There are so many rules surrounding when and what to eat after a workout. Only recently have I realized the muscle-building benefits of a post workout snack. The green smoothie aficionado that I am, I found a way to integrate the necessary components of a proper post workout snack with the carbohydrates and hydration already inherent in a typical green smoothie.
During exercise, you break down your protein structures, sending signals to your body to replenish and build. That is why it is important to be ready with a healthy protein to provide the proper building blocks for these structures.
Post workout snacks are important to help repair muscle tissue and replenish glycogen stores, which are depleted during a strenuous workout. According to one study, protein-packed versus carbohydrate-based snacks after aerobic activity may optimize your training results. In another study, participants who consumed protein after aerobic exercise stimulated more muscle growth than in those who didn’t consume any protein.
The following recovery smoothie recipe is my go-to post workout snack, because not only does it supply me with healthy protein building blocks (amino acids) and replenish my carbohydrate stores, it tastes absolutely delicious and fills me up.
When planning your next workout, think about what goes on afterwards too. Here are the ingredients that will help you perfect your post workout snack:
- Dark leafy greens are panacea to all your physical problems – name it, and dark leafy greens address it!
- Bananas contain potassium, an electrolyte that you need to replenish post exercise. They also provide natural sweetness to the smoothie without the blood-sugar spike (and inevitable fall) that refined sugar promises.
- Flaxseeds are in this recipe due to their omega-3 essential fatty acid content. I like to purchase them ground to ensure that the seed is broken down completely. Omega-3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory and can thus help with soreness.
- Maca is an adaptogen, an herb adept at helping the body to respond to stress better, including that related to exercise. It has been shown to improve athletic performance.
- Spirulina is a microalgae that contains the essential amino acids your body needs to build protein.
- Coconut water is full of electrolytes and effectively hydrates and replenishes cells.
- The protein powder component of this recipe is completely optional, but if you are looking for accelerated muscle growth, this will give you the boost. I’m a ride-or-die fan of Sunwarrior, because it is raw, gluten-free, soy-free, non-GMO and free of chemicals, acids and solvents.
The Ultimate Post Workout Snack
- 2 large handfuls of your choice of dark leafy greens
- 1 small frozen banana
- 1 cup coconut water
- ½ teaspoon ground flaxseed
- 1 teaspoon maca root powder
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon spirulina
- ½ lemon, peeled
- 1 tablespoon almond/peanut butter
- 1 scoop vanilla flavored protein powder (optional)
- Stevia (optional for extra sweetness)
Add all, except ice, to a high-powdered blender. Blend until smooth. Add the ice and blend until smooth. Add more coconut water for a thinner consistency.
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Photo Credit: ~ggvic~