Gym goers, amateur competitors and sport professionals alike often use protein shakes to improve body composition. By adding extra ingredients of nutritional value, it is possible to enhance recovery processes and maximise the training response…
A nutrient dense smoothie can help diminish the physiological demands of strenuous exercise and set the body up most efficiently to resume training, adapting and ultimately improving.
The personalisation of nutritional strategies is highly effective when striving to optimise athletic ability. A versatile liquid base can easily be built upon by including further food based or supplemental nutrients tailored to individual goals and recovery requirements.
On a generalised basis; in either recreational sport or competitive setting evidence indicates that adequately supporting recovery can help promote good health and performance. A well balanced smoothie can therefore serve as a complimentary addition to many exercise schedules.
It can be beneficial to consume high glycaemic index carbohydrates alongside protein in the 45 minute window after training (ideally within 20 minutes especially if training again that day). The increased insulin sensitivity at this time helps to improve protein synthesis, best replenish muscle glycogen (important after sustained cardio) and inhibit fat deposition.
Blending not only aids nutrient absorption and assimilation but can be useful after hard exercise when blood has been diverted away from the stomach and digestive processes. Refuelling with a hydrating additive free drink may be a more palatable and practical alternative to a solid meal.
|2 tbsps plain natural yoghurt||Silken tofu, soy yoghurt or kefir yoghurt|
|1½ – 2 cups of flavoured coconut water e.g. pineapple||100% fruit juice mixed with filtered water for 6% carbohydrate base (15g carbs as sugars per 100g)|
|1 scoop of whey protein powder||Hemp or pea protein powder|
|1 tbsp ground flaxseed||Ground Omega 3 rich seeds e.g. pumpkin or chia|
|1 tbsp ground almond powder||Other ground nuts e.g. brazil or cashew|
|1 tbsp cashew nut butter||Sugar free peanut butter|
|1 banana||Frozen banana can be added|
|¾ cup of mixed frozen berries||Also include 1tbsp of dried goji berries|
|Pinch of sea salt||Himalayan pink salt|
- Protein to minimise muscle damage, support growth and help tissue repair (yoghurt, nuts, seeds and also whey protein powder which is particularly helpful as absorbed quickly)
- Carbohydrates for glycogen replenishment (fruit and the liquid base)
- Essential fats for helping to modulate the inflammatory response and with cell maintenance (nuts and flaxseed)
- Antioxidants to enhance immunity and reduce oxidative stress (fruits also contribute to fluid intake)
- A balance of electrolytes to fine-tune metabolism and assist with functions such as fluid balance, muscle contraction and cognition (almonds, banana, coconut water, salt)
Blend all the ingredients together and enjoy. If the smoothie needs to be made prior to exercise an insulated flask for storage and to maintain the refreshing temperature can be a worthwhile investment.
The smoothie can be modified depending on the sport, level of exercise and if relevant for injury rehabilitation. Example additions are electrolyte solutions, glutamine powder for endurance sessions and cooled green tea for an extra antioxidant boost.