After a grueling gym session or Aaptiv workout, you are hungry and ready to restore your energy and help your muscles recover. Blending up a smoothie can provide the healthy mix of protein (our favorite), carbohydrates, and anti-inflammatory foods your muscles need to recover—no turning on the stove or elaborate cooking required!
But, hold the blender; not all smoothies are created equal. If you want the perfect post-workout recovery formula, follow the recipes below. They’ll help you sip your way to a stronger, healthy recovery.
Chocolate Dream Smoothie
Alyssa Mandell Sparks, a holistic nutritionist and senior instructor at SPEIR Pilates, prepares smoothies daily to maintain joint and ligament health.
“Your post-workout smoothie should offer you both protein and carbohydrates. We should be drinking this smoothie during the 30 minutes following our workout for optimal absorption,” she says.
Her chocolate dream smoothie tastes like dessert, but offers the protein and carbohydrates your body needs. “Plus, the kick from the cinnamon provides more than flavor, it brings you a high source of antioxidants, as well anti-inflammatory properties, that your body will crave post-workout,” she says.
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1 serving protein powder (our favorite)
- Pinch of cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon unsalted almond butter
- 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
- Pinch of Himalayan salt
- 1 teaspoon coconut butter
- 1 large date, pitted
Blend all ingredients together, and enjoy!
Zucchini Bread Smoothie
Don’t love protein powder? You have other options, like this zucchini bread smoothie that Julie Harrington, R.D., whips up for a healthy post-gym treat. It blends walnuts and almond milk for a protein boost instead.
“If you enjoy zucchini bread, this smoothie is for you—it’s zucchini bread in a glass,” she says. “Any opportunity to add veggies to a post-workout smoothie comes with benefits. Vegetables are packed with water, which is great for rehydration, along with antioxidants. The banana provides carbohydrates, which will help to refill carbohydrate stores, also known as glycogen, in the muscle[s] and liver.”
Harrington says for easy prep, you can chop, steam, and freeze zucchini in advance. That way, when you get home from the gym, you can just blend and enjoy.
- 1 small banana (frozen)
- 1/2 cup zucchini (chopped, steamed, and frozen)
- 1 cup baby spinach
- 1 tablespoon walnuts, chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon orange zest
- 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or milk of choice)
In a blender, combine all ingredients. Blend until smooth and creamy. For a thicker smoothie, add ice. For a thinner consistency, use water.
If you prefer something refreshing after you exercise, you’ll love this citrus-packed Sunshine Smoothie from Natalie Rizzo, M.S., R.D.
“I recommend my Sunshine Smoothie for post-workout recovery,” she says. “It has a healthy mix of carbs from the fruit, and protein from the Greek yogurt, and these two macronutrients together are ideal for recovery. Your body needs carbs after a workout to replenish glycogen stores (stored carbs) that were used up during exercise, and protein to help muscles recover.”
She also notes that the mango and clementine in the smoothie provide antioxidants that help with post-workout inflammation.
- 1 clementine peeled
- 1/2 cup frozen mango
- 1/2 small banana
- 1/4 cup plain greek yogurt (2 percent)
- 1 tablespoon hemp seeds (optional)
- 1/4 cup low-fat milk
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened coconut flakes
Place the first six ingredients into a blender and blend until smoothie. Sprinkle with unsweetened coconut flakes.
Chocolate Berry Protein Smoothie
After any strength session, protein is a must to help your muscles recover. Amy Gorin, MS, R.D.N., and owner of Amy Gorin Nutrition in New York City, blends plenty of it in her delicious Chocolate Berry Protein Smoothie.
“Within 30 minutes to two hours after a workout, it’s a good idea to eat a combination of protein and carbs,” she says. “Especially after a harder workout, your muscles will take in larger amounts of protein and carbs. Your muscles use the protein to both repair themselves and to build strength.”
- 1/2 cup frozen strawberries
- 1/2 cup frozen wild blueberries
- 1/2 cup frozen sliced banana
- 3/4 cup 2 percent fat plain Greek yogurt
- 1 1/2 tablespoons almond butter
- 1 1/2 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup water
Blend ingredients together. Add additional water if a thinner texture is desired. (Note: This recipe makes enough for two servings.)
Now that you’re ready for your post-workout smoothie, make your next workout earn it. Check out the Aaptiv app for more!