13 best post-workout smoothies to refuel everything lost

smoothies after workout

I got it…

That you have finished a body ripping workout and you are wondering how to get back my energy and fuel that I just spent on it.

My answer to that is, this is post-workout nutrition comes into. Food is literally the fuel of your body and especially after a grueling workout, it is the lifeblood of your growing muscles and body.

Now, what you can eat after a grueling workout can be in different forms i.e it could be in the form of “post-workout smoothies” OR a “post-workout protein or a ”post-workout shake”.

OR else, it could be even some cooked chicken breast that is just ready to be devoured from the oven.

To cut a long story short, post-workout nutrition is vital for your physical fitness in general, and your growing muscles in particular.

Why is post-workout nutrition so important?

To understand the importance of post-workout smoothie in particular, and eating after post-workout, it is important for you to know what happens to your body when you undergo a ripping workout?

Basically, two important things happen to your body when you workout.

  1. Your muscles become glycogen depleted
  2. Your muscles protein gets broken and damaged

So just after you have finished your workout, your body badly needs 1): proteins; to repair its muscles, 2): carbs; to refuel it’s energy providing glycogen levels.

That’s where a post-workout smoothie comes into play i.e a best post-workout smoothie should both provide carbs and proteins.

What are the ingredients of a post-workout smoothie?

Literally, you can throw anything in your blender and called it a post-workout smoothie, but as pointed out above there are some preferred ingredients for a post-workout period which are generally applicable to pre-workouts too which we can also be found in the form of pre-workout supplements or pre-workout homemade smoothies. 

Here are some of the important features of a good post-workout smoothie.

1. A good post-workout smoothie is packed with proteins

 Some of the best sources for post-workout smoothie can be nuts, yogurts, soy milk, nut butter, yogurt, and silken tofu, etc.

2. A good post-workout smoothie is full of energizing carbs sources 

Carbs are very important for the post-workout refueling of your energy providing resources like glycogen which gets depleted during exhaustive workouts.

 3. A good post-workout smoothie should not have empty sugar

A good post-workout smoothie shouldn’t contain excessive quantities of unhealthy sugars which are source fat building in your body.

Consuming unhealthy sugar is safe only if it is used a few times a week but more than that you are risking loads of fats on your body.

Best post-workout smoothies

Here are some of the best post-workout smoothies that have been proven to be aiding muscle repair & growth while replenishing your lost energy stores at the same time.

1. Cran-Beet Crusher smoothie

How it is useful?

  1. It fights off inflammation.
  2. Research studies have found them to be effective in improving blood circulation, enhancing body stamina thus boosting your energy levels and time spent at the workouts. 
  3. It’s one of the ingredients “Kale” is known to be a great source of minerals, vitamins, and nutrients that can help against cancer and fight heart disease. 

These all qualities make it one of the best post-workout smoothies for weight loss.

Ingredients 

  • 1 cup of silken tofu
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 1 c kale
  • 1 orange or a half-cup fresh-squeezed orange juice
  • 2 tsp raw honey
  • ½ c fresh cranberries
  • ½ md beet (raw or roasted)
  • 1 small peeled Persian cucumber

How to make it?

Take all ingredients in a blender and mix it until it becomes nice and smooth.

Nutritional value per serving

  • 332 calories total
  • 18 g protein
  • 53 g carbs 
  • 9 g fiber, 
  • 34 g sugars, 
  • 8 g fat, 
  • 105 mg sodium

2. Berry blast protein smoothie

How it is useful?

  1. Its low-fat milk is a very good source of proteins and carbs
  2. The frozen banana is a very good source of potassium and very good at refueling your damaged muscles.
  3. Also, you will get a lot of very useful antioxidants and fiber content.

Ingredients

  • 9 oz low-fat milk
  • ½ frozen banana
  • 1 scoop (1.6 oz) vanilla soy protein
  • ¾ c frozen mixed berries

How to make this smoothie?

Take all ingredients in a blender and keep mixing until you get a smooth mixture.

Nutritional value per serving

  • 370 cal,
  •  30 g protein, 
  • 58 g carb, 
  • 7 g fiber, 
  • 6 g fat, 
  •  292 mg sodium

3. Mango-Go-Go post-workout smoothie

Why is it useful?

  1. Such fruit smoothies are a perfect source of carotenoids which is primarily responsible for repairing cell damage that happens during workouts.
  2. Moreover, this smoothie’s coconut water helps refill the loss of electrolytes as it is abundant in useful minerals like calcium, magnesium, and zinc.

Ingredients 

  • ½ c baby carrots
  • ½ c coconut water
  • ¼ c orange juice
  • 2 c spinach
  • 1 c frozen mango
  • 2 satsuma or mandarin oranges, peeled
  • ½ c plain yogurt

How to make this smoothie?

Get all ingredients in a blender and keep mixing until it becomes smooth and well mixed.

Nutrition value per serving

  • 370 total cal, 
  • 14 g protein, 
  • 90g  carb,
  • 13g fiber,
  • 2.5 g fat, 
  • 321 mg sodium

4. Eat-your-Wheaties smoothie

Why is it useful?

  1. This smoothie blend is a rich source of folic acid which is known for cell growth and development.
  2. Its spinach is a very good source of fulfilling your iron deficiency, 

Ingredients 

  • ½ c fresh banana
  • ½ c raw zucchini
  • ¾ c coconut water
  • ½ c plain yogurt
  • 2 c spinach
  • 1 c frozen peaches
  • 2 Tbsp Wheat germ

How to make it?

Put all the ingredients in the blender and keep mixing until it is nice and smooth.

Nutrition value per serving

  • 320 calories, 
  • 20 g protein, 
  • 70 g carb, 
  • 11 g fiber, 
  • 4 g fat, 
  • 358 mg sodium

5. Peanut butter post-workout smoothie

Why it is useful?

  1. Bananas in this smoothie are a very good source of potassium, and its great fiber content is best known for gut health.
  2. Also, peanut butter itself is a great source of quality proteins and fats.

Ingredients

  • 1 banana
  • 1 Tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 lg handful spinach
  • ½ c plain yogurt
  • ½ c milk
  • ½ tsp vanilla

How to make this smoothie?

Put all ingredients in a blender and keep mixing until you get a smooth and nice mixture.

Nutrition per serving:

  •  270 calories, 
  • 18 g protein, 
  • 50 g carb, 
  • 4 g fiber, 
  • 3.5 g fat,
  • 190 mg sodium 

6. Gingerbread post-workout smoothie

How it is useful?

  1. Greek yogurt is a very good source of essential protein content required for repairing and recovering muscle tissues.
  2. The Banana is the perfect source of good carbs and potassium

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp almond butter
  • 1 Tbsp molasses
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 7 oz 2% Greek yogurt
  • 1 c ice cubes
  • ¼ c frozen sliced banana
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ⅛ tsp each nutmeg and cardamom

How to make it?

Put all ingredients in a blender and keep mixing until you get a good smooth and nice mixture.

Nutrition value per serving

  • 430 calories, 
  • 30 g protein, 
  • 40 g carb, 
  • 5 g fiber, 
  •  25 g fat, 
  •  145 mg sodium

7. Cherry-Chia post-workout smoothie

Why it is useful?

  1. According to some of the research studies, tart cherries in this smoothie helps repair muscles and help you get good sleep.
  2. Also, turmeric ingredient in it is known for its anti-inflammatory and alleviating joint pains.

Ingredients

  • ½ c fresh or pineapple
  • ½ c silken tofu or 1 scoop vegan protein powder
  • 1 c chilled brewed green tea 
  • ½-inch chunk ginger root or ¼ tsp powdered ginger
  • 1 c fresh or frozen pitted tart cherries
  • ½ c fresh or frozen blueberries 
  • ½-inch chunk turmeric root or ¼ tsp powdered turmeric
  • 2 tsp raw honey

How to make it?

Put all ingredients in a blender and mix until it becomes smooth and nice.

Nutrition per serving:

  •  330 calories, 
  • 30 g pro, 
  • 50 g carbs, 
  • 6 g fiber, 
  • 3 g fat,
  • 57 mg sodium

8. Potassium Peppermint post-workout smoothie

How it is useful?

Banana in it is a great source of useful potassium and carbs and milk content is a very good source of healthy and much-needed proteins and fats.

Ingredients

  • ¼ c mint leaves
  • ¼ c raw cashews (soaked overnight)
  • ⅓ c silken tofu
  • 1 sm frozen sliced banana 
  • 1 c plain organic soy milk
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract

How to make it?

Put all the ingredients in a blender and keep mixing all elements until you get a smooth and nice mix.

Nutrition value per serving

  • 420 calories, 
  • 25 g protein,
  • 50 g carb, 
  • 6 g fiber, 
  • 24 g sugars, 1
  • 10 g fat, 
  • 3 g sat fat, 
  • 204 mg sodium

9. Oat Cocoa Smoothie

Why is it useful?

  1. Its high protein and high-quality fats can help and grow your muscles
  2. Its high-quality fiber content suppresses appetite and keeps you fuller for longer.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup of skimmed milk
  • 1 tsp of vanilla
  • 1/2 cup of low-fat yogurt
  • 1/4 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 1 tbs of ground flaxseed
  • 1 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder

How to make this smoothie?

Add all ingredients in a blender and mix well for a minute until it becomes smooth and nice.

Nutrition value per serving

  • 360 calories,
  •  20 g protein,
  •  7 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 
  • 60 g carbohydrates,
  •  7 g fiber, 
  • 7 mg cholesterol, 
  • 177 mg sodium

10. Olive Oil Energy Drink

Why is it useful?

  1. This smoothie is a very good source of veggies that are fiber-rich and calorie-dense.
  2. Also, the olive oil itself is very energizing and enough to keep you full for the whole day.

Ingredients

  • About 1 cup of spinach
  • About 1 small cucumber 
  • About 1/4 cup of parsley
  • About 1 cup of water
  • Sea salt according to taste
  • 2-3 tbsp of olive oil

How to make this smoothie?

Put all ingredients in a mixture and mix it well in a blender until it becomes smooth and nice.

11. Apple vanilla post-workout smoothie

Why is it useful?

  1. Apple in this smoothie is a great source of high-quality calcium, potassium and rich in fibers which keeps you fuller for longer.
  2. Its high-quality carbs are a rich source of sugar energy which helps you replenish your energy fuel after a grueling workout.
  3. The yogurt content is a rich source of very high-quality proteins and fats.

Ingredients

  • ¼ cucumber, diced
  • 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • ½ cup blueberries
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1 tablespoon 2% Greek yogurt
  • ½ cup unsweetened almond milk

How to make this smoothie?

Put all its ingredients in a blender and mix well until you get a smooth and nice mixture.

12. Green monster post-workout smoothie

Why is it useful?

This smoothie is a rich source of quality proteins, carbs, fats and essential minerals which are crucial for all over health and fitness

Ingredients:

  • Almond
  • Butter
  • Peanut butter
  • Cow milk
  • Pineapple
  • Chopped bananas
  • Protein powder

13. Blueberry-Avocado post-workout smoothie

Why is it useful?

This smoothie is packed with quality proteins and fats that improve your cholesterol levels and improve overall blood functioning.

Ingredients:

  • 1 full riped peeled avocado
  • 1 cup of low-fat sugar
  • about 2 tbs of honey
  • 2/3 cup of blueberries
  • 1/3 cup of almond milk or if it is not available then you can have smooth peanut butter
  • about 1/3 cup of low fat skimmed milk

How to make it?

Take all the ingredients in a blender and mix well until you get a smooth and nice mixture.

Nutritional value – About 310 calories in total

  • 15 g protein,
  •  20 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 
  • 30 g carbohydrates, 
  • 5 g fiber, 
  • 8 mg cholesterol,
  •  174 mg sodium

 

Best homemade (DIY) pre-workout shakes

While post-workout nutrition is important, pre-workout nutrition can’t be ignored too.

The proteins and carbs that you intake before your training sessions help build your energy to do effective workouts while a good dose of protein helps you in avoiding extra breakdown of amino acids.

Here are the best pre-gym smoothies that can give you that extra pump before you exhaust yourself out of your carbs and protein levels.

1. Coconut energy blast

Ingredients:

  • 300ml coconut water
  • 1 shot of espresso
  • 1 banana
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 pinch cinnamon

How this smoothie is useful?

Coconut water in this smoothie is useful in refueling your electrolyte levels like magnesium, potassium, calcium which are lost during your sweating during workouts.

2. Beetroot energizer

Ingredients

  • 2 squares dark chocolate
  • 1 small beetroot, peeled
  • 300ml milk
  • 50g strawberries
  • 50g raspberries

How is this useful?

  1. Beetroot juice has been known to experts as the tolerance builder to high-intensity exercise and gives you that extra pump that drives you towards finishing lines.
  2. The chocolate in this pre-workout smoothie is helpful in increasing the supply of oxygen and nutrients to working muscles.
  3. This milk in this smoothie contains a protein called casein, is slowly releasing protein which will keep aiding your muscles in rebuilding for long hours.

3. Strawberry super smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 140 mg caffeine
  • 5g beta-alanine
  • 90g frozen strawberries
  • 2800ml water
  • 1 tbsp honey

How this pre-workout smoothie is useful?

  1. The combination of caffeine and beta-alanine is a perfect combination for delaying your muscle fatigue.
  2. The ingredient of honey is rich in pump giving carbohydrates that keep you going through your workouts smoothly without any problem.

Protein shake before or after a workout?

No one can deny the fact that Protein is vital for muscle building and repair. 

That’s why it lies at the core of every fitness enthusiast with different names at different times i.e shakes, supplements, meat, etc at pre-workout, post-workout or as night supplement. However,  the optimal time to have a protein shake is a hotly debated topic.

Some believe it’s best to drink a protein shake before a workout, whereas others argue that after a workout is ideal. Let’s try to settle this debate and try to find out what is the optimal time for your protein nutrition in the light of some research studies, before or after a workout?

Debunking the myth of “Anabolic window”: does it even matter? 

Many people believe that to maximize their results from the gym, they must consume their protein shake within the next 30 minutes of their workouts.

This short period of time i.e 30 minute window is known as “Anabolic window” acts as the best time for protein to be effectively utilized for muscle growth and repair.

But is the opinion of research on this? Does it favor the anabolic window or not? Let’s find out below.

1. Research studies in favor of Anabolic window

Study 1

A research reported in a December 2012 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition also supported the results that consuming protein after resistance training can indeed increase the rate of muscle synthesis in both older and younger adults.

Study 2

Another study published in Sports Medicine in May 2014 found that consuming protein before a workout helps the creation of new muscle, and helps the skeletal muscles to adapt and grow for extended periods of exercise. 

In other words, pre-workout protein can actually help build new muscle and prevents the muscles you’re using from getting fatigued at the same time

Pre-workout protein may help in the burning of your calories.

A study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition in November 2018 reported that people who consumed protein before a 30-minute moderate-intensity treadmill workout burned more calories and more fat during the workout as compared to people who either took carbs or didn’t eat anything at all.

Moreover, the study went on to say that the type of protein matters, too. In fact, researchers discovered that the casein protein increased calorie-burn and fat-burn more significantly than whey protein isolate.

Takeaway: Anabolic window is a reality and some people might benefit more by consuming proteins before a workout

2. Research Studies against Anabolic window

A study has compared the effects of consuming protein either before or after a workout on muscle strength and size.

The researchers divided 21 men into two separate groups, both of which received a protein shake containing 25 grams of protein. One group received it immediately before their workout, while the other group received it immediately after 

Everyone completed a total-body workout three times per week for 10 regular weeks.

The Results?

Interestingly, the study found no significant differences in muscle strength or size between the groups. 

These results suggest a very basic thing that consuming protein around workout is important i.e it doesn’t matter if it’s before or after training. Therefore, you can choose which time you prefer or is most convenient for you.

Another study published in the_ International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism_ in December 2012 tested the effect of consuming whey protein before and after exercise and reached the conclusion that neither timing had a significant effect on muscle mass or strength.

In fact, pre-workout has been linked to many of the digestion issues as one described below.

Potential side effects of pre-workouts: Gastrointestinal distress

Your body is very good at making adjustments to meet your ongoing needs and prioritize what it is supposed to do. 

Because of this, when you’re exercising, your body focuses on supplying blood and oxygen to the organs and muscles that really need it at the time i.e your working muscles — decreasing blood flow and nutrients to any areas aren’t.

Similarly, When you exercise, your body recognizes that these digestive organs aren’t the current priority for blood flow and nutrients.

So, It naturally decreases the amount of blood sent to the splanchnic circulatory system and increases the amount of blood to your heart, muscles, and brain.

As a consequence, your digestion shuts down temporarily. However, if you have a pre-workout protein shake, the food in your digestive tract signals the body to increase blood flow to the splanchnic circulatory system, and your digestive system and exercising muscles end up competing for blood.

 As a result, you may experience uncomfortable gastrointestinal symptoms, like

  • gas,
  • bloating,
  • abdominal cramps or nausea.

Final verdict: settling the pre vs post-workout protein nutrition debate

The research on whether protein intake around your workouts is important for maximizing gains is mixed. Some research has even questioned the necessity of consuming protein around your workout altogether.

From above, it is clear that few studies suggest it’s beneficial, while others suggest it as ineffective

These opposing results pushed researchers to analyze the findings of all 23 studies on the effects of consuming protein around exercise and can you guess what they found out? 

They found that total protein intake was the strongest predictor of muscle strength and size, regardless of whether people consumed it closer to their exercise or not.

The Bottom line: 

Daily total protein intake is more important than taking pre-workout or post-workout.

Some tips for post-workout smoothies

  1. Don’t forget to take plenty of water – Although post-workout smoothies are good hydrating agents but don’t forget to drink plenty of water before and after your workouts because there is nothing as hydrating as water.
  2. Divide your smoothies equally before and after workouts – to make post-workout smoothies effective in their results, it is advised to consume them for about half an hour before your workouts. Or alternatively, you can drink half before and a half after your workouts to make them perfect pre and post-workout nutrition.

FAQs


Q: Why should both protein & carbs take together?

Answer: Both carbs and protein should be consumed together because the process of glycogen synthesis is only triggered when both are consumed together in the same post-workout nutrition smoothie which stimulates more and more insulin secretion.

Therefore, the consumption of both together is best because both aid each other process. 

Recommended dosage – Fitness experts recommend that for each gram of protein, there should be 3 grams of carbs. I.e if the protein is 40 grams, carbs would be 120 grams.

Q: Is a smoothie good after a workout?

Answer: Yes, a smoothie after a workout is very good to repair & regrow your lost protein and refuel your energy due by refueling your depleted glycogen levels. 

Basically, two important things happen to your body when you workout.

  1. Your muscles become glycogen depleted
  2. Your muscles protein gets broken and damaged

Q: Is a banana smoothie good after a workout?

Yes, due to richness in high-quality carbs and a crucial muscle electrolyte, potassium.

Answer:  Yes, banana is one of the best smoothies you can have after a workout. It is full of high-quality carbs which help to refuel your lost energy by increasing your glycogen levels.

Also, being rich in ‘potassium’, it helps to rebalance some of the lost electrolytes in muscles.

Q: Which fruit shake is best after the gym?

Answer: Some of the best fruit shakes after the gym are:

  1. Berry blast protein smoothie
  2. Potassium Peppermint post-workout smoothie
  3. Apple vanilla post-workout smoothie
  4. Blueberry-Avocado post-workout smoothie
  5. Strawberry super smoothie

Q: What is the best drink after working out?

Answer: The following are some of the best drinks after working out.

  1. Berry blast protein smoothie
  2. Potassium Peppermint post-workout smoothie
  3. Apple vanilla post-workout smoothie
  4. Blueberry-Avocado post-workout smoothie
  5. Strawberry super smoothie
  6. Coconut water
  7. Coconut water
  8. water

References:

  1. “10 perfect post-workout smoothies” by prevention.com

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