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Drinking Milk After Strength Training Keeps Women Lean, Strong

Kathleen Blanchard's picture

Compared to consuming sugar based energy drinks after a session weight training, milk was found to keep women lean and strong. Researchers say drinking milk instead of energy drinks after strength training can improve body composition and health in women.

The findings come from McMaster University researchers. According to Stu Phillips, professor in the Department of Kinesiology at McMaster University, "Resistance training is not a typical choice of exercise for women. But the health benefits of resistance training are enormous: It boosts strength, bone, muscular and metabolic health in a way that other types of exercise cannot." The researchers studied women who did not perform strength training, comparing the effect of consuming energy drinks to milk for weight loss and building muscle.

Over a period of twelve weeks, women instructed not to eat or drink anything except water engaged in pushing, pulling, leg and abdominal exercises, monitored by a trainer to ensure the exercises were performed properly. After exercising one group of women drank 500ml of fat free white milk and the other group was given sugar-based energy drink that resembled milk - the same drink was consumed one hour after strength training.

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The researchers say they were "surprised' at how much fat was lost by the women who drank milk.”The women who drank milk gained barely any weight because what they gained in lean muscle they balanced out with a loss in fat" said Phillips.

The scientists say they aren't certain exactly drinking milk after the women engaged in weight training had such a positive effect for weight loss and gains in muscle mass. Phillips says it might be the vitamin D, calcium and high quality protein that are found in milk.

The study, partially funded by Dairy Farmers of Canada, will continue. The researchers are planning on conducting a large clinical weight loss trial in women.

The scientists concluded "regular weightlifting exercise and milk consumption work to substantially improve women's body composition and health." The same results about milk were previously found for men. The new study suggests women can lose weight and gain muscle by simply drinking fat-free milk instead of energy drinks after a session of weight training.

Medicine and Science in Sport and Exercise
McMaster University