Once upon a time I hated working out. My husband had a gym membership and encouraged me to go with him after we’d been dating for a while, saying I would surprise myself with how much I enjoyed it. Being the stubborn lady I am, of course I dissuaded the offer as long as possible. When I finally agreed to check things out, I got on the elliptical machine and nearly died after a whopping 7 minutes. The treadmill was even quicker in its attempts at killing me. I hadn’t run in years… the last time prior, possibly being when I was a freshman in college, running away from the security at the Best Western with some girlfriends after we snuck into the hotel pool and hot tub on various evenings.
Six years later, my body craves gym time. It’s one of the few places where I can tune out the persistent nagging in my brain to be doing something – be it laundry, dishes, vacuuming, picking up dirty socks or toys that have been left in uncanny places around the house, cooking up new recipes, editing photos from the previous afternoon, etc., etc. For an hour or so I can jump on a spin bike, or treadmill, or elliptical machine, turn the music (or latest Joy the Baker Podcast) in my ear buds up loud and forget everything else.
Then when I’ve sweated, burned an excess of calories off, showered and begun to think about what to cook for the remaining day, I find myself HUNGRY. Lately that time post-workout leaves me craving fresh juice, slightly carbonated kombucha, or smoothies. The food choices that happen post-exercise can make a huge difference between getting stronger and getting tired. There are foods that help the body to recover after a strenuous workout.
This particular smoothie features a number of things. Drinking fat-free milk post-workout promotes muscle gain and fat loss, and but I prefer a low-fat almond milk in my smoothies, rather than dairy milk. This smoothie also contains a number of fruits, which are generally high in antioxidants. As well, the coconut water in here is both low in calories and high in potassium — an electrolyte lost in sweat. This smoothie is great within 20-30 minutes of working out for replenishing your body and boosting recovery. It’s also filling and a great mid-day meal or snack.
A Post-Workout Smoothie
Yields 9 cups – enough for 4 large smoothies.
2 1/2 frozen bananas
10 oz. frozen strawberries
6 oz. frozen mangoes
4 oz. frozen blueberries
1 cup fresh spinach, packed
one 17.6 oz. can coconut water
1 cup raw vanilla almond milk
1 1/2 tablespoons brazil nut protein powder
In a high-power blender, blend all the ingredients until smooth. I like to add the ingredients to the blender as follows: the coconut water, followed by the spinach, bananas, strawberries, blueberries, mangoes, protein powder, almond milk, then blend. If the smoothie is too thick for your liking, add more almond milk or coconut water until you reach your desired consistency.
Pour into glasses and drink immediately.