Nailing the Recovery Smoothie
As personal trainers, one of our biggest challenges is to make sure our clients replenish with good wholesome nutrients after a workout. It is important that we take the time to explain to them how important it is for growth and repair at the cellular level in order that they are better prepared for their next training session.
I think smoothies are the easiest meal to promote as they take very little time to prepare, are very portable, and can be packed full of nutrients, given the right recipe. If the blender is a good quality, we can even benefit from retaining the vitamins, minerals, and enzymes over a 24-48 hour period. If I know I have a busy schedule right after I train, I make my smoothie the night before, freeze it, and then I am all set. Recommend this to your clients if they say they are pressed for time after a workout.
Make Your Clients Aware
Making our clients aware that they need to replenish their glycogen stores, proteins and electrolytes that were used up during training is paramount and a smoothie is an easy way to give back to their body. With the right ingredients smoothies help to load up on the right carbs, protein, essential fatty acids, electrolytes and anti-oxidants. It is not always necessary to include a protein in a smoothie. If a workout is mainly cardiovascular exercise and does not include weights or any other resistance, it is more important to replenish the energy and electrolytes with fruits, leafy greens, and coconut water as opposed to one with protein powder.
Explain to your clients that smoothies are also easier to digest than a cooked meal. Digestion is one of the hardest things our body has to do. It takes time and consumes us. When we are giving our body only liquid, our vitality is at its maximum. When the body does not have to spend this time digesting, it has more energy to regenerate. This energy can often last throughout the day.
What is best for a smoothie?
Do some of your clients get fooled by the powers of marketing, gravitating to those large jugs of whey protein promoting huge muscles? Some of these isolated whey proteins can lead to digestive issues including stomach cramps and acid reflux. This is because fruit should never be combined with a protein (unless plant based). You can explain to your clients that fruit, being a simple sugar, will ferment if it has to wait around for a whey protein to be broken down. Simple sugars are instant energy. There is nothing to break down. They digest well with the energy coming from dark green left vegetables but NOT protein.
The best greens are kale, spinach, chard, and arugula. They have a high fiber content, are rich in proteins, vitamins, minerals. As for frozen fruits, I ask my clients to choose berries as they are high in anti-oxidants and could be a substitute for ice cubes. I always recommend, however, that they must include fresh fruits as well for added nutrients. I like bananas and pears for added texture, or anything in season in their area. Coconut water is a great way to replenish electrolytes lost through sweat and does add a nice flavor to the smoothie.
Add Super Foods
Some super foods that make super additions to smoothies as they are tough to get in your diet are:
- Maca powder – is a root providing a powerful source of nutrition including over 20 amino acids. It is a testosterone booster for both men and women, has many anti-inflammatory properties, and has a pleasant nutty flavor.
- Wheat grass – is a powerful cleansing food that helps the body get rid of toxins and heavy metals. It is rich in chlorophyll which is similar to the chemical structure of the hemoglobin of the human blood. You can buy it frozen at health food stores or grow it yourself.
- Ginger – is a wonderful root that aids in the digestion of protein.
A word about blenders.
Not all are created equal. I think it is important to advise our clients that spending a little more money on a more powerful machine will go a long way. Now only will they benefit by retaining more nutrients with a faster motor, but they will also be able to crush seeds of some fruits that are full of enzymes. Being both catabolic and anabolic, enzymes help with digestion and cellular regeneration and a powerful machine like Vitamix will keep the smoothie longer so that they can be stored anywhere from 24 to 48 hours in the fridge. I have had mine for over 12 years and it has never given me a problem!
Other useful tips to pass on
Here are some other tips that you might want to make your clients aware of:
- Almond butter is a better choice than peanut butter. It is easier to digest and contains calcium, potassium, and magnesium.
- Seeds, especially chia seeds can also cause a problem when combined with fruit. They are a good source of fiber, but actually, slow down digestion. This is the opposite of the power of the simple sugar of fruit. Therefore, the combination can add friction and result in bloating. Explain this and suggest that they keep these wonderful seeds to sprinkle on their salad.
- Mason jars are perfect for storage. You can fill them up to the rim, letting in as little air as possible. To avoid oxidation, have your clients add a little lemon -a great way to get some extra Vitamin C.
- Tell your clients that drinking slowly is key: we need to treat our smoothies as a though they were a meal. This will ensure better digestion.
- One scoop of frozen banana
- 1/2 cup of fresh blackberries or raspberries or strawberries
- 1 scoop IRON VEGAN plant-based sprouted protein, or the Vega brand is also very good
- 1 teaspoon maca powder
- 1/2 cup coconut water
- One scoop frozen berries
- 1/4 pineapple
- 2 cups spinach
- 1 teaspoon maca powder
- 1 shot wheatgrass - ( they are usually sold frozen in small shot containers in health food stores)
- 1/4 cup water
Your clients will really thank you for these extra healthy, time-saving tips, so share my findings with them, try them yourself.
Cheers to healthy and happy!
About the Author
Frances Michaelson is president of exercise equipment company Muscle Up Inc., a licensed naturopath and a personal trainer. She is passionate about helping people attain optimal health through proper diet and exercise. A self-described health-o-holic, she motivates others to move well and eat well to keep their bodies’ cells dancing and singing. Based in the West Island of Montreal, Frances is a frequent conference presenter, is author of BYOB: Bring Your Own Band and Replenish, Regenerate and Rebuild Your Cells, blogs for Total Gym exercise equipment, and is a regular contributor to IHRSA’s “Ask an Industry Leader.” With her broad knowledge base and over three decades of experience, she is widely recognized as a leader in the health and fitness field. Frances is committed to helping others make positive lifestyle choices that create stronger bodies, healthier minds and more fulfilling lives.