Smoothies are great for our health. It’s the easiest meal. Moreover, they’re packed with micronutrients, important for athletes and active people. But, what’s the best time to drink a smoothie if you’re working out? Before or after exercise?
Should you drink a smoothie before a workout?
Smoothies can be excellent preworkout meals. But, you have to be extra careful about the timing. You shouldn’t drink a preworkout smoothie just before working out. Drink it at least 1 hour before. You should have digested it before starting your workout. In other case, you’ll probably feel discomfort.
Moreover, drinking a smoothie before a workout can hydrate you. Hydration is vital for the best athletic performance.
What smoothie should I eat on an empty stomach before a workout?
Certainly, you want to drink an easily digested smoothie before a workout. Therefore, you shouldn’t add too many ingredients. Your preworkout smoothie should be pretty simple. Add only 2-3 ingredients. Furthermore, a preworkout smoothie should be based on fruits.
What are the benefits of drinking fruit smoothies?
Fruits are rich in sugars. Drinking a smoothie before workout high in sugar is good for athletic performance. Our muscles are pretty efficient in storing sugar as glycogen. In other words, sugar is stored in muscles for instant energy. It’s vital to boost the muscle stores with glycogen before a workout.
The best sugar source is fruits. Fruits contain much more than sugar. They provide antioxidants and vitamins. Fruits don’t only provide energy to our muscles, but also they enhance the proper function of the human body. That’s why fruit smoothies before a workout can really help you to perform better!
What other foods are good as a preworkout meal?
Sugar may have a bad reputation, but it isn’t always bad for us. On the contrary, the human body is made to use sugar as fuel. Certainly, excess consumption of refined sugar or other sweeteners, such as stevia is bad for you. For instance, stevia may lead to weight gain!
Above all, consuming fruits 1 hour before a workout is ideal. Additionally, you can eat rich in carbs before a workout. Oats, bread, rice, or pasta are great as a preworkout meal. Just eat them at least 1-2 hours before exercise, depending on the meal…
Another great tip is to add to your preworkout smoothie greens that are high in nitrates. Studies have shown that nitrates may help on endurance sports and power exercise (1). Nitrates seem to help the body supply blood and oxygen to muscles more effectively. What foods are naturally high in nitrates? Spinach, beets, and lettuce are particularly high in nitrates.
If you want to run faster add foods high in nitrates to your preworkout smoothie. See the whole list of plants naturally high in nitrates here.
Furthermore, beetroot juice is the highest beverage in nitrates. The pretty high amounts of nitrates made the beetroot juice so popular among long-distance runners…
What food should you not eat before a workout?
You can eat lots of healthy foods 2 hours before exercising. But you should avoid consuming even healthy foods less than a hour before working out.
For instance, you shouldn’t consume beans, greens, seeds and nuts close to your workout. Certainly, these foods are particularly beneficial. On the other hand, they demand a lot of time to be digested. They’re particularly high in dietary fiber. As a rule of thumb, avoid eating foods high in fiber close to your working outs. Start exercising at least 2 hours after eating these foods.
Even fruit juice isn’t good right before exercising. Due to the high amount of fructose. Fructose is a type of sugar that isn’t instantly ready for the muscles. It has to be transformed into the liver. So, that’s a process that takes a lot of time…
Do you know that agave nectar is mainly fructose? Avoid agave nectar before workouts, as well. If you need a natural sweetener, maple syrup seems the best option, at least compared to honey & agave nectar.
Last, but not least, don’t eat refined sugar. It’s empty calories. Yes, pure sugar is pure energy. But we need much more. We need vitamins, electrolytes and antioxidants, in order, to do push our bodies to the limit…
Is it good to drink smoothies after working out?
A post workout meal has to be rich in carbs and protein. You need carbs to restore energy. Your muscles would have lost most of their glycogen. It’s vital for muscle recovery to replenish glycogen stores after a demanding workout. A green smoothie is an ideal post-workout meal. Not only replenishes the glycogen stores, but also, help your muscles recover much faster, due to the high content of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.
These, along with protein are key factors for fast muscle recovery.
What kind of smoothie is good after a workout?
The best post workout smoothie has to contain protein, quality carbs and foods rich in antioxidants. These are important for muscle growth and muscle recovery. Most people consume protein powder and foods rich in carbs after a workout. But, they forget about antioxidants. Don’t do the same mistake.
So, what should I add to my smoothie?
Foods rich in carbs
Post workout smoothies should contain quality carbs. That’s no problem. Add fruits and your favorite greens. They’ll replenish your muscle glycogen stores. For instance, adding just a medium banana into your smoothie provides more than 27g of carbs (2). Also, 1.3g of protein… Yes plants contain protein, as well.
Furthermore, fruits and veggies contain more than carbs. They are high in vitamins and electrolytes. Vitamins are vital for all the functions of the human body. Certainly, they’re vital for fast muscle recovery, as well.
Additionally, we should consume foods high in minerals, especially sodium, potassium, chloride, calcium, and magnesium. These minerals are called electrolytes. Electrolytes are lost through sweating. Runners pay extra attention to restoring electrolytes. It’s rather common to experience leg cramps, in other case.
Luckily, plants are good sources of electrolytes. For instance, there are countless plant-based sources of calcium.
Foods high in protein
Certainly, a smoothie after a workout has to contain protein. Remember, plants contain protein.
If you want to make a post workout smoothie high in protein add seeds in it. Chia seeds, flaxseeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, or pumpkin seeds are great options.
I prefer chia seeds and flaxseeds. Both contain about 18g of protein per 100g. Above all, they’re particularly high in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s are pretty important for our health. Adequate consumption of omega-3s may help you fight chronic inflammation. As they are so important for our health, you should consume foods rich in omega-3s daily.
If you have high protein demands you could add a plant-based protein powder to your post workout smoothie. You can find great hemp, pea and many other quality protein powders on Amazon.
Foods that have a high antioxidant content
The best smoothie after a workout should be high in antioxidants. All plants contain antioxidants. Certainly, fruits and veggies contain high amounts of antioxidants, but herbs and spices are the best sources.
What should you not eat after a workout?
You can drink any healthy food after a workout. Even foods high in carbs or foods high in fiber. You want to replace the lost energy and the glycogen in muscles.
On the other hand, you should avoid eating any food high in salt, or refined sugar. For instance, sport drinks, soft drinks, sweets, processed foods, or even post-workout powders tend which are high in refined sugar. Salt and sugar, or other sweeteners, such as stevia can make us fat.
Furthermore, avoid foods high in fat. Certainly, fat is vital for the human body. But, we don’t need too much. Prefer to consume fat from seeds or nuts. They’re the healthiest choices. On the other hand, avoid vegetable oils. Even olive oil. They’re particularly high calories. A tablespoon contains about 120 calories, with little to no nutritional value…
That’s why you should avoid fried foods, as well. They’re high in calories but pretty low in nutrients. That’s the worst combination!
Moreover, avoid low-carb diets. Especially if you’re an athlete. Athletes need high amounts of quality carbs. Not eating enough carbs after a workout is pretty bad for your recovery. Your muscles will be starving… Our bodies aren’t efficient to use protein or fat for the production of glycogen. Carbs are the best option!
That’s the most important tip. If you want to recover faster from a hard workout eat a post-workout meal high in carbs. A green smoothie after a workout can provide the most quality carbs!
Last, but not least, eating nothing is the worst thing you can do! You have to help the body replace lost glycogen and also neutralize exercise-induced free radicals. As plants are the only foods high in antioxidants, a whole food plant-based diet is the best way to achieve the best athletic performance.
Can smoothies make you fat?
Drinking smoothies before or after a workout is the best meal you can have. But, it’s easy to overdo it.
Many people prepare a smoothie that’s pretty high in calories. Adding too many ingredients isn’t necessarily good for you. Firstly, you may have a difficult time digesting a huge smoothie with many fruits, greens and seeds.
Secondly, if you drink a huge smoothie 2-3 times a day you may exceed your daily calorie needs. If you’re on a calorie surplus you’ll gain weight. It’s rather uncommon to gain weight from drinking smoothies, but it can happen.
If you can’t lose weight, even following a healthy plant-based diet, follow these rules. Most people who can’t lose weight do the same mistakes.