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Milk's Benefits for Fit Guys

Skim milk delivers the high-quality protein you need for stronger bones and bigger guns.

How Much Milk Is Enough?

"It's difficult to make a sweeping, general recommendation for the number of milk servings you should consume per day," Wein says. "I suggest you assess your protein needs and use milk as one of many sources of protein in your diet," says Wein.

If you're a relatively skinny guy working hard to gain loads of muscle mass, try to drink at least four cups of fat-free milk a day, spreading out the servings evenly, perhaps an extra helping after training mixed with a scoop of protein powder. Or, if the thought of a heavy dose of postworkout milk makes your stomach churn, you can double the potency of a single eight-ounce serving by adding milk powder, thus getting the added protein without having to down two glasses.

Now go get that gallon out of the fridge and chug. Just be sure to wipe that mustache off before you leave the house-unless you are Oscar de la Hoya or Mark McGwire, it's definitely not cool to walk around sporting a white upper lip.

Lactose Lowdown

Many adults are allergic to the lactose in milk. This condition, called lactose intolerance, means your small intestine lacks the enzyme lactase, which breaks lactose down into two molecules that are easily absorbed into the bloodstream, explains sports nutritionist Kristin Reimers, R.D. This uncomfortable condition can lead to bloating, flatulence, even diarrhea.

"Lactose intolerance is most common in African Americans and Hispanics, and [in] other populations who didn't evolve on cow's milk," Reimers continues. "Other groups, those from Scandinavian descent, almost never have lactose intolerance. Even those who have some lactose intolerance can usually tolerate up to a cup of milk at a meal, for example."

Remedies for lactose intolerance include taking a lactase pill when consuming milk, or drinking Lactaid-brand milk, which has the same number of calories, carbs and protein as traditional fat-free milk but in which the lactose has already been broken down.

Milk's Benefits
Minerals NEEDED FOR:
Calcium Development and maintenance of bones and teeth; muscle contraction; nerve transmission.
Phosphorous Development and maintenance of bones and teeth; energy metabolism.
Vitamins
A Growth and repair of body tissues; bone formation; healthy skin and hair.
B2 (riboflavin) Red blood cell formation; nervous-system function; vision; metabolism of macronutrients.
B12 (cobalamin) Blood formation; healthy nervous system.
D Calcium absorption; development of bone mass; maintenance of calcium and phosphorous levels in the blood.
Electrolytes
Potassium, sodium Proper water distribution in the body; muscle contraction; nerve conduction.
 
Source: Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning: National Strength and Conditioning Association (second edition)

 

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