You ran, you pedaled, you lunged, you lifted - you exercised until you felt the burn. Now, it’s time to refuel. Forget processed store-bought energy drinks, packed with artificial colours and nasties, and prepare your own fresh, all-natural, nutrient-rich sports drink.
Packed with the good stuff, they’ll help you recover from your workout and help the urge to binge later on. Whether you’re building muscle or shedding fat, there’s a flavoursome thirst-quencher for all every kind of fitness type:
For muscle growth
Protein is crucial for rebuilding muscles bigger and stronger after a weights workout. If you blitz up the right foods, protein powder isn’t necessary. Instead, use natural sources of protein such as nut butter, raw cashews, Greek yoghurt and chia seeds for a filling and satisfying boost. The most important thing is timing: make sure you get your protein hit two hours post-workout to aid muscle recovery. Generally, most of our protein is consumed at dinner, so whipping up a restorative smoothie for breakfast is the best way to refuel.
Peanut and chia homemade protein shake
Recipe by Jamie Oliver
• 1 banana
• 150g natural soya yoghurt
• 100ml of dairy-free milk
• 1 tbsp peanut butter
• 1 tbsp chia seeds
• ½ tsp cinnamon
For weight loss
If you’re trying to shed pounds, your post-workout snack could be your most important meal of the day. The trick is to replenish your energy stores and rehydrate without overdoing the calories - try to limit it to about 300 calories with a mix of carbs and protein. Since ready-to-drink shakes often contain added sugars, additives and unnecessary ingredients, making your own means you know exactly what’s going into your body.
With natural electrolytes from coconut water, iron-packed spinach, inflammation-reducing pineapple, and ginger to help aid digestion, this is the perfect refuel that won’t leave you hungry later on.
Low-calorie green smoothie
Recipe by Gimme Some Oven
• 1 banana
• Fresh ginger, peeled, to taste
• 2 handfuls fresh baby spinach
• 1 cup frozen pineapple chunks
• 1/2 cup coconut water
• 1/2 cup almond milk
• 1 Tablespoon chia seeds
Dose up on vitamins and minerals and you’ll soon be glowing with incredible energy after your workout. Blitz up a spinach-based smoothie to soak up its iron, a top component of energy production in the body. Made up of glucose, fructose and sucrose, bananas are energising gold, while yoghurt adds a dose of magnesium and calcium to your diet. Another superfood to add into your post-workout shakes is spirulina, a feel-good algae made up of 62% protein and a whole range of vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids and antioxidants. Try it in your refueling shake and you’ll be glowing in no time.
This spirulina smoothie combines banana, blueberries, spinach, kale, chia seeds, coconut water (nature’s finest isotonic drink), hemp protein powder and spirulina for a wonderful turquoise treat.
Finishing the right kind of smoothie with fill you with the empowerment of knowing you’ve just taken in everything your body needs to get stronger. Who knows - when they’re as delicious as these post-workout drink recipes - it may even persuade you to hit the gym more.
Recipe by Deliciously Ella
• 1 ripe banana
• 1 cup of frozen blueberries
• 1 cup of spinach
• 1 cup of kale
• 3/4 of a cup of water or almond milk or coconut water
• 1 tablespoon of chia seeds
• 1 teaspoon of hemp protein powder
• 1 teaspoon of spirulina
*Optional: 2 medjool dates for sweetness