Groovin’ with Smoothies
Exercise is nothing more than taxing the body, tearing it down with each session only to rebuild itself stronger to handle the next workload placed upon it. While exercise is important, proper fueling before and after an exercise session and proper rest and recovery are just as important.
One common misconception many have with exercise concerns eating and more precisely the type of foods that can be eaten when performing at high levels of exercise. I wish I had a dollar for each time I heard “well I am exercising a lot so I can eat anything I want!” While it is true that higher levels of exercise results in more calories burned, it is not a license to eat whatever you want.
Unfortunately I have inadvertently experimented with proper and improper nutrition and the effects it has had on my endurance and performance. When following my standard diet of mostly plant based food, limited dairy and lean meant and adequate protein, I perform well, my recovery is fast and I sleep well.
On a recent week long trip to Texas due to the nature of my meetings, travel, etc., I was not able to follow my regular diet and was not able to exercise at the level I am accustomed to. Upon returning home not only did I feel sluggish, my performance when exercising was horrendous and my recovery was slow and painful. You can see the effect, both good and bad that a good diet can have on your workouts.
I am mostly a herbivore by choice and have realized success with this nutritional strategy. One food source l love the most is smoothies. Smoothies are an excellent way to fuel your body for workouts but they also serve as great recovery food as well. While I don’t endorse drinking your calories, if done right, smoothies can provide a nutrient, protein and fiber rich punch to your diet.
One key component to making a great smoothie is your blender. Having a powerful blender will insure your ingredients are finely chopped and well mixed into an easy to drink beverage. I use the NurtiBullett (Ninja blender is good as well) as it is small, powerful and works well for single serving smoothies. Here are two of my favorite smoothie recipes.
Chocolate Power Protein Punch
Protein is a key aspect to any diet of those that exercise. This smoothie packs a powerful protein punch suitable for post exercise recovery. Mix all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth.
1.5 cups of ice
2 Scoops Alive Brand Chocolate Protein Powder (found on Amazon.com)
I Tbsp. cocoa powder
1-2 Tbsp. creamy peanut butter
1-1.5 cups of Chocolate Almond Milk
Very Berry Blast
This is a very refreshing smoothie that can be used as either a pre-workout or post exercise recovery drink.
1.5 cups of ice
1 cups fresh or frozen strawberries (thawed)
2 Scoops Alive Brand Vanilla or Berry Protein Powder (optional and found on Amazon.com)
½ cup fresh or frozen raspberries, blueberries or blackberries
1 – 1.5 cups Orange or Guava-Pineapple Juice (can substitute vanilla soy or almond milk)
Chris is a Certified Personal Trainer and Groups Exercise Instructor, exercise, health and endurance enthusiast. He competes yearly in numerous running races, marathons, ultra marathons, triathlons and other endurance events.