How to make the perfect post-training smoothie

Article originally published on Blackmores Whether you're running a half or full marathon, getting ready for takes a lot of commitment and training hours. One of the best ways to support your body with a heavy training schedule is to make sure that you re-fuel properly after each workout. Many time people will squeeze in their early morning training and then not eat breakfast until they have gotten to work a few hours later and by then they have missed the boat of optimum fueling and recovery for their glycogen stores. One of the easiest ways to re-fuel after a workout is the smoothie, its quick to make and easy to take with you on your way to work, school or wherever you need to go. Post training your body is looking to make more glycogen (stored carbohydrates) as well as to repair damaged muscle tissue. A great ratio to aim for with carbohydrates and proteins post training is a 3:1 or a 4:1 of carbohydrate:protein. Many people are under the assumption that they need a ‘protein drink’ after training and don’t know that carbohydrates are also a big part of the equation at this time.

So how do you make the perfect ratio smoothie?

There are millions of amazing smoothie recipes out there for you to try but you need to get that ratio right. Let’s take a look at what simple ingredients it takes to get you to the right ratios for optimum recovery and restocking of your fuel tank for your next training session. Think about how you chose the ingredients depending on their carbohydrate or protein content and it will make the planning much easier. The nutrition guide for the marathon contains lists of many foods and their protein and carbohydrate content or many training apps will break down foods or recipes for you.

  • Think about which fluid you will use. Water, milk, coconut milk, almond milk etc.
  • Find your main carbohydrate source. The average banana has 25 grams of carbohydrate which is an easy pick and if you freeze it the smoothie feels more like it has ice cream in it
  • Additional fruit of choice such as blueberries, strawberries, pineapple, mango etc.
  • Do you need more carbohydrate after a long session of training? If you are aiming for 50 or 60 grams you may add honey or maple syrup to get your numbers higher. It doesn’t hurt that these are so great tasting as well. Be aware 1 tablespoon is about 15 grams of carbohydrate so be sparing with this ingredient
  • Add your flavour kick or other ingredients of choice such as raw cacao, macca, vanilla, cinnamon, superfoods etc.
  • If you are struggling to get your veggies in this is an opportunity to add some kale or baby spinach as well, though make sure its not too much to dominate in flavour
  • Protein, depending on your milk choice this smoothie will not have much protein at this point. Most people find it easy to add a protein powder to get the levels up easily, others will choose a nut butter but that potentially adds a large volume of calories without a large dose of protein so likely the protein powder is the easiest option

Post-training chocolate berry bang smoothie

  • 20 grams chocolate protein powder
  • 1 cup coconut water
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 teaspoon raw cacao powder
  • ½ cup raspberries
  • ½ cup strawberries
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup

This smoothie has approximately 60 grams of carbohydrate and 23 grams of protein, which is very close to a 3:1 ratio.

Kira Sutherland is a nutritionist & naturopath that specialises in Sports Nutrition. With over 20 years of clinical experience Kira is passionate about working with athletes of all levels. She is the previous Head of Nutrition Department at Nature Care College in Sydney and has lectured in Natural Medicine for well over 15 years both within Australia and overseas. As a health educator, Kira has worked / consulted with an array of clients including: private colleges, health conferences, corporates, sports teams, individual athletes and the media. In her spare time Kira is undertaking her Masters of Sports Nutrition, competes in Ironman triathlon and practices what she preaches.