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Whatever your goal with exercise, looking after your body and helping it to recover after an intense workout is of critical importance. If you don’t look after your body and feed it the right things, then your ability to do exercise or work out will decline.
It is important to consider the goals of sports nutrition; to provide adequate fuel, prevent dehydration, achieve and maintain the right lean and fat mass and promote recovery. The nutrition goals surrounding exercise also depend on the intensity of the exercise you are doing. I am a long distance runner, so my post-run go-to caters towards the needs of someone undergoing a long but fairly low-intensity workout. In this instance your muscles use both carbs (in the form of muscle glycogen) and fatty acids for fuel, and so for my post-workout go-to, I aim to get my calories from 20% fat, 20% protein and 60% carbs.
However, many of my male friends opt for higher intensity workouts like sprinting or muscle building through weight lifting! For these types of exercises your muscles are using basically all carbs (again muscle glycogen), but are also at more risk of getting damaged due to the increased stress you are putting them under. In this instance I would recommend that your post-work out go-to is a little higher in protein; 20% fat, 25% protein and 55% carbs, the extra protein being used to repair muscle damage.
Hydration is also super important before, during and after exercise. During exercise we lose a lot of water through sweating and through breathing. If we aren’t hydrated then our ability to carry out exercise declines and the ability of our muscles to work properly post exercise declines – your muscles will start to feel like jelly! So this is also super important to consider when deciding what to reach for after the gym.
With this in mind, we have put together a smoothie that has the formula to help post-workout recovery, with an ingredients list that is packed full of goodness. The sweet potato in particular, as well as providing a portion of your 5-a-day, is a great source of non-starchy carbohydrate, so will help replace muscle glycogen lost during the work out so you can carry on with your day without tired muscles!
Both the chia seeds and flaked almonds in this recipe provide a source of protein, essential post-exercise to help your muscles repair, especially for those of you recovering from a high intensity workout or those trying to build muscle.
Both oranges and lemons are packed with vitamin C – not a sport-specific nutrient per se, but very important for overall health (including immune health, without which a work out would never happen!).
Last but not least, the coconut water top up ticks off our post work-out hydration box – but feel free to drink as much as you want throughout the day after a workout!
Best Smoothies for Pre & Post Workouts
Whether you&aposve got a serious workout routine or are just starting to flirt with fitness, one of the most important (and fun!) things to think about is what to eat or drink before and after you exercise. Food is literal fuel for your body, after all. And a little something before and after working out can not only power you through, but also help build muscle. Our fuel of choice? Smoothies.
The best smoothies for pre- and post-workouts include a mix of healthy protein and carbs. Smoothies make an ideal snack or meal before and/or after you exercise since they are portable, endlessly customizable, and will give you a boost without making you feel overly full. For best results, drink up at least 30 minutes before starting your workout and snack on something right after. You can even drink half before your workout and finish the rest afterward. And while smoothies have the added benefit of helping you hydrate, always remember to drink plenty of water as well.
How to Make the Best Workout Smoothies
You can throw a bunch of stuff in the blender and call it a day, but for optimal fitness performance and recovery here are a few things to keep in mind to create the ultimate pre- and post-workout smoothies:
- Pack it with protein. Some great sources of protein for smoothies include yogurt, nuts and nut butters, silken tofu, and milk or soy milk. This will help build muscle—which is a good thing, whether you aspire to be a bodybuilder or are just looking to tone up.
- Opt for energy-boosting add-ins like fruit, oats, and (again) yogurt. Remember, energizing carbs are your friend when you&aposre exercising.
- Don&apost overdo it. Yes, you&aposre exercising but don&apost undo all your hard work by slurping down a sugar-packed calorie bomb. So forgo mixing in sugary treats like ice cream or chocolate syrup, and consume a healthy (not monster) serving.
Our Favorite Pre- and Post-Workout Smoothie Recipes
Here are 8 of our favorite smoothie recipes that will fuel your fitness routine whether you enjoy them before or after your workout:
Packed with almond milk, protein powder, flax, chia seeds, banana, and strawberry this smoothie is sure to put a spring in your step. It gets a balanced flavor boost from a dash of vanilla, honey, and cinnamon. "I often find that cinnamon can overpower, but there&aposs just enough in this smoothie to add a little bit of interest. This not only tastes good, but it&aposs also a real winner nutritionally," says lutzflcat.
7 Post-Workout Smoothies You Should Be Drinking
1. The Workout: Spin
The Smoothie: Orange Kale Protein Green Juice
“A spin class usually leads to a lot of sweating. Including citrus fruits, like oranges, in your smoothie will help replace water and potassium lost through sweat,” Troxell recommends. Our Orange Kale Protein Green Juice is loaded with iron, beta-carotene, vitamin C and fiber. Made with fresh orange, kale and spirulina (an excellent vegan source of protein) this smoothie is just the right cross between protein smoothie and green juice. Photo and recipe: Perry Santanachote / Life by Daily Burn
2. The Workout: Running
The Smoothie: Chocolate Brownie Batter Protein Shake Recipe
“Believe it or not, non-fat chocolate milk is the perfect ingredient after endurance exercise due to the ratio of fast digesting carbs to protein,” Troxell says. The simple carbs quickly replete glycogen (aka fuel), while protein helps repair muscles. Unlike store-bought chocolate milk, our Chocolate Brownie Batter Protein Shake Recipe uses real cocoa powder. Vanilla and mini chocolate chips add flavor. This recipe also features a frozen banana to help replenish potassium levels and provide some complex carbohydrates. If you have lactose intolerance, Green Kitchen Stories’ Nuts & Blues smoothie shows you how to make your own chocolate nut milk with cacao powder and homemade almond milk. The recipe also features hazelnut butter and avocado for extra staying power. Photo and recipe: Lee Hersh
3. The Workout: HIIT
The Smoothie: Black Forest Smoothie
HIIT workouts may be shorter than your run or spin class, but they pack serious intensity — which can lead to inflammation and free-radical formation, Troxell says. But including more antioxidant-rich foods, like berries, into your smoothie can help. Troxell recommends using deep red or purple berries, such as blackberries, cherries or blueberries. One sip of this decadent Black Forest smoothie, and you won’t believe how healthy it is. Made with frozen dark sweet cherries and chocolate protein powder, nothing is more rewarding after HIITing it. Photo and recipe: Perry Santanachote
4. The Workout: Strength Training
The Smoothie: Papaya Ginger Smoothie
If muscle gain is your goal, Troxell says it’s important to get enough protein to allow for muscle repair. She recommends choosing a Greek yogurt-based smoothie for higher protein content. Yogurt is also a great source of calcium, which helps with muscle contraction. Calcium is also great for improving bone strength after weight lifting. This super delicious Papaya Ginger Smoothie Recipe uses a 1/2-cup of nonfat plain Greek yogurt. Papaya and ginger provide anti-inflammatory benefits to help prevent oxidation. Photo and recipe: Perry Santanachote
5. The Workout: Rowing
The Smoothie: Matcha Pear Green Protein Smoothie
Popeye was eating spinach for a good reason. It wasn’t just the super power strength spinach gave him that kept him coming back for more. According to Troxell, the leafy greens are a good source of magnesium, a mineral that is lost in sweat. Spinach also provides carbohydrates for replenishing glycogen stores. There’s no better way to glorify these greens than with our Matcha Pear Green Protein Smoothie. Matcha green tea powder provides an extra punch of antioxidant power pear lends some natural sweetness. You can also check out Green Kitchen Stories’ Green Rehydration Smoothie (off of their new Green Kitchen Smoothies Cookbook). The green smoothie features handfuls of the leafy greens, pea protein powder, fresh ginger and a banana to make it creamy. Photo and recipe: Perry Santanachote
6. The Workout: Yoga
The Smoothie: Serrano Pineapple-Papaya Chia Smoothie
The breathing and stretching exercises in yoga already help to reduce inflammation and oxidative damage in the body. But you can double its benefits by downing this Serrano Pineapple-Papaya Chia Smoothie after all those downward dogs, Troxell says. This fruity drink also features hydrating cucumbers, fresh ginger, lime juice and avocado oil. Anti-inflammatory ingredients, like ginger and chia seeds, can fight off free radicals. Photo and recipe: Janie Hoffman / Mamma Chia
7. The Workout: Barre
The Smoothie: Banana-Oat Protein Smoothie
All that pulsing and flexing are sure to have your muscles fatigued! “Pair a fast-digesting carb, like a banana, with a protein source, like peanut or almond butter, for a delicious post-workout treat that will quickly replace your energy stores,” Troxell says. Our Banana-Oat Protein Smoothie uses two bananas and rolled oats, which provide a dose of fiber and protein. Photo and recipe: Perry Santanachote
For more smoothie recipe inspiration, check out this video below from Green Kitchen Stories on how to create their Green Rehydration Smoothie from their new cookbook Green Kitchen Smoothies: Healthy and Colorful Smoothies for Every Day.
Gather your ingredients and prepare your blender.
Combine banana slices, almond milk, and powder/peanut butter and blend until smooth.
Pour into your favorite cup/tumbler and enjoy your post-workout treat! If you don't finish the whole thing, you can stick the leftovers in the fridge and treat yoself tomorrow too.
#SpoonTip: Adding a bit of whipped cream to the top of these bad boys adds that extra bit of sweetness you've been craving.
Make the Perfect Post-Workout Smoothie, 3 Ways
Three protein-packed smoothies for the morning, afternoon and evening.
After a workout, it&rsquos important to have a recovery routine that&rsquos just as thoughtful as the exercise regimen, especially if you want to do something active the next day. As a topical treatment, ice helps with the swelling, and therefore the pain, but drinking a shake with a combination of protein and carbs can also expedite recovery. There&rsquos some debate about the amount of protein needed and about the ratio of carbs to protein that should go into a shake &mdash and all of that will depend on what type of athlete you are and how much you weigh &mdash but as a rule you&rsquoll be less sore the next day if you hit the protein within 30 minutes of a hard workout. We asked Shom Chowdhury, founder of NYC&rsquos Indie Fresh at Gotham West Market &mdash a store and takeout spot that specializes in nutritious food without gluten, dairy and excess sugar &mdash how to make three delicious post-workout smoothies: one for the morning, one for the afternoon and one for the evening.
Coffee and Almond Butter Smoothie
*Aloha is a brand of natural plant-based protein, which can come from hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds and peas. Chowdhury says you can any form of plant-based or whey protein in this recipe.
Preparation: Put all ingredients into a blender, mix to desired thickness (30-90 seconds) and enjoy.
Blueberry Cayenne Smoothie
Makes: one 16-ounce smoothie
1 ounce whey protein
1/4 ounce Aloha protein
1 drop cayenne extract
4 ounces blueberries (or one handful)
1 pinch ground cinnamon
1 whole banana
4 ounces coconut water
1 1/2 ounces almond milk
1/4 ounce of granola
1 1/2 ounces almond butter
1 1/2 ounces cold-pressed ginger juice
1/3 ounce of maple syrup
Preparation: Put all ingredients into a blender, mix to desired thickness (30-90 seconds) and enjoy.
Avocado Mango Matcha Smoothie
Makes: one 16-ounce smoothie
9 ounces coconut water
1 3/4 ounces of coconut milk
5 ounces sliced mango
2/5 ounce matcha powder
1 ounce spinach
1 ounce Aloha protein
Preparation: Put all ingredients into a blender, mix to desired thickness (30-90 seconds) and enjoy.
A Guide to All-Natural Protein Powders
When it comes to staying healthy and getting the protein you need, all-natural protein powders are the safest way to go. Read the Story
The Best Healthy Post Workout Smoothie Recipe for Weight Loss
W ho doesn’t love a good smoothie recipe? They’re an easy way to get all the healthy, flat belly ingredients you need to help you detox your body before the end of bikini season. And it’s the best solution for a quick, healthy matcha breakfast in the morning or as a post-workout cool down after a good sweat session. Packed with refreshing berry fruits and muscle building protein , this easy smoothie recipe is sure to satisfy your taste buds and will give you the boost you need to help you in your weight loss goals.
Shefit Matcha Berry Smoothie for Weight Loss
- 2 cups unsweetened almond milk (or whichever nut milk you prefer)
- 1 cup blueberries
- 1 cup strawberries
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 banana
- 2 tablespoons plant based protein powder
- 1 Tablespoon matcha powder
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- coconut flakes
- In a blender, blend the nut milk, blueberries, banana, strawberries, coconut oil, protein powder, matcha, cinnamon, ginger, and salt until smooth.
- Pour into two glasses.
- Sprinkle with coconut flakes for extra prettiness!
- Drink immediately.
Bananas are an important addition to any smoothie because of their smooth texture and low calorie count. They can also help with your weight loss efforts as they have been proven to reduce belly bloat and increase bloat-fighting gut bacteria . Bananas also have soluble fiber, which can relieve or prevent constipation. A good source of fiber and potassium, bananas should always have a place in your smoothie recipes.
Blueberries are a delicious addition to your smoothie and are a healthy choice too. They’re packed with vitamin C, potassium and powerful antioxidants to help you reduce belly fat and keep up with your weight loss goals. They’re also full of belly filling fiber to keep your digestive system going. They are least expensive--from May through October.
Cinnamon isn’t just a flavor enhancer for your favorite smoothie or baking recipes. It is also chock full of polyphenols - micronutrients that have been proven to reduce belly bloat. There’s also evidence that cinnamon can have a stabilizing effect on blood sugar levels which could, in turn, help to curb your appetite.
4. Coconut Oil
It might not seem like a common smoothie ingredient, but coconut oil is an ideal mix-in due to its neutral flavor and ability to help torch belly fat. Coconut oil contains a unique combination of fatty acids that can have a powerful effect on your metabolism.
5. Plant Based Protein Powder
Adding protein powder to your smoothie is a great and easy way to get muscle building protein while helping you feel full at the same time. An increase in lean muscle will help you burn more fat thus helping with your weight loss goals. Look for a plant based protein powder free from whey, casein and other dairy based ingredients as they will increase bloating.
Not only is matcha a delicious addition to any smoothie, it also comes packed with proven weight loss benefits. Matcha has thermogenic properties that promote oxidation of fat and help the body burn more calories. Matcha can also enhance your exercise performance and help to speed up recovery after high-intensity interval training – both of which can also help with weight loss.
Ginger adds tons of flavor to any smoothie but did you know it can also help keep your weight under control? It’s an amazing natural anti-inflammatory and an all-star digestive aid. It soothes the digestive system and relaxes the muscles of the digestive tract, which can relieve bloating. Ginger helps keep you feeling full, which in turn, can help curb your cravings and your urge to overeat.
Strawberries are great for controlling blood sugar by slowing the breakdown of carbs into sugar. They also encourage the production of the fat-burning and metabolic hormones adiponectin and leptin, resulting in a higher metabolic rate which can then lead to more weight loss.
12 Post-workout Shakes for Maximum Muscle
Sure, you’re always fueled up for your workout itself. But what happens after that last piece of iron has been dropped into the rack? After a serious sweat session, your body is pretty much running on empty. Unlike a car engine that stops burning through gas once you turn off the ignition, your body keeps moving, repairing, and replenishing long after you’ve left the gym.
If you don’t follow up your workout with the right intake of macronutrients, your body can’t stop the breakdown of muscle proteins and begin refueling itself, according to fitness and nutrition scientist Cassandra Forsythe-Pribanic, Ph.D., RD, CSCS. The consequence: lackluster results.
So about 15-30 minutes after you crank out your last rep (wait any longer and your blood sugar will plunge), eat some clean, lean protein to help rebuild muscles—and mix in some carbs to get your energy back, Forsythe-Pribanci says. Yes, you need carbs. A lot of them, in fact.
Carbohydrates are the most efficient way to fill up your tank. When you eat, glucose that’s not immediately needed gets stored in the muscles and the liver in the form of glycogen, exercise’s main energy source. If you go low-carb for your post-workout meal, your glycogen-depleted body may actually break down muscle tissue to fuel itself, says Jim White, RD, American College of Sports Medicine fitness instructor and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
And while healthy fats are key to overall nutrition when you’re hitting the gym, you shouldn’t try to hit your allotment of fat grams in your post-workout grub. Dietary fat slows carbohydrate and protein absorption and minimizes the anabolic effects of insulin in the body, he says.
Now that you know the nutrients you need, here are 12 post-workout smoothies that will help you get them. Bottom’s up.
The Perfect Post-Workout Smoothie
The claim: You may want to start adding a bit of soy to your workout smoothies. Drinking a blend of soy and dairy post-workout helps your body build muscle longer than just consuming dairy alone, finds a new study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology.
The research: This new study builds on the increasing demand for high quality protein, particularly for active women striving to build or maintain muscle. Researchers from the University of Texas Medical Branch set out to determine whether consuming different protein blends could prolong amino acid availability (the building blocks of protein) and lead to increased muscle-building after exercise. The two blends they tested included a soy-dairy blend and a single protein source (whey protein isolate), which 16 healthy volunteers consumed an hour after exercising. The results? The soy-dairy blend led to a steady rise in amino acids and increased amino acid delivery for about an hour longer than the whey protein alone.
What it means: Drinking a soy-dairy blend within an hour after working out prevents muscle protein breakdown and helps build muscle better than whey alone. Since we lose muscle with age, this blend may be particularly helpful in reversing muscle loss for active women.
The bottom line: Based on this research, Amy Goodson, a sports dietician and co-author of Swim, Bike, Run&mdashEat recommends the following high-protein smoothie after a grueling workout:
Berry Blast Protein Smoothie
1 scoop (1.6 oz) vanilla soy protein
8 oz low-fat milk
½ frozen banana
¾ c frozen mixed berries
BLEND ingredients together. Drink immediately.
NUTRITION: 371 cal, 30 g pro, 56 g carb, 0 g fiber, 43 g sugars, 4.5 g fat, 1.5 g sat fat, 297 mg sodium
3 Benefits Of Drinking A Post- Workout Smoothie
- Replenishes your muscles —When we exercise, we use our body’s glycogen stores for fuel. By sipping on foods and supplements post-workout that help to rebuild those glycogen stores and increase muscle protein synthesis , you help your body recover as well as stimulate new muscle growth. Think of it as refueling your car—you don’t want to wait until you’re stranded to gas up. A good post-workout protein shake should provide carbs and proteins to help this important rebuilding process.
- Fights inflammation —Because exercising triggers the production of free radical molecules, it’s important to counter the inflammation caused by powerful antioxidants . Free radicals are a result of oxidation—a process that speeds up aging and causes inflammation, among other degenerative processes. Free radicals are ‘unstable’ atoms that are missing an electron. When we exercise (cause free radicals) and don’t provide our bodies with those missing electrons post-exercise (available via antioxidants), we may be causing our bodies more harm than good. This is another major reason why post-workout protein shakes are so important!
- Boosts electrolytes —If you’ve ever felt dizzy or experienced brain-fog after a workout, you’ve likely experienced a depletion of electrolytes. Electrolytes have a number of tasks such as regulating nerve and muscle function, helping to rebuild damaged tissues, and of course, hydrating the body. A post-workout smoothie won’t necessarily hydrate you (so be sure to drink plenty of water!) but with proper electrolytes, it will help to keep your neuromuscular functions performing as they should.
Should you have a post-workout smoothie?
Having some protein after a workout can help your body to rebuild muscle and smoothies can be a quick and easy option to reach for.
Your body uses glycogen (energy reserves) to get your workout done, so post-workout smoothies can help to replenish these stores. That’s why you should try to drink one within 30-60 minutes of finishing your workout — a post-workout snack or drink can get to work repairing muscle and refuelling your body.
The smoothies above can help with muscle recovery because they include a healthy mixture of macronutrients, as well as helping with hydration and providing anti-inflammatory properties as well!
Drinking a protein-rich smoothie after a workout is a super simple way to help your body recover.
Try out these post-workout smoothie recipes!
There are so many different ways to get your fill of protein after a workout. These are just a few recipe ideas you can play around with — feel free to get creative in the kitchen and come up with your own post-workout smoothie ideas too.
* Results may vary. Strict adherence to the nutrition and exercise guide are required for best results.