Eat To Prepare, Perform, & Recover

One of the most critical skills any athlete needs to learn is how to use food as fuel in order to perform at their best.  An athlete can only perform well if they are properly nourished.  Many younger athletes fail to recognize the need to replenish lost nutrients AFTER their activity.    

Improving post-activity nutrition with proper planning and timing can help an athlete recover faster and perform better!  Athletes should consume a carbohydrate and protein-based snack within 30 minutes of completing their activity.  Bodies are fueled by glycogen (the form in which our body stores carbohydrates or energy).  Exercise and activity depletes glycogen stores.  For a short period of time after an activity the body has an elevated ability to replenish these lost stores.   A snack consisting of about 4 parts carbohydrate and 1 part protein will help replenish lost stores and prime the muscles for the next activity.   

A post-workout smoothie is one of the fastest and tastiest ways to make certain athletes are getting good post-activity nutrition.  Try one of these easy recipes!  

Pumpkin Cookie

8oz Low-Fat Milk • 1 scoop Vanilla Protein Powder • ¼-½ C Canned Pumpkin • 1tsp Pumpkin Spice

ChocoBanana

8oz Low-Fat Chocolate Milk • 1 Banana (fresh or frozen) • 1-2T Nut Butter or 2Tb Peanut Butter like PB2 (dehydrated)

Tooty Fruity

8oz Low-Fat Milk • 1 – 1 ½ C Fresh or Frozen berries (strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, etc) • 1 Scoop Strawberry or Vanilla Protein Powder

Place milk in the blender then add other ingredients.  Blend until smooth.  Add ice cubes as needed until desired consistency is met. You can also try soy or almond milk.

Tips for Better Smoothies

  1. Get A Good Blender –  A good blender that smoothes out ice cubes makes a big difference.  You don’t have to spend a fortune either!  Check out a Ninja Pulse Blender at Wal-Mart or Target for under $50. 
  2. Experiment With Bases – Try cow’s, almond, or coconut milk for different flavors.  Apple juice can also be a good option as a base for a fruity smoothie.
  3. Greens Are Good – Don’t be afraid of adding some green stuff to your smoothies.  Spinach, kale, and even avocados can add different textures and flavors.  If you find a flavor too strong, try using pineapple or lemon juice to even it out. 
  4. Try A Few Add-Ins – Extracts like vanilla, almond, carmel, coconut, mint, etc can add an entirely new flavor to your favorite smoothie.  (Just remember a little goes a long way with extract)  How about a scoop of raw oatmeal for a different texture?
  5. Vary Protein Sources – There is no need to spend a lot of money on expensive protein powders.  Milks, nut butters and yogurt are great sources of inexpensive protein and can add different flavors and tastes to your smoothie.