WASHINGTON, March 12 /PRNewswire/ -- Chocolate milk has scored a valuable spot on and off the court. Studies suggest the unique mix of key nutrients in chocolate milk can help refuel and rehydrate your body after exercise, making it an ideal post-exercise choice. Now high school teams who refuel with chocolate milk can become a Body by Milk MVP (Milk's Valued Players).

The National Milk Mustache "got milk?" Campaign kicked off the first-ever Refuel Your School contest to reward 25 high school athletic teams that choose chocolate milk to refuel and rehydrate after that big game, practice or workout. Winning teams across America will score a Refuel Rally at their schools, a $1,000 new equipment grant, adidas(R) gear and more.

"Athletes who choose chocolate milk can help benefit their body and their training," said Cal Dietz, Head Olympic Strength Coach at the University of Minnesota. "That's why coaches are increasingly encouraging teen-athletes to drink lowfat chocolate milk to help replenish muscles after practice. Researchers theorize the ratio of carbohydrates and protein in chocolate milk helps muscles recover. Plus, it tastes good and provides nine essential nutrients like calcium, vitamin D and potassium -- nutrients especially important for teen diets."

Chocolate Milk Has Stepped Up To the Plate

Scientists have evaluated chocolate milk as a post-exercise drink and have identified several reasons why it may be an effective recovery aid: chocolate milk contains a combination of carbohydrates and protein to help replenish exhausted muscles after exercise, and it provides fluids and "electrolytes" such as potassium to assist with rehydration. Additionally, chocolate milk has high-quality protein that helps build lean muscle when combined with exercise.

Researchers at Indiana University found that endurance cyclists who drank chocolate milk after an intense period of cycling were able to work out longer and with more power during a second workout compared to when the same athletes drank a carbohydrate replacement beverage, and just as long as when they consumed a traditional fluid replacement beverage.(1) The researchers concluded that chocolate milk, with its high protein and carbohydrate content, may be an effective and cost-efficient alternative to commercial sports drinks for recovery from intense workouts. Plus, they said "chocolate milk is a drink that is easily available and commonly found in many household refrigerators."

Milk may also help athletes stay hydrated. In one study comparing the effectiveness of lowfat white milk (with or without added sodium), a commercial sports drink and water for rehydrating after intense exercise, all beverages promoted rehydration initially, but milk was the only beverage that promoted and sustained adequate hydration throughout the 4-hour recovery period.(2)

Other studies have found that fat-free milk as a regular part of a post-exercise routine resulted in greater muscle mass buildup compared to certain soy-protein beverages. Researchers concluded that the proteins in milk were more effective in promoting muscle growth when consumed after rigorous resistance exercise compared to equivalent amounts of soy protein.(3,4)

Chocolate milk has the added bonus of providing additional nutrients not found in most traditional sports drinks. Milk contains nine essential nutrients, including calcium and vitamin D to maintain bone strength, and high-quality protein that along with exercise helps build muscle. Just three 8-ounce glasses of lowfat or fat-free milk provides about half of the protein teenagers of all fitness levels need each day.

Refuel Your School Contest -- Enter Now

Beginning today, high school athletes (ages 13-18 years old) are encouraged to visit refuel.bodybymilk.com and get their game on by uploading a photo or video showcasing how their team chooses milk to refuel and rehydrate post-workout. Participants can also nominate their team coach for the first-ever Body by Milk Coach of the Year award.

The 25 winning teams that make chocolate milk part of their game plan will be named a "Body by Milk MVP" and awarded a Refuel Rally for their school to help cheer on their team, a $1,000 grant, adidas(R) equipment and more. The winning teams will be announced at the beginning of the 2008-2009 school year, with Refuel Rallies making visits to winners starting in September.

While online, teens can also get in the game to learn more about how they can benefit from chocolate milk post-workout, get tips from leading national coaches in the Coaches Corner and enter for a chance to win a trip to Disney's Wide World of Sports.

Entries must be submitted no later than 11:59 PM ET Monday, June 30, 2008. For complete contest rules and entry tips, log onto://refuel.bodybymilk.com.

Body By Milk is part of the National Milk Mustache "got milk?" Campaign, a multi-faceted education program focused on the health benefits of milk. The campaign is managed by the Milk Processor Education Program (MilkPEP) in Washington, D.C., which is funded by the nation's milk processors, who are committed to increasing fluid milk consumption. The tagline "got milk?"(R) was created for the California Milk Processor Board by Goodby Silverstein & Partners and is licensed by the national milk processor and dairy producer groups.

(1) Karp JR, Johnston JD, Tecklenburg S, Mickleborough TD, Fly AD, Stager
JM. Chocolate milk as a post-exercise recovery aid. International
Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism. 2006;16:78-91.
(2) Shirreffs SM, Watson P, Maughan RJ. Milk as an effective post-exercise
rehydration drink. British Journal of Nutrition. 2007;98:173-180..
(3) Wilkinson SB, Tarnopolsky MA, MacDonald MJ, MacDonald JR, Armstrong
D, Phillips SM. Consumption of fluid skim milk promotes greater
muscle protein accretion after resistance exercise than does
consumption of an isonitrogenous and isoenergetic soy-protein
beverage. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2007;85:1031-1040.
(4) Hartman JW, Tang JE, Wilkinson SB, Tarnopolsky MA, Lawrence RL,
Fullerton AV, Phillips SM. Consumption of fat-free fluid milk
following resistance exercise promotes greater lean mass accretion
than soy or carbohydrate consumption in young novice male
weightlifters. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.