Anyone who works out probably knows that the post workout meal is one of the most important meals of the day. It's the food you give your body to replenish the nutrients you lost during your hard workout.
For those trying to gain muscle, it's the fuel you provide your starving muscles so that they can begin to rebuild themselves, stronger than ever before. And for those trying to lose weight, it's the way to rev your metabolism and to provide your body with the essential nutrients it needs.
One of the best meals to consume after working out is a smoothie. But before we get to the specifics of my post-workout smoothie, let's talk about post-workout meals in general.
The Science Behind the Post-Workout Meal
There are two important considerations to the post-workout meal: type of food and timing.
1. Type of Food
The first consideration is, of course, the type of food you're consuming — for example, a chicken breast and rice is going to be way more beneficial than a fast food cheeseburger, even if they contain an equal amount of calories. Where you get the calories is important. What you put into your body after a workout definitely matters.
The other important factor is how quickly after a workout you're able to eat. There are many supplements people take after working out, from whey protein drinks to meal replacements shakes to creatine, and most of them have one thing in common: they provide fuel for and replenish your fatigued body and muscles quickly. Excluding creatine and other post-workout recovery supplements, the primary nutrient people try to consume after working out is protein. Protein drinks are super popular because all you have to do is mix the protein powder with a liquid (i.e. it's fast and convenient).
While protein is definitely necessary after a workout, it's not the only nutrient your body craves. There's been plenty of research and recommendations on how your body's glycogen stores also need to be replenished. How can you replenish your glycogen stores? By consuming glucose (i.e. carbs).
In normal healthy eating, complex carbohydrates are the most important (i.e. better than simple carbs). However, after working out, simple carbs are best because they are more quickly absorbed into the body.
According to MedlinePlus, "Simple carbohydrates are broken down quickly by the body to be used as energy [and] are found naturally in foods such as fruits, milk, and milk products."
Based on these facts, a quick (and delicious) way to provide your body with much-needed fuel is to consume a post-workout smoothie that contains an excellent blend of protein and simple carbohydrates.
My favorite post-workout smoothie is packed with protein, simple carbohydrates, and essential vitamins and minerals to help your body recover from a workout and remain in an optimal state.
The Best Post Workout Smoothie
Now, over the years I've tried several post workout smoothie recipes, and while many are good, none have come close to this one. By far, this is the best post-workout smoothie I've ever had — both in taste and in nutritional value. It packs a whopping 56 grams of protein.
Here are the basic nutritional stats:
- Calories: 463
- Protein: 56 grams
- Carbohydrates: 56 grams
- Fiber: 10 grams
- Sugars (all naturally occurring): 32 grams
- Fat: less than 1 gram
This doesn't even take into consideration all the vitamins, minerals, and BCAAs that are packed in this smoothie. But enough talk — let's get to the smoothie recipe!
What You'll Need
You'll need some specific items in order to make this smoothie:
- Magic Bullet (or other blender)
- 1 medium banana
- 3/4 cup of nonfat Greek yogurt (best I've found is Dannon's Oikos Triple Zero vanilla, which you can find at most grocery stores)
- 1 cup of Nonfat milk
- 1 scoop of Optimum Nutrition Pro Complex, rich milk chocolate flavor (Note: You can use any protein supplement, though I like the stats and taste of ON Pro Complex best)
Note: I use the Magic Bullet for all food-blending purposes. If you don't already have a Magic Bullet, I highly recommend you get one. (You can find it pretty cheap on Amazon — though Magic Bullet also sells a high-performance blender/mixer.)
If you're unfamiliar with Magic Bullets, they're basically compact mixers that blend the ingredients right in your cup. So you just add all the ingredients, blend, twist on a lid, and you're good to go. In addition, on top of smoothies and other blended drinks, you can use them to chop foods (such as veggies), grind spices and herbs, and tons of other useful cooking tasks. In the world of healthy eating, Magic Bullets are lifesavers.
Smoothie Recipe Directions
Once you've gathered all the needed items and ingredients, just follow the easy directions below:
- Peel banana, break into a few smaller chunks, and place in blender cup.
- Scoop 1 cup of the Greek yogurt into blender.
- Add 1 scoop of Optimum Nutrition Pro Complex (or other whey protein).
- Pour in 1 cup of nonfat milk.
- Add as much ice as will reasonably fit (I usually manage 4 cubes).
- Shake vigorously to mix the ingredients.
- Place blending cup in Magic Bullet and blend in bursts of a few seconds at a time (recommended to avoid burning out the blending motor) until it's as smooth as desired.
- And that's it! Add a lid and take it with you on the go!
If you follow this smoothie recipe as closely as possible, you'll have the perfect post-workout smoothie — providing all the nutrients you need to supercharge your workout results.
For an extra boost, add a scoop of unflavored creatine to your smoothie.
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