This is the perfect drink to have before or after a challenging workout. It’s packed with protein, some carbs, other good-for-you-stuff (details below), and it tastes like an iced mocha coffee! Post-workout, get this into your system within 30-60 minutes after exercise to feed those hungry muscles. Sipping this shake before your workout helps fight fatigue and powers your muscles up for action…but do so an hour before to allow time for digestion.
Why this shake’s ingredients work for your workout:
- Protein powder – Weight-lifting and vigorous exercise tear down the fibers of our muscles (we build muscle when the body repairs those fibers). Our bodies need protein to use for the repair process. There are tons of protein powders out there but many are full of weird, unnatural ingredients. Thanks to Gary Collins, I discovered Jay Robb protein powder and was really impressed with the “clean” and simple ingredients.
- Banana – Provides the quick carbs you need after a workout to help repair your muscles. This is the best time to consume a moderate amount of natural sugars because your body will use it instead of store it. (Yep, there IS an ideal time to eat that piece of dark chocolate…)
- Coffee – When we expend energy…we get tired! Unless your workout is at the end of the day, or you’ve penciled in some nap time, you’ve still got stuff to do! Coffee not only wakes you back up but studies show caffeine also helps reduce muscle soreness.
- Coconut oil – After a tough workout, our muscles need extra nutrients. Coconut oil acts as a transport system, getting valuable nutrients from the food we eat afterward into our muscles by helping us secrete insulin. While working out helps our health in the long run, it can actually break down our immune system in the short-term. Plus, gyms are notoriously germy! The antiviral, antibacterial properties of the lauric acid in coconut oil give our immune systems the extra boost in protection it needs. For more explanation of why coconut oil is so good for you, check out this article by Dr. Mercola in The Huffington Post.
- Maca powder – The magical maca root has a myriad of helpful benefits. The ones that pertain to post-workout are: Speeds up recovery; increases energy endurance and stamina; helps circulation. Want to know more? Take a look at this great article I found.
- Raw cacao powder – This isn’t your commercial powdered chocolate! Raw cacao powder is powered up with antioxidants. It also contains magnesium, which helps relax muscles and promotes a feeling of calmness.
- Cinnamon – This flavorful spice reduces inflammation in the body. Another plus is its sweet taste with no real sugar.
- Sea salt – We know that sweating depletes our electrolytes, but don’t reach for the Gatorade or other “sports drinks” that add artificial colors, flavors, and sugars. Sea salt is just as effective in replacing electrolytes, without all the nasty stuff our bodies aren’t meant to ingest. Not all salt is created equal, nor is salt something we need to avoid. Read Debunking the Salt Myth for the real (salt) scoop.
For about 250 calories (based on 120-calorie protein powder), you’re got a nutrient-packed meal that will prepare you for or replenish your body after tough workouts. Have a fit summer!
Recipe for Mocha Protein Shake
Makes about 20 ounces
- 1 cup coffee or mixture with other liquid – I like ¾ cup coffee with ¼ cup almond or coconut milk (Get the unsweetened, no sugar variety, like pictured example)
- 1 serving vanilla protein powder
- ½ medium banana (whole banana if long or strenuous workout)
- 1 teaspoon coconut oil (optional) – Melt the oil first before measuring if it’s solid
- 1 teaspoon maca powder
- 1 teaspoon raw cacao powder
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 pinch sea salt (one-eighth teaspoon) – Examples of quality salt are Himalayan Crystal Salt and Real Salt
Add ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.