1-2 cups baby spinach
1 -1.5 cups coconut water (or water, or almond milk or similar)
1/2 cup strawberries (frozen or fresh)
1/2 cup mango (frozen or fresh)
1 serving vanilla protein powder (you can use hemp seeds, but a good quality protein powder after a workout is optimal for your recovery)
This smoothie makes a good quick post-workout blend and is a snack or small-meal sized serving.
You can vary the fruit in this recipe easily, or your protein source – plant or dairy based protein powder works well. You could also add a scoop of sprouted grain or gluten free cereal for more glucose to replenish muscle glycogen.
Fruit is an excellent source of naturally occurring fructose (sugar). The liver is the main storage site of fructose and because there is a limited capacity of stores within the liver, it’s important to replenish other glycogen stores within other cells of the body, like in muscle cells!
A complex carbohydrate (such as rice, Ezekiel bread, or sprouted cereal) is a great way to replenish glycogen stores post-workout and really ramp up the taste!
More on Eating Around Your Workouts…
While you can make a point of having a “pre- and post-workout meal,” I generally just recommend having a normal meal 1-2 hours prior to exercising and within an hour after exercising that includes the nutrients your body needs.
When I’m on the go or want something quick and light before or after a workout, a smoothie like this one is a great option.
Post workout, you just want to make sure you get 2 key nutrients in your body – carbs and protein – to replenish the muscle glycogen that was depleted during your workout to reduce muscle protein breakdown caused by exercise. You’ll also be increasing muscle protein synthesis, reducing muscle soreness and fatigue, enhancing overall recovery, and reducing cortisol (stress hormone) levels.
Skipping meals – and not eating carbs and protein in general can negatively impact your results simply because your body needs sustenance before and after you’ve expended energy – and for all the reasons I just mentioned above.
Does this mean you shouldn’t eat fat? Not at all. You want to include healthy fats in your meals throughout the day. Fat helps us feel full and satisfied, and is a super important nutrient for healthy hormone balance and stable energy. I usually include some fat in my meal before my workout, and immediately post workout I just keep it minimal.
Fat has an important job of increasing fullness, or satiety, by slowing down how quickly our food exits the stomach and regulating the release of sugar into the bloodstream.
On the other hand, after a workout your body is preferentially ready to take in protein and carbohydrates. I wouldn’t worry if there is a little fat but by no means should you go out of your way to include healthy fats at this time. Save that for other delicious meals.
You can check out my example meals today and see the nutrients that they feature with the P (protein), C (carbs), F (fat) and G (greens). No foods are “just proteins” or “just carbs,” so there’s always a mix – and once you identify the important nutrients you can easily vary your meal to suit your needs.
It’s super easy to implement this following my meal plans – you have your meals mapped out, with nutrients clearly labeled and have a wide variety of delicious, easy recipes to use plus all of the information you need to make it work for you in one place.