Are you an athlete or do you want to be an athlete?
Smoothies are a great fit for both pre and post workout nutrition for most athletes.
Not sure how smoothies can fit into your nutrition regime/schedule?
Not a problem, let’s look at some ways to make the best frozen smoothie for your needs.
The nervous system
Wait, I thought we were talking about smoothies and athletes!
What does the nervous system have to do with that?
Quite a lot actually.
The nervous system is involved in everything we do and is especially important for athletes.
Our autonomic nervous system is made up of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems.
We’ve all heard of the fight or flight response and that is activated by the sympathetic nervous system.
Then there’s the rest and digest phase, the parasympathetic nervous system.
Guess which state you want to be in when you’re digesting?
Yes, you’re right, the parasympathetic state.
And which one do you think strenuous exercise activates?
Again, you nailed it, the sympathetic state.
So, if you’re someone who exercises immediately after eating and experiences reflux, diarrhoea, gas or bloating, you may be entering the sympathetic state before you’ve adequately digested your meal.
And this is why it’s best to leave sometime between eating and strenuous exercising.
How much time do you need then?
As with most things to do with individuals, this will vary depending on how well you digest and, of course, what you’re eating.
The key here will be trial and error, so you’ll need to try different lengths of time to see what works for you, then stick to it.
And this leads us nicely into the alternative to a meal, frozen smoothies.
Enter frozen smoothies
Frozen smoothies, being a liquid, are much easier and faster to digest than eating the foods in their whole form.
This gives us an opportunity to add in some fuel, while minimizing those indigestion symptoms we mentioned above.
Smoothies are also a great way to hydrate, which is super important for an athlete, as being dehydrated can significantly hinder exercise performance.
Pre workout nutrition
Below are some things to consider when you’re looking at your pre-workout nutrition and of course what to add and not to add in your pre and post workout frozen smoothie.
‘What?! I thought fibre was good for me.’
Like everything in nutrition, fibre has its place.
Fibre is difficult for our digestive system to break down and therefore it ends up expending a lot of energy.
By limiting fibre pre-workout you’re allowing more energy and blood flow to go to where it’s needed (i.e. them pythons) during your workout, instead of staying in the gut to help break down food.
So be aware about the fibre levels in your pre workout frozen smoothies.
Caffeine is one of the most studied substances on the planet and one week its good for your health, the next its bad.
For athletic performance it seems to be largely favourable though. and even better if you can add it to your smoothies.
Caffeine has been shown to positively improve athletic performance when taken before a workout in many research studies just like this one that covers improved performance in cyclists when taking caffeine in low to moderate doses.
A lesser known benefit of caffeine is its digestive effects.
It improves stomach acid and bile secretion (sounds yuk), meaning faster and more effective digestion.
Careful though, if you’re prone to sweating a lot, caffeine also depletes the electrolyte magnesium which can also lead to cramping.
Finally, if you’re exercising close to sleep time, caffeine isn’t the best ingredient to include in your smoothie!
Add in protein
Having ample amounts of amino acids in your blood (smaller proteins) can help improve your workout recovery and also your performance.
Don’t go for a heavy steak and eggs right before a workout though, it’ll be too energy intensive for your gut to breakdown.
Instead, consider going for an easily digested protein powder.
Wake me up smoothie cubes + a scoop of protein powder would be a good choice for pre-workout if you were looking for a simple frozen smoothie solution.
Post workout nutrition
Here, the goal is simple after you finish training, you need and want to refuel and rebuild.
Think more, more and more!
More protein, more carbs and a little bit more fat (not that fat is the enemy, just that protein and carbs are priority now)
If you were to ever schedule a feast, after you finish training is the time to do it.
After exercise your cells are sensitised to insulin and in simple English that means, fuel comes in much easier.
Now, the caveat is, only eat what you can digest.
If you go wild with the food, then find yourself with reflux or diarrhoea later on it means the volume or the actual food type was too much for you in the end.
Super Cubes berry digest smoothie cubes with a scoop of protein powder works great here as a post workout meal.
It provides the carbs from the berries alongside the gut loving that you’ll need to put this food down and also some antioxidants to help you recover effectively.
Putting it all together
So, there’s going to be some trial and error involved from your end to find the best frozen smoothie for both the pre workout and post workout scenarios.
The conservative athlete, would leave enough time in between eating and exercising, and monitor how their body responds to everything they do.
Start with less and build up to more slowly over time.
As an athlete, you’ll know if something is working by its effect on your performance and also how you’re recovering.
Smoothies also don’t have to just be a standalone, feel free to include them as part of a whole foods meal as well!
Do you currently use our Super Cube frozen smoothies around your workout times?
Or are you an athlete and just have Super Cubes daily whenever you can?
If you do we’d love to know how often you drink them, for instance the time before and after and also your favourite pre and post workout frozen smoothie recipes.