cup of chocolate milk is packed with 280 mg of calcium. Why is calcium so important? Calcium is a vital nutrient to our health, providing ultimate bone strength and contributing to our nervous system, muscular functions, circulation and the release of hormones in our bodies.
If you drink water after a workout, you are only fulfilling your fluid levels. If you drink sports drinks, you are getting low levels or carbohydrates and proteins, and barely replenishing the levels your body need. That only leaves one option. Chocolate milk, the best post-exercise drink!
Take it from a princess, dairy farmer’s daughter and an experienced dancer, chocolate milk will help you take your workouts to the next level and refuel your body. Drink up!