What To Eat After You Exercise – a Post Workout Smoothie
You’ve just worked your butt off in a cycle class, at yoga, running or even weight training and you know you need to refuel. At the same time you’re concerned about undoing all of that hard work with poor nutrition choices!
If you happen to exercise after work, by the time you finish it may be close to dinner and you reason that there’s no need to eat something else in the meantime. Or in the morning before work and you figure a good breakfast will cover your needs.
So what do you do? What’s the best thing for you post-workout?
I’m sorry to say though this is super-duper individualised. It’s dependent not only on the activity you have participated in though also your food intake as a whole. I was discussing this exact topic with a friend recently who asked me about workout nutrition and my key points to her are the same as they are to you:
1. You can't out-train a poor diet
2. Your overall nutrient intake is crucial for effective workouts and recovery
This topic is in fact what first brought me into this wellbeing world almost a decade ago when I noticed my athletic performance and recovery wasn’t improving no matter my training. Why? I had overlooked the most crucial factor – what I was eating.
There’s a lot of science out there on this subject and as an ex-competitor, it’s an area that fascinates me. However I know that’s not always the case…. What I do think most of us share however, is a desire to fuel our bodies with the best food possible especially after putting in the hard yards during our workouts!
Let’s keep it simple and focus only on what concerns us day-to-day and how to best make it work for us.
Following strenuous activity, the body requires hydration to replace the fluids lost as sweat, carbohydrate for energy and glucose replenishment (the fuel stored in our muscles) as well as protein for repair and muscle recovery.
In the case of strenuous activity; longer than 60 minutes; there’s a heap of evidence to say you require nutrition during your workout though that is a subject for another time. The one thing I will mention is what’s most crucial in these instances from a nutritional perspective; consuming carbohydrates to help delay fatigue by providing glucose to the muscles as well as electrolytes to replace sodium lost in sweat.
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach for post-workout nutrition and with good reason. Your daily nutrition, level of exercise output and recovery requirements, just to name a few variables, are all factors here. In saying that, for the majority of us strenuous activity is defined as high-intensity, full body activation for 30-60 minutes.
Think a cycle class, circuit training, running and cross-fit.
For lower intensity exercise, the requirement for post-workout specific nutrition is minimal for the average individual and best handled with consistent adequate nutrition. To give you a real-life example, following a yin (slow) yoga class I rehydrate with water/coconut water after class and ensure I’m eating nutritious wholefoods consistently to support this movement.
Years ago when I started paying proper attention to my nutrition, especially after a workout, my performance and recovery (as important as the workout itself!) sky-rocketed along with my health.
Within 30 minutes or 45 minutes at a stretch, of high intensity and strenuous exercise I consume a smoothie. I find it the simplest and most palatable option whilst also feeling like a dessert so win-win!
It’s everything you need in one glass: carbs and protein for muscle recovery, water content to replace the fluids lost as sweat and calcium, sodium and sugar — all ingredients that help you recover faster, retain water and regain energy.
Post-Workout Berry Smoothie - serves 1
Vegetarian / Gluten-free
- 1 frozen banana
- 1 scoop Bare Blends Cacao Whey Protein Isolate Powder
- 1 teaspoon Bare Blends Bare Berries
- 1/4 cup Greek yoghurt
- 150g almond milk
- 150g coconut water
What you do
Blend all ingredients in your blender until smooth and creamy
The protein powder situation…
I can see why protein powders are so off-putting to most people, I would agree that most are full of chemicals and to stay far away from them. However there are some awesome products out there on the market and I have had great success integrating them into my diet following strenuous workouts. What this actually looks like for me is 3-4 times a week. Not every morning for breakfast and not instead of meals. A quality protein powder, without the chemicals, offers us high levels of protein in an easily digestible form, what’s so scary about that? I personally use a whey protein, made from cow’s milk though there are fantastic vegan and vegetarian options out there made from brown rice and peas. As well as in a post-workout smoothie, I use protein powder in my raw cacao protein balls & raw salted caramel balls.
Protein powders aren’t necessary in a healthy diet so if you aren’t comfortable using them then don’t. Once again, what’s most crucial when it comes to optimal health and wellbeing is doing what works for you. Try things out, play around and review what felt the best, it’s the only way you’ll know.
Getting the most from your workouts and your body is really a combination of many factors. It’s getting quality sleep, ensuring you have consistently adequate nutrition, are actually recovering and working to challenge yourself when you do exercise.
Like most things, when it comes to your health and improving it – start small. I’d love to see your post-workout creations so tag me @nadiafelsch on instagram using #nfeats and I can feature your smoothies to share with everyone else.
Disclosure** I haven’t received any money to mention a particular product and the only reason I would ever mention a product on my site is if I actually buy it myself. In this instance, Bare Blends supplied me with product to get creative with and seeing as I usually buy their Bare Whey Protein Isolate product I was happy to accept it and share the results with you.