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7 min read

What's the Best Post-Workout Smoothie?

Whether you’re working out in a gym or at home, it can be tough to have a perfectly-balanced meal after your workout. Cooking takes time, and takeout can be unreliable and most often, unhealthy. That's where smoothies come in; they're delicious, easy, and can be healthy. But, after a workout, some are far better for you than others.

The best smoothie after a workout should have a mix of protein and carbs since protein will rebuild muscles used in the workout, while carbs will refuel those muscles for the next workout. For people trying to lose weight with exercise, it's better to drink a protein-rich smoothie without carbs.

Post-workout smoothies are hard to beat in terms of convenience. Plus, they’re easy to digest since they’re in liquid form. To find out why smoothies are useful as a post-workout meal and how to pick the right kind, keep reading.

Is a Post-Workout Smoothie Healthy?

Smoothies rich in wholesome proteins and carbohydrates are healthy to drink after workouts, as they rebuild and refuel exhausted muscles. However, as a recovery meal, it's important to drink a smoothie soon after working out, restoring depleted glycogen and rebuilding exhausted muscles.

After a tough workout, you might not feel hungry. A hard workout can make you feel a little nauseous, and it can be hard to sit down and eat a meal if you’re not hungry. However, it’s healthy to eat something after your workout, once your stomach has settled.

Post-workout smoothies are great for many reasons, but one, in particular, is that they'reeasier to digest than solid food because they’re in liquid form.Plus, with the right ingredients, they’re delicious and convenient to take on the go.

Whether you’re working out in the morning, right before lunch, or at night, post-workout smoothies can provide the perfect nutrition to give your body what it needs.

Resisting the Temptation; Have a Post-Workout Smoothie Instead

On the other hand, you might be tempted to eat junk food after a workout. In fact, a nutritional study has found that you're more likely to do just that!

The study set out to compare the snack choices people make before and after a workout. In the experiment, a group of men and women were given the choice of eating an apple, brownie, or no snack.

  • Before the Workout:Almost 74% of people said they’d rather eat an apple as a snack.
  • After the Workout: That number dropped to around 50%.

Some of the people who changed their minds after the workout wanted a brownie, while others were content with no snack.

So althoughit might feel like a personal lapse in self-control, making unhealthy snack choices after a workoutisa shared behavior, and there's scientific evidence thatyou’re less likely to make a healthy snack choice after exercising.

Drinking a smoothie after your workout can take that decision-making process away, especially if you have it ready and waiting for you. By crafting a healthy smoothie and drinking it when you’re finished, you ensure that your body is properly fueled. 

What Nutrients Do You Need After A Workout?

Aside from rehydrating your body with water after a workout, your body needs a mix of healthy carbs, protein, and some fat. In other words, it’s similar to a balanced meal. Exercise is demanding on the body, this mix will help it replenish with proper nutrition.

This alone is a great reason to choose a smoothie for your post-workout recovery meal; you can get a variety of nutrients in one delicious drink that serves as a balanced meal.

If you're looking for further guidance on getting the right proteins and carbs in your smoothies, you'll find the following one-minute guides useful.

The 60-Second Guide to Proteins in Smoothies

Protein is important for muscle building, so it shouldn’t be overlooked. It should be the top priority in your smoothie; regardless of whether your fitness goals are to build muscle or lose weight.

Get Protein ASAP

For each hour that goes by after your workout, your body is less capable of building muscle from the protein it gets - this is referred to as theanabolic window, andyou should have protein at least within 4 hours of your workout.

Within 24 hours after your workout, it’s back to baseline.

So take advantage of the muscle-building window and get your protein in quickly with a smoothie.

Calculating How Much Protein You'll Need

Aim for .25 to .4 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight after a workout. To convert your body weight from pounds to kilograms, simply divide your body weight in pounds by 2.2. Then, multiply it by a number anywhere from .25 to .4 to find your ideal protein serving.

The Best Way to Get Protein in Your Post-Workout Smoothie

To add protein to a smoothie, you’ll probably need a supplement. Protein powder is a popular option. You'll find that protein powder is extremely portable, plus you'll have a huge variety of protein powder flavors to choose from.

Unlike adding dairy or peanut butter to a smoothie, which has a lot of fat and moderate amounts of protein,a supplement has high amounts of protein without much fat or carbohydrates.

As protein powder or otherwise, you can use either an animal source, such as whey, or a vegetable source for your supplement. Don't worry about which is more effective, becauseboth have similar effects for gaining muscle and strength.

The 60-Second Guide to Carbs in Smoothies

Carbohydrates are also important, but less of a priority than protein. Drinking carbs in your smoothie won't help build muscle, but they will help you refuel your muscles after a workout.

Carbs Are Fuel

Your muscles use an energy source called glycogen to contract. It expends a lot of this energy source during your workout, and you need carbs to replace what’s been lost.

Calculating How Many Carbs You'll Need

You shouldaim for about 1 to 1.2 grams of carbs per kilogram of body weight in your post-workout smoothie.

The Best Way to Get Carbs in Your Post-Workout Smoothie

In smoothies, carbs can come in the form of blended fruit, fruit juice, or carbohydrate powder.

Fruit is perhaps the best thing to put in your smoothie because you get extra vitamins and minerals that a supplement won’t provide, and it contains fiber.

For additional fiber, consider chia seeds in your protein smoothie.

Are Smoothies A Good Way to Lose Weight?

The process of losing weight is very challenging but simple to understand. To lose weight,you need to burn more calories than you consume. Drinking smoothies can help or hurt, depending on what you put in them and how they fit into your diet.

Liquid Versus Solid Calories

When you blend up a smoothie, you’re making the food easier to digest. The blending process partially breaks food down, taking away a lot of the work that your teeth usually do.

This liquid form of food is easier on your stomach. You might not even notice how many calories you’re consuming.

For that reason,it’s important to measure what you’re putting in your smoothies.

Buying ready-made smoothies aren’t ideal because it’s hard to tell the number of calories you’re consuming unless there are nutritional facts for the smoothie.

Interestingly, the more liquid a food is, the less it satisfies hunger,according to a recent study on the effects of food texture and hunger. The study found that solid and viscous forms of food were much better at satisfying hunger.

On the other hand, smoothies might give you a satisfying way to fuel your body or at least help you resist the temptation of junk food. Because if the alternative is an unhealthy meal, choosing a smoothie could help you lose weight.

Since the key to weight loss is to consume fewer calories than you burn, substituting a high-calorie meal for a lower-calorie smoothie will ultimately help.

Protein and Weight Loss

There’s no magic potion you can put in your smoothie for weight loss. While many dietary supplements are advertised for weight loss, they’re rarely effective.A supplement is meant to add to your diet, not cause a dramatic change in your body.

That said, the nutritional composition of a smoothie can impact your weight loss journey.Picking the right ingredients is important if you want to lose weight.

What Can I Put In My Smoothie For Weight Loss?

Smoothies that don't interfere with weight loss goals focus on avoiding fats, limiting carbs, and embracing protein. Protein is an ideal nutrient for weight loss as it requires more energy to digest than fats and carbs, burning more calories in the process.

Fats and Weight Loss

Avoid fats because they have 9 calories per gram, making them very energy dense. Protein and carbs have 4 calories per gram, so you can have more without consuming as much energy as you would with fats.

Carbs and Weight Loss

If you’re trying to lose weight, you can limit the number of carbs you put in a smoothie as well.

A study investigated the effects of drinking a protein or carbohydrate smoothie in the morning.

It found that having a smoothie with carbs and no protein made people hungrier by lunch, and they ended up eating more than those who had protein with no carbs.

Proteins and Weight Loss

The same study also showed the protein's greater thermic effect on food. When you eat, your body expends energy to digest food. Protein is the hardest to digest, which meansyou burn more calories when you eat protein than carbohydrates or fat

Fuel Up After Exercise

Smoothies can be a healthy meal or snack after an intense workout, but it all depends on what you put in them.

If you decide to make it part of your muscle recovery routine, make sure you put enough protein in it to help your muscles rebuild. You also need carbs to refuel your muscles.

If you’re trying to lose weight, a smoothie can be helpful. You’ll want to eliminate fatty ingredients, like peanut butter, that add excess calories to your smoothie. Instead, opt for animal or vegetable sources of protein.

If you're on the hunt for post-workout smoothie recipes that embody this article, SHEFIT's got you covered.

While both of SHEFIT's post-workout smoothie recipes help reach weight loss goals and aid muscle recovery, each leans into one area more fully than the other.

Either one you choose makes for the perfect post-workout smoothie.

Smoothies can be delicious, as well as healthy if you make them with the right ingredients and know how the nutrients impact your body.

This is an important concept to keep in mind as you seek out smoothie recipes as part of your fitness routine or weight loss journey.