When you hear that abs are made in the kitchen it’s easy to assume that they’re talking about weight loss. We all know that until you cut back on body fat your muscle gains will never be visible. While cardio is important to physical health, weight loss really depends mostly on diet. You can’t outrun a bad diet, after all. But, have you considered the other ways nutrition can impact your training goals? Are you incorporating a post-workout smoothie into your routine?
Whether you’re looking to improve your strength, flexibility, or endurance it is important to fuel your training. Exercise causes damage to your body. Even though this damage is usually minor and beneficial, you still need to provide your body with the energy and nutrients it needs to repair this damage. A post-workout smoothie or shake is a great way to refuel your body after. Gruelling workout. By carefully selecting your ingredients you can really improve your recovery time.
What should you include in your post-workout smoothie or shake? We’ve got suggestions for some of the best post-workout nutrition ingredients listed below!
Protein is the essential building block of your muscles, so it’s understandable that you need protein to allow your muscles to recover fro strength training. Whether you’re lifting heavy weights of doing endurance training it’s important to give your muscles the nutrients they need to repair torn muscle fibre. There are lots of different types of protein powder on the market. While different protein powders have different profiles of amino acids and different benefits, one of the most important considerations in choosing a protein powder is finding something that you like. People tolerate protein powders differently, and certain types may not agree with your digestion. Try buying smaller quantities of protein powders until you find one you like and that makes you feel good.
Bananas are an amazing fitness food. Portable, delicious and full of essential vitamins and minerals, it’s a good idea to always keep a bunch of bananas on hand. Adding a banana to your post-workout smoothie has a few important benefits. It’s a good source of carbohydrates. Carbohydrates refill your glycogen, which refuels your body and gives you back your energy. Minerals like potassium inside banana are electrolytes that are vital to preventing muscle cramping.
Avocados are a great source of healthy fats, which provide slow, sustainable energy. They are also a great source of potassium, an important electrolyte. Avocados are also great for adding a creamy texture to your smoothie without adding dairy. Avocados are a superfood at any time of day, and are a great companion to any smoothie.
Blueberries are a sweet addition to your smoothie that also boast a good dose of antioxidants. They are also readily available frozen, which is a great alternative to adding ice cubes to cool down your smoothie. Antioxidants are important for muscle recovery, they help prevent free-radical damage. Make sure that you are adding antioxidants into your diet if you are doing any type of strength training.
Milk is a contentious food in the fitness industry these days, but it’s a classic fitness food. It is full of protein, carbohydrates and fats. It contains many micronutrients as well, giving you a boost of everything your body might need. Classic bodybuilders often used milk as their primary bulking food. The GOMAD (Gallon of Milk a Day) diet is still considered a great, inexpensive way to fuel your muscle building quickly. A splash of milk in your smoothie can also improve the texture a lot, which is often helpful when using powdery or fibrous ingredients in your smoothie.
Oats may seem like a strange addition to a recovery smoothie, but they really are a fitness superfood. They have more protein than many other grains, as well as lots of micronutrients to keep your body healthy and happy. Oats also blend very well into smoothies, adding protein and carbohydrates as well as a creamy texture. Oats are also inexpensive and can fill out your smoothie to keep you feeling full longer.
Coconut milk or water
Have you seen an increase in the amount of coconut you see in your daily life? Coconut was once considered to be unhealthy because of its saturated fat content. Nutritionists advised against eating any saturated fat amongst fears that those fats increased your LDL ‘bad’ cholesterol levels. More recently these thoughts were called into question, and coconut oil’s reputation changed dramatically.
Coconut oil is full of MCT oil (medium-chain triglycerides) which are a type of fat that our brain can use directly. Adding coconut to your diet can give you a boost in both energy and focus, and can help revive you after a tough workout. Coconut milk or coconut oil are probably your best bet for adding MCTs to your smoothie, but coconut water is another great smoothie addition. Coconut water is full of electrolytes, and is used by athletes like an all-natural sports drink. Replace water with coconut water for a boost of extra potassium and magnesium
Chia seeds contain omega-3s, which are important for your brain function. Omega-3s also reduce inflammation, which helps speed up recovery. Chia seeds are full of fats and protein, which are essential components to your fitness diet. They also hold onto water, which can help keep you feeling full and satisfied until your next meal.
Studies show that cherry juice can help reduce inflammation in your muscles and reduce post-workout soreness. This can speed up healing and improve issues like DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness). Cherries are also a good source of fructose, a carbohydrate that can refuel the glycogen in your muscles and liver.
Dates are nature’s candy. These sticky, sweet dried fruit are full of carbohydrates and fibre to help restore your energy after a workout. Add a couple of dates to your smoothie for a completely natural sweetener. If you find that you have a hard time blending your dates into your smoothie try soaking them in water before you start working out. By the time you are done they will be soft and rehydrated and ready to add to your blender.
It’s not always easy to get enough greens into your diet, but your post-workout smoothie gives you an opportunity to sneak some in. When you add a handful of kale or spinach into your smoothie you can get extra vitamins and minerals without even noticing the difference. You probably won’t be able to taste these greens, and be sure to blend your smoothie a bit longer to break down any plant fibres.
Peanut or almond butter
Peanut or almond butter is a tasty addition to a post-workout smoothie. Nut butters can be an inexpensive way to get extra fats and protein into your diet. Protein and fats in your post-workout smoothie can easily add calories to your day. When you are using a lot of calories through intense training it is important to eat enough. If you are not eating enough calories and protein you won’t be able to recover and can risk injury. A spoon of peanut butter adds 100 calories, keeping you full and satisfied longer.