‘Tis the season. Not the season of yuletide cheer or festive parties–oh no–’tis the season of full gyms. As resolution season wears on, the gym is as packed as ever; where once I was able to stroll into spin class minutes before it starts, I now have to arrive 20 minutes early to ensure my participation. Alas, it’s great to see and feel… the energy in a gym the first three months of the year is high as people embark on a healthy living journey, albeit, short lived for some.
However, as important as working out at the gym is, what happens the hour after a workout is even more important. You see, the hour after a workout is crucial for muscle repair; it’s the golden hour for exercise recovery. Now, it may be tempting to run to the nearest McDonald’s for your favorite calorie-laden snack, all in the name of recovery (and reward), but I bid you to STOP! What you put in your body is just as important as putting something into your body; and what our bodies need after a workout is protein.
Our muscles require protein to repair the tiny tears created during load-bearing exercise. When these tears are rebuilt, our muscles then become stronger. So here is a list of things you can add to your post-workout smoothie that will fill you up and supercharge your sipper for muscle repair!
Hemp Seeds. Hemp seeds are an essential fatty acid dynamo–but did you know that 3 tbsp. of these diminutive seeds provide 11 grams of protein?! And they contain more protein per calorie than your favorite T-bone steak. Add them to your smoothie and they will blend into oblivion, meaning they’ll be there but you won’t even notice.
Avocado. Although they aren’t as protein potent as hemp seeds, avocados still deliver. A whole avocado contains 2.7 grams of protein (and avocados grown in California are larger, so they contain almost 6.8 grams of protein). Not bad, not bad at all.
Greek Yogurt. I am quite a fan of this strained yogurt variety, it adds a creamy texture to smoothies and boosts the protein content. Most common brands contain between 17 and 20 grams of protein for a 6-to-7-ounce serving, which is a good amount to consume post workout. Eaten alone or in a smoothie, this stuff will help repair and replenish your muscles.