4 post-workout refreshments you should try
Even the most rigorous workout routine won’t yield the desired effects (i.e., ripped abs and chiseled biceps) if you’re not fueling your body with the proper nutrition. One of the most important times to pay attention to what you’re eating—and drinking—is immediately following a workout. Unless you replenish what your body has lost, it won’t recover properly from the stress of exercise, and those abs of steel will remain beyond reach. Here are four refreshments that will jumpstart the recovery process post-workout.
Homemade Electrolyte Drink [Don’t Mess With Mama]
If you’re sweating for more than an hour, your body will lose not only water, but also electrolytes. Electrolytes are nutrients such as salt and potassium that help your body to maintain a healthy balance of fluids. It’s important to replace electrolytes after a long workout, but store-bought sports drinks often come loaded with unnecessary extra sugar. This DIY recipe brings the electrolytes in the form of OJ, lemon juice, and salt, and allows you to decide how much sugar you want to add. Opt for honey or maple syrup, as the recipe calls for, if you’re concerned about keeping it natural.
Ginger-Pear Smoothie [Prevention]
While certain components of ginger can help to east post-workout inflammation, the fiber in flaxseed will help fill you up so that you don’t snack absentmindedly after a challenging workout. Meanwhile, vanilla Greek yogurt brings the protein, which will help build your muscles back up, and spinach and ripe pear serve as rich sources of nutrients. With coconut water as the hydrating foundation, this ginger-pear smoothie has all the makings of a perfect after-gym beverage.
Tart Cherry Juice [Fitness Magazine]
If you’re used to popping ibuprofen after a workout, there may be a natural alternative. Studies in recent years have shown some promise with tart cherry juice. These early studies enlisted athletes to test out the effects of tart cherry juice, which is packed with a type of antioxidant known as anthocyanins. This compound is believed to have potent inflammation-fighting properties, and the early research concurs. Athletes who drank tart cherry juice after working out experienced less pain, better muscle recovery, and decreased levels of inflammation. You can grab tart cherry juice at most grocery stores, and about 10 ounces after a workout should provide the benefits.
Chocolate Chia Recovery Drink [Minimalist Baker]
Just because you have a sweet tooth doesn’t mean your fitness goals are out of reach. This dreamy chocolate smoothie actually contains zero added sugar, but it’ll still squash your cravings for something sweet. The sweetness arises naturally from a super-ripe banana, which you blend with chocolate coconut water and your choice of peanut or almond butter to create a creamy base. Add chia seeds, hemp seeds, and flaxseed meal for an influx of fiber and healthy fats, and ice to complete the frosty foundation. The protein from the nut butter and carbohydrates from the banana (plus the potassium, a necessary electrolyte) will help you to bounce back quickly, even after a grueling workout.