This is the perfect recovery smoothie for endurance athletes, specifically sports like triathlon, running, swimming, or cycling. To adapt this smoothie for a strength sport, simply reduce the overall amount of carbohydrates (not eliminate...reduce!) by subbing something like an unsweetened almond milk for some of the pineapple juice.
When we think about recovery, we like to think about it in the context of not only refueling our body from whatever workout we just completed, but also in the context of our overall daily nutrition. After all, we're humans first and athletes second (at least most of us). Study after study has shown that recovery after a workout is more complete and effective with a combination of protein AND carbohydrates....but the types of each are critical for optimum results.
Refueling from a workout has a few main objectives. If it's an endurance / cardio workout, which this article and recipe will focus on, they are:
a) Replenishing muscle glycogen stores with fast-acting carbohydrates to refuel muscle
b) Repairing damaged muscle with adequate, high-quality protein
c) Replacing any critical nutrients you lost during your workout, and bolstering your system with micronutrients like vitamins to aid recovery and health (especially those that can become chronically depleted over time in athletes)
d) Providing your body with other high quality, food based compounds like antioxidants that aid in recovery and overall health
Now, in order to do this effectively, starting with a base of a high quality, protein and carbohydrate product is important. Spoiler alert..our product of choice is our Primo Smoothie, which contains 20 grams of high quality grass fed whey and milk protein per serving, vitamins and minerals specifically tailored to the needs of athletes (which we have found them to be deficient in, or are well known to inhibit performance when not present in adequate amounts), anti-inflammatory compounds like curcumin from turmeric and tart cherry, probiotics and a whole lot more.
But where do you go from there? After a workout, unlike most other times during the day, your body is primed to take up fast acting carbs which will aid in recovery. During the window immediately following your workout, high glycemic fruits and fruit juices that you might want to avoid at other times are perfect (in fact, preferred) to consume. While for a breakfast smoothie on a non-training day you would want to avoid or minimize high glycemic carbs in your smoothie, for recovery after a workout, they are key!
For a recovery smoothie, you also want to minimize fat and fiber as they both slow down digestion and thus nutrient delivery to your hungry muscles. As we see the recovery smoothie as a good time to load up on general nutrition that you might otherwise omit from your diet, SOME fiber and fat is okay...just don't go nuts with the peanut butter!
In this case we use a combination of higher glycemic fruit sources like pineapple and / or pineapple juice (less fiber), blueberries, and papaya. We LOVE blueberries in our recovery smoothies for their antioxidant content, too! We also throw in acai, a superfood with one of, if not THE highest known antioxidant content of any food. It doesn't add much in the way of macronutrients (zero carbs and no sugar, actually), but we love the fact that it's such a nutrition powerhouse and helps reduce damage to cells strained during exercise.
As an added or optional bonus, we like to throw in a teaspoon of spirulina, another well known superfood. Again, this might not have an acute effect on recovery, but regular consumption of this superfood has been shown to have quite a few benefits. We like to sneak it into our smoothies often as a catch-all healthy food.
Give this tropical recovery smoothie a try!
-2 Scoops Primo Smoothie
-8 oz pineapple juice (high glycemic carbs)
-1/4 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (good carbs + antioxidants)
-1/4 cup fresh or frozen papaya (good carbs + vitamins and minerals)
-1 packet frozen acai (Antioxidant powerhouse)
-1 t spirulina (optional - superfood and antioxidant powerhouse)
Blend. Thin with water or almond milk.