build your own post-workout smoothie
Go wild with the greens !
After a tough workout, eating nutrient-rich foods are key to rebuilding muscle fibers and restoring lost energy. The key is to grab a snack within two hours of your training session, but within 30 minutes is ideal for carb cycling.
If you didn’t already guess, my go-to refueling source is a smoothie.
Smoothies contain whole foods meaning they are filled with fiber as well as all of the nutrients of whichever ingredients you pop into the blender. Smoothies are easy to make and bottle in advance and blenders are easy and quick to clean. Here are my tips for building the perfect post-workout smoothie.
01 - BASE
Choose a base that is hydrating and/or protein rich
I often use coconut water from a fresh cracked young Thai coconut because it is full of electrolytes for muscle recovery. For a more milk-shakey and heart-healthy fat base, almond or cashew milks are a great options. If you’re using shelf-stable soy or nut milks, always check the ingredient list for hidden sugars and preservatives and whenever possible just make your own – it is surprisingly quick and easy. (If interested this, feel free to leave me a message)
02 - GREENS
key is to pack in the green stuff
Cruciferous veggies (spinach, kale, cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli etc.) are nutritional powerhouses. They increase oxygen levels in your blood and essentially train your cells how to drive out stored plastic residues and metals. They also contain calcium, vitamin K, are anti-inflammatory, and are high in water content. Aim for at least 2-3 big handfuls of greens in your recovery shake.
03 - CARBS & PROTEIN
don’t forget your good carbs and protein from plant sources
Although it is always best to listen to your body, some recommend to take in up to 1g of carbohydrates and around 3g of protein per 1kg of body weight to promote quick muscle repair.
Adding fruits will not only make the smoothie sweeter but also add a dose of carbohydrates. For example, a standard sized banana contains on average 24g of carbs and a cup of grapes is around 18g. Cooked sweet potatoes are also a good source of carbs (one cup has up to 40g) as well as beta-carotene. To balance out the shake, can swap out ½ banana for avocado or frozen cauliflower florets.
Don’t be afraid of hemp or pea protein! These are much more easily digested than dairy-based proteins whey or overly processed soy and they also contain a host of other nutritional benefits. Hemp in particular is a gem – it is full of essential fatty acids for your brain and heart, great for regulating blood sugar levels and rich in antioxidants.
04 - SUPERFOODS
toss in superfood add-ins
Maca root powder is especially beneficial for athletes as its high B12 (=energy).
Chia seeds are efficient sources of omega 3 fatty acids, fiber and micronutrients.
Chlorella and spirulina (micro algaes) are potent detoxifying sources of chlorophyll which helps to increase oxygen levels.
Scoop any of these in for a big boost without major change in taste or texture.
05 - LEMON
when in doubt, add a squeeze of lemon
When you work out, you stir up toxins, which are released from your fat cells into your blood stream. Lemons are stimulants to the liver (which filters your blood) and are dissolvents of uric acid and other poisons. On a brighter note, lemons are high in vitamin C and flavonoids that help promote immunity.
Lastly, try to keep a 3-1 ratio of vegetables-to-fruits when you blend. It is also key to remember that just because you can fit a large amount of fruit in the blender does not mean you should be eating (or drinking) it all at once. Think of fruit as nature's candy. Smoothies can be tricky with portion control if you are not careful with quantities. Before you blend consider if you would consider eating the amount of fruit or protein if it were in a bowl instead of through a straw blended. The only exception is cruciferous veggies.
Go wild with the greens!