You no doubt know the importance of getting your pre exercise nutrition right so you can get the most out of your workout. But do you pay the same attention to what you eat after you’ve finished exercising?
A good fitness session isn’t just exhausting. It also quite literally breaks down muscle tissue. With a strong post exercise nutrition plan, this isn’t a problem as your body will quickly start addressing the damage.
Without the right ingredients to follow up your workouts, it’s a totally different story. Your body won’t be in the right position to repair the damage caused by your workout as quickly or easily, or to get you ready for your next exercise session.
Making sure you get the right nutrients is a lot easier than you might, especially if you combine a host of ingredients that are known to speed up post workout recovery.
Smoothies are easy to make and taste delicious, since they’re tailored exactly to your preferences. That’s why they’re perfect way to stock up on foods that will help you to refuel, build muscle, rehydrate and ultimately recover more quickly from your workout.
Nutrients for Post Workout Recovery
A few nutrients are particularly important after a workout:
Protein rich foods encourage your muscles to bounce back faster from post exercise damage, while carbohydrates help you to boost your energy levels and potassium and sodium replace electrolytes that are lost when you sweat.
Carbs are an absolute must after a workout for helping your muscles to repair themselves more quickly.
Any glucose that isn’t needed straight away is stored in the muscles and liver for later but if there isn’t enough of it, your body could resort to trying to break down muscle tissue instead as a way to get energy. Not what you need given that exercise breaks down muscle tissue to begin with!
With a few choice ingredients and the right blender, you can prepare quick and easy protein rich smoothies that can be grabbed straight after your workout to kick start the recovery process in the optimum time frame.
My Top Post Workout Smoothie Ingredients
So what kind of foods are great ways to add these nutrients to your smoothies?
#1 - Blueberries
Blueberries are full of antioxidants that protect your body against the damaging effects of free radicals but for post exercise recovery, they have big benefits.
One study found that drinking a blueberry smoothie after working out can improve recovery speed and help to minimize muscle damage caused by your workout.
This is one ingredient you’ll definitely want to include in post workout smoothies!
#2 - Pineapple
Like blueberries, pineapple is also packed with antioxidants that are hugely beneficial after a workout.
It also contains bromelain, an enzyme that helps to keep inflammation to a minimum and speed up recovery - particularly from minor exercise-related injuries.
#3 - Coconut Water
Coconut water is the perfect liquid base for rebalancing electrolytes and is much healthier than most sports drinks in doing this.
It contains sodium, magnesium and potassium, and can have as much as double the content of these minerals compared to sports drinks.
#4 - Seeds
Seeds are a great source of protein, which is important for building new muscle.
Hemp seeds may be particularly good for this. They contain more protein than flax and sunflower seeds so they’re a good bet when it comes to building muscle.
Hemp is also classed as a complete protein as it contains a full range of amino acids. One of these is leucine, which is heavily involved in producing new muscle.
#5 - Banana
Studies have shown that banana is a good food to eat during a workout but it’s also a great choice when you’ve finished exercising too.
It’s packed with carbs for an energy boost and also contains potassium for rebalancing electrolytes.
And as an added bonus, it makes a deliciously creamy base for smoothies so it’s delicious and effective!
A Bit of Inspiration….
As long as you stick to the basic idea of combining protein, carbs, electrolytes and a bit of healthy fat in your post workout smoothies, the possibilities are almost endless!
No doubt you’ll have a lot of fun experimenting with different recipes to make your favorite recovery smoothies but in the meantime, here is one to start you off. Enjoy!
Blueberry Pineapple Green Smoothie
- 1 cup kale
- ½ cup blueberries
- ½ cup pineapple
- 1 tbsp hemp seeds
- ½ - 1 cup coconut water
- ½ cup orange juice
- Blend the kale first until smooth.
- Blend the rest of the ingredients until everything is smooth and creamy.
- Serve and enjoy!