Recovering after a ride doesn’t just mean lounging on the couch. It’s important to refuel your body and replenish nutrients.

Protein shakes are an excellent recovery drink after hard training. They’re tasty and easy to prepare in advance. Most recipes will last a few days so you can whip up a large batch that lasts all week.

But at this time of year, a fruit smoothly probably isn’t all that appealing after a cold winter ride. How about a warm chocolate drink?

A recent study found that low-fat chocolate milk is surprisingly an optimal recovery drink. The study showed that over time the cyclists gained more power and rode faster when they drank chocolate milk rather than the other drinks during their recovery period following the cycling workouts.

Researchers say it’s not yet clear what is causing the advantage, but they know the naturally-occurring protein and carbohydrate mix somehow offers significant benefits. Additional studies are likely. In the meantime, drink your low-fat chocolate milk and enjoy it.

Try this recipe to cozy up and refuel after your ride:
12 oz low-fat chocolate milk
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (more or less depending on your spice tolerance)
1 tbs hot cocoa mix (or unsweetened dark chocolate if you prefer a less sweet drink)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla

Warm the chocolate milk with cayenne over a medium stove, taking care not to boil. Whisk in the cocoa mix until thorough dissolved. Add the vanilla and cinnamon. Serve in a pre-warmed mug, kick back and enjoy.