It's 6:47AM. You already hit snooze twice. Business dinner tonight. No chance for a PM workout. It's now or never, but will you even be awake by the time you get to the gym?
Fuel it with my Pre-Workout Smoothie. I'm a big fan of the smoothie as a quick and easy meal or snack, and I make countless variations depending on what the bod needs at any particular time. Use the recipe below not only before a workout, but also after a workout, for breakfast, sweet fix, or anytime you're starved and short on time. While this looks lengthy, 90% of this article is explaining why this smoothie rocks. Try it . It's tastier and more nutritious than any ready-to-drink shake. I know you all want something quick and easy. If I can dress, blend and be out the door in three minutes, so can you.
It provides a good balance of natural protein (36g) and carbs (21g), 30% daily recommended value of calcium, potassium and Vitamins B6 and C and caffeine â€" assuming you need the lift. The four green teabags in total contribute 80mg of caffeine (about the amount in a cup of coffee) and several polyphenols, the potent antioxidants, including epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), responsible for speeding metabolism, improving memory function, slowing the aging process and the other green tea benefits we've been hearing so much about. I've also been adding cinnamon since this super-spice is being hailed with anti-cancer causing properties and is linked with lowering blood sugar levels and soothing the stomach.
My diet "The Arsenal" is based on a return to nature approach, since our digestive systems and nutritional needs have not evolved as technology and our lifestyles have. While our bodies best tolerate and utilize minimally-processed foods like veggies and fruits, eggs, lean meat and fish, it's OK to have 1-2 servings daily of skim milk, Greek yogurt and/or natural whey protein isolate daily, unless you know from prior (uncomfortable) experiences that you and dairy don't hit the dance floor together.
I recommend Biochem Greens & Whey, as removing the fat and lactose make it one of the best-tolerated and most quickly and easily-absorbed protein powders. Thus, unlike the ones that stagnate your gut, you'll power through that workout without bloating, gas or stomach upset. Plus, it adds harmonious natural vanilla taste to any beverage - unlike the bitter or fake-sweet lab taste of many of the more unnatural protein powders.
For my completely lactose-intolerant guys, eliminate the Greek yogurt, increase almonds to 1/4 cup and add a few ounces of calcium-enriched unsweetened rice-milk or orange juice to maintain protein, calcium and taste.
The exact recipe below yields a smaller smoothie just (340 calories) with the (obvious) intention that you not vomit during your workout, but feel free to increase to a full cup of yogurt, a handful of almonds, a full cup of berries and the whole banana for a more voluminous meal. If you prefer to use ripe berries, your smoothie will be more watery, so add more ice to get the satiating thickness of the original (think sherbet).
1/2 banana (past-ripe w/ brown spots; they're sweeter and easier to blend)
1/2 cup 0% Greek yogurt
1 cup chilled concentrated green tea* [Pour 1 cup boiling water over 4 green teabags in heat-safe mug or bowl. Steep for 5-10 minutes. Press and remove teabags. Cover and chill in fridge].
2 scoops (1 oz) Biochem Vanilla Greens and Whey protein powder
1 tbsp slivered raw almonds
3/4 cup frozen mixed berries (any combo: blueberries, blackberries, raspberries & strawberries)
Dash of cinnamon
5 large ice cubes or 1/2 cup crushed ice, if you're working with a sub-par blender.
Put the ingredients in your blender, ideally, in this order as the moisture hitting the blade first lubes it for crushing the ice and berries. Blend. Add a bit more liquid if the blades get stuck.
*If you are sensitive to caffeine or it's just too late in the day, use decaffeinated green teabags. You will still get the antioxidant benefits of green tea.
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