Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Variations On a Theme: Recovery Smoothies

A few weeks ago, I began combining my usual cardio routine with a lot of strength training.  I'd done strength training once a few years ago, and I loved it -- but I wasn't sure how to do it properly without the help of a professional.  After all, a girl does herself no favors when she accidentally drops a dumbbell on her foot.

I discovered, however -- thanks to Running with Spoons -- the fabulous book The New Rules of Lifting for Women.  After checking it out on Amazon, I knew I wanted to dive headfirst into reading it and getting my strength training on.  Dive in I did, and I loooove it.  It's a butt-whuppin', but it's completely worth it.  The shaky Elvis legs, the twinge of muscles rebuilding themselves after being pushed to their outer limits: it's all awesome.  (Disclaimer: my two addictions in life are exercise and caffeine, so I'm biased.) 

The authors of TNROLFW recommend having protein shakes to recover on lifting days.  I've never particularly liked protein shakes -- they tend to be chalky, and they require, like, a Dumpster full of sweetner to be palatable -- but now that I've found a protein mix that I really like, me and protein shakes are on like Donkey Kong.

In creating these shakes, I decided to take inspiration from Angela Liddon's Green Monster Movement by adding greens into the mix.  (Because really, who couldn't use more greens in their life?)  The original incarnation of my Green Monster/recovery shake is thus:

2 cups fresh spinach
1 frozen banana
2 tablespoons Vega Vanilla Almondilla protein powder
1 cup frozen peaches and mango
1 cup almond milk
1 cup water (you may need more or less, depending on your tastes -- basically, use the water to get the smoothie to be whatever consistency you like best)
1 tablespoon chia seeds (optional)
1 tablespoon agave nectar (or the sweetener of your choice)

After blending for approximately 60-90 seconds, you get a gorgeous, bright green shake.

This one was made with chia seeds - hence the black things floating about.

My second take on this involves berries.  It uses the same recipe as above, but uses 1 1/2 cups of frozen blueberries and blackberries in place of the peach/mango blend.  Because the end result is purple, the first time I made this I started singing the song "One Eyed, One Horned Flying Purple People Eater" in my head...yes, I'm insane. 

I tend to slurp these down so quickly I wind up with repeated brain freezes (more evidence of my insanity), but they help my body recover after an intense lifting session -- and they're delicious to boot.

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