Reminiscent of a tropical drink, this smoothie is filled with all you need post workout -- protein and carbohydrates to refuel and repair plus antioxidants to reduce exercise-induced inflammation.
We are buried in about 2 feet of snow here in the Boston area, but I'm dreaming of the tropics as I drink this smoothie. I can almost feel the sun on my face and sand beneath my toes! Spring and summer can not come fast enough!
Many of my clients are very active and whether they are training for the first (half or full) marathon or are a studio fitness junkie, I see the same trend over and over. It looks something like this:
5am: Alarm goes off. Maybe grab a banana or something quick to eat (this is often skipped) and head out the door to go for run/spin class/hot yoga/other fitness.
6:15am. Back home, shower and get dressed.
6:45: Feed kids/pets - get them out the door to school. Or if no kids/spouse is in charge of that - run out the door to catch train to work.
8-9am: At desk. Starving. Devour whatever is in sight.
What's wrong with this picture is that there was no plan for refueling after said workout. While most people don't need a super strict post-workout recovery regiment (we're not trying to win medals, here), there are several benefits to eating something within 30-60 minutes post workout. And as you know, I always prefer whole foods instead of packaged products! A post workout recovery snack or meal:
- Provides the necessary nutrients (primarily protein) to help your muscles repair more quickly (exercise results in small little tears in the muscle fibers that then rebuild to become a stronger muscle).
- Replenishes carbohydrate stores in muscles, which decreases fatigue and increases readiness for your next workout. You'll feel more energized and and stronger the next day!
- Reduces muscle soreness and inflammation (exercise actually creates inflammation in the body).
- Improves energy for rest of day.
- Reduces change of "hanger" showing up and possible overeating that comes along with said "hanger."
Afternoon and evening exercisers - this applies to you too! If your workout doesn't back into your next meal, make sure you give your body what it needs.
I often hear from clients and my running buddies that they just aren't hungry after a run or a workout. And I totally get it. Often after a long run, I might not actually feel hungry for a couple of hours -- especially on a hot day! It's not uncommon and, in fact, it's totally normal. Most of the blood is being pumped to your muscles that you just worked really hard, and in turn, it's not going to your digestive system.
This is the only time I will tell you that you should eat something when not hungry. It might sound counterintuitive, especially coming from someone that practices intuitive eating and helps clients get back in tune with their inner cues of hunger and fullness (among other things). But eating a little something to give your muscles the fuel they need can make a big difference in how you feel later in the day and the next day.
Which brings me to this smoothie! It's filled with all that you need for workout recovery:
- Protein from the Greek yogurt
- Carbohydrates from the fruit + yogurt
- Potassium from the avocado
- Antioxidants from the spinach, avocado, fruit, mint, ginger, and turmeric
- Anti-inflammatory compounds from the turmeric and ginger
It's easy to digest, making it perfect for anyone that struggles with lack of hunger, but really it's for anyone that loves a good smoothie! Plus you can make it ahead of time and store in the fridge or make little packets of all the ingredients except the yogurt + milk and then store in the freezer as single servings to throw in the blender when you walk in the door from your workout. Seriously, no excuses!
Plus, it tastes like a tropical vacation. And we could all use a little of that in our lives right now.
Note: everyone's nutrition needs post-workout are different, but these are some general guidelines. If you want a plan tailored to your individual needs, let's talk! I'd love to work with you and help you reach your wellness and fitness goals! Click here to get started.
- 3/4 cup (+more if desired) unsweetened almond milk (or other milk of choice)
- 1/2 cup plain Greek or Icelandic yogurt (2% or 4%)
- 1/2 cup frozen mango
- 1/2 cup frozen pineapple
- Big handful of baby spinach or kale
- 1/3 of an avocado
- 2-3 mint leaves
- 1/4 - 1/2 tsp grated ginger (I use a microplane and grate a bit right into the blender - use your judgement on how much you want!)
- 1/4 tsp grated fresh turmeric or 1/8 tsp ground (optional)