Putting in winter miles on the bike and logging hours at the gym will get your body raring to go for the new year. Whether you have a big cycling challenge on the horizon, or whether you want to improve on last year's performance, winter training helps keep your body in the riding habit, but you need effective recovery to make it all worthwhile, and hot chocolate can help.
Last year we were over the moon to learn that a case study had proven dark chocolate can actually improve cycling performance. With this deliciously dangerous knowledge, we've been exploring other ways in which chocolate and tasty treats can benefit our training too.
Regardless of how many hours of training you put into your body, it won't go very far if you don't recover properly. Recovery time is an essential period for allowing your muscles to repair, recover and grow. Eating a combination of carbohydrates and protein following a work out is the ideal blend of everything that the body needs.
Believe it or not, hot (and cold) chocolate drinks contain the perfect proportion of carbs to protein, which is a 3:1 ratio. Along with the many mineral and health benefits found in cocoa, these drinks are great for reducing the build-up of creatine kinase, which is responsible for post-workout muscle damage.
When we talk about hot chocolate drinks, sadly we're not referring to the sugary whip cream mountains, loaded with sprinkles and marshmallows kind - because let's face it, they are desserts. We mean proper cocoa powder, the healthy kind, or even chocolate whey protein powder which serves the purpose of aiding recovery also.
Here's a quick and easy recipe for a hot chocolate recovery drink, perfect to warm you up after a cold winter ride.
Recipe: Hot Chocolate Recovery Drink
You'll need 10 minutes of time, and these ingredients...
- 1 scoop of protein powder
- 1 mug of skimmed milk (semi and full-fat are fine too)
- 1 tbsp of cocoa powder
Whiz up all the ingredients with a whisk or in a blender. This removed all lumps and helps get rid of that chalky taste from the powder.
Pour the mixture into a saucepan and heat gently whilst stirring.
When you see bubbles begin to form at the edges, take the hot chocolate off the pan and pour into your favourite mug.
That's the basic recipe for a good recovery hot chocolate drink, but you can add some extra boosts of flavour to really give it a tasty kick.
Cinnamon and mixed spices sprinkled in can give your winter recovery drink a lovely festive feel, while adding some orange zest to the saucepan can add quite a lovely punch of flavour.
Some nutritional brands offer their own hot chocolate powder mix which is specifically for post-workout recovery by providing the perfect blend of protein and carbohydrate to assist your recovering muscles.
Warm up after your winter ride with a good mug of hot chocolate. It's delicious, and good for you which is the perfect combination in our eyes.
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