Why I swear by smoothies
There are 101 different reasons why I swear by smoothies, but I thought I’d cut them down to 9. In my honest opinion, they are one of the most overlooked additions to an athlete’s nutritional plan. They are idea for every athlete whether you’re a triathlete like me, weightlifter, rugby player or cyclist! We all know that nutrition, along with good sleep, and a training plan / coach is essential to achieving athletic performance, so smoothies just can't be ignored!
Hint: click on the hyperlinks to get info about improving other parts of your athletic performance!
1. They’re easy.
To be honest, this is the main reason I love a good smoothie. As a triathlete, training takes up a good 16 hours of week. When I add in my work, my uni course and having some sort of chill time (swapped out for social time, because yanno, COVID), that doesn’t leave me much time. Personally, I prep my fruit and ingredients the night before, but smoothies can require no prep; just a handful of frozen fruit, bit of this and that, squeeze of juice, and you’re done!
2. Helps me achieve that fruit and veg quota
A smoothie can easily incorporate 1 or 2 portions of fruit without altering the taste or make it feel too ‘veggie’. Generally, a handful of frozen kale or spinach is a great way to get the vitamins and minerals, such as iron, into your system. You never have to eat another salad again if you don’t want to!
3. They promote optimal muscle recovery
Depending what you put in your smoothies, will decide the effectiveness it has in helping you to recover. Studies show that consuming both protein and carbs after your workout can help promote new muscle growth… and you can get all that from smoothies! If you’re specifically after a post-workout recovery shake, why not try some of these ingredients:
- Cherries; due to their nitric oxide content, cherries are known to reduce inflammation because they increase blood flow and circulate nitric acid allowing muscles to heal faster. Their antioxidant content may also help reduce blood sugar and the risk of heart disease.
- Dark chocolate; this ingredient contains more antioxidants promoting your muscle recovery, as well as giving the smoothie a yummier taste.
- Kale; this superfood is packed full of Vitamin A, K, C and more, as well as being very low in calories. It also offers extra digestion help.
- Beetroot powder; this secret ingredient helps sweeten up your smoothies, as well as having a lot of the same anti-inflammatory antioxidants that cherries have (which is what makes these foods red). Beetroot powder often has their healthy dose of nitrates, shown to improve athletic performance by fuelling your mitochondria (the part of your cells that basically makes them work). Many studies have been done on cyclists and triathletes that show beetroot powder to improve the time before the athlete is exhausted, as well as the efficiency of their oxygen use.
- Pineapple; this fruit is highly refreshing with its high water content, helping you to stop feeling thirsty after a tough workout, especially in the heat. It is also packed full of Vitamin C which helps boost your immune system; this is much needed right now, given the winter flus circulation on top of the pandemic. Did you know, 1 cup of pineapple is 103% of your daily Vitamin C needs?
- Ginger; this power helps to improve circulation, strengthens the immune system and relieves sore muscles, as well as adding a yummy taste (if you like ginger!)
4. Unlike a piece of fruit, it actually fills me up
Grabbing an apple on your way out the door is great but 1) it’s harder to eat in the car than drink 2) I’m hungry by the time I have driven to wherever I’m going. However, a smoothie, that actually fills me and is better game-time fuel than a solo banana.
5. It’s usually the healthier and more balanced choice
When I want a snack, ill usually go for the protein bars, the Doritos or the bacon sandwich, but smoothies are just as quick, just as easy, and usually the healthier choice. If you’re doing smoothies right, they should contain these 5 parts:
- Vegetables help to provide you with fibre and keep you full for longer, as well as adding much needed nutrients e.g. kale or spinach
- Fruit add vitamins and minerals to your drink as well as natural sugars – 2 portions of fruit should be ample e.g. frozen berries or banana
- Healthy fats help to provide energy and support cell growth e.g. avocado, peanut butter, seeds or coconut oil
- Protein aids muscle repair and recovery, as well as filling you up. e.g. seeds, protein powder (the more natural the better) or yoghurt
- A liquid base to provide hydration, protein or electrolytes e.g. milk, juice or water
Handy tip: when it comes to protein powder, the more natural the better, so look for one with only a few ingredients. Not sure which one is best for you? Drop us an email or DM on social media and we’d be happy to help you out.
6. Helps prevent that mid-morning hunger + boost brain power
It sounds obvious but a smoothie for breakfasts means you don’t have to eat it all at once – you can make it last. On the other hand, eating a bowl of cereal or porridge might make you feel hungry for ‘elevenses’, because you’ve eaten it by 8:30am. Smoothies, with their longer consumption time, means I don’t experience that mid-morning hunger, dropped blood sugar and dipped energy levels – I can plough on through until lunchtime.
7. They’re tasty
This one seems blindingly obvious, but you don’t want to be eating anything you don’t like either before or after a tough session, let alone throughout the rest of the day. Smoothies give you the freedom of making something tasty as well as good for you. What could be better than that?!?
8. Controls cravings
Like the previous point about preventing mid-morning hunger, smoothies help to control cravings. Paired with this, they can therefore help you to lose weight without causing your to skip meals or miss out on sections of your balanced diet.
9. Boosts my mood
Fresh vegetables and fruits that are rich in folic acid, for example broccoli, spinach and bananas, help prevent low moods. Interestingly, patients suffering from depression are advised to eat healthy breakfasts, and smoothies, so you can put these ingredients in yours when the day is looking a little dull and cloudy. Organic fruits and vegetables also serve as excellent stress busters. Smoothies made of fresh ingredients help to relieve stress and help you stay happier and healthier.
Need help with your nutritional plan or recipe ideas? Drop us an email, or DM on social media.